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Flash Pulp 140 – Bearing, Part 1 of 1

12 Mar

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode one hundred and forty.

Flash Pulp

Tonight we present, Bearing, Part 1 of 1


Download MP3
(RSS / iTunes)

 

This week’s episodes are brought to you by the artistic variety of the Nutty Bites Podcast.

Find out more at http://nimlas.org/blog/

 

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight, we enter the home of a family in transition – a family on the cusp of a life-altering move.

 

Flash Pulp 140 – Bearing, Part 1 of 1

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May

 

Carlos was pulled into consciousness by the smell of cooking bacon, and the sound of Aretha Franklin. Both were drifting into the bedroom from the distant kitchen, and he took a moment to bask in their potent combination before damning his late start to the day and climbing out of bed.

He hadn’t risen that way in at least a year’s worth of Sundays – and now it was two weeks till their move to Texas, and his wife’s new job, and he considered the swelling brass and frying pork a hopeful sign.

Violet smiled as he entered the kitchen, and Carlos found himself tearing slightly as he closed the distance to hold her.

They took two brief dance steps together before she was forced to attend her preparations.

“Haven’t seen you smile like that in a while,” she said, scooping a double-helping of flapjacks onto a plate.

“I haven’t been staring down the barrel of a meal this big since Billy and I forced the Chinese buffet place, down on third, into bankruptcy.” He took in the pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, sausages, and the leaning tower of toast. “Seems like you’ve had a busy morning.”

“Just feeling good – and hungry. Yum.”

Billy dragged his heels onto the linoleum, rubbing at his eyes and tugging at the shirt-hem of his dinosaur pajamas.

“Hey, pal,” said Violet. “You look pretty pooped – have a bad sleep?”

“Yeah.” The five year old yawned. ”It was loud all night.”

The boy’s mother and father exchanged an embarrassed smirk, and Carlos began to transfer some of the bounty onto plates.

* * *

ChillerHe awoke to rough shaking.

The clock told him it was just after three in the morning.

“I heard something,” said Violet.

“Huh,” he pinched the sleep from his eyes, “Can you be more specific? Was it a murderer something? A burglar something? A Billy something?”

A month earlier, they’d discovered that their son had taken up the habit of climbing from under his covers and spreading his various collections of Lego, cars, and Batmen, across his floor. Finally sick of his denials, they’d un-boxed their baby monitor, and set it in his room so they might keep tabs on his behaviour.

“I think he’s out of bed and tossing his stuff around. It’s quiet now, but I’d swear that he tipped over his big bucket of trucks a minute ago.”

As they lay staring at the bar of red lights which would flare at any noisy provocation, he began to doze.

He started to a slamming sound, familiar to any afternoon on which Billy was too excited to carefully close his toy box.

Carlos’ brought his feet to the floor, and the annoyance of being turned out of his own bed sped his footsteps down the hall.

Grasping the door handle, he started his lecture.

“Buddy, what do you think -”, even through the night-murk, it was obvious Billy was sleeping peacefully – and yet Carlos still found his foot impaled on the rear-fin of a rogue Batmobile.

“Dad?” asked Billy, his slumber having been interrupted by the truncated chiding.

“Uh, nothing pal,” replied Carlos. “Lie back down, we’ll clean this up tomorrow.”

Violet was asleep by the time he’d finished his detour for a stolen mouthful of milk from the jug, and he thought it best to wait till morning to discuss the possibility of their son’s sleep walking.

Despite the comfort of his sheets, and the warmth of his wife’s nearby body, something sat wrong in his stomach, and it was a long two-hours, spent with his ears strained for any disturbance, before he nodded off.

* * *

Three uneventful days later, with Violet once again on her side, snoring, Carlos was watching Letterman and preparing for sleep.

“Goob, goob, goob,” said the monitor.

In a single, silent, motion, he stood from his bed and reached for a t-shirt. With a steady wrist, he noiselessly exited.

“Buh,” replied the monitor.

Under the photographic eyes of distant cousins and cherished aunts, a moment’s creeping brought him to Billy’s door, where he set his ear against the thick layer of stickers they’d allowed the boy to apply.

There was a pause, then a thud, as if something had been thrown against the nearest wall.

With a twist and a push, the dim glow of the hall’s nightlight followed him inside. The area was once again in a state of disarray, but he didn’t bother to wake Billy.

He’d finally recognized a familiar pattern in the chaos.

The next day he re-packaged the monitor. He also made a point of adjusting his cellphone’s alarm, so that he might rise early to tidy, before Violet woke.

* * *

Three days prior to their departure date, Carlos’ eyes were black with a lack of sleep. Using packing as an excuse, he’d transitioned the equally unrested Billy into the living room, setting him up on the couch for the final phase of the move. The child slept better, and it gave his father an opportunity to sort and discard action figures, as necessary.

A new concern had made itself known on the previous morning, when Billy, carrying a single, gnawed, plastic-arm, had approached Carlos.

“I can’t find the rest of this guy, and look, I think something’s been chewing on him!”

“Huh,” he’d replied, noting the watchful eye of his wife. “Must be a rodent.”

“That’s disgusting,” Violet had stated.

“Can I have it as a pet?” Billy had asked.

“I’ll get some mousetraps,” was Carlos’ reply, He’d pocketed the damaged limb, then added, “good thing we’re moving.”

The issue was that, as the hours ticked down, it wasn’t just the Bat-appendage – nearly every plastic and pliable surface within the boy’s room began to display the nicks and dents of toothy wear.

Once the job was complete, and the last of the Transformers posters, and Star Wars colouring books were sealed, Carlos used buying steaks for supper as an alibi, then deposited every box that had Billy written in thick black marker across its top at a nearby Salvation Army depot.

* * *

Twenty four hours before their scheduled takeoff time, Carlos slammed his son’s former-bedroom’s entrance, and picked a fight with Violet. It wasn’t hard – they’d both been on edge over the impending relocation, and his lack of sleep had done little to brighten his mood.

“What is your problem?” she shouted.

“You know,” he replied. He knew she didn’t.

“You’re being ridiculous. I’m taking Billy to Mom’s for the night, but you’re staying here.” The whole family had intended on embarking from Violet’s Mother’s, but he was happy to cut open the tape on a few boxes to locate bedding if it meant she was leaving immediately.

She did.

When he heard the screen door bang to a close, he let out a deep breath.

Entering the kitchen, he began to fill a bucket with soapy water. As he closed the tap, he paused, thinking he might have heard a distant crying – he was relieved to be wrong. Retrieving a rag, he carried his load to the room he’d been defending.

Carlos could live with Violet’s rage – he knew it was temporary, and he’d much rather take the blame for griping than divulge to his wife that he suspected the spirit of the girl she’d lost during birthing, fourteen months earlier, was slowly aging inside the house.

As he scrubbed at the looping and aimless marker scrawl that now adorned the walls, he began to weep for the child he felt he must abandon for the sanity of his remaining family.

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Text and audio commentaries can be sent to skinner@skinner.fm, or the voicemail line at (206) 338-2792 – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

– and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

Flash Pulp 135 – Influence, Part 1 of 1

1 Mar

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode one hundred and thirty-five.

Flash Pulp

Tonight we present, Influence, Part 1 of 1

Download MP3
(RSS / iTunes)

 

This week’s episodes are brought to you by the free audio-novella, Boiling Point.

Find out more at http://neilcolquhoun.com

 

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight we tell a chiller tale, regarding Clifton Wade – a man who finds himself in a tenuous situation.

 

Flash Pulp 135 – Influence, Part 1 of 1

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May

 

Clifton Wade leaned against the exit, his eyes locked on the ground, and the sliver of light that was the only illumination in the tiny room.

His breathing seemed to bounce from the ceramic tiles and close walls, in perfect time with the metronome tapping of the dripping sink. He whimpered in the darkness of the bathroom, his left hand solidly locked on the brass knob, and his right on the white, plastic, light switch.

Flooding the room with fluorescence was tempting – so much so that his fingers were sweating. He knew, however, that he couldn’t; if he flicked on the glowing tubes, he would be unable to tell if a shadow passed over the far side of his meager barricade.

Fearful tears stung his eyes.

There was little he agreed with his Mother-in-law on, but now, as he wished himself invisible, her words rose to taunt him.

“Cliffers, you should have that doody-mouth washed out with soap.”

In the apartment beyond, a latch rasped, and the sharp click of a suddenly-released handle brought his lungs to a halt. He brushed aside the pink bathrobe, hanging down the back of the door from a white hook, and pressed his cheek to the cheap plywood.

At first there was nothing, but, after a moment, a dragging tread began to shuffle across the carpet, approaching his hidden position.

The glimmering thread, at his feet, dimmed – grunting snuffling filled its place, and he clenched against the urges of his bladder. Long seconds were measured by the ever-leaking faucet.

With a final snort, the sounds moved further along the hall, and the faint sheen returned to the tiles.

He knew it was only a brief respite.

* * *

ChillerIt had started an hour earlier, while he’d been sharing a breakfast of bran flakes with his wife of twenty years, Vanessa.

“Maybe we could consider looking into a nice place for your mom to go to? I don’t mean like a home with meanie nurses and rude neighbours – I could get a second job and swing one of those fancy golf villas in Florida? Like that pamphlet we got in the mail?” he’d said.

“Oh dear, sweetie! How in the heck can you even start talking like that? Mama doesn’t know any place but ours!”

“Honey-bunches, when you first asked if she could move in, you said it was just going to be for a bit.”

“Darnit: “The keys to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen.” Mama sent me that quote – I don’t remember who it was by, but it’s on Facebook – and she’s absolutely gosh darned right.”

“I have shown patience – but she… she always tells us what to do. I don’t like spending my evenings watching The Bold and The Beautiful. I don’t want to learn to knit! I don’t like that she picks out what we wear! I don’t think it’s appropriate that she makes me a packed lunch every day for work, and that it always includes stuff I repeatedly ask not to have! I don’t like bananas, however much potassium she may think I’m deficient of!”

“She’s just trying to do what’s good for you.”

“Honestly, honey, I love you, but – she kind of scares me.”

“Jeepers! You’re impossible when you’re like this. Let’s wait till Mama’s here, she always knows best, she can talk some sense into you.”

“Oh, #### off,” he’d replied.

It had just slipped.

Vanessa wasn’t a child – she didn’t say “I’m telling” – but he knew she’d thought it. He could read it on her cockamamie face.

* * *

There was a knock

“Mamas gotta number two. Please don’t be in there much longer, Cliffers. Poopy, or get off the pot, as they say.”

Clifton decided he had no choice but to face his fear.

Picking the knife up from the counter, he blew a kiss towards his wife’s punctured corpse. Her body was smeared in a mixture of Mr Bubble and blood, and lay awkwardly on top of the rubber-ducky patterned bath-curtain which she’d ripped down as he’d chased her into the tub – but he could see none of it in the dark.

He turned the door handle.

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Text and audio commentaries can be sent to skinner@skinner.fm, or the voicemail line at (206) 338-2792 – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

– and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

Flash Pulp 104 – Hero, Part 1 of 1

8 Dec

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode one hundred and four.

Flash Pulp

Tonight we present Hero, Part 1 of 1
Download MP3
(RSS / iTunes)

 

This week’s episodes are brought to you by Flash Pulp on iTunes.

– because we love you.

Find a link it here.

 

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight we encounter a woman with incredible power, a true hero of her age.

 

Flash Pulp 104 – Hero, Part 1 of 1

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May

 

At 2:13 on a warm Thursday morning, her eyes full of fury and her lips smiling, Catherine “Cat” Finch was victorious. The breeze from the open window rustled her long coat.

She was a hero, but better yet, she had had her revenge.

ChillerAt the age of thirteen she’d seemed destined for greatness in an Olympic-level career in gymnastics. It was at a competition in Guadalajara, Mexico when her father – her coach – got the call. The judging was still under way as, weeping, the pair had booked and boarded a return flight to Texas.

That day, as their jet broke through the clouds which had smothered their few moments of tourism, she swore she would one day slay her mother’s killer.

Her time at the gym did not wane, but thereafter the fire she’d shown for her routines came through in her schoolwork as well. If she wasn’t training, she was reading. Her father began to worry over her drive, but could little complain when she was accepted into university under an academic scholarship, and not for athletics as he’d expected.

She made two and only two friends while away for her schooling: a librarian, and a personal trainer.

Despite her eagerness to begin the hunt immediately, it was obvious once away from campus that she would need to begin with lesser efforts, to prepare herself for the confrontation that now defined her life.

She dreamed of the day of her triumph, both while sleeping and awake. Sometimes she was jubilant, sometimes the thought of the moment left her in tears.

It took decades; years in which her reputation became legend.

The final effort required a team of specialists brought in especially for the job, and no little investment in equipment.

Still, she stood alone in the end, abandoned by her fatigued comrades.

In the darkened room, now silent, she was glad to be able to enjoy the victory unaccompanied.

The vaccine wouldn’t save her Mom now, but it could have then – and it would save thousands of those still alive.

Her fist tightening on the results sheet till it crumpled, she laughed.

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Flash Pulp 094 – Aspect, Part 1 of 1

15 Nov

Flash PulpWelcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Ninety-Four.

Tonight we present Aspect, Part 1 of 1

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(RSS / iTunes)

This week’s episodes are brought to you by Ella’s Words.

Usually these ads are funny.

Find the poetess’ work here.

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight we present a suburban haunted house tale, in the classic style.

Flash Pulp 094 – Aspect, Part 1 of 1

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May

Mike watched as a lone blackbird wheeled below the clouds, riding winds too high to cool the boys roasting in the hot and sticky sun.

For the moment the other two eldest were focused on the youngest, which was a rarity.

Chiller“Miller was whispering it to a couple of people, and I heard it while I was on the swings,” said Joe-boy, Mike’s little brother. “The house between Anne Eaton’s and the place with the camping trailer in the driveway is haunted.”

“Ain’t no such friggin’ thing,” said Tucker, Mike’s best friend.

“Hey – I was in a haunted house once, things were flying at my head, my mom got like totally lifted off the ground and stuff, it was crazy!” replied Puggs. Mike could have done without the lanky fourth-grader hanging around, but whenever he opened the door to the outside world there he seemed to be, waiting on the sidewalk.

“Yeah, right. When was that, before or after you and your uncle supposedly caught a UFO on tape?” Tucker had considerably less patience for the braggart.

“Hey, you know I’d love to show you the tape, but my stupid sister recorded over it with a bunch of iCarly episodes.”

“Whatever.”

Mike ceased listlessly spinning his bike pedal backwards.

“Have you got a better suggestion?”

Tucker shrugged. It was at least another hour before lunch.

* * *

The place on the left had opted for paving stones in the driveway and the place on the right had decided the windows overlooking the garage from the second floor would be round instead of square – otherwise, the trio of houses, as could be said about every home in the Whispering Pines suburb, were identical.

Still, the pulled curtains and dying potted flowers that fronted the reputedly haunted residence were enough to stifle Tucker’s skepticism.

“My Dad says he hasn’t seen the guy who owns the place since he moved in,” said Puggs.

“Your Dad says he killed nearly two-hundred people in the Persian Gulf,” replied Tucker.

“He’s gonna show me his ear-necklace when I’m old enough.”

Mike ducked his head back and forth to check the road for elders, then dropped his bike onto the lawn and approached the shining expanse of glass surrounding the front door. The others followed.

Except for a single chair, slightly askew, the entry hall was empty. None of the boys could identify anything further in the dimly-lit space beyond.

“Maybe the guy moved in, then got so depressed about living here that he hung himself,” offered Puggs.

“There’s no one in there. He’s probably at work,” replied Tucker. Despite his bravado, the boy was no longer peering into the darkness.

“Yeah? If you’re so sure, why don’t you go in and check?”

To the surprise of all, Mike tried the handle.

It was locked.

“Miller said he was walking by at night and saw red-glowing eyes upstairs, but when a car drove by, they disappeared.” Joe-boy retreated to the entrance’s step as he spoke.

Mike took another long moment to stare into into the shadows that crowded the lone chair.

“What if we try the magic window?”

The magic window was the name the boys had given a basement frame that had been consistently mis-installed throughout the neighbourhood; the locking mechanism rarely seated properly, and they occasionally used the defect to their advantage when they’d forgotten their home-keys.

The group rounded the side of the house.

“If I start running, its not a ghost, its ‘cause I heard an alarm beep. You run too.” The lead boy bit his lip, considering, then added: “Joe-boy, get on your bike.”

His brother required no convincing.

Standing at the edge of the small pit that was the window well, Mike had a notion, as he often did when he awoke in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, that if he let his legs descend, his ankles would be grasped by some long-nailed horror.

“Uh, I’m going to pull it open from up here, in case someone inside yells.”

Setting himself on his knees, he reached below. Using the friction of his greasy palm against the pane’s cool surface, he moved it first up, then over.

The pinky on his left hand, the hand he’d had pressed firmly against the window, disappeared in a roar surrounded by a halo of shattered glass.

Puggs wet himself.

Tucker stood in a stupor, his eyes wide, his arm extended towards the injury, uselessly.

Spotting the red running down Mike’s wrist, Joe-boy began to cry.

Bike forgotten, the injured youth began to run home, blood and tears leaving a trail behind him on the sidewalk. The others followed like a flock of starlings alighting from a tenuous perch.

* * *

Despite spending the majority of the remainder of the summer grounded and healing from his gunshot wound, Mike was greeted in the fall as a schoolyard hero: the boy who’d discovered the booby traps of the haunted grow-op.

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Flash Pulp 087 – Bonecruncher, Part 1 of 1

29 Oct

Flash PulpWelcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Eighty-Seven.

Tonight we present Bonecruncher, Part 1 of 1

Download MP3
(RSS / iTunes)

This week’s episodes are brought to you by Flash Pulp on iTunes.

Made with 100% genuine pulp.

To subscribe, click here!

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight we present the short terror tale of Teddy Watkins, and his most pressing fear.

Flash Pulp 087 – Bonecruncher, Part 1 of 1

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May

In 1924, at the age of eight, Teddy Watkins began to wake in the night, weeping and telling tales of a monster he referred to only as Bonecruncher.

His mother, a harried but loving woman, assumed it was a passing phase, something put into his head by one of his five older brothers, and told him so at length. Their apartment was small, and his father spent his evenings working molten metal at the Pribax foundry, so it was up to her to settle his night troubles.

Teddy shared a bed with three of his brothers, and Mrs. Watkins began to note that his terrors most often came when the young boy was forced to take up a more middling position in the bed, caught between the crushing shoulders of his larger siblings.

By the time he was eleven she’d grown short with his notions and regular cries of “Bonecruncher”, and began to enact the family punishment for misbehaviour. Teddy would often then spend hours shut up amongst the pressing and musty clothes of the front closet, tearily entreating his mother to let him out lest the monster find him in the dark and squeeze the life from his body.

At the age of thirteen he made his first escape attempt. He found the streets cold and the open sky exhilarating. He ran for two days, until he was picked up by two well-meaning police officers who suspected him of truancy.

With tears in her eyes Mrs. Watkins told the judge of her distress. She explained that she’d done what she could for the boy, but that she had a half-dozen other children to tend to, and could no longer stand the strain.

The man on the bench found it difficult to believe the stories regarding the round-faced lad, at least until the bailiff attempted to place cuffs on Teddy so that he might be moved to a nearby holding cell. The youth’s screams brought the court to a halt, and his flailing kicks left the uniformed man with a broken nose.

It was twenty long years of straitjacketed terror for Teddy then, as he was shuffled from cell to asylum, and from psychologist to psychiatrist.

ChillerHis horrors finally ceased on a clouded night at the State Hospital. The night shift had only recently begun work, but they were already once again growing tired of Teddy’s shouts of “Bonecruncher! Bonecruncher!”

“He’s playing your song,” Mitch O’Donnell, the orderly in charge, told his massive friend and underling, Casper Johnson.

Teddy, now a man, had become something of a celebrity amongst the denizens of his ward – for the kindness he would show during the few occasions he was allowed to roam the grounds, and for the constant and wearing screaming he would let loose once he was returned to his bonds.

The pair of orderlies were walking the floor when they realized that the familiar backdrop of shrieking had ceased.

They ran to Watkins’ cell.

Despite his lack of freedom, Teddy’s muscles had grown taut and knotty during his constant struggles against his restraints, and his persistence had won him a temporary victory.

Throwing back the door of his room, the two men in white found the lanky man sitting on the edge of his bed, his straitjacket puddled at his feet, humming and smiling to the dark. His look of content was short lived, however. As he realized what the intrusion meant, he once again took up his wailing. He stretched to his full height, bowling over Mitch, and nearly made it to the door before being scooped up in Casper’s thick arms.

“Stop! Stop! Stop!” the giant shouted at the thrashing form in his arms. Teddy only redoubled his efforts, and panic soon took hold of both the combatants.

It was only once Mitch had pulled himself from the floor and shook his friend’s shoulder that Johnson realized Teddy had ceased his screams of “Bonecruncher”, and that it was in fact O’Donnell who was now screeching the name.

They’d worked together twelve years, and Mitch had long since jokingly replaced towering Casper’s older nickname of “Troll” with the constant refrain of their persistent burden.

His face white, the large man set the now lifeless body upon the room’s cot.

Its arms sprawled wide as it reclined.

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Flash Pulp 039 – Sunday In Geeston, Part 1 of 1

10 Jul

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Thirty-Nine.

Flash PulpTonight: Sunday In Geeston, Part 1 of 1

(Click play to listen or subscribe via libsyn RSS or iTunes)

Download MP3

This evening’s story is brought to you by a creeping sense of anxiety.

– still, if you’d take the time to subscribe via iTunes, we’d appreciate it.

To subscribe click here.

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight we present a chiller tale centered on the small hamlet of Geeston, on a Sunday not unlike most others – in Geeston.

Flash Pulp 037 – Sunday In Geeston, Part 1 of 1

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May

Sunday, June 21st, 1998

Eddie sat in the darkened recess of the tiny strip-plaza office. Over the gray movable barrier that made up the demarcation between the sitting area, and the shabby little walnut desk he spent his hours behind, he had a clear view of the red-brick post office across the street.

Mrs. Krukowski was pulling herself up the steep cement stairs, the effort sending her knobby knees popping beneath her beige raincoat. He knew the old woman: she’d been in to buy insurance for her prim Chevy Vega, and on her way out the door she’d helped herself to a pocketful of his green and white mint candies.

He licked his lips, his cheeks twitching in anticipation.

By the time she was at the halfway point, he was up from his chair, leaning over the desk, confident the shadows would keep him invisible behind the bay window.

She reached the landing, taking a moment at the black handrail. She moved to the door.

It was locked.

Eddie hooted.

“Suckers’ll do it every time! Everyone knows the post office is closed on Sunday.”

She turned.

Eddie was sure the distance was too great for her to have heard him, but he ducked his eyes, focusing on doodling rough circles on the ancient cork mat that covered his desk.

He didn’t notice when Mrs. Krukowsi finally broke the stare of her eyeless sockets, and began to move on down the street.

* * *

It was later, and a noise from down the block rattled his attention away from the display pamphlets he’d been arranging and re-arranging in the sitting area.

Glancing at the street, Eddie moved to the rear of the office, recalling that he’d intended to clean up his coffee nook.

On the road, a man was running. Over seven feet tall, he had to stoop to keep the baby carriage upright at such speeds.

The navy blue buggy was on fire.

Annoyed at his inability to open the flower-patterned metal canister he kept the sugar in, Eddie began to slam it against the fake wood grain of the small table he kept the coffee pot on.

His eyes remained firmly fixed on the dark brown stir sticks.

* * *

Night was falling, and it struck Eddie that he should consider locking up.

In the distance, a ringing began, wobbling in and out of his hearing on a panicked wavelength.

Dogs flooded the street. Their bellies were lean, and their eyes were milky. They moved as a wall, over two hundred strong. They ran shoulder to shoulder, nose to anus. He could hear the whine of the pack through the thick glass of the window.

Then the children came, and he seemed to remember having seen them before.

One boy let go of his lunch pail as he ran, the flying blue plastic box slamming into the face of a pudgy companion in jean shorts.

The injured boy fell, and was immediately trampled by twin girls wearing matching pink spangled t-shirts and white skirts.

ChillerBringing up the rear was Monica Telfort. She was a volunteer driver for kids headed to Sunday school – a service offered up by some of Geeston’s high minded, to keep the young on God’s path while their parents slept off their Saturday night hangovers. Her good humour was legend amongst the chatterers who held court on the benches outside Monty’s convenience.

The notion that she’d picked up his own son that morning, to go on a picnic with his church-mates, slipped into Eddie’s mind.

She was screaming at the children, screaming and pointing into the distance beyond his view.

As Eddie watched, the woman fell to the ground, clutching at her throat.

No child stopped, and he could see tears and vomit on their shirts as they pounded past his window.

He backed away and sat down, deciding it was a good time to complete some paperwork.

His pale hand reached into his rotting and empty desk.

* * *

Monday, June 22nd, 1998

“I can’t feel a thing from my lower back to my ankles,” Les said, stepping down from the battered jeep.

“Sorry, but I wouldn’t risk running a car with actual shocks all the way out here, I’d just be asking to pay for something. Jeep-asaurus dies, I’ll unscrew the plates and we’ll just leave it here and hike out, find a payphone along the highway,” replied Bailey, slamming the flimsy door and pulling a green rucksack from the open trunk.

“Well, it’s not much of a holiday so far though, is it? At least back at the office my spine doesn’t ache.” Stretching, Les surveyed the buildings beyond the access road. “So, the town is pretty safe? I mean with the chemicals and everything?”

“Sure, the Chembax plant burnt down over twenty years ago now, just don’t go eating any moldy sandwiches, or rubbing moss into your eyes. It’s pretty clear around the buildings that aren’t charred cinders though, I guess the same cloud that gassed everyone settled into the soil – it keeps the forest from reclaiming everything. The rescue people took all the bodies and survivors away, but otherwise, things are pretty much Geeston, 1976.”

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Flash Pulp 037 – Beef-pocalypse Part 1 of 1

6 Jul

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Thirty-Seven.

Flash PulpThis evening: Beef-pocalypse, Part 1 of 1

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Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Due to a recent illness in the Flash Pulp family, tonight we belatedly present a short chiller tale on the nature of choice.

Flash Pulp 037 – Beef-pocalypse, Part 1 of 1

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May

Mom and Dad had always been accepting, but they’d never really understood.

“A little steak would do you good, get a little protein on them bones,” was about as bold a statement as they were willing to make on my eating habits.

At the time most of my friends didn’t even realize – I wasn’t the type to call attention to himself. My first year of university, however, I dated a girl named Helena, who was pretty hardcore into raw food. She pushed about it, but it just never happened for me.

ChillerIt takes a lot to stand between me and lemon pie.

What broke the relationship wasn’t my need to bake, it was a discussion we were having regarding veganism.

“I don’t care if I’m wearing a cow on my feet, I just don’t want to put one through my digestive tract,” was the last thing I ever said to her.

A few days later I was talking it out with a friend, and he struck right at the heart of beef-pocalypse:

“You can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time,” isn’t just an old saying, it’s a survival trait.”

So, great, genetically modified food and homogeneous farm practices have poisoned 96% of the country, and I’m proof of some sort of socially instituted survival of the fittest.

I just wish it hadn’t turned them all into zombies.

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Flash Pulp 032 – Lucy, Part 1 of 1

23 Jun

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Thirty-Two.

Flash PulpTonight’s tale: Lucy, Part 1 of 1

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This evening’s episode is brought to you by The Two Gay Guys on youtube.

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Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight we present another Chiller tale; a meditation on the lines between truth and suspicion, trust and necessity.

Flash Pulp 032 – Lucy, Part 1 of 1

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May

Billy Mutters was standing in the rain, living up to his name.

He had made a full circuit of the dark perimeter of his lawn, lingering especially at the thickly forested ravine that lay at the rear of the house. It had been a major reason behind his enthusiasm, when he and Ella had bought the place. Its edges were too steep to climb without effort, and the gash, which ran straight out for two miles before opening onto the lake east of town, made an effective moat against neighbours.

Lucy hadn’t been next door getting in the trash, she hadn’t been across the street making time with Milly Tremore’s Jack Russell.

He eyed the gash again, cocking an ear.

The wind and water were all he could hear.

“You pregnant idjit,” he said to the ravine.

He turned and made his way back to the house’s sliding patio door.

* * *

Ella had spent the following morning fussing with her dusty computer, and, after luring Billy into the kitchen with a ham and pickle sandwich, she presented him with a stack of flyers to staple to telephone poles.

“You may be retired, but I’m fairly sure I can squeeze some useful work out of you yet.”

“She’s probably just gone to have her puppies,” he replied. “I’m sure she’ll return when business is done. What use is a pregnant hunting dog anyhow?”

She pushed the flyers at him, her face no longer smiling.

“Don’t give me that, I’ve seen you up on your comfy chair with that mutt. You get your bones moving and find that girl.”

He carried off the second-half of the ham and pickle, as he left to rummage for his staple gun.

* * *

After a week, the flyers hadn’t worked. Neither had driving the neighbourhood yelling her name, knocking on people’s doors, or wishful thinking.

Ella mourned daily, printing out pictures of the dog at various stages of her life, often commenting on the spaniel’s beautiful flopping ears or soulful eyes.

So, after a week of it, and already feeling the ache in his hip, Billy pulled on his boots and worn hunting jacket, preparing to descend the muddy side of the gash.

He’d once given the self-contained forest a brief exploration, a decade previous when they’d first purchased the house. He’d found the prickly thicket that grew wild amongst the scratching pines to be too much – after a quick survey he’d headed home, with no interest in a return trip.

This time, as he followed the trickle of a creek that lay on the floor of the small valley, he’d nearly pushed through all the way to the lake. At the point where the ravine was wildest, and the forest thickest, he was brought to a stop by the sound of whining.

Pushing through the brush, he found her.

Her leg was ensnared in a pincer of three jagged rocks, and the awkward position made him think she’d likely fallen from the largest while drinking from the feeble stream.

He approached quickly and she lifted her head in greeting, licking at his face and hands.

It was then that he noticed her maw was bloody, and that she had been gnawing at the entrapped leg. Through the smear of fur, he could see she’d broken the skin. It was quite a mess, but nothing that was likely to be serious.

Lifting her free of her stone shackle, he carried her home.

* * *

The vet was optimistic.

“She’s chewed it up pretty good, and she’s a bit malnourished, but otherwise she’s fine. Keep applying the cream till the tube is out and try to keep her from licking it off. The hair won’t grow back entirely for a while, but pretty soon it’ll just look like a little rough patch, and after a few months you won’t be able to tell the difference.”

Ella smiled at the news, her hands rubbing either side of Lucy’s face to force the dog’s lips into different positions: surprised face, fat face, wind-storm face.

“What about her pups?” Bill asked.

He’d pushed himself too hard coming out of the ravine, and was now leaning heavily on the wicker cane from the front closet – maintained there by Ella, in case of such acts of selfless stupidity on his part.

The vet’s eyes flickered from his paper work to Billy, then back again.

“Hard to say. She’s not pregnant now though.”

* * *

He spoke his mind over the following evening’s ravioli.

“I think she ate them. I think she was starving down there for a week, and she just…”

Ella dropped her fork, staring at him.

Without speaking, she stood. Lifting her plate from the table, she dumped the untouched pasta into Lucy’s nearby dish.

She left.

After a moment the sound of Alex Trebek welcoming that night’s competitors drifted into the dining room.

He picked at his meal, eying the dog as it ate greedily.

* * *

ChillerIt was a month later, and Lucy was seated on the passenger seat of his truck, her head lolling out the window. The last four weeks had been tough on Billy. He’d been quick to anger when the dog entered the room, and his skin crawled every time the beast would take a loving lick at Ella’s face.

Then opening day of turkey season had come.

Following their yearly ritual, he’d loaded up the truck with supplies for a full day’s expedition, leaving at the first hint of dawn.

The highways had turned into back roads, the back roads had turned into dirt paths.

Bouncing along a fire access route, he brought the Ford to a stop and killed the engine. The silence of the trees settled in on all sides.

Realizing where she was, the cab became filled with the dog’s excited panting.

He opened her door for her, letting her take in the wild air.

Stepping down from the driver’s side, he reached into the bed of the truck, and snapped open the large plastic case that housed his shotgun.

As the dog ran delighted circles around the truck, he loaded the weapon.

With Lucy close behind, he put the gun over his shoulder, and hefted a shovel to the other.

He marched into the woods.

“Accidents happen. I’m sorry. You did what you had to do, but I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do, too.”

He sighed.

“I can’t have no baby killer in my house.”

He’d been explaining his position since they’d started the journey.

Finally, he threw down the shovel.

She was too close.

“All right, git you.” He couldn’t bring himself to put authority into his voice. The best he could manage was to get her to sit.

Sighting down his barrel, he shuffled a few steps backwards.

She stood.

“No! Sit!”

She sat.

Still too close, he took another quick step back.

As he fell backwards, the shotgun fired into the air.

The same moss covered stone that had tripped him, now caught his hip bone at a sharp angle.

At the sound of snapping, Lucy ran to her master.

* * *

He awoke and it was dark. The pain was ferocious.

His mouth was dry.

As he groaned, the dog came to his face, licking him. The pain of swatting the dog away ripped down his left side.

He passed out again.

* * *

He thought he’d been awake for quite a while, although he couldn’t really remember if it was a dream or not. The pain in his hip was everything now, although some moments were clearer than others.

He seemed to recall the dog occasionally disappearing into the tall grass, although she sat watching him now.

He often thought of Ella, and sometimes he was convinced she was looking for him, that a search would be there soon. Sometimes the dog just sat there staring and panting.

He became aware of another pain as the world grew dark, and then light again. Before noon had returned, hunger and thirst were his primary preoccupation.

A moment of clarity came, and, at his call, so did Lucy.

With the left side of his body screaming in protest, he ratcheted the gun.

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Flash Pulp 021 – Character

28 May

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Twenty-One.

Tonight’s story, Character, Part 1 of 1

Flash Pulp(Click play to listen or subscribe via libsyn RSS or iTunes)

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Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

This evening we present to you a thriller on the nature of backgrounds, and the lives lived in them.

Flash Pulp 021 – Character, Part 1 of 1

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May

McGillicuddy had been running The General Store since his father, Pop McGillicuddy, had fallen dead at the register.

Everyone in the area had agreed, in solemn tones, that it was how he would have wanted it. Privately, the junior McGillicuddy often wondered if the old man might have had a few more years if he hadn’t been surrounded by Hershey’s bars and beef jerky.

Still, his Mother had had him up on a stool hocking smokes before Pop’s socks were cold, and he’d remained behind the counter for the majority of the fifty-seven years since.

It was now a warm May Friday, and he was passing across a green pack of menthols while attempting to place the two couples who’d entered together.

“Out of towners? You look like one of the Merkel kids though – maybe one of Mary Merkel’s?” he asked the lamp-jawed twenty-one year old who’d stepped up to pay for his girlfriend’s habit.

“Yeah, Mom, er Mary Platt after she married Dad, but I guess Mary Merkel when you knew her, she actually died five years ago. Last week though, I get this call from the attorney who handles the estate, and he says that Granny Merkel also passed, leaving me the farm.” The boy held out a twenty. “I didn’t have much better to do this weekend, so I figured we’d drive out to see if it was worth selling.”

“Huh,” the old man said.

ChillerHe’d long considered the people both the best and worst part of manning the counter in such a rural area. He often found himself gumming the day away with the same friends he’d had since grade-school, but, as the only gas for thirty miles, he just as often found himself dealing with the same handful of local miscreants week-after-week.

The Merkels were largely regarded as a bunch of ruffians, but he’d never had trouble with the old woman, who’d come in weekly to buy her lotto numbers.

“Your Gran was a good lady. Don’t remember much about your Ma, though I’m sorry to hear she’s gone.” He handed back some change.

The boy nodded, his short friend stepping up to the counter and laying down a five while shaking his bag of Ringolos.

When all debts were settled, the group cleared out, lamp-jawed Platt tossing McGillicuddy a wave.

As the bell above the door rang their exit, the old man took up his paper, returning to the tale of Nelson Miller’s prize catch.

* * *

When dusk began to settle on the horizon, McGillicuddy stepped out into the heat, broom in hand. In recent years he’d found it tougher to spot the candy wrappers and soda cans that built up along the edges of the small patch of pavement, so he’d taken to heading out a might earlier than his father had, to ensure a pristine lot.

The hum of motors in the distance brought him to a halt, his hands resting atop the worn handle.

A black SUV roared by, its horn blaring – seconds later a battered white van followed, the noise of its engine nearly blotted out by the music that flooded from its open windows.

McGillicuddy recognized the van, but couldn’t place it. Guessing the hooligans were off to Fiddler’s Tavern over in Barkley, he shook his head and reflected on a time when cars were unsafe enough that those sorts of problems resolved themselves.

He lifted the broom and began wrangling a large pile of Werther’s foils that Bill Johnson had likely turned out from his truck’s cup holder. Dumping the full dustpan into the nearby trash barrel, McGillicuddy recalled that Bill was just as careless with his childhood Hubba Bubba wrappers.

“It’s always the same miscreants,” he muttered.

* * *

He was counting the till when the lamp-jawed inheritor re-entered.

McGillicuddy was startled by the arrival; he hadn’t heard an engine pull up.

The boy had pushed the entrance open with great effort, staggering down the aisle with one hand sliding along the magazine shelf for support. His legs seemed to be causing him trouble, as if they were rapidly increasing in weight.

“Cuz-,” he said, collapsing sideways.

As he fell, his flailing arm caught a wire rack full of Doritos. A red, orange and green avalanche buried him on the floor.

McGillicuddy stood a moment.

The lump of snacks remained still.

The old man’s hand went to the phone, but a second interruption came slamming through the door.

It was the mousy girl that the Platt boy had been holding by the waist earlier in the day. She had none of her boyfriend’s lack of energy as she came running at the counter.

As she attempted to speak, her throat would allow only a series of soft clicks. Her face and shirt were soaked with tears and sweat.

She swallowed hard and once again opened her mouth to speak – a spray of vomit drenched the counter’s transparent scratch-ticket display instead.

McGillicuddy did hear an engine then, the store’s glass door gleaming with the approaching headlights.

His newest paralysis broken, the old man once again reached for the phone, but as he did so, he glanced out the window to size up his latest customer.

It was Cindy Merkel’s boy, he realized, finally placing the ratty white van. He hadn’t seen that delinquent much since Gran Merkel had passed, and Sheriff Blair had been forced to set Deputies Jelly and Cameron on putting him out of the old woman’s house.

The tall youth stepped down from the running board, and pulled a goat mask over his eyes.

It was his only attire.

Reaching behind the driver’s seat, Goat-head pulled forth a red handled wood axe.

McGillicuddy was hypnotized watching the streaker stride across the lot. A high pitched tone began to drift from the girl’s throat as a greasy hand pushed open the door. She began to scramble over her own half digested Big Mac and Coke, in an attempt to find safety.

The old man dropped the phone receiver, grabbing the girl’s arm and pulling her over the sick.

Goat-head, the Merkel kid, approached with an even stride, the axe head slick with scarlet liquid.

“Always the same miscreants,” McGillicuddy said, his father’s double-barrel clearing the counter.

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Flash Pulp 019 – Eventide

25 May

Flash PulpWelcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Nineteen.

Tonight’s story, Eventide Part 1 of 1

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This episode is brought to you by opopanax.wordpress.com

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Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

This evening we bring you a tale of love and horror, a story about the difference between night and day.

Flash Pulp 019 – Eventide Part 1 of 1

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May

May 16th

Ellis flipped off the monitor and stood, his kneecaps popping, the office chair he’d been using wandering into a trajectory dangerous to the cat.

Mittens J. Nelson dodged the furniture, and after a reproachful glare at his inattentive master, padded from the room.

Rubbing an eye, Ellis began collecting up the detritus of his day – a stack of empty soda cans, half a plate of pasta left from supper, some McDonald’s wrappers from lunch. Tossing what he could, he slid through the apartment in the dark, bouncing off the recliner and entering the kitchen to deposit his dishes. There was a note on the counter.

“Hope your reports are finally done. (If they are, why aren’t you in bed with me already?) The coffee maker is set to go for the morning, I thought you might need it. Miss & love you, XOX, Monica.”

He smiled, flipped off the light, and again walked into the darkness, this time towards the bedroom.

As he slid between the cool sheets, Monica rustled.

“Love you,” she said.

“Love you too,” Ellis whispered, settling his limbs amongst her familiar contours.

“Love you,” she repeated, and he realized her words were likely echoing from some deep dream.

“Love you too,” he repeated, once again smiling.

“Murder you,” she said.

He told himself it was just part of the dream.

Still, he didn’t reply.

After a moment the room’s silence was broken only by the couple’s rhythmic breathing.

June 5th

To celebrate the closing of The Michigan Deal, Ellis and Monica had spent a night dancing. Ellis had resisted at first, he had a long standing anti-dance policy, but Monica insisted, and the cut of her new red dress sealed the deal.

It was late by the time they’d returned home, and slightly later by the time they’d re-mastered how to use their door key. Floating past the entry closet on a cloud of daiquiris, Monica shooed away Mittens J., who’d begun to entwine himself around her leg.

Fixing Ellis with a wicked eye, she released the bonds of her dress.

An hour later Ellis was at the fridge, looking for something to help down the advil he hoped would proof him against the pain of the coming morning. Mewling his discontent, the cat slammed its head into his ankle, extravagantly massaging his calf with its neck.

Grabbing the Meow Mix from the top of the fridge, he located the feline’s dish and filled it to the brim.

Having downed the Advil with two mouthfuls of milk straight from the container, Ellis made his way along the hall to the bedroom, gently weaving, occasionally lifting a hand to the wall to straighten his course.

Finally managing a controlled crash onto the bed, he leaned over Monica, planting an awkward kiss on her temple. Her first response was to continue her whistling snoring, but after a moment a thought seemed to swim into her mouth from the depths of her slumber.

Chiller“I’ll gut you like a rotting catfish,” she said.

There was a brief stretch of silence as her gentle wheeze continued.

He decided to sleep on the couch.

June 8th

“I’m sorry, really, I don’t know why I’d say those things, but you know I love you,” she said, taking a long sip of her iced tea.

They’d ordered twenty minutes previous, but the smiling girl in the black apron had yet to return with their plates of cheese cappelletti. Still, Ellis was glad that the patio area of Bistro-nauts had remained empty for most of their discussion.

“Listen, I know, I feel like an idiot for worrying about it, but you’d be pretty freaked out if every now and then, while coming to bed, I informed you I was going to shiv you in the dark.”

“Just wake me up next time OK? I thought you were sleeping on the couch because you were mad at me for something, you really had me worried.”

The smell of baked cheese drifted to the table, their server close behind.

June 12th

Monica had spent another breakfast apologizing, departing for work with a kiss and a naughty promise for atonement.

Ellis dragged his slippered feet to the couch, lifting his phone to call Bill at the office. It was the third day in a row he’d begged off with a feeble excuse, and Bill, with a chiding tone, suggested he use up some vacation time.

Ellis agreed.

Turning off the cell entirely, he curled up on the plush couch cushions and pulled the scratchy woolen blanket over his head, hoping to blot out the bright morning.

Fifteen minutes later he snorted awake, tossing off the blanket and coming suddenly to his feet.

In his dream Monica had been standing over him in the living room, a black handled fillet knife in hand, muttering: “gut you, cut you, gut you, cut you, gut, cut, gut, cut,” – the chant that now filled the reality of his nights.

June 15th

There was nowhere within the apartment to escape to, and nowhere he wanted to be without the shining Monica of daylight.

He held her even as she murmured.

He’d tried the couch, ear plugs, falling asleep to music – the unknown had only pushed slumber further away.

In the shadowed bedroom he could see no horizon, no time before this period of endless fatigue, and certainly no end to it.

He shook her awake.

“Er, what?” she asked, her puffy face coming off her pillow.

“You were talking again,” he replied, the relief of hearing reason from her mouth nearly bringing him to tears.

“Jesus, Ellis, it’s,” she fumbled for the clock. “4 am! I’ve actually got to work in the morning you know.”

She rolled over.

June 17th

For nearly an hour, Ellis stood at the foot of the bed, Mittens J. Nelson kneading at his socked feet.

Earlier he’d spent an eternity on the mattress, Monica’s slurred words building a ball of tension in his stomach that eventually choked his lungs and brought the taste of bile to the back of his throat.

So he’d gotten up to leave – but his now regular exodus had been halted by a snort and change in the tone of Monica’s sleep muttering.

He’d waited, inwardly pleading for quiet, and, for an instant, he’d held the salvation of silence.

He squeezed his traveling pillow as a child embraces a teddy bear.

There was a grunting snore, and the spell was broken. A croaking toad’s tone drifted from the bed:

“Gonna rip you open, Ellis. Gonna mash your insides between my fingers like ripe bananas.”

It was too much for the fear and frustration rattling around in his sleep-starved brain. Seeing no escape, he’d frozen for that long hour, joined only by the cat.

Finally, a new idea took root, fertile in the muck of his brain’s fetid exhaustion.

Kicking away Mittens J., he adjusted his grip on the pillow.

He began to shuffle towards the bed.

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.