From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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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

Girls Have Sharp Teeth

When Madison S. didn’t show up to school, and word got around that it was because her boyfriend threw his phone at her mouth and knocked out four of her teeth, the junior girls of Clark High turned into monsters. Taloned, screaming things driven by rage and revenge. We swarmed her boyfriend, Josh C., by his car after school, and though he tried to beat us off with his lacrosse stick, our numbers were too great, our sisterhood too mighty.

Fiction

The Petticoat Government

I was twenty years old when Hamida Bano, the Padshah Begum, supreme wife of the Emperor, entrusted her infant prince to my arms before fleeing across the Thar desert. Her opium-addled husband, steeped in the luxury of his harem, had no defense against Sher Shah Suri’s advancing armies, which squeezed Agra like a coal between tongs. The Sur Empire then settled its traitorous haunches on North India, and Hamida Bano, trailing her husband’s camel, trekked across the blistering desert, while I, still a young concubine, nursed the boy who would inherit the throne.

Fiction

Obstruction

Nellie kept moving, expecting to blend into the ridgeline, but the hiking guide spotted her. He called out in Italian first, then English.

“I don’t think you belong out there.”

His group, tourists with brimmed hats and walking sticks, stopped and stared with dull curiosity. The steep slope under her feet was loose gray rock, treacherous for amateurs perhaps, but she’d been wandering terrain like this almost forever.

Fiction

Heirlooms

I’m excited about this new apartment, its shining glass windows overlooking Harlem, until I see her peeing in the park one morning, shortly after we move in. Insulated glass dampens the screech of taxi honks and sirens below and gives us a great view of the nearby park: a huge swath of hilly green in the middle of the city, where evergreens reach up like pining lovers and silent figures walk along its paths. And yet one morning, while sipping my cinnamon coffee, I see her.

Fiction

An Arrangement of Moss and Dirt

I have spent a lifetime in front of this window, mortality seeping out in waves of nausea and lost weight. There she is, just beyond the grime-cornered glass, in the yard, playing like all children should. I almost tap to get her attention, to give a weak wave of longing and vanished time, but I only watch her move through the grass and tree trunks, hair blown by the breeze.

Fiction

What is Mercy?

Nanda hauls the bucket from the depths of the well, her palms aflame with red blisters from clutching the frayed rope too tight. The thick rope, screeching against the pulley, trembling under the weight of the water, becomes heavier by the minute. The minute she goes weak, the bucket will plunge, crashing into the sweet water below, and she’ll have to start the charade for the fourth time.

Fiction

Ghost Riders at Hutchinson’s Two-Pump

Clouds rolled across the evening sky, dark and low, dragging rain behind them. Desert washes ran dirt-red, and rocky mesas shone wet when lightning flashed. Rainwater frothed down the narrow slot of Sheep Drop Ravine, a chasm with overgrown edges that had claimed the lives of countless sheep and antelope, and of the entire “Handsome Jake” Jubles Gang as it had fled, on a similar night, from a posse of enraged Winslow, Arizona citizens.

Fiction

The Failing Name

The oval fruit, uneven on all sides even when it’s ripe, is not just for eating. Spaces in the dust roads filled with reddish-brown wind are what she sees in her lost childhood. Jolainne wants to tell you, to tell anyone who’ll listen, of hiding in the leaves of a mango tree, witnessing what could have been the onset of an assault.

Fiction

I Would

I had only one defense against a woman who knew me. “Fine.” I layered venom into my voice, to make her think it a hard-won concession yet again. “I’ll prophecy for you.” Queen Iroda stood alone by the parapet, a dark silhouette against the mountains. The scant light caught the gold embroidery on her robe and the perfect braids of red and silver that draped down her chest like chains.

Fiction

A Softness of the Heart

Aunt Violet had been sick for a long time before she died. The doctor said cancer, but Louise’s Aunt Sinna said it was a soft heart. Louise was inclined to agree, knowing little of this cancer business. Anyway, Aunt Sinna never, ever lied.