Archive for 10 and Up

EP017: The Life and Times of Penguin


By Eugie Foster.
Read by Mur Lafferty (of Geek Fu Action Grip).


Penguin listened raptly to the new voice. He knew this was his guardian
angel, she who would guard and protect him forever. Sure enough, the
Creator set him gently into his angel’s hand. Her hands, much smaller than
the Creator’s–which was fitting since who among the angels had such power
as the Creator?–were a bit sticky. He squealed as she held him aloft to
receive the glorious light.

“Look, Daddy! It’s a peng’n!”

“Yes it is, Angie. It’s a very nice penguin. Did you thank the nice man
for the balloon?”

Rated PG. Contains explicit existentialism and violence of the soul. (The intro contains minor profanity and frank discussions of current events, and is likely to be more offensive than the story.)

EP016: Seamstress


By Sarah Prineas.
Read by Deborah Green.

So, the Godmother. She takes ragged, smudged things and turns them
into beautiful Princesses. Why, I don’t know. A hobby? A calling?
An obsession? Is she righting the wrongs done to her when she was
young?

When I first started here, I had a fantasy. That the Godmother would
pluck me out of the row of humpbacked, squinting Seamstresses and make
me, too, a beautiful Princess. With a gown sewn by…well, by the
poor wenches too old or ugly to catch the Godmother’s eye.

Rated PG. Contains sexual situations and, unrelated, the loss of innocence.

EP015: Hell Notes


By M.K. Hobson
Read by Stephen Eley.

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so I suppose it’s no wonder that the twice-cooked pork the beautiful chef placed in that depressing buffet line kicked me in the mouth like a South American soccer superstar with bad aim. There was never twice-cooked pork like the twice-cooked pork I tasted that snowy day at the Cheerful Panda.

Rated PG. Contains graphic food-based sensuality and soulless marketing.

EP013: The Once and Future Dentist


By D. Richard Pearce.
Read by Stephen Eley.

“‘He was the most skillful gambler, and the nerviest, fastest, deadliest man with a six-gun I ever saw.’ Do you know who said that, Doctor?”

He coughed politely and sat in a nearby chair. “Begging your pardon, ma’am, I’d be more interested in who they were talking about.”

She laughed softly, and seemed to turn her attention to him fully for the first time. “Wyatt Earp said those words about you, Doctor. At your funeral, I suspect, though I don’t know for sure.”

Rated PG. Contains violence, alcohol, and gratuitous time travel.

EP Flash: Virus


By Greg van Eekhout.
Read by Deborah Green.
All stories by Greg van Eekhout
All stories read by Deborah Green

Drawn by the sound of the propellers, the lunchtime crowd looked to the sky. An airship passed over the skyscrapers, plumes of black, virus-laden smoke spewing behind it. Traffic below stopped. People paused on the sidewalks and watched the cloud sink slowly towards them.

EP008: Lachrymose and the Golden Egg


By Tim Pratt
Read by Stephen Eley.
All stories by Tim Pratt.
All stories read by Stephen Eley.

“Foul temptress?” I said, stepping back, clanking in my armor. A suit of plate mail often appears when I’m startled. I wished the armor away and replaced it with soft green leggings and a deerskin shirt. “Wily seductress?”

“Damsel in distress.” She leaned against a tree, hands clasped before her.

I clutched my stick and looked around. “Immediate distress, or general distress?” I worried about ogres, or killbots. They often menace damsels, and when the wind’s wrong, you can’t smell them coming, neither rotten meat nor engine oil. It’s hard to hurt an ogre or a killbot with a staff, but I’m useless with a sword. I used a blade on my first few outings, but after chopping off my feet six times, I switched to a stick.

Rated PG. Contains slight profanity, drug use, and violence against were-ape ninjas.


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EP007: The Trouble With Death Traps


By Marjorie James.
Read by Stephen Eley.
All stories by Marjorie James.
All stories read by Stephen Eley.

A razor-sharp blade shot out of the wall and whipped in front of the teen’s face. Xnab hauled him back and spun him around.

“First thing you have to learn in this business: never kick anything. Got that?”

“Yes sir. Sorry sir.”

“Good.”

“Sir?”

“Yes?”

“What’s the second thing?”

Rated PG. Contains no sexual content or strong language. Does contain whirling blades of death.

EP006: Jenny Nettles


By Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald.
Read by Stephen Eley.
All stories by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald.
All stories read by Stephen Eley.

On the morning after his death, a clear fluid began to leak from the Jenny‘s mainmast: slow, glistening droplets that curled out and ran downward from where the knives were stuck in the wood. “It’s water,” said the ship’s cook. “But not fresh. Salt. Like blood.”

“Not like blood,” said Big Tom, who had also tasted it. His cheeks were sunken, and his eyes were hollow and dark. “Not like blood — like tears.”

Rated PG. Contains violence, supernatural themes, and sailors who do not swear.

EP Flash: Oasis


By Greg van Eekhout.
Read by Stephen Eley.

You turn a lever that pops open the cover of the control pad. There’s a big red button labeled OPEN AIRLOCK. You jab it. Then you jab the CONFIRM button. Then you push the handle thing, and it’s all over.


Download the Escape Pod Flash.

Note: This piece marks the debut of Escape Pod’s flash fiction — very short stories that will be released between our weekly issues on an irregular basis. We chose “Oasis” as our first because, well, it’s about an escape pod. One can even imagine our logo image as the illustration for this story.