By Stephanie Burgis
Read by Grant Baciocco
There’s a frozen moment. Then Tyler throws himself against the door, just as the heavy body on the other side hurls itself at the wood. The bolt shifts another centimeter.
“No!” Tyler shoves the bolt with all his strength and hears it click back into locked position. He collapses, sliding down the door onto the floor. Tips his head back against the wood, breathing hard.
He hears Its heavy breathing on the other side of the door. Tyler closes his eyes.
“Please, Dad,” he whispers. “Please come back soon.”
By James Michael White
Read by Mur Lafferty
He evaluated her for two months. Came from a well-to-do family. High marks in school. Brief modeling career that seemed destined never to rise above pinup calendars, low-circulation fashion magazines and catalogues. A history of self mutilation that went back to nineteen. Then, it had been called attempted suicide, but Dr. Mandrake was widely read and well educated. He knew about razors and cutting without intention to kill. Some did it for attention. Some did it for kicks. Some did it for ritual scarification significant only to themselves.
Bliss did it because she felt restricted in her skin. There was someone inside who was not the skin that everyone saw. There was someone inside who was not human, or perhaps more than human.
Our editor Ben Phillips put together this fast-paced and gripping piece of work. Feel free to use it in all of your podcasts, breakfast cereals, and dimensional intrusions. Enjoy.
By Ian Creasey
Read by Nick Popio
The alchemists just did their job; they had no personal spite, and they understood the limits of their human material. She — whoever she was — had no such dispassion. At first she barely understood the apparatus, and turned dials at random to see how I reacted. When she experimentally tweaked one control, creating a mild throb that I estimated at 0.25 pangs, I yelled as if agonised, to make her think she was delivering more pain than she really was. It was a mistake. Now that she knew the dial did something, she turned it up, and up, and up. For a while I screamed in earnest, until she turned me down to take a call on her crystal.
“Hello?… I can’t tell you…. It’s the secret lab, silly!… Well, what else is there to do?… Oh, all kinds of stuff. Listen!” With one firm twist she turned the dial to maximum.
My shriek must have registered on all the seismic monitors in Wyke. The pain was beyond agony, so much so that a new word was needed — or an old one, like hell. It lasted a few moments, a few years, a few centuries.
“Just a prisoner,” she said in the stretching silence. “No, I’m fine…. Yes, of course I’ll be at the party. I’ll see you later.”