Posts Tagged ‘grief’

Genres: ,

Cast of Wonders 246: Old Teacups and Kitchen Witches

Show Notes

Theme music “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.


Old Teacups and Kitchen Witches

by Kate Baker

On the night my grandfather died, we all sat around his kitchen table and marveled at how he’d been able to raise six kids in such a tiny house. While creative with the cramped living space, one bathroom seemed to be enough despite the hustle to get to school and work in the mornings. Especially as children grew into teenagers and time preening before the mirror was at a premium.

There is chaos that comes with illness and death, yet despite piles of unopened mail and neglected dishes and floors, my eyes lingered on the subtle touches that made this house a home. Especially in this kitchen. A wooden hutch still held the “good” glass and dinnerware that my grandparents cherished and thought to protect. Pots and pans of every shape, size, and color hung from racks and peeked out from crowded cabinets. And despite a very thin layer of dust, the spice rack stood at the ready for whatever recipe came along.

My eyes scanned old photographs that hung on the wall and came to rest on a scene of a large family. In all the time I had spent visiting my grandparents, I never remembered seeing this one. Dressed in warm clothes, four kids stared ahead not quite sure what to make of the photographer. No smiles, save for the fifth little girl who looked like my grandmother. She couldn’t have been more than six, and her smile was directed at a very ugly doll that rested in her hands. Someone had written “1943” on the lower left corner which only intrigued me more. I was about to push my chair away to take a closer look when conversation erupted around me.

(Continue Reading…)

Genres:

Cast of Wonders 238: The Absolute Temperature of Outer Space (Artemis Rising 3)

Show Notes

Illustration by Mat Weller. Artemis Rising logo designed by Scott Pond.


Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.


The Absolute Temperature of Outer Space

by Xander M. Odell

Dwanda watches her dad bound across the lunar landscape and shivers inside her jacket.  The Moon lifts him higher than anyone on Earth could jump and sets him gently down again, a kangaroo in a space suit.  Sunlight flashes bright white across his helmet.  She chooses not to notice the ragged tear down the right side of his bulky suit, or the way she can see through him to the gray, airless expanse beyond.

The shuttleport crowd paces around the clear observation dome to make room for their excitement and boredom.  They talk softly amongst themselves or watch the swarm of service bots making a final safety check on the shuttle Io.  A few browse the souvenir stands for last minute gifts or keepsakes from their lunar vacation.

Her mom settles beside Dwanda on the couch.  “Brought you some cocoa.”
(Continue Reading…)

Genres:

Cast of Wonders 200: Running on Two Legs


Running on Two Legs

by Eugie Foster

My mother used to tell stories of how I talked to animals when I was a little girl. And then she’d laugh when she described how indignant I got because no one believed they talked back.

I don’t remember much of that period of my life. There were a lot of hospitals—white rooms, other pale children next to me, all of us with clear IV tubes taped to our parchment paper skin—and doctors, smiling men with haunted eyes that they tried so hard to keep us from seeing. That’s mostly what I remember.

And then came the miraculous words “in remission.”  I remember those, and the tears on my mother’s face when the doctor said them, for once without the not-quite-hidden anguish in his eyes. Everything was better after that. After those words I remember summer days spent grubby and exhausted in the old abandoned shack behind our house. No longer did I keep company with hospital wraiths, but rather with neighborhood kids who had experienced no greater hurt than a scraped knee or a bruised shin; kids who’d never had to listen to their parents sob just outside their door, thinking you couldn’t hear them; and kids who had no memory of being so sick that even the feel of a blanket was unbearable agony.

I think I stopped talking to animals then. Or maybe I just had better things to do than listen to the birds chattering at my window or the squirrels quarrelling in the tree outside.

But I heard them again today.

(Continue Reading…)

Genres:

Cast of Wonders 194: Take A Good Look (Staff Pick 2015)

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge our batteries, plan the year ahead, and highlight some of our favourite episodes. As part of joining the Escape Artists family, this year we’re pulling out all the stops. We’re running 10 staff pick episodes over the month, each one hosted by a different member of the Cast of Wonders crew.

We hope you enjoy slush reader Sally Gill’s favorite story from 2015, Take A Good Look by Holly Schofield and narrated by Stephanie Morris. The story originally aired August 16, 2015 as Cast of Wonders 174.


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


Take a Good Look

by Holly Schofield

Megan watched with dull eyes as Alan’s tendrils undulated above his head, making odd silhouettes on the garage wall. He grew more excited, his beige skin turned mauve as he finished his breakfast beer.

She rocked her lawn chair slowly back and forth in the early morning sun. She barely heard Alan as he went on and on about his most recent trip, to see the giant Easter egg statue in eastern Alberta, and the other attractions he’d visited since she’d left town last year.

“I took an, erh, hologram of the egg,” he told her gleefully, his voice thick with phlegm. “For my, erh, scrapbook.” His English was good but some things apparently didn’t translate well.

“It’s Dad,” she blurted out. “He’s dying.”

(Continue Reading…)

Genres:

Cast of Wonders 174: Take A Good Look


Take a Good Look

by Holly Schofield

Megan watched with dull eyes as Alan’s tendrils undulated above his head, making odd silhouettes on the garage wall. He grew more excited, his beige skin turned mauve as he finished his breakfast beer.

She rocked her lawn chair slowly back and forth in the early morning sun. She barely heard Alan as he went on and on about his most recent trip, to see the giant Easter egg statue in eastern Alberta, and the other attractions he’d visited since she’d left town last year.

“I took an, erh, hologram of the egg,” he told her gleefully, his voice thick with phlegm. “For my, erh, scrapbook.” His English was good but some things apparently didn’t translate well.

“It’s Dad,” she blurted out. “He’s dying.”

(Continue Reading…)

Genres: ,

Cast of Wonders 135: Flowers For The Dead (Part 2)

Show Notes

We dedicate these episodes to the memories of Kimberly Proctor and Tyeshia Jones.


Flowers for the Dead

by Jamie Mason

Part 2:

The acoustics of the concrete stairwell magnify sounds ten-fold, a hundred-fold as Kyle climbs. His breath, his footsteps, the squeak of his hand on the steel railing reverberate, echoing up and down the depths of the great man-made cavern as he rises floor upon floor toward the Magician’s penthouse. I must be crazy, he thinks. The raw magnitude of The Magician’s sorcery is so powerful, the force of his will such that he must avoid contact with others, spend the majority of his time locked up in this tower lest he bend the world to his will with a stray thought. The light from improvised torches causes the spiral sigils and vaguely sinister runes inscribed on the walls to flicker and undulate like dancing demons. Kyle pauses. Stares up into the half-lit darkness. Then plods on.

A firefly glow on a landing far above: Kyle concentrates on it as he mounts step after step. Gradually the glow broadens until it defines the stairwell in a foliage of shadows. The rhythm of Kyle’s feet slow as he mounts the last set of stairs to a landing marked with a large number 13 painted on the wall in black. A ragged wall of cement chokes the stairwell leading up. The landing itself, lit by an improvised candelabra of paraffin-filled tin cans, is empty save for a young barefoot woman in a red evening gown who sits reading a book in a chair. She glances at Kyle, slips a black ribbon between the pages and leaves the leather-bound volume on the seat behind her as she rises.

“How do you enter the flames, child?” she asks.
(Continue Reading…)

Genres: ,

Cast of Wonders 134: Flowers For The Dead (Part 1)


Flowers for the Dead

by Jamie Mason

Part 1:

“ … out the windows on the left you’ll see the recent construction across the tops of the factory and high-rise buildings where the more powerful Infernals have established themselves as a kind of informal aristocracy. Originally called Morningside, this neighborhood was abandoned when the factory closed. But when our City passed laws regulating the Infernals, many moved here because of their restrictions on to employment, welfare, housing and healthcare. The majority live at street level, in poverty. High crime rates, addiction and violence remain ongoing concerns among this population of supernatural beings …”


Kyle transforms his thirty-seventh cigarette butt into a geranium as Sick Willy talks to the police.

“Oh yeah she slummed around with us. A lotta rich kids do. Come and walk on the wild side, spend a night in the shelter before running home to mom and dad. Figured she was no different.”

“Oh she’s different all right.” Harriman, the cop, flicks an irritated glance at Kyle as a geranium drops to the sidewalk. “Different enough to wind up dead.”

“She was a nice kid.”

“The murdered ones usually are. When was the last time you saw her?”

Kyle remembers. It was night before last at the park where they went to score dope from a Grower with power over the Earth elementals. They watched him stick a few seeds in the ground, incant and, five minutes later, hand over a bag of fresh rich buds. Kyle, Sick Willie, Trad, Gryphon and Kimberly, the new girl. The rich girl. The dead one.

(Continue Reading…)

Genres:

Cast of Wonders 124: Old People Rules


Old People Rules

by Holly Schofield

So I’ve figured it out. There are eight rules for old people.

Rule #1: Old people try too hard

I didn’t think anything was wrong until Milanda hit ‘upload’. The app’s progress bar had crept almost all the way across the hologram before I noticed the target website was Dad’s.

The icon I’d designed, a grinning 3-D dragon, began blinking its large eyes, showing my app had activated my spyware.

“Hey, it really worked. Uber-crystal, Fran.” Milanda said. She shoved back her chair and turned to face me.

I was sprawled on her bed, painting my nails. “Swing Me Hard, Girl” by BlueLulz surrounded us—Milanda’s new bedroom wall paint, with  nano-speakers embedded right in, was super-crystal. I’d love to design something like that. Some day.

(Continue Reading…)