Episode Art: Forrest WarnerRead by: Mat Weller, Geoff Welchmann
Strange Stories, By Strange Authors, for Strange Listeners
If you listened to Clown Eggs and thought, “I need more stories like THAT,” you are in for a treat. This week, we listen to Jay Lake’s “Over the Walls of Eden”-stick around at the end and hear a discussion of the story.
“Why do you remember the books?” he finally asks.
She smiles again. “O Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams, That bring to my remembrance from what state I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere, Till pride and worse ambition threw me down…”
1. The Tree
And so it came to pass, in the years past reckoning, when I served as a scribe in the court of the king, that there stood the last and only tree.
It is not known how this came to be the only tree. For a time there were disputing theories; it could hardly have happened by chance. As for me, I favor a hypothesis rooted in the fallacy of infinite halves. For in the strange world where we lived, it was once widely known that if you cross half a distance every day, forever and ever, you shall never reach your destination. Thus, if you consume half the riches of the world, every day, forever and ever, you shall always have some riches left. This truth was a fallacy. It is not possible to cut down half a tree.
Hunger has made you reckless. You track the sound of human voices through the woods until you find a man and a woman. They are shouting at each other. The woman slaps the man’s face. He presses his hand to his cheek for a moment, and then lunges at the woman, knocking her to the ground. He squeezes his hands tight about her throat. The noises she makes are ugly.
Your nostrils flare. You smell food. It is in the pack on the man’s back. You come closer to the couple, deliberately snapping a twig underfoot. The man whirls around, almost losing his grip on the woman. You point at the back pack.
They danced like young deer pawing the ground, they danced like devils let out of hell for the evening. They swung their hips and pranced and drank their fill of cactus–fruit wine.
They were shy creatures, the jackalope wives, though there was nothing shy about the way they danced. You could go your whole life and see no more of them than the flash of a tail vanishing around the backside of a boulder. If you were lucky, you might catch a whole line of them outlined against the sky, on the top of a bluff, the shadow of horns rising off their brows.
The magician’s table was covered by a sheet of plywood, four feet square, completely wrapped up in aluminum foil. Sugar magic was messy magic, and the foil made for easier cleanup. Scattered across the aluminum were misshapen chunks of candy, the seeds from which the carnival would grow. And grow it did.
"A powerful reading and good example of how a story can be transformed when told out loud and told out loud well.
The Drabblecast is an award-winning, illustrated, listener-supported audio fiction magazine, released as a free to download, weekly podcast. It features short stories at the far side of weird, including science fiction, horror, fantasy, and everything in between. It is hosted and produced by Norm Sherman. The Drabblecast is open to submissions and is a paying market.
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