From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

CHOSEN ONES

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Podcasts

Produced by Skyboat Media, and under the direction of Grammy and Audie award-winning narrator and producer Stefan Rudnicki, our podcast features audiobook-style recordings of two of the stories we publish every month, released more or less every other week.

 

 

Fiction

Flight

Tonight, Jekwu and Izu are perched on Chapel’s fence. They love this fence. It is the only fence in Selemku that is still coated with fresh algae-spirogyra lichen, warm under their feet, like a rug. Here, the glint of the full moon on Chapel’s stained-glass windows crisscrosses their grey feathers, the same way rainbow beams stretch out across the sky in the mornings. The air from this height is cold and dry. It wriggles its way under their skin, sending spasms down their spine. From time to time, the halogen-bulb atop the belfry comes on and then goes off and then on again. A never-ending cycle.

Fiction

Kisser

Bragg sleeps alone. Thirty-four. This morning, he wakes up with one less tooth in his mouth, a central incisor. What his dentist, later and while looking at a dental chart, calls the patient’s Number Nine. Bragg’s Number Nine, root to crown, a crucial corn-on-the-cob tooth, is not in his mouth. It’s on the pillow beside him. Bragg rubs sleep from his eyes. That first glimpse of the tooth sends his tongue darting to the front of his mouth. An absence. A canyon.

Fiction

10 Steps to a Whole New You

(1) Be unaware that the wolf was presenting itself to you in sheep’s clothing. It began, as most things do, simply enough. In a simple neighbourhood, on the edge of a town. Too urban to be rural, too rural to be urban. Women grew old. Some women aged with their children, grandchildren, family around them. Some grew old alone, isolated, bitter. Others might grow old and die sick, in pain. Then there was you.

Fiction

Things to Bring, Things to Burn, Things Best Left Behind

Oz is holding a knife to his wrist when they knock on the door. For a moment he hesitates, weighing his options. His eyes dart between the door and the knife—eeny, meeny, meiny, mo—and land on the door. “Might as well,” he mutters, and gets to his feet. The dull sound of the knife as he sets it aside on the kitchen table seems to fill the room. It’s a terrible thing, he muses, how loud a house is when there’s no one else in it.

Fiction

Umami

“I have a favour to ask,” said the fushi to the chef, “and in exchange, I will grant you a wish.” “What sort of favour?” Yun San asked. She wiped sweating palms down her brown hanfu and tried to show a brave face. Thick mist had whisked her away from the back of her restaurant into the wilderness. Even were she thirty years younger and somehow able to outrun her captor, she had no idea where she was.

Fiction

An Indefinite Number of Birds

Stanley began watching birds on the day he panicked and asked JD how much he really loved him, and JD responded, “Oh for fuck’s sake, Stanley. How many birds are in the sky? I don’t know—a bunch!” Stanley couldn’t get the question out of his head. By week’s end, he’d bought a birdwatching guide and an embarrassingly expensive pair of Leica binoculars. He spent a tense Sunday morning ready for the birds to awaken and sing the day’s gossips and confessions, watching and ticking things off in his journal as dawn grew from a hint to a bloody smear to proper daylight.

Fiction

To Look Forward

We are the ones who dare, back and forth; our hair whipping over, our hearts full of joy. Our bodies burn bright and clean and crisp, glistening when we reach the sun. A healthy tan has coated our skin, our foreheads drip with sweat, our palms firm and slick. We are: over and over again, up in the air; not known to each other, but known to the sky. Mid-jump, mid-action, mid-reaction, mid-air; always there, on rusted swings, on creaking chains, on hot-sun days, back and forth and over, once again.

Fiction

And This is How to Stay Alive

Kabi finds my body swinging. I watch my sister press her back against the wall and slide to the ground. My mother shouts, “Kabi! Nyokabi!” No response. “Why are you not answering? Can you bring that brother of yours!” My sister is paralyzed, she cannot speak, she cannot move, except for the shivers that take hold of her spine and reverberate through the rest of her without permission. She is thinking No, no, no, no, no. But the word is not passing her lips which only open and close soundlessly. Mum is coming down the stairs.

Fiction

Black, Their Regalia

Outside, the quarantine train was unblemished white. Where its tracks skirted populated regions, barbed wire and warning signs—DANGER! ¡PELIGRO! INFECTIOUS MATERIALS! ¡SUSTANCIAS INFECCIOSAS!—discouraged trespassers from marking the cars with spray paint. The interior was another story. In her cabin, a narrow sleeper with four beds (one for Screaming Moraine, one for Fiddler Kristi, one for Drummer Tulli, and one for their carry-on luggage, several densely packed grocery bags, and an electric violin), Tulli found graffiti scrawled near her upper bunk.

Fiction

The Things My Mother Left Me

Tausi sat listening to her aunts, who crowded in a circle at the far end of the room. Their dresses were a kaleidoscope of greens, reds, blues, and yellows, each worked with repeating patterns that shifted with the eye. Huddled like that they seemed to her one polychromatic beast with seven heads and fourteen limbs. None of them made an effort to whisper as they planned her life.