Posts Tagged ‘magic’

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Cast of Wonders 331: Radio Free Heartland


Radio Free Heartland

by Corey Mallonee

When the car was just a distant cloud of dust above the corn fields I turned to Smoke and told him, “You ought to know I shot someone.”

“We all do things we regret,” he said, without looking up from the circle he was drawing in the dirt. His radio sat in the middle of the circle, tuned to nothing, just a hiss of static. It was made of something he called Bakelite, which I guess is a fancy kind of old plastic. It was brown like it was supposed to look like wood.

“I didn’t say I regret it,” I said.

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Cast of Wonders 321: The Penelope Qingdom


The Penelope Qingdom

by Aidan Moher

It was during the particularly frozen-solid Prince George winter of ’91, a few days after the new neighbours had arrived, that I first stumbled into the Penelope Qingdom.

“What are their names?” I asked my moms as they bustled about the kitchen getting ready. They’d invited themselves next door for a “Welcome to the Neighbourhood” dinner. We’d never had new neighbours before.
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Cast of Wonders 302: Restoring the Magic


Restoring the Magic

by Ian Creasey

When I had climbed high enough that my breath came in great panting gasps, and the sheep in the valleys looked like tiny flecks of fallen cloud, I heaved off my backpack and looked for the best spot to plant the final sapling. Birch and goat-willow dotted the exposed slopes, hardy species that withstood the storms and chills of the High Tatras. My oak required a more sheltered home. I saw a south-facing escarpment, and scrambled across to investigate. The grey rock felt warm under my hand, retaining the heat of the autumn sun. Behind an outcrop, in a small gully, the wind dropped to a light breeze. I pulled up tussocks of grass to inspect the soil, and found it damp but not sodden, thin but not barren. An earthworm crawled away into the moss and leaf-litter. Instinctively, I felt that a dryad would thrive here.
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Cast of Wonders 298: Pocosin

Show Notes

From the author: Pocosins are a type of raised peat wetland found almost exclusively in the Carolinas. The name derives from an Eastern Algonquian word meaning “swamp on a hill.” They are a rare and unique ecosystem, today widely threatened by development.


Pocosin

by Ursula Vernon

This is the place of the carnivores, the pool ringed with sundews and the fat funnels of the pitcher plants.

This is the place where the ground never dries out and the loblolly pines grow stunted, where the soil is poor and the plants turn to other means of feeding themselves.

This is the place where the hairstreak butterflies flow sleekly through the air and you can hear insect feet drumming inside the bowl of the pitcher plants.

This is the place where the old god came to die. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 294: Earn Your Breath (Artemis Rising 4)

Show Notes

Cast of Wonders is proud to present the fourth annual Artemis Rising event through March 2018! We have four original stories for you this year, guest-edited by assistant editor Katherine Inskip and associate editor Alexis Goble. This year’s artwork by Geneva Barton.

Artemis Rising is an annual month-long event across all four Escape Artists podcasts, celebrating the voices of women, non-binary, trans, and marginalized gendered authors in genre fiction. The resulting lineup is an incredible collection that celebrates the strength, ingenuity, and brilliance of the artists, the characters they create, and the performers that bring these stories to life. It also features the hosting, editing and production talents of a rotating cast. Part of the project’s mission is to give opportunities and experience in these publication roles traditionally held by men.

Don’t miss the full month of Artemis Rising stories across the Escape Artists podcasts!


Earn Your Breath

by Jaime O. Mayer

Liith had fought the Snake Island raiders every summer since her fifteenth year and had yet to taste defeat. She had dueled the boat-men of the north with their fish-belly white skin and won the pair of metal knives envied by many a man in her village. Yet, it was the sight of the latch on the cookshack door that filled her with dread. Gray Stone’s village elders said fate could not be changed, and she would rather die than prove them right. But each passing day brought her twentieth year closer, and her throat remained bare of a breath mark.

No, she still had time. A few days, but while time remained so too did hope. Liith shook her head, as much in defiance as to clear away her uncertainty. Squaring her shoulders, she marched to the cookshack door, a small parcel of food clutched in one hand.

The shack was a hastily made addition tacked onto the village’s cookhouse proper. The rough-cut planks joined at odd angles, providing meager protection from the elements. A slab of oak served as an ill-fitting door, its simple hook and latch installed at eye-height more to keep nosy children out than to keep the poor creature inside in.
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Cast of Wonders 284: Old Teacups and Kitchen Witches (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.

This week’s episode is hosted by associate editor Alexis Goble.


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.

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Cast of Wonders 259: Seer’s Salad

Show Notes

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


Seer’s Salad

by Barbara A. Barnett

There would be no snatching my laptop back from Diya. She slapped my hand every time I reached across the café table for it. I had been a keystroke away from deleting the amateur-hour comic panels cluttering up my hard drive–months of wasted effort that Diya was now inexplicably determined to keep reading. Her gaze remained glued to the screen as she shoveled forkfuls of salad from bowl to mouth.

“Tam, these are awesome,” she said, voice pitched at a chirpy, bird-like frequency. “It’s like George Romero meets Dostoyevsky meets Thelma and Louise meets an alien invasion flick.”

I shrugged. As much as I wanted to believe I had enough talent to create a successful webcomic, it was hard to take Diya’s encouragement seriously. I had seen her get equally excited over blueberry pancakes, after all.

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Cast of Wonders 256: Phalium Arium Ssp, Amans

Show Notes

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


Phalium arium ssp. anams

By Victoria Sandbrook

Nora tugged her gloves down further over her freckled wrists. Every other couple in line had linked arms, but John Reidy had not so much as inched his elbow towards her. She wasn’t sure what pained her more: the ache in her hands screaming that this parish carnival sideshow hid more magic than most or her inept suitor. The line could not move fast enough.

But nothing about this show was fast. Patrons shuffled between intricate, though fraudulent, displays: palm-sized peacocks with visible clockwork, chicken-sized dragon eggs wiggling as a hidden steam boiler hissed, monkeys that might as well have still had their old organ-grinder parts attached. Nora struggled not to roll her eyes. Dull, boring, badly engineered. And not a true cryptid to be seen. Everyone else had sighed, pointed, marveled. Only John Reidy seemed as disappointed as Nora. He’d polished his glasses, refolded his handkerchief in his pale fingers, and said “hmm,” three times.

Nora wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or insulted.

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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.

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Cast of Wonders 242: Little Wonders 11: Flash Fiction Contest Finalists

Show Notes

All three stories are Cast of Wonders originals!


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


Multiple Choice

By Anica Lewis

“Welcome to the Starlight Watch,” says Flashback.

Red Diamond pops a thumbs-up. The Ocelot gives me what is probably a friendly growl. Statica pumps her fist in the air and grins, her edges blurring slightly.

I grin back. “Thanks, guys!” I’m burning up with excitement. I’m joining the Watch! My absolute favorite super-squad! I couldn’t believe it when the Superhero Registration Office assigned me to replace Quantum, may he rest in peace.

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Cast of Wonders 233: Saurs (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 editor and host Marguerite Kenner’s favorite story from 2016, Saurs by Craig Delancey. The story originally aired March 13, 2016 as part of our Dinovember special, Cast of Wonders 218.


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


Saurs

by Craig DeLancey

The fossil mages gathered in the shadow of the gully. Four of them: three old men and a young woman. Old Jim lifted and replaced his wreck of a straw hat and then spat at a scorpion. John Bloodeye and Harry watched the dark spot in the sand evaporate in the heat, until finally, as they’d all been hoping, the young one spoke.

“I found it near here,” Karyn Thomson said. She put her hand into her pocket, fingering the bone there, but not drawing it out yet.

The three old men waited. This was hard for them. They’d all been famous, in their day. They had their pride still.

Finally Karyn tugged the bone out. A hooked talon, as long as her own hand. The old men leaned forward, careful not to show excitement but unable to keep their eyes from popping.

“T rex,” Bloodeye said. “Manus claw. Left interior.”

Karyn nodded agreement.

“It looks big,” Old Jim said. “It looks as big as the claw on that old girl your Pa found out here.”

“Bigger,” Karyn said. “Two centimeters longer.” She pushed her hat back with the point of the claw. Blond hair spilled out over her eyes.

Harry reached toward the claw. Karyn flinched, but did not draw back. He touched the fossil with two dry fingers. “Lot of hum to it,” he whispered. The other men did not comment. They knew there’d be magic in the bone. No need to taunt yourself, like hungry men poking another man’s fat goose.

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Cast of Wonders 218: Saurs (Dinovember!)

Show Notes

Special thanks to Emma Thompson for the use of her photograph in this week’s episode art, featuring her three adorable dinosaur lovers.

And if you’ve a hankerin’ for a weird western that lets you fight an undead T-Rex, check out Deadlands! And tell Shane, Clint and Jodi I sent you.


Saurs

by Craig DeLancey

The fossil mages gathered in the shadow of the gully.  Four of them: three old men and a young woman. Old Jim lifted and replaced his wreck of a straw hat and then spat at a scorpion.  John Bloodeye and Harry watched the dark spot in the sand evaporate in the heat, until finally, as they’d all been hoping, the young one spoke.

“I found it near here,” Karyn Thomson said.   She put her hand into her pocket, fingering the bone there, but not drawing it out yet.

The three old men waited. This was hard for them. They’d all been famous, in their day.  They had their pride still.

Finally Karyn tugged the bone out.  A hooked talon, as long as her own hand.  The old men leaned forward, careful not to show excitement but unable to keep their eyes from popping.

“T rex,” Bloodeye said.  “Manus claw. Left interior.”

Karyn nodded agreement.

“It looks big,” Old Jim said.  “It looks as big as the claw on that old girl your Pa found out here.”

“Bigger,” Karyn said.  “Two centimeters longer.”  She pushed her hat back with the point of the claw.  Blond hair spilled out over her eyes.

Harry reached toward the claw.  Karyn flinched, but did not draw back.  He touched the fossil with two dry fingers.  “Lot of hum to it,” he whispered. The other men did not comment.  They knew there’d be magic in the bone. No need to taunt yourself, like hungry men poking another man’s fat goose.

(Continue Reading…)