A Poem And Two Audio Stories By Mandolin

Mandolin (also known as Rachel Swirsky, mild-mannered speculative fiction writer) has had some more work published online.

First, a poem, Dear Melody.

When we floated together in our mother’s womb,
I consumed you as one scared thing
will do to another in this lonely world.

My guru, David, says your soul is beautiful.
An artist’s soul. A dancer’s soul.
He pressed his face to my belly
& said he could see your aura
shimmering through my abdomen
lovely as a mirage.

Click here and scroll down to read the rest.

Next, her Hugo-nominated short story Eros, Philia, Agape has been put online in audio form at Escape Pod.

The objects belonged to them both, but Adriana waved her hand bitterly when Lucian began packing. “Take whatever you want,” she said, snapping her book shut. She waited by the door, watching Lucian with sad and angry eyes.

Their daughter, Rose, followed Lucian around the house. “Are you going to take that, Daddy? Do you want that?” Wordlessly, Lucian held her hand. He guided her up the stairs and across the uneven floorboards where she sometimes tripped. Rose stopped by the picture window in the master bedroom, staring past the palm fronds and swimming pools, out to the vivid cerulean swath of the ocean. Lucian relished the hot, tender feel of Rose’s hand. I love you, he would have whispered, but he’d surrendered the ability to speak.

Click here to listen at Escape Pod.

And finally, her short story Monstrous Embrace has been put online in audio form at PodCastle.

I am ugliness in body and bone, breath and heartbeat. I am muddy rocks and jagged scars snaking across salt-sown fields. I am insect larvae wriggling inside the great dead beasts into which they were born. Too, I am the hanks of dead flesh rotting. I am the ungrateful child’s sneer, the plague sore bursting, the swing of shadow beneath the gallows rope. Ugliness is my hands, my feet, my fingernails. Ugliness is my gaze, boring into you like a worm into rotting fruit.

Listen to me, my prince. Tomorrow, when dawn breaks and you stand in the chapel accepting your late father’s crown, your fate will be set. Do nothing and you will be dead by sundown. Your kingdom will be laid waste, its remnants preserved only in the bellies of carrion birds.

There is another option. Marry me.

Click here to listen at PodCastle.

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