Posts Tagged ‘Young Adult fiction’

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Cast of Wonders 433: The Last Love Letter


The Last Love Letter

by Gretchen Tessmer

They want me to give your letters to the International Museum for safekeeping. They say the letters need to be preserved and the sooner the better. (Continue Reading…)

shoes

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Cast of Wonders 432: 12 Tanzen Lane


12 Tanzen Lane

by H. E. Casson

Tanzen House was Victorian. At the time, I didn’t know what Victorian meant.

Then Duo said, like it was a thing people just knew, “It means this house was built while Queen Victoria was alive.”

Yeah, I guess that made sense.

Our house was Victorian and my room was the smallest. Duo called it the shoe box, so I cut out pictures of shoes and decorated my door. Nikes, Adidas, Manolos – they were all shoes I couldn’t afford. I wore dollar store shoes and hand-me-downs. He thought that was funny. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 429: The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz – Part 5


The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz (and her Exceedingly Tiny Dog)

by Alex Acks

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4 – Part 5

Once he was out of the hotel, Simms decided to make his walk a long one. The night air was pleasantly cool, and the parks in this section of the city were quite well maintained. It was nice to, for once, be able to take a stroll on a level path and without having to carry a machete as a precaution besides. The streetlights had come on and the streets were beginning to surge with people headed to supper appointments as he finally turned back toward the hotel, Chippy still eagerly bouncing ahead of him. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 428: The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz – Part 4


The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz (and her Exceedingly Tiny Dog)

by Alex Acks

Part 1Part 2Part 3 – Part 4

“…and I’ve written it all down here,” Simms said, offering a tattered notebook to the Captain. “After a while, all the speculation got so wild I couldn’t keep track of it all. There wasn’t a single name that showed up on the list more than twice, I checked.”

“Mmm.”

Simms waggled the notebook at her, trying to draw attention away from her gently steaming coffee cup. They’d met up in one of the many coffee shops they routinely used for that purpose. Captain Ramos had entered with an exhausted, panting Chippy tucked under her arm like a purse and set him in her lap as soon as she’d sat. The little dog had proceeded to fall into boneless sleep, the Captain’s hand idly tracing figures on his pale little forehead. It was all very odd, disquieting almost. In Simms’s years of knowing her, Captain Ramos had never showed any sort of interest in animals, let alone affection—and hadn’t she been all set to shoot the poor thing before?

Though far more disturbing was the fact that she didn’t seem to be listening to him, in a real sense, rather than that studied nonchalance with which she normally took reports, indicating her mind was working furiously.

“Captain?” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 427: The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz – Part 3


The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz (and her Exceedingly Tiny Dog)

by Alex Acks

Part 1Part 2 – Part 3

Simms had greeted his change of costume with relief, finding himself far more comfortable in the clothes of a lower-class laborer than those of a gentleman. He felt nearly buoyant after ridding himself of the hated collar and turned his energy fully to the task of finding out more about Clementine Nimowitz’s missing maid. Or as the Captain often put it, “Turning over all of the obvious and boring stones.” This was fine with Simms; boring was his loudly proclaimed preference. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 426: The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz – Part 2


The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz (and her Exceedingly Tiny Dog)

by Alex Acks

Part 1 – Part 2

They met Elijah among the warehouses not too far from Union Station. He’d brought one of the more innocent looking railcars down from the mountains and thus was able to berth it along the public tracks. Elijah Masterson was a man of medium height and untidy habits, though today he seemed particularly untidy, perhaps because he’d been called down so abruptly. His brown hair stuck out in untamed curls and a shadow of stubble decorated his chin. He wore a rumpled brown-checked shirt, one sleeve half rolled-up, and a vest he hadn’t bothered to button, no jacket in sight.

Or, Simms thought upon a closer look at the younger man’s rather red eyes, today he wasn’t so much untidy as quite hung over. This really only served to affirm Simms’s decision to give him this task. It’d certainly keep him out of trouble.

Elijah still offered the Captain a snappy salute, after first glancing around to confirm that they were alone. “Sir, I was told you had an important task for me.”

Captain Ramos waved a hand dismissively. “Oh indeed, Mister Masterson. Simms?”

Obligingly, he held Chippy out toward Elijah. The tiny dog began to squirm, yipping excitedly at the prospect of making a new friend. “Here you go.” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 425: The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz – Part 1


The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz (and her Exceedingly Tiny Dog)

by Alex Acks

It was a perfectly ordinary parlor, nicely decorated, pale lace doilies sitting atop furniture done in heavy brown and gold brocade. The general color scheme was maroon and brown, with enough pink and yellow accents to keep it all from seeming too heavy or dark. While many such parlors were given to clutter as the wealthy owners attempted to display both their taste and overflow of cash with countless bits of frilly golden bric-a-brac, this one was neat and carefully tended, enough empty space around objects to draw the eye and invite inspection without being overwhelming. It was austere and quietly dignified.

The careful effect of the decorating was, quite unfortunately, spoiled by the body majestically putrefying in the center of the rich carpet, a petite pistol with a mother-of-pearl grip still sitting in its lax hand. Even more disturbing to the serenity of the parlor was the shockingly tiny dog that stood next to the body, the white fur of its muzzle rusty with old blood. The little animal growled in what was presumably a threatening manner, though it sounded more like a teakettle burbling than anything else. (Continue Reading…)

The 2020 Cast of Wonders Flash Fiction Contest is here!


With a whisper of magic, the portal begins to open. Travel through, fellow wanderers, and tell us of the stories you find.

Submissions for Cast of Wonders’ Flash Fiction Contest will run from August 15-August 31st, 2020 (12:00 am GMT), via Moksha.

To be a valid submission to the contest, each story must adhere to the following rules:

The story must be no more than 500 words long, not including its title. Do not use the title to skirt around the word count. Word count will be determined using MS Word.

The story must adhere to the general Cast of Wonders Submission Guidelines. Most importantly, it needs to evoke a sense of wonder and be appropriate for a YA audience. We aim for a 12-17 age range: that means sophisticated, non-condescending stories with wide appeal, and without explicit sex, violence or pervasive obscene language.

The story must be original and previously unpublished. Stories will be posted on a members-only portion of the Escape Artists forum, so first publication rights will not be spent if your story does not win.

The person submitting the story must be the story’s author (or acting for the author with express permission) and hold full publishing rights to the story. A story that is derived from a previously published work in another format (i.e. not a short story) may be fine, assuming doing so isn’t in violation of copyright, obviously. This is a grey area – a retelling of a classic tale, or popular culture references, are likely to be fine, but other forms of fanfiction would probably not be appropriate. If in doubt, please send an email to Karissa@escapeartists.net with the subject line “QUERY” and ask before submitting.

If you are not sure whether your story counts as published or not (for example, if an earlier version has appeared on your blog but nowhere else), please send an email to Karissa@escapeartists.net with the subject line “QUERY” and ask before submitting. Please do not submit stories that have been entries in a previous Escape Artists contest, or that are under submission elsewhere.
The story must be submitted in its final form, as the author intends it to be read by the voting public. We may or may not allow minor typo corrections if those slip in, but as a general rule, we will not allow authors to submit changes to stories, especially not after submissions are closed.

Each author may submit only ONE story.

Included in the body of the submission must be the title and the text. Any byline will be stripped when the stories are posted in the contest, and will be revealed when either the story fails to advance, or ultimately wins. Feel free to request a pseudonym for the byline, but we will need a legal name if you win for prize purposes. Please also be sure to include an email address!
Authors under 18 are very welcome and encouraged to submit their work. By submitting, any author under 18 asserts they have obtained the permission of a parent or guardian with whom Escape Artists, Inc. can enter into a contract on behalf of the author.

Winners will be paid $40, making this a pro sale of at least eight cents a word.

Please blog, share on Facebook, tweet, email, send owls, telephone, text, light smoke signals, and otherwise get the word out.

episode art: 424

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Cast of Wonders 424: Like Faded Joy


Like Faded Joy

by Ashley Bao

We were born during a lightning storm, thunder cracking a whip through the hospital walls. Lei came first, not even crying when her head popped out. She pulled me by the ankle, and I tumbled and bawled as I left the comfort of the womb.

Our mother cursed in Mandarin when the nurse brought in the paperwork for the birth certificates. We were one month early, and she hadn’t picked out names yet. Our grandmother, our wai po, piped up from her stool next to the bed.

“Xiao Lei, Xiao Yu. Little Thunder, Little Rain. The thunderstorm brought them here tonight,” wai po said, leaving no room for argument.

Our mother wrote the names in crisp English letters. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 423: For He Can Creep – Part 2

Show Notes

Extract from Jubilate Agno


For He Can Creep

by Siobhan Carroll

Part 1 – Part 2

Jeoffry is in pain. The bite the devil gave him throbs fiercely. It is in the wrong place to lick, and yet he tries, and that hurts too.

Poor Jeoffry! Poor Jeoffry! the poet says. O you brave cat. May the Lord Jesus bless you and your wounds.

Jeoffry’s ears flick back and forth. Worse than the pain is the heaviness in his chest that comes from having lost a fight. Jeoffry lose a fight! Such things were possible when he was a kitten, but now—

I can feel the paper calling to me even now, the poet sighs. O Jeoffry, sleep here and grow well again. I must to my task. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 422: For He Can Creep – Part 1


For He Can Creep

by Siobhan Carroll

Flash and fire! Bristle and spit! The great Jeoffry ascends the madhouse stairs, his orange fur on end, his yellow eyes narrowed!

On the third floor the imps cease their gamboling. Is this the time they stay and fight? One imp, bolder than the others, flattens himself against the flagstones. He swells himself with nightmares, growing huge. His teeth shine like the sword of an executioner, and his eyes are the colors of spilled whale oil before a match is struck. In their cells, the filthy inmates shrink away from his immensity, wailing.

But Jeoffry does not shrink. He rushes up the last few stairs like the Deluge of God, and his claws are sharp! The imps run screaming, flitting into folds of space only angels and devils can penetrate.

In the hallway, Jeoffry cleans the smoking blood off his claws. Some of the humans whisper their thanks to him; some even dare to stroke his fur through the bars. Sometimes Jeoffry accepts this praise and sometimes he is bored by it. Today, annoyed by the imps’ vain show of defiance, he leaves his scent on every door. This cell is his, and this one. The whole asylum is his, and let no demon forget it! For he is the Cat Jeoffry, and no demon can stand against him. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 421: We Sang You As Ours


We Sang You As Ours

by Nibedita Sen

The new egg was going to be a boy.

Cadence had overheard Mother Reed and Mother Piper saying so in the kitchen, last night, after they were done singing to it. She didn’t know how they could tell–it looked just like her little sisters’ eggs had. Maybe a bit bigger than theirs had been at three days old, but otherwise the same: fat as a pumpkin and ribbed like one, flushed with the faintest hint of venous blue. It looked like the dead jellyfish that would sometimes wash up on the beach, plump and gelatinous, clear near the surface and fibrous white at its heart, making you want to dig your fingers in, or maybe take a bite. (Continue Reading…)