Posts Tagged ‘growing up’

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Cast of Wonders 268: Below the Serapeum (Banned Books Week)

Show Notes

Don’t miss our other Banned Books Week episodes.


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


Below the Serapeum

by Kelsey Dean

“Lift up your gown, Halena. We’ll settle these around your back and stomach so that you’re at the center of the scrolls.”

Aunt places a thin bandage around my waist and then helps me unroll the papyrus. We wind it back up around my body, covering the bandage like a stiff cocoon, or the crusty, left-behind exoskeleton of a sand beetle.

“It itches,” I say, but I don’t fidget. There is still a smoky film hanging over the whole city from yesterday, when the Epirians set the Great Library ablaze. It didn’t burn the way they wanted: too many scholars ran back inside, screeching war cries like eagles, slopping all the water they could carry over the shelves and cabinets. The ones who survived the fire are imprisoned in the Epirian ships, probably until their executions can be arranged. They were glorious, for a shining moment, but in the end, all they did was thicken the smoke and slow the destruction of our people’s history–it took hours rather than minutes.

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Cast of Wonders 265: A Wish and a Hope and a Dream

Show Notes

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


A Wish and a Hope and a Dream

by M. Darusha Wehm

You have always been a princess.

When you are six years old, your hat is a cardboard cone covered in glitter glue with a cellophane veil. Your dress began life as a pillowcase in the free box at the Goodwill. Your best friend Ines has a store-bought costume, her gown soft and sky blue like Princess Karima’s. You aren’t envious, though. You love your pillowcase dress and hat that makes you almost as tall as your mother.

Ines twirls around and around until she nearly falls over, clutching you to stay upright. “Ooh, I’ll never get used to riding a magic carpet.”

You giggle and say, “That’s why I ride in a carriage pulled by eight golden ponies.”

“Can I come to the ball with you, then?” Ines sinks to the ground, her skirt billowing around her like a cloud.

“Aren’t they adorable?” Ines’s father says, his eyes crinkling.

“Yeah,” your mother says, “off in their own little world.”

“Come on,” Mr. Solano says, “that’s one of the great things about being a kid. All that imagination, all those dreams.” He looks at you then his eyes dart back to your mother. “They can be anything they want at this age. Might as well let them enjoy it.”

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Cast of Wonders 247: The Golem of Deneb Seven

Show Notes

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


The Golem of Deneb Seven

By Alex Shvartsman

I was eleven years old when the war came to the Deneb system.

At first, we didn’t know that anything was wrong. Mom and Dad were clearing the table after dinner, Avi was building some sort of a castle out of plastic construction blocks, Sarah was asleep in her crib, and Grandpa was reading one of his thick Hebrew books, leaning into the volume and squinting a little by candlelight. I sulked because I was going be the only girl in my class to miss Karen’s birthday party tomorrow.

There would be no chatting or video games for me that evening, or until after dinner the following night, because we weren’t supposed to use electricity on Shabbos. This weekly routine was difficult to accept while living in the place where few others shared our beliefs. It was far more frustrating this time around, because Dad wouldn’t drive on Shabbos, either, and that meant I had no way to get to Karen’s party. All the other girls were going to be there. Her parents were bringing in a magician all the way from the city, and it had been the talk of the school for weeks. So I sulked, wondering why God didn’t want me to have any fun.

For lack of anything better to do, I was staring out the window when I saw a streak of white light shoot across the night sky. I watched it fall toward the ground in a great wide arc, but before it completed its downward journey there was another, and another.

“Look, Dad, quick! A meteor shower!” I waved him over and pressed my face against the glass. Father set down the salad bowl and came over. He stood behind me and peered out the window. The sky was raining with shooting stars.

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Cast of Wonders 232: Twenty-One (Staff Pick 2016)

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge, plan the year ahead and highlight some of our favourite episodes. A different member of the Cast of Wonders crew will present their favorite story of 2016 each week in January.

We hope you enjoy assistant editor Katherine Inskip’s favorite story from 2016, Twenty-One by Michael Merriam, narrated by John Meagher. The story originally aired April 2, 2016 as Cast of Wonders 204.


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


Twenty-One

by Michael Merriam

Wednesday, January 6th, 2009, dawned bright and clear for the twenty-first time.

“Are we ready?” Aaron Burnett asked the group surrounding him, all of them cold and shivering in the pre-dawn light.

“Yeah, yeah. We can do this,” Thomas Pinchly said. The short, thin teenager chewed nervously on a plastic straw.

Aaron’s older sister, Sharon, gave him a reassuring smile. “We don’t really have a choice, do we?” The smile on her plump face widened. “And if we screw it up—”

“We start over at December 23rd and take another crack at it,” Sharon’s friend Teri finished.

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Cast of Wonders 229: Questing for Princesses (Staff Pick 2016)

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge, plan the year ahead and highlight some of our favourite episodes. A different member of the Cast of Wonders crew will present their favorite story of 2016 each week in January.

We hope you enjoy our audio producer Jeremy Carter’s favorite story from 2016, Questing for Princesses by Amanda C. Davis, narrated by Katherine Inskip. The story originally aired May 1, 2016 as Cast of Wonders 208.


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


Questing for Princesses

by Amanda C. Davis

Prince Harold swore off marriage at the age of six, when his older brother Yancey came riding home with a new bride and a waterfall of half-healed scars along his right side that he called “the unexpected bonus for winning a princess from a fire-breathing dragon.”

Harold eyed the puckered skin on Yancey’s neck and cheek. “Does it hurt?”

“Sure,” said Yancey, tugging Harold’s earlobe until he flinched. “But finding the right princess is hard stuff. You have to take the risk if you want the reward. Anyway, just wait ’til you meet Celiura. She’s amazing. Totally worth it. She’s going to be your new sister, you know.”

Harold carried the ring at the royal wedding. Immediately afterward he ran back to the chapel, where he threw himself on his knees and prayed that he wouldn’t mind not getting married if it meant he never ever ever had to fight a fire-breathing dragon.

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Cast of Wonders 220: Raptor Boy (Dinovember!)

Show Notes

A special thank you to our audio producer Jeremy Carter for the excellent photo in this week’s episode artwork. Check out his Etsy shop, On The Edge Photos.


Raptor Boy

by Elise Forier Edie

I am running between cornfields on a dark country road. A rifle, slung on my back, pounds my spine. The moon rises ahead, gigantic and golden. I think of werewolves, of holes in the sky. I picture my spine unzipping, and a giant lizard crawling out of my skin. My foot snags on a tuft of grass. I stagger and catch myself before my chin hits the ground.

Behind me, in town, my older brother Arnie rallies with a troop of redneck warriors. They are frenzied on drugs, eager to maim. Their loud laughter circles the lone streetlamp, shining above Happy Dak’s trailer park.

Earlier on Happy Dak said, “The Sa’id family needs to be taught a lesson. You gotta show them camel jockeys who’s boss in McCall.” He promised untold rewards for every drop of blood spilled. And when Silvie fired up the Sparkle pipe, and Happy Dak started chanting his pagan charms, I grabbed my gun and split. I don’t know what I’m going to do with the rifle. I can’t imagine shooting Arnie, or even any of his hyenic friends. But Happy Dak said the words “fire,” “rape,” and “blood.” So I’m running my feeble feet through the cornfields, a tottering Raptor Boy, trying to be a hero.

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Cast of Wonders 217: Boys’ Night


Boys’ Night

by Rebecca Birch

Walter Ocherman rolled along the two-lane highway at five miles an hour under the speed limit, scanning the road’s left-hand side for the turn-off to his uncle’s old pumpkin farm.  Marked by nothing more than a dilapidated sign-post that might once have been green, the overgrown dirt road hidden between two poplars was easy to miss on a good day. The fog that rolled in off the river made finding the place harder, but nothing was going to wipe the grin off Walter’s lips.  Today was Halloween and his ex, Minnie, had agreed to let their son come out to the farm with him for the night. Their first boys’ night in almost a year.

>He glanced at Jason, who had spread his twelve-year old self over the back seat an hour ago, his straw-blond head pillowed on a stuffed pumpkin Walter had picked up at a yard sale to help set the holiday mood.  His steady zzz-snerk snore could have been annoying, but Walter got so few chances to hear it that he turned off the radio. The news was depressing anyway, trying to settle a fog over more than just the river valley.

Walter looked back at the road just in time to glimpse the turn-off.  He slammed on the brakes and torqued the wheel, holding his instinctive curse-word behind his teeth.  His 1984 Civic’s gears squealed a skull-piercing protest and the right front bumper just missed colliding with a poplar.  A sudden pressure in the back of his seat told him Jason was awake and braced.

Walter brought the car to a dead stop, his heart thudding.

“Jesus, Dad!  If we die, mom’s going to kill you.”

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Cast of Wonders 208: Questing for Princesses


Questing for Princesses

by Amanda C. Davis

Prince Harold swore off marriage at the age of six, when his older brother Yancey came riding home with a new bride and a waterfall of half-healed scars along his right side that he called “the unexpected bonus for winning a princess from a fire-breathing dragon.”

Harold eyed the puckered skin on Yancey’s neck and cheek. “Does it hurt?”

“Sure,” said Yancey, tugging Harold’s earlobe until he flinched. “But finding the right princess is hard stuff. You have to take the risk if you want the reward. Anyway, just wait ’til you meet Celiura. She’s amazing. Totally worth it. She’s going to be your new sister, you know.”

Harold carried the ring at the royal wedding. Immediately afterward he ran back to the chapel, where he threw himself on his knees and prayed that he wouldn’t mind not getting married if it meant he never ever ever had to fight a fire-breathing dragon.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 204: Twenty-One

Show Notes

Happy birthday, Podcastle! Our fantasy sister show is celebrating it’s 8th anniversary. Pop on over and join the party with Graeme Dunlop, Rachael K. Jones and the rest of the castle’s inhabitants.

Supernatural Radio and Tempting Secrets by A Kevin MacLeod are licensed under a Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


Twenty-One

by Michael Merriam

Wednesday, January 6th, 2009, dawned bright and clear for the twenty-first time.

“Are we ready?” Aaron Burnett asked the group surrounding him, all of them cold and shivering in the pre-dawn light.

“Yeah, yeah. We can do this,” Thomas Pinchly said. The short, thin teenager chewed nervously on a plastic straw.

Aaron’s older sister, Sharon, gave him a reassuring smile. “We don’t really have a choice, do we?” The smile on her plump face widened. “And if we screw it up—”

“We start over at December 23rd and take another crack at it,” Sharon’s friend Teri finished.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 199: Leapling

Show Notes

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


Leapling

by Nicole Feldringer

My brother, Jack, parks his beater at the beach lot. Beyond the windshield, dune grass blocks my view of the Gulf, and I shift in my seat. My thighs and shoulders are slick with sweat against the cracked vinyl. Jack turns off the car and sets the e-brake.

“You going to go to this thing or not?” His voice is gentle. If I asked, he would turn the car around and take me home. No, not home. To our new house, still scattered with unopened boxes on account of Mom’s insane hours at the Department of Transportation.

“I’m going.” I feel like I am standing on the verge of a back dive, a clear blue pool beneath me. The board, rough against my toes as I test the weight in my heels. “Any tips?”

“Be yourself?”

“Ha.” 

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Cast of Wonders 198: The Authorized Biography (Part 2)

Show Notes

Show Notes

This week we present the conclusion of The Authorized Biography by Michael G. Ryan, narrated by Brian Rollins.

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

 


The Authorized Biography (Part 2)

By Michael G. Ryan

“My mom,” Betsy had written, “met Eugene Versace—no relation, it turns out—when she took our old dog Gator in to be put to sleep. Dad didn’t go that day. I was still in the hospital recovering from surgery, and at the age of four Jasper certainly could not have understood why our sixteen-year-old dog could not go on forever. So, Dad stayed with him at the house and kissed Gator goodbye in the driveway. So, Mom was alone with her grief when she met the veterinarian who would comfort her and then break up my parents’ marriage.”

“Fuck!” Toonby shouted, slamming the book closed. His eyes watered.

“Gator?” he called in a gentle voice. “Come here, boy.”

He could hear the golden retriever’s toenails on the hardwood floor in the hallway, and for the first time he imagined he could hear old age and world-weariness in that familiar sound. Gator poked his head around the corner, tongue wagging tiredly, and came to Toonby, pushing his head into Toonby’s open palm. Then he lay down at his feet as if the moment of affection were all he could endure. Toonby reached down, and the dog raised his head slowly into the touch. They stayed that way for some time.

“With a name like Eugene, he shouldn’t even be able to talk to a woman,” Toonby finally said, “let alone steal mine. For crying out loud, the man has his hands up cats’ asses all day long.”

Gator lowered his head again as if embarrassed at the thought.
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Cast of Wonders 197: The Authorized Biography (Part 1)

Show Notes

Galen Dara’s amazing print for Artemis Rising is available on Society6.


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


The Authorized Biography

by Michael G. Ryan

In the beginning, Tim Toonby was bewildered to find his biography. Bewildered and ultimately alarmed.

It appeared Saturday morning on his front porch in an unadorned metal box, the fireproof kind meant for legal documents. No key. Tim Toonby had just stepped outside to leave the full diaper pail liner for the service, and in the age of letter bombs, he hesitated when he saw the box on the steps. He looked around as if the deliverer would still be nearby, waiting for the detonation, but the neighborhood was typically quiet—prefabricated homes with lawns of sod, flower boxes along porch railings, stone lions at the end of driveways as affectations of the neighbors’ aspirations. Toonby had them, too. It was a street for dreamers, not killers.

When he picked up the box, the lid wasn’t latched—it fell open, and he was suddenly looking down at his own face on the cover of a book inside. His own face, thirty years older, hair gone to gray, the crow’s feet at his eyes deep and sad. The black-and-white photo looked posed in a cheap hotel room where the nightstand’s drawer was pulled open enough to reveal a book, a Gideon’s Bible. But when Tim Toonby squinted at the picture, he could see that wasn’t right. He could just make out the text on the cover: Barnabas’s Bible by Timothy Toonby.

This was the book he had started writing six months ago. His first book, his hope for the great American novel, his dream of fame and fortune. The one his agent said would make him a household name.

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