Escape Artists


  • Get your 500 word fantasy stories ready! We'll be open for submissions through the month of March, and starting the voting sometime in early April. Full details on Podcastle's website


Get your 500 word fantasy stories ready! We'll be open for submissions through the month of March, and starting the voting sometime in early April. Full details on Podcastle's website

Author Topic: PC454: Godfather  (Read 1917 times)


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on: February 07, 2017, 07:18:34 AM
PodCastle 454: Godfather

by Megan Arkenberg

read by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

First published in Niteblade Magazine #27 in March of 2014

Rated PG-13.

Today is your fourteenth birthday, and your godfather is coming to visit. You know because your mother is wearing a dress, a frilly lime-colored affair that certain magazine editors would refer to as a “confection,” and attempting to bake a pie. The tiny counter overflows with paper sacks of flower and plastic sacks of sugar and plates stacked high with slices of golden delicious, all interspersed with photocopies of a neighbor’s cookbook. Your mother is not much of a baker, but then again, your godfather is not much of a diner—in fact, you have never seen him eat.

His pale gray car pulls into your driveway an hour after you wake up. In your ignorance of motor vehicles, you want to call it sleek, and it is, compared to the rusting scarlet pickup your mother relies on for her infrequent trips to town for groceries and postage. But in fact, your godfather’s car is almost absurdly ornamented, glimmering with silver around the wheels and the bluish windows. When your godfather parks in front of your low porch, he waits a moment for the clouds of pink dust to settle before he steps out, lean and trim as a cat in his long black coat, wielding, rather than leaning on, a long ivory cane.

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Megan Arkenberg’s work has appeared in over fifty magazines and anthologies, including Lightspeed, Asimov’s, Shimmer, and Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year. She has edited the fantasy e-zine Mirror Dance since 2008 and was recently the nonfiction editor for Queers Destroy Horror!, a special issue of Nightmare Magazine. She currently lives in Northern California, where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in English literature.

You can find Megan online at her website and on Twitter @meganarkenberg.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!


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Reply #1 on: February 08, 2017, 02:13:02 AM
Wow.  Seriously, just wow.  This story is one of my favorite in recent memory from PodCastle.  It was such a simple and sweet story about family, and yet it was such a rich world that I felt like the fiction almost wrapped around me like a blanket.


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Reply #2 on: February 09, 2017, 05:38:20 PM
When I was a child, I had a great big book of stories called Fairy and Folk Tales. It lived in the backseat of my mom's car, so that every time we went somewhere I could read. Death's Godson was the story chosen to represent Mexico, and it's always been one of my favorites. Hearing it retold in this way was like being six years old again, riding in my mom's car with my favorite book of all time. I recognized it almost immediately, and hearing it from Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali, my fave narrator/editor/whatever other amazing things she does, was so so perfect. Let's put it this way: I've been listening to first Pseudopod and then the rest of the Escape Artists podcasts for 7 years or so, and this is the first time I've joined the forums.


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Reply #3 on: February 16, 2017, 11:15:11 PM
Really great! I loved how the Godfather saw everyone as equal, and deserving of respect. The characters felt solid and there was great sensory imagery.
One tiny critique: The relationship between the girl and her mother was much more touching and real, than the one with her future, unnamed lover. I think that's why I was upset with her candle snuffing, I didn't feel any emotional attachment to the lover, so it was hard to empathize.