Posts Tagged ‘peer pressure’

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Cast of Wonders 379: Philemaphobia


Philemaphobia

by Josh Pearce

“Amanda,” Mother said, as soon as she came in from school: “Amanda,” in that tone of voice that said she was so tired of being angry about this.

“It wasn’t my fault,” Amanda said automatically. She hadn’t even had a chance to drop her bookbag and search the pantry for a snack. Mother still had the kitchen phone in her hand, arms crossed tightly.

“Want to tell me why your homeroom teacher is calling me about your behavior, again? What was it this time? What did you say?”

“Nothing! I don’t talk in class anymore.” Maybe that was the problem? Mrs. Kennedy scowling at her whenever Amanda clamped her lips tight and shook her head in response to a question.

“What, then? You tell me, Amanda Bull, why you’re in trouble today.” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 236: Beats

Show Notes

February is Women in Horror Month, an international, grassroots initiative, which encourages supporters to learn about and showcase the underrepresented work of women in the horror industries. Whether they are on the screen, behind the scenes, or contributing in their other various artistic ways, it is clear that women love, appreciate, and contribute to the horror genre. Check out the hashtag WiHM8 for plenty of suggestions. Or if you have the stomach for stronger fair, our sister show Pseudopod.

You can find all our own Women in Horror episodes here!

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


Beats

by Brent Smith

“Both his parents got killed in a fire when we were in junior high. He’s been a freak ever since.” Missy Jenkins paused, and I waited, letting her build the drama. Finally she grabbed my shoulder and pulled me so close I could smell her strawberry lip gloss. “I heard he started it.”

David McKee, or “Beats” as he was called in the high school hallways, slouched at a table in the farthest corner of the lunchroom. I’d only been at Ridgefield High for a year and had never talked to him, but I knew his reputation. Everyone did. No one sat near him. That would be social suicide. Even the math whizzes and band geeks hung out one step above the level of high school outcast hell Beats had claimed.

“Now he lives with his grandparents. They’re like a hundred years old. Can you imagine? No wonder he’s so weird.”

(Continue Reading…)

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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.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 216: This Story Begins With You (Banned Books Week)

Show Notes

The Comic Book Legal Defence Fund is a non-profit dedicated to protecting the First Amendment rights of the comics medium and is an annual sponsor of Banned Books Week. Founded in 1986, the CBLDF has managed and paid for the legal defense of artists, worked with libraries to resist challenged to comics and graphic novels, and undertaken advocacy work against unconstitutional proposed legitlation at the state and Federal level.


This Story Begins With You

by Rachael K. Jones

The story goes that your dad got a new job.

The story goes that you moved 5,000 miles away. You didn’t know anyone in your new town, and none of them knew you.

You had a best friend in your old town named Marco, but you left him behind. You had a playground on your old street. A favorite climbing tree. A secret hideout behind the garden shed made from plywood and latticed tree branches, papered with mildewed books the library had thrown out after the classics section flooded.

The story goes that losing all of this felt like a part of you had died. You cried a lot. That bothered your parents. You didn’t want them to feel guilty, so after a while you only cried when you were alone.

The story goes that you were the new kid in 9th grade. A well-meaning history teacher bumped a girl with an amethyst bracelet from her desk so you could take a seat near the front, but the girl’s friends glared at you, the intruder, the cuckoo squeezed into the wrong nest. You’d just arrived, and they already hated your guts.

(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.” 

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 153: Shimmer (Staff Pick 2014)

Show Notes

Every year in January Cast of Wonders takes a break to catch our breath, plan out the year ahead, and highlight some of our favourite episodes from the year just passed.

We hope you enjoy Jeff’s favorite story from 2014, Shimmer by Amanda C. Davis, which originally aired November 30, 2014 as Cast of Wonders 148.


Shimmer

by Amanda C. Davis

Bethany Chow is shimmering in the cafeteria like the disco ball they borrow from the seventies for every stupid school dance. Her hair is shifting through a dozen shades of black and brown, a dozen patterns of highlights and lowlights, and her eyes are changing shape so fast she seems to be constantly winking. She’s only changing height slightly these days, so people must have figured out how tall she is. She’s really settling into her shimmer. If I guess right, she’ll be shimmering the rest of her life. She’ll never be without admirers, and lots of them, to think about her and remember her and shape her.

One of her adoring lunch buddies glances over her shoulder at me, and I feel my thighs expand. The seams of my jeans dig into my skin. I have to get out of here. I leave my lunch tray where it is, grab my backpack by the straps, and bolt.

Unfortunately I pass a table full of the track team on my way out of the cafeteria. That slows me down.

In the hallway my legs snap back to normal, but I feel a few pimples come and go as I pass a boy with one amazing case of acne. He must not have any friends at all. You can usually count on people not to remember the particulars of your zit pattern–unless it’s all they know about you, and then look out. Their memories will turn you into a gargoyle.
(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 149: Bricks and Sunlight


Bricks and Sunlight

by M. K. Hutchins

“Should I run and tell mother now that you’re not getting married today, Ara?”

Ara groaned and rolled off her mat onto the cool, mud-brick floor.  “Good morning to you, too, Esha.”

Esha, her younger sister, stared at her with large, expectant eyes.  Despite the early hour, her black hair was already plaited in a lovely crown.  Esha always looked perfect.

“Will you help me dress?”  Ara ran her hands through her own ratty hair.  If today ended in shambles, she might as well look half-decent when it did.

Esha wrinkled her nose.  “Why bother? You’re not getting married.  I know you don’t love him — the goddess’ gift will protect you from this wedding.”

That’s what she was afraid of.  She wanted this marriage.
(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 148: Shimmer


Shimmer

by Amanda C. Davis

Bethany Chow is shimmering in the cafeteria like the disco ball they borrow from the seventies for every stupid school dance. Her hair is shifting through a dozen shades of black and brown, a dozen patterns of highlights and lowlights, and her eyes are changing shape so fast she seems to be constantly winking. She’s only changing height slightly these days, so people must have figured out how tall she is. She’s really settling into her shimmer. If I guess right, she’ll be shimmering the rest of her life. She’ll never be without admirers, and lots of them, to think about her and remember her and shape her.

One of her adoring lunch buddies glances over her shoulder at me, and I feel my thighs expand. The seams of my jeans dig into my skin. I have to get out of here. I leave my lunch tray where it is, grab my backpack by the straps, and bolt.

Unfortunately I pass a table full of the track team on my way out of the cafeteria. That slows me down.

In the hallway my legs snap back to normal, but I feel a few pimples come and go as I pass a boy with one amazing case of acne. He must not have any friends at all. You can usually count on people not to remember the particulars of your zit pattern–unless it’s all they know about you, and then look out. Their memories will turn you into a gargoyle.
(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 131: Survivor


Survivor

by Josh Roseman

Wen slumped against a crystal formation and stared up at the dark sky, lit only by greenish-gold auroras. Sweat ran down into her eyes and made her clothes cling in uncomfortable places. She wanted to sit down, wanted to take off the pack for a few minutes, but the last time she’d done that, her feet had ached even worse for the respite.

No. Better to stay standing.

She caught her breath before taking a measured swallow from the canteen that hung at her side. Gulping the water would be a mistake; in this state, she’d just throw up. Staying calm, that was the key.

One more swallow, though she ached to drain the whole thing, and then back onto its clip.

Wen’s borrowed comm pinged. Four hours to sunrise. Four hours until the witchlight above her head gave way to the burning white orb that would blast her with heat and radiation until she was nothing but a memory.

Four hours to live.
(Continue Reading…)

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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.
(Continue Reading…)