Posts Tagged ‘love’

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Cast of Wonders 357: Little Wonders 21 – 2018 Flash Fiction Contest Runners-Up


Grounded

by J. T. Nilson

 

“I can’t,” Sophie sulked. “I stayed out past curfew last week and I’m not allowed to go out.”

“But the gnome army marches onward!” cried Aithne, flitting in circles within Sophie’s window frame, her glowing wings a hummingbird-like blur. “The pixie tribes need our human champion to bring forth the magic. We must triumph!” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 337: Silkstrand, A Minute Of


Silkstrand, A Minute Of

by Anton Stark

Imperial Majesty, Lord-for-Countless-Years, Son of Heaven, Ruler of Industry and Wisdom; this your servant Cai Jing of the Ministry of Works greets you. As per your Imperial Decree, I have compiled the following report on the matter of Master Su’s Clock and its abnormal behaviour. The facts of the case, as far as truth has presented itself, are as follows:
(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 335: Skinned


Skinned

by Amanda Helms

So Jian thinks he needs a new skin.

He says it like it’s no big deal, just a little epidermal clean-up, Oh ha ha how’d that peeling happen? But what he means is that he has to replace his rusting face. It’s harder to accept than a pinkie finger would be, or even a whole arm. His face is him, and Jian acts like tearing it off means nothing.

He heard from someone who heard from someone that the old Smythson Cerebral place has a working rejuvpod, so that’s why we’re sneaking into an abandoned biodroid repository at two in the morning. He’s hoping he’ll get double-lucky and find a compatible stem-skin.

Jian scans the darkened landscape, probably seeking a sturdy-enough tree I could hide in, except there’s nothing but wizened trunks and naked branches.

He’s also checking for bandits. One little apocalypse and they breed like rabbits.
(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 289: Blood and Water (Staff Picks 2017)

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge, plan the year ahead and highlight some of our favorite episodes. Throughout the month, different members of the Cast of Wonders crew will present their favorite story of 2017.

Our final Staff Picks episode for 2017 is hosted by editor Marguerite Kenner.


Blood and Water

by Jason Kimble

The year we turned nineteen, the boy I loved disappeared under the waves of Lake Michigan, but he didn’t die. I never told anyone. That he was alive. That I loved him. That he

My fingertip goes white as I smash down on the delete key and the cursor devours my words.

The broken swimming trophy lies sideways on the kitchen table. I stare at it as I dial, ignore the cat mewling, exiled, on the other side of the door. I count the rings of the phone at my ear. Seven rings (for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone) before Mr. Gravere picks up.

“Why are you calling, Mike?” Gravere says.

“It’s about a book,” I say. “I … think that I loaned it to Andy, before–”

“That wasn’t his name.” I can’t decide if the ice sheathing Mr. Gravere’s voice is better or worse than his scalding anger at the funeral.

“It’s special. A first edition. Return of the King. My mother–”

“So special it took you five years to notice it missing?”

“It’s just … ” I turn the gilded swimmer in my hand.

“I told you when he died, Michael: you’re not welcome here. Live without the book. I’m living without a whole lot more.” Mr. Gravere hangs up. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 266: The Immobile God of Secrets

Show Notes

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


The Immobile God of Secrets

by Jamie Lackey

Jun slogged through the rice paddy, muddy water swirling around her calves.  She glanced behind her, checking again to make sure that Reiko and her cronies hadn’t chased her.  The only figure in sight was a lone scarecrow, wearing a pointed straw hat and a tattered blue yukata.

Its face, two wide eyes and a softly smiling line for its mouth, was painted onto a rough woven sack, and its wooden pole tilted slightly to the left.  It looked like it could bounce away at any second–Jun couldn’t imagine a single crow braving it.

She bowed. “Thank you for your hospitality.”

“You are welcome anytime.”

Jun started back and almost fell.  She looked around again, but saw nothing but green stalks, heavy with yellowing rice, and the occasional glint of water.  She walked around the scarecrow.  Even the water was still–the only ripples were from her own passing.  She remembered her manners and bowed again.  “Thank you.”

“If you would stay and keep me company, I will share a secret with you.”

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 258: Victory Music

Show Notes

Mermaid UK: http://www.mermaidsuk.org.uk
The Trevor Project: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/

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


Victory Music

by Daniel José Older

One of my favorite moments ever was when the boy called me an Arab and you said, “She’s Sikh, fucknut” and then when he said “Oh, like hide and go-“ you broke his nose. I heard music playing, I swear to God, and it was victory music, your music: A dusty, unflinching beat, lowdown and grinding. It didn’t matter that my family’s not even technically Sikh anymore since my parents went born-again and I’m just whatever. I smiled for days after that moment, Krys. Days.

But so much has happened since then, so much gone wrong.

After that day I found you on the hill at the edge of campus. There’s a fence that cuts right through the summit of the hill and the other side is all wilderness and you and MagD would sit against that fence and watch everybody and murmur quietly. Used to want to hang with you guys so bad before you stood up for me and I finally got the guts to walk up there and just say Hey. And then it was us three, and MagD used to hate it when we called her that but she probably loved it too, and wherever she is now she probably introduces herself that way, with that big toothy grin on her that looks perfect and so out of place on her serious face.

Anyway, now you’re dead.

Is what they told me. That you died. I’m not trying to rub it in: I need to say it again and again so it feels true finally, because it’s been months and I still don’t believe it. In part because you were SO alive, so flesh and blood, and the thought of you not is just…it doesn’t fit. But mostly I don’t believe it because I still feel you, my friend, all around me. And anyway, that’s what I’m getting at, I wanted to tell you that you’ve saved my life at least twice. And once was after you died.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 250: Blood and Water


Blood and Water

by Jason Kimble

The year we turned nineteen, the boy I loved disappeared under the waves of Lake Michigan, but he didn’t die. I never told anyone. That he was alive. That I loved him. That he

My fingertip goes white as I smash down on the delete key and the cursor devours my words.

The broken swimming trophy lies sideways on the kitchen table. I stare at it as I dial, ignore the cat mewling, exiled, on the other side of the door. I count the rings of the phone at my ear. Seven rings (for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone) before Mr. Gravere picks up.

“Why are you calling, Mike?” Gravere says.

“It’s about a book,” I say. “I … think that I loaned it to Andy, before–”

“That wasn’t his name.” I can’t decide if the ice sheathing Mr. Gravere’s voice is better or worse than his scalding anger at the funeral.

“It’s special. A first edition. Return of the King. My mother–”

“So special it took you five years to notice it missing?”

“It’s just … ” I turn the gilded swimmer in my hand.

“I told you when he died, Michael: you’re not welcome here. Live without the book. I’m living without a whole lot more.” Mr. Gravere hangs up. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 237: Little Wonders 10 – Flash Fiction Contest Winners

Show Notes

The Little Wonders theme, “Neversus” is by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.


More Than Machines Will Fall to Rust

by Rachael K. Jones

I’ll tell it like it never happened, Patrick. Like we were childhood besties swapping knock-knock jokes from the tip-top branches of our favorite climbing tree. That we donned towel capes and played at superheroes, that we took turns being sidekicks so nobody had to play the villain. That it went on like that forever. That we never entered the science fair, and my experiment with exothermic reaction never beat out your atomic clock. That you didn’t resent losing to a girl, because I was your best friend, and it shouldn’t have mattered.

And when The Agency recruited me young on the strength of my scientific promise, and I really got the cape and powers and sidekick, you withdrew into a mechanical exile of your own choosing, all wires and servos and circuit boards.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 209: A Real Stand-Up Guy


A Real Stand-Up Guy

by Daniel and Mary E. Lowd

Topher checked his watch and peeked out around the dusky red stage curtain.  There was a full house in the bar tonight. If he played them right he could get all the tips he needed, and tonight could be the greatest night of his life.  He put a paw to his face, pulled down on his tawny-furred jowls, and drew a deep breath. “Okay,” he said, softly to himself. “Let’s go.”

The spotlight hit Topher before he reached the mike, but he was used to that bright glare in his eyes.  He straightened his jacket and stared the audience down before he began, giving them his best tough guy look.  He had the mug for it, if not the build. “I don’t get no respect,” Topher barked at the audience. “It’s because I’m short.  Curse of my breed, you know?”

(Continue Reading…)

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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.
(Continue Reading…)

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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.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 150: Little Wonders 7 – The Season of Goodwill

Show Notes

You’re listening to Little Wonders, our thematic flash fiction collections. This week we bring you our final episode for 2014, and lucky number 150 – a pair of stories for the inspired by the Season of Goodwill.


The Secret Ingredient Is

by Emmalia Harrington

Susan stirred the pot of soup, frowning. Hunger was supposed to be the best seasoning, but the jar was empty and there was no time to prepare more. Besides, Great-Aunt would hate it if they served something like that to guests.

Stepping away from the stove, she scanned the shelves yet again. There was salt, garlic, peppercorns, nutmeg, allspice…nothing spoke to her. Rocking back on her heels, she tried to think of what Great-Aunt would do.

The first order of business would be to run to the garden to pull up the biggest, freshest and most colorful vegetables, and see how many eggs she could muster from the quail. Once that was done, Great-Aunt would run to the shopping district to wrangle an excellent price for smoked tea. She would follow this victory by purchasing fish that still smelled of the water, and filling her basket with bread still steaming from the oven.

(Continue Reading…)