Tag Archives: occult

Disappearing Act

22 Mar

Mercado de Sonora - from wikimedia: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mercado_de_Sonora_M%C3%A9xico_DF_20_04_07.jpg

Mercado de Sonora (Sonora Market) is a mercado público, or city-established traditional market, located just southeast of the historic center of Mexico City in the Colonia Merced Balbuena neighborhood. – wikipedia

There are situations, like children and the script to last night’s episode, which eventually leave your control to take on a life of their own, a life that can bring anxiety and heartbreak.

If only we lived in a world like Will Coffin’s, in which we could turn to magic for a solution – well, supposedly, the people who frequent Mercado de Sonora have just such an advantage.

Mercado de Senora - from flickr: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/4/4248588_7fd5106bc5_o.jpg

The two types of products, herbal medicines and magical/occult items, are not completely separate[…] The variety of medicinal plants sold is vast and include avocado leaves for inflammations, chiranthodendron for the heart, jacaranda flowers for the stomach and more. There is also dried rattlesnake, which is considered a medicine against cancer, dried skunk to “strengthen the blood,” and starfish. Plant items more strongly associated with magic and religion include crosses of ocote wood for good luck, chains of garlic to ward off evil and deer eyes to protect against the “evil eye.” – wikipedia

The herbs provide an interesting selection, and I’d be interested to see if there was any science behind some their usages, but none listed are quite what I’m shopping for.

The market sells occult items related to magic (white and black), pre-Hispanic religious and magical traditions, Santería, the cult of Santa Muerte, shamanism, and various others […] [i]tems for sale include amulets, horseshoes, candles in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colors, with many of the colors have very specific functions, gold dust, black salt, powders of unknown ingredients, “water of Saint Ignatius” to ward off unwanted attention, aromatic lotions and soaps, many of which are related to love spells and more – wikipedia

No, still nothing to correct a nappy narrator; I suppose I’ll just have to stick to invoking the ancient rites of my people:

Flash Pulp 139 – Coffin: Condolences, Part 1 of 1

9 Mar

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

Flash Pulp

Tonight we present, Coffin: Condolences, 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, Will Coffin, urban shaman, takes his roommate to a bar of ill repute, to meet a man with a volatile history.


Flash Pulp 139 – Coffin: Condolences, Part 1 of 1

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


Three weeks after she’d moved in, Will Coffin boarded a city bus with his perennially drunk roommate, Bunny, and escorted her to the only bar he frequented, Dorset’s.

As the behemoth lost momentum and opened to disgorge them at their location, Will chose his words carefully.

“I need you to be very quiet,” he said.

“Huh?” she replied.

Bunny had spent most of the trip occupied with a crossword she’d dug out of some previous passenger’s discarded newspaper, and, while her eyes still roved between the clues and the playing area, Coffin suspected the majority of the available boxes were in little danger of being solved.

He tried again.

“We’re here to meet an old fella. He’s excitable, and you need to remain very still.”

“Does he #### magic like the rest of your friends?”

“He’s not a friend, he’s a client,” he replied. “A sad man – a suicidal fext. I need you to behave, please.”

The spidery tracts left by drink, which ran across Bunny’s cheeks, flushed with annoyance.

“Why did you bring me if I’m just going to be a pain in your ###?”

Will touched his thumb to his throat and scratched.

“If I had left you at the apartment, after a bit of vodka you’d accidentally rip a hole between our dimension and one of infinite terror, at which point everyone’s eyes would be eaten by giant moths, as their feet were being devoured by the burrowing of worms.”

“Holy ####, is that even possible?” Bunny asked, her puzzle forgotten.

“Maybe, maybe not.” He coughed, then added, “don’t touch my stuff.”

His lined face made it difficult to tell if he was smirking.

The short walk brought them to the red-brick facade of Dorset’s. Inside was a darkened main room, with tables scattered about its center, and booths lining three of the walls – the final wall, opposite the door, was dominated by a long run of oak. Behind the bar stood an array of cheap liquor bottles, each in a varying stage of consumption, and Dorset, the owner, as squat as his building.

Will waved to the proprietor as he entered, and the man raised a hand in reply.

Coffin had never seen the place with the lights up, and he thought it was probably to his benefit. Smoking had been banned from the interior for years, but the tavern had retained the scent of the thousands of ghostly cigarettes who’d met their end there.

He approached an already occupied booth, and urged his companion to sit before scooting onto the bench after her.

The occupant, an aging gent with short gray hair and a sharp face, nodded at Coffin’s arrival, and the two exchanged pleasantries in a tongue beyond Bunny’s comprehension.

Despite the language barrier, she could tell that whatever good-humour Will had entered with was soon forgotten.

The client swallowed a mouthful of beer, and locked eyes with Bunny.

“When I was but a boy, my mother made me carry about a portion of my afterbirth, under my left arm. Do you know what that does to a person?”

“Gives him a wicked stench? I dunno,” she replied.

Coffin“No – I am a fext, or became one, at least. A Slavic tradition.” He finished his drink, and signaled Dorset at his station. “I am immortal, well, nearly – the list of items which might kill me is short. In my youth, years ago, I fought in wars. I was a man of bravery and recognition, or so I thought. At the age of forty – although I looked twenty at the time – I charged a cannon battery, with a broken-bladed dagger, and killed all who would stay still long enough. I was drunk at the time, but I doubt any of the dead were beyond nineteen.”

The old man rolled his cup along its bottom edge, shadowing the moist circle of condensation that marked its placement.

He continued.

“What is bravery when no normal blade or bullet can cause you harm?”

Bunny blinked.

“She’s not -,” began Will, only to be interrupted.

“I apologize, my name is Colonel Andrik Korda. I was not expecting such lovely company at my funeral, but I appreciate any friend of Mr Coffin’s.”

“Kind of a ####ty location for a wake – who died?” asked Bunny, brushing back a tangled strand of hair.

“I will. The rest of the guests have yet to arrive. Your friend, he is helping me to do so.”

“Why?” she pressed.

“It pays well,” muttered Coffin.

“I have been here over four-hundred years. I am tired,” said the fext.

Dorset deposited another chilled serving, then stood waiting as the old man retrieved a five-dollar bill from his ratty suit jacket. To ease his search, Korda removed a pristine flintlock pistol from his pocket, and set it down on the table.

Bunny’s eyes moved from the weapon to the establishment’s owner, and back again, but the barkeep did nothing but wait patiently for his due.

Will used the opportunity to return to business.

“It arrived just yesterday,” he set a glass sphere, the width of a nickel, upon the table.

As Dorset returned to his position, to deal with the pressing demands of a blond man in a plaid coat, Andrik eyed the ball.

“It does not seem like much,” he said.

“I have been given every reassurance that it will survive being fired. Just don’t over-powder your pistol.” replied Coffin.

The ancient soldier picked up the bullet that would be the instrument of his destruction, and watched Bunny’s warped shape through its curved surface.

“Four-hundred years is a long ####ing time,” she said, “surely there’s something worth going on for?”

Will turned to her then. His face was impassive. but his eyes worked hard to strangle her words.

Korda also looked the woman over, but a different sort of passion seemed to enter his gaze.

“Well,” said Coffin,“Mrs. Davis’ hands are not entirely unfamiliar with killing either, her former husband can attest to that.”

The news did little to negate the embers stoking in the would-be suicide’s psyche. He smiled.

Will pushed on.

“Why don’t you tell her about what you did during the mid-‘80s.”

Whatever aspirations had awoken in the colonel were snuffed.

“It was a different war – a different place. The chemicals of South America were broad and beautiful. I do not know how many died so that I might powder my nose.” Korda shrugged. “Car bombs are quite a bit more effective when you can simply drive them into the offending party’s living room, look them in the eye, wave, and then detonate the trigger.”

There was a moment of silence.

“Anyhow,” Coffin said, standing. “The rest of your mourners will be here shortly, so we’ll pay our respects and get moving along. I have your payment, and you have my thanks – and condolences.”

Will exchanged a handshake with the dying man, then departed, with Bunny in tow.


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 137 – Jabber, Part 2 of 2

5 Mar

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

Flash Pulp

Tonight we present, Jabber, Part 2 of 2
(Part 1Part 2)
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, Will Coffin must also face down the terrible maw of the Jabber.


Flash Pulp 137 – Jabber, Part 2 of 2

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


Will Coffin eyed the geese paddling about the smooth surface of Capital River, and thought hard about ignoring the conversation. The flow of water had once been too fast here for the foul to comfortably lounge, but the new construction project down stream had done much to stymie the rush. He threw some bread crust to the eager beaks.

As he sagged against the black railing that hemmed the city park along the bank, the young man who’d been speaking set his elbow on the iron and leaned in.

“So?” the youth said, his breath smelling of hot-dog-cart mustard.

“I don’t know what you want from me, I’m just here to help the neighbourhood.”

The close-talker drew back from the response and adjusted his tie.

“Please. I understand why you maintain this folksy “just helpin’ folks, hyuck-hyuck” persona, but I am a man of understanding. I know you are the keeper of thirteen of the thirty-three relics known to exist. I also know that you are a man of some power, and influence. We are requesting an alliance.”

“I’ve seen crack dealers run this same scam.” Will replied. “To them, a friend today is a customer tomorrow. Your boss isn’t interested in politics, or corporate power, or whatever aspiration you figure you have with that poorly-tailored suit – he’s interested in your gooey mouth-meat; and mine; and everyone’s. I’ve read Blackhall’s book.”

“As have I – the man was a liar and a scoundrel – but, if you have such a distaste, why did you agree to come?”

“Your telemarketer tactics of calling me every fifteen minutes.”

“Persistence is the first step to success.”

Coffin cringed at the chestnut.

Coffin“I sympathize with your situation,” he said, “but the tongue you’re wagging is eventually going to be its lunch. You may not be able to understand that, given its ability to run off with your gray-matter, but its inevitable.”

“Oh, I’m not his slave – think of me as his, uh, manager. The Jabber is likely thousands of years old, but these aren’t the dark ages, he can’t just go around gorging on peasants. Someone has to keep him from eating everybody.” Will gave the man’s grin a hard look. The would-be broker continued, “- and uh, there are uses for an indestructible killer, uses by important people. Good people.”

He wasn’t sure if he believed it, but even the hint that the agent was acting of his own free will made it easier for Coffin to attempt to break his jaw. The force of his punch wasn’t the greatest portion of the impact, however, as the shaman had wrapped his silver chain about his knuckles, and the occult links – usually reserved for interaction only with disembodied spirits – caused a brief ethereal shadow to jump from the emissary’s shoulders, as if the concussion had nearly dislodged his living ghost from his flesh.

He collapsed to the asphalt that marked the park’s paths.

Turning his back to unconscious man, and the falling dusk, Coffin started up the squat hill towards the sharp-faced figure, which appeared near fifty, who’d watched the exchange intently. As Will neared, it did not rise from its splintered seat.

Dropping its lower jaw, it began to speak through a a gray quiver of barbs.

“Jubrun talbotin dallingar ed barimu.”

It continued on, and, as the shadows grew, so did the Jabber’s volume.

Soon the form stood on his bench, towering a head’s length over Will, and flecks of reddish liquid began to take flight from the thing’s lips, under the strength of its non-sense argument.

Coffin heard nothing of the hypnotic babble; he’d donned industrial level ear protection as he’d climbed the short rise. When he was satisfied that his modern defence was strong enough to stand the ancient problem, he lit a Zippo in signal.

Concern had crept into the Jabber’s raging eyes, and it turned at the flicker of a pair of worn jeans, and a Motley Crue t-shirt, entering into its circle of influence.

“You goat ####ing ###hole! I’ve heard about you ####-o – you eating tiny little babies tongues and ####? That’s god-####ed filthy, man! What kind of ####ing walrus tugger are you? Will told me you might have even ####ing killed my great-grandmother – ####ing bull#### you #### glazing feline ####er!”

Bunny, Coffin’s roommate, raised high the rum bottle she’d spent her wait with, then continued on in her rant.

The horror staggered.

Despite it’s best efforts to respond, the beast could make no arcane purchase against the polyurethane and plastic noise-canceling ear-muffs, and its ways were too deeply ingrained by time to make any other gambit.

By midnight – with hours spent by Coffin in an effort to turn away pedestrians from the apparent drunken, and screaming, couple – the creature had collapsed.

Will threw the crumpled form over his shoulder with a grunt, and they made their way to the river’s edge.

Draining the last of her liqour, Bunny asked, “What now?”

“Eight years ago I did a favour for a guy named Jim Bondo. He was a foreman working on an office building in the downtown core, and he’d come to the conclusion that his site was on an Indian graveyard or something. It wasn’t – he just had a lot of superstitious Germans on his crew, and that had attracted gremlins to the heavy machines – but I corrected the situation anyhow.” As Coffin spoke, his companion retrieved another bottle from the interior of her over-sized purse. “He’s huge in construction now, runs one of the biggest firms in the city – big enough that they got the contract for the new dam going in down stream. I figure waking up in a few hundred tons of concrete should occupy him for quite some time.”

It was a long walk ahead, and Will was happy to wet his throat when Bunny offered.


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.