Author Topic: PC674: Pulling Secrets from Stones  (Read 1248 times)


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on: April 15, 2021, 09:21:49 PM
PodCastle 674: Pulling Secrets from Stones

Author: Beth Goder
Narrator: Kat Kourbeti
Host: Setsu Uzume
Audio Producer: Peter Behravesh

Previously published by MYTHIC in June 2017.


Show Notes
Rated PG-13.

In the lakebed by the mountains slept stones full of secrets. Waiting memories. Dissipating memories. Rachel could feel the hum of them, their longing for closeness, pressing against her as the sun pressed down.

She slid down to the lakebed. Dust rose around her, obscuring her truck by the side of the road. The air stagnated, heavy and dry, baking itself into the earth.

Her memories were dying–the secret ones, the memories that let her touch the sky, the memories of how to cast a branch to find missing things, or summon a flower in her hand. All of her most important memories. Gone.

She pulled a geological survey map from her pack, jostling her water bottle and a squished peanut butter sandwich. Unfolded, the map stretched farther than her arms. Red marks showed where she had searched. Not much of the map was marked–perhaps half an inch.

Rachel hiked until she reached the edge of her last red mark.

She turned over a stone–memory shaped–then cupped it in her hands. Ordinary. The next stone was the same, and the next. The lakebed stretched for miles, with huge cracks like fractals in the dust. Endless.

Stones, stones, stones. None of them memories.

Wind brushed past, and for a moment, Rachel feared that the woman in the mountains had found her. This close to the mountains, the woman could feel the land as if it were her body–the sweep of wind along mountain backs, the plants that thrust themselves through soil, the intrusion of sun into shaded spaces. The woman in the mountains had described this connection to Rachel, back when she had described everything to Rachel. Before the anger. Before the woman had discovered Rachel putting memories into stones. Before the rift that separated them as no mountain could ever do.

When Rachel looked up, only the sun was above her. Her relief was empty. Dry.  As much as she feared the woman in the mountains, she wished to see her again.

And Rachel did fear her. The woman was like a crash of rain, an avalanche, soaking everything in her path. Unaware. But Rachel had come to love her wild kindness, her fierceness. The woman would mix the colors of the sunset beautiful and bright. She would send goats to look after the elderly, those who had no children. With a splash of soil and a whisper, she could cure sickness in trees, but never death.

The memory of the woman hung above Rachel like a dark sky, full and treacherous. Waiting.

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Father Beast

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Reply #1 on: April 17, 2021, 12:22:53 PM
I thought this was delightful. I burst out laughing when she exclaimed that she would NEVER use magic when doing her Truckmagic.

Álex Souza

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Reply #2 on: April 30, 2021, 12:49:29 AM
I like how it starts in media res and doesn’t stop to explain how the character got there (I’ve been seeing a bunch of stories like that lately, and I’m fed up. Please stop this >:(). But I didn’t like the rest of the structure, nor the characters. The old woman feels like a deus ex machina. She literally comes from the sky to explain everything to the MC (actually, to the reader), then leaves.

It was quite obvious that the crow was the old woman, and the revelation was lame. The descriptions in that specific part were lacking. And the MC’s reaction is very weird. She noticed the missing toe? Really?  ???

A story without conflict works if it has an amazing twist (Eastern storytellers are masters on that), and Pulling Secrets from Stones just threw that away, leaving nothing left behind but some gags.

I just wanna go pro before AI takes over and the bot dogs from Boston Dynamics kill us all.