Posts Tagged ‘Flash Fiction’

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Cast of Wonders 139: Little Wonders 6 – A Little Laughter

Show Notes

You’re listening to Little Wonders, our thematic flash fiction collections. This episode we bring you A Little Laughter.

Special thanks to Kevin McCloud and the Free Sounds Project for providing music and special effects.


Continue?

by James Vachowski

Fog fades away.  Darkness lifts. I struggle to find my feet as vision returns.  The room is empty. Signs of a struggle.

She’s gone!

Off and running with no control of my body as I fly on a path towards revenge.  An unseen hand guides my movements. Of course I know who took her. Who else could it be but Ryoku?  Damn him! If only we had left when he first made his threats…but this is no time to dwell on the past.

Rushing forward, unable to turn back.

Through flat, muted ears, I can almost hear the timer that ticks down the seconds we have left.

My steel jaw clenches as I will the fury down into my tightened fists.  Rage funnels through them as I pummel wave after wave of Ryoku’s goons, henchmen, thugs, and anyone else foolish enough to stand in my way.

Down the stairs.

Through the alley.

Over the barbed wire fence, ducking a pair of rabid junkyard dogs.

Forward still, rushing onward towards my love, and vengeance.

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Cast of Wonders 137: The Filigreed Cage


The Filigreed Cage

by Krystal Claxton

“I don’t understand why you’re doing this.” Valeria spoke in hushed tones, though no one other than Nolan was within earshot.

“Because I can.” Nolan’s fingers worked against the cuff on his wrist with a slim metal splinter.

“Nolan, please can we talk about this? Just wait a moment.” She glanced around the park. Beyond the walkway, short trees basked in the artificial light of the dome.

The cuff was a gift from the Overseers, one of many they had bestowed upon humanity since the Fail. It provided everyone with instructions and guidance. Her fingers nervously traced the intricate filigree of her own cuff. She remembered her tenth birthday, when she’d been blessed with the title of Wife and Nolan’s name had appeared in delicate scroll.

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Cast of Wonders 133: A Well-Lit Dungeon

Show Notes

Starburst Magazine’s Bookworm Podcast.

Can We Watch It Again podcast.

Emma Thompson’s Donor’s Choose project.


A Well-Lit Dungeon

by Mark Mills

Lord Hanvord of Proustof was for a very short time one of the richest men in the world. A load of gold of monumental proportions was discovered in the southern part of his kingdom which increased his treasury a thousand-fold.

Lord Hanvord’s first act after hearing the news was to arrest the owner of the land for treason and confiscate the mine. There was much grumbling of the eight remaining noblemen in Proustof and Lord Hanvord began to have doubts over condemning the man to die.

The night before the beheading, he visited the condemned man in the dungeons. At this point, the castle itself was a disheveled mess, with moss growing in the royal bedroom and three families of foxes who dwelled between the cloak room and kitchen. The dungeon, as one might expect, was the pits.

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Cast of Wonders 121: Little Wonders 5 – Trope Twists

Show Notes

This is Little Wonders, our collection episodes featuring flash fiction and poetry centered around a theme. This episode we bring you the conclusion of our flash fiction month: Trope Twists!

 


The Hero
By Jessica Holscher

Down a desolate and lonely dirt road, a young man walked toward the horizon.  With a sword at his back, he traveled for destiny. The famed fortune teller of the town he’d just left, Madam Mystic, told him he would defeat the three headed dragon and save the princess.  Without a moment’s hesitation, he headed for the beast to save the missing damsel.

Suddenly, a rustling caught his attention.  Surely, he couldn’t have already reached the monster.  He readied his sword and stood firm. The rustling grew louder and a female child emerged from the bush.

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Cast of Wonders 120: Master Madrigal’s Mechanical Man


Master Madrigal’s Mechanical Man

by Scott C. Mikula

I tried to shut out the crowd’s roar, but the thunder of a thousand feet pounding above us in the arena stands rose until I could feel the breastplate of the mechanical swordsman vibrate beneath my touch.  Master Madrigal gestured with his palsied hand for me to replace the automaton’s helmet, but I hesitated to examine the delicate inner workings. Just one small adjustment

A cuff to the back of my head arrested my motion.  “We have spoken of this, Cetta,” said Madrigal. “There is no problem with the balance.”  He crossed his arms, tucking his useless right hand out of sight beneath his sleeve.

I persuaded my mother to send me to her uncle Madrigal after his illness, when I was just twelve years old.  The word apprentice was never used. Girls did not apprentice to craftsmen like Madrigal, and I don’t think he would have taken an apprentice in any case.  He referred to me as his hands. My deft fingers did the work his no longer could.
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Cast of Wonders 119: Pictures in Crayon


Pictures in Crayon

by Elizabeth Shack

At recess the Arks dot the sky like unwinking stars. Ally and her friends aren’t supposed to talk about it, eyes wide above the breathing masks that muffle their voices, but they do. Where they’ll go, what they’ll bring. Every kid Ally knows has a suitcase packed, just in case they win. Hers has photos from the zoo and a birthday card her little brother Rafe drew in red crayon. He called the scribble Mars.

The only time they don’t talk is after the monthly drawing, when no one can bear it. Some kids, somewhere, were chosen, but it’s not anyone they know. At recess no one looks up. Those nights, Rafe crawls into her bed. He doesn’t understand–at four he’s barely old enough to enter the lottery–but he knows something’s wrong. Their parents are crying, and Ally will keep him safe.

Ally lies awake with her arms around her little brother. In the morning she repacks his suitcase for next month and tells him stories about Mars.
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Cast of Wonders 118: Perihelion

Show Notes

Today we present Vajra Chandrasekera’s story, Perihelion.

You may know that we usually pay our authors using PayPal. We were amazed to discover that it is not possible to receive PayPal payments in Sri Lanka! There are many individuals and small businesses that provide online services like web development, graphic designing and more in Sri Lanka. But Sri Lanka not supporting PayPal has become a barrier for them to continue and progress in their careers. If you’d like more information about this and to help support creative people like this week’s author, please go to https://sites.google.com/site/ppforsrilanka/enable-receiving-money-to-sri-lanka-through-paypal.


Perihelion

by Vajra Chandrasekera

Hold on tight, we’re coming around again.

This thing crumbles a little every time we hit perihelion. Almost lost my footing again. You okay? Good. We’ve got a moment to catch our breath, except we don’t breathe any more. Words stick in language like vestigial tails in the womb. Not that we have either of those any more, either.

We still have eggs, though. And if you’re ready to leave yours behind, now would be a good time. We’re about as far from the sun as we’re going to get.

No? It’s okay, it’s okay. Take your time. You’re all right, I got you. Don’t worry, all right? If you can’t bring yourself to make the jump, I’ll carry you. I just think you’ll like to look back later and remember your first time flying.

We’re all afraid the first time.
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Cast of Wonders 106: Little Wonders 4 – The Journey

Show Notes

This is Little Wonders, our collection episodes featuring flash fiction and poetry centered around a theme. This episode we bring you a trio of stories where enjoying the way you get somewhere is more important than your ultimate destination. Welcome to “The Journey”.


The Treasure Hunter

by Alexandra Grunberg

“Don’t let him get away!”

Pan heard the pounding feet of the guards racing after him as he sped down the spiral stairs from the tower. He clutched a plain brown bag in one hand. The contents cracked against each other, a constant point of reference for Pan’s pursuers. In his other hand he grasped a solid gold necklace. It was not what he had come here for, but how could he resist? He was already a thief, one more treasure would not hurt. His full pack slapped against his back.

The stairs opened out into a long hall. Pan slid on the smooth stone floor, trying not to give up speed for stability. He scanned the room for an exit. Through the high windows he could barely see the night sky and the tops of strange trees. He was unfamiliar with this world, but he doubted that the ground would offer a soft landing from this height. He had already travelled to a world with a plush surface, and he doubted he would be that lucky twice. His only hope was the archway at the far end of the hall.

“There he is!”

Pan glanced behind him. There were five armored men, much more familiar with the slippery floor than he was, and they were gaining on him. Pan picked up his pace, chancing another look behind him.
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Cast of Wonders 99: Little Wonders 3 – Scary Stories


Come With Me

by Beth Hull

Everything about her suggested impermanence.

Maybe that’s why we were drawn to her.

It wasn’t just the ethereal blond waves of her hair, or the goth-pale skin of her slender hands. It was her total, absolute ease at being the new student in our tightly-knit prep school.

She drifted into junior home room on a lotus-scented breeze.

Every guy sucked in a breath, and the girls—we don’t know what the girls were doing because we could see only her.

“Come with me,” she said, singling each of us out. For a day, for an hour, for a week we were her best friends, her lovers, her confidantes. But none of us knew anything about her—not where she was from, not the school she went to before ours, not even her name.

“Call me Beatrice,” she said.

“I’m Circe,” she said.

Morgan. Hermione. Rebecca. Medea. Anne. She was all; she was none.
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Cast of Wonders 93: Little Wonders 2

Show Notes

This episode marks the second time Cast of Wonders has aired poetry. Our first was the excellent Eggs Under Moon from Episode 29, where three different narrators brought you their interpretation of the one poem.


Golly

by Laura DeHaan

A girl and a boy stood at opposite ends of a clearing in the woods. As the girl’s family lived nearby, and she felt it was therefore her clearing, she spoke first. “What’s your name?”

He was a handful of years older than her, with knees and elbows and eyebrows he’d eventually grow into. “Raff,” he said. “What’s yours?”

“Goldilocks,” she said, and looked it.

“That’s a dumb name,” he announced without deliberation. “I can’t take you serious with a name like that.” Indignation made her sputter. He went on carelessly, “Want to play?”

Goldilocks’s family was one that had fled the Eastwise Kingdom after the Bad Enchantment had settled there, and she hadn’t met any other children since. “All right,” she allowed. “But I’m going to call you Ruffian.”

“I’m going to call you Golly,” he said, and Goldilocks needed no other enticement to follow his cry of, “Catch me if you can!”
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Cast of Wonders 87: Little Wonders 1

Show Notes

Hello everyone! Surprise! Today, July 21st, is the two year anniversary of Cast of Wonders. We couldn’t be prouder, and to celebrate we’re debuting a new type of episode. You’re listening to the very first Little Wonders, a collection of flash fiction and poetry centered around a theme or genre. We’re going to start things off nice and easy with a pair of science fiction shorts.


Immersion

by Kara Hartz

Silvia stared at her Teddy, which moved laboriously into her outstretched hand.

“How did you do that?” I asked.

“Dunno,” she said, “Just thought it.”

She didn’t move objects with the grace the native beings here did, but she still moved them. Before accepting this ambassadorship I’d worried how it might affect Silvia. She got along well with the Teppim children though, and not having human playmates didn’t seem to bother her.

Moving things was natural to them, like learning to walk or talk for us.  Something picked up by being around it.

I thought about my pen putting itself away. Nothing happened.
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Cast of Wonders 55: Flash Collection II

Show Notes

Our first story is Color Contacts by Bethany Powell. Bethany didn’t really know people wore contacts until one day in middle school, when one of her classmates ran out of homeroom because one of his flipped. The fascinating trickery of it has stuck with her. (Though he was just as cute in glasses the next day.) She also has a weak spot for manga with plot points about glasses or contacts.

Bethany has mainly published fantasy genre poetry, which you can find at bethanypowell.com. She also keeps a semi-popular Tumblr on suit fashion, mainly featuring Asian celebrities. When not scribbling or reblogging photos, she waits tables in a tea room.

Our second story is The Quest Unusual by David Steffen. David runs the webzine Diabolical Plots, which posts interviews, reviews, lists and other material related to the field of speculative fiction. At this point DP is the only site to regularly review Daily Science Fiction, where this story originally ran. Another highlight is the “Best of” podcast lists, including a “Best Of Cast Macabre”, and in the near future a “Best of Cast of Wonders”.

He has stories upcoming in Escape Pod, Pseudopod, and Daily Science Fiction, and his stories have been published in more than a dozen others. See his a bibliography page on Diabolical Plots for a full listing.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


Color Contacts

by Bethany Powell

Crap, the lens is slipping, and it’s driving my eye crazy. I can barely focus to get out my credit card to hand to the clerk. It can’t come out now, I’m in public—and of course she’s as cute as that actress I liked last year, which is completely my luck.

So painful, it’s flipped or something and when I have to sign, the paper starts to smell of dangerous heat before I realize what I’m doing and shut it down. I crinkle it a little before handing it back, to try and hide the char-streaks.
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