CCR005 – The Bat

2

Posted on by

CCR5 - The Bat: Starring Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download MP3
[CCR Feed: RSS/iTunes | Skinner Co.: RSS/iTunes]

Your hosts, Hugh of Way of the Buffalo, Rich the Time Traveler, Opopanax, and Jurd, have gathered this evening to consider 1959’s The Bat, starring Agnes Moorehead and Vincent Price.

Haven’t seen the flick yet? Here you go!

Chrononaut Cinema Reviews is presented by http://skinner.fm and Way of the Buffalo, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Research Fodder January 22, 2015

0

Posted on by

  • Urban Death Project
    “The Urban Death Project (UDP) utilizes the process of composting to safely and gently turn our deceased into soil-building material, creating a meaningful, equitable, and ecological urban alternative to existing options for the disposal of the dead. The project is a solution to the overcrowding of city cemeteries, a sustainable method of disposing of our dead, and a new ritual for laying our loved ones to rest.”
  • CONFESSIONS OF A FUNERAL DIRECTOR » Ten Things About Human Decomposition
    “Exploding Caskets It’s rare. But it happens. The idea is pretty simple: a body is placed in a sealed casket, the gases from the decomposing corpse become trapped. The pressure rises and before you know it the casket is like an overblown balloon. It doesn’t necessarily explode like balloon, but it will spill out all the nasty fluids and gasses trapped inside. “
  • Meet the Women Who Guard China’s Millionaires | VICE | United States
    From Opop: “When I’m with my client at home, I can dress a little more casual,” she remarked of her cyberpunk get-up, her hair pulled into a high ponytail. “Out at galas or other functions, I dress more feminine. I present myself as a secretary so no one realizes I’m a bodyguard.”

FPSE25 – Cloak

0

Posted on by

Welcome to Flash Pulp Special Episode 25.

Flash PulpTonight we present Cloak

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download MP3

(RSS / iTunes)

 

This week’s episodes are brought to you by Nutty Bites

 

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 brief super-heroic tale from the pulpy pages of Capital City’s funny books. A story of bumbling newsmen, space avengers, and true villainy.

 

Mouthy

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

 

Bruce Clark was collecting his jacket and snapping shut his laptop as his date, Margot Cranston, watched him over her smirk. It was nearly midnight, so the main floor of the Daily Bulletin was empty except the lovers, but the newsman was in a hurry to be away.

“We’ll catch a quick bite to eat,” he was saying, “head back to my place for a, uh, a few moments, then I’ll scoot you home before he -”

Beyond the frosted glass of the front entrance the elevator dinged.

The hallway filled with two bursts of muttering, one low, one aggravated, then the door swung wide.

Lee Cranston, Margot’s husband, shuffled across the threshold.

His face was red, his cheeks damp. He turned his head away from the adulterers, unable to meet their wide-eyed stares.

Margot found her voice, taking a step forward.

“I’m so sorry, Lee. I didn’t want you to find out like this.”

Her husband made no reply, so she continued.

“Even you have to know things have gotten bad. It’s to the point where you’re away all night, every night, drinking – then, when you finally drag yourself from bed the next day, you’re an utter mess.”

“I have loved you so,” offered the injured man.

“- and I have loved you, but it’s not enough! You’re always missing. You’re always distracted. You’re always focused on ‘heading to have a few with the boys.’ When you disappeared from your sister’s wedding reception in June… well, that’s when I met Bruce.”

“My own sister’s wedding?”

“You were drunk and in a gutter for three days! I thought you might be dead!”

“What makes this chump better?”

“He’s a journalist! He’s got a job! He’s a good man!”

The shadows beyond Lee’s left shoulder shifted, and the menace that was the Blood Manticore stepped forward. Hefting a gnarled energy weapon of his own malevolent design, the recent prison escapee welcomed himself into the intimate scene.

Margot and Bruce returned to their state of stunned surprise, but Lee simply continued his heavy breathing and shoulder heaving.

“Oops,” said the Manticore, his lion’s face pulled into a tight grin, “do not let me interrupt.”

Skinner Co.: Makers of fine fantasy, horror, and science fiction podcasts“What?” asked Bruce. “Why are you here? Did you bring a hitman, Lee? I didn’t even know she was married!”

The villain chuckled and prodded Lee’s spine with the broad muzzle of his cannon, insisting, “I said go on.”

Lee turned, his voice having found fresh strength, and repeated his question.

“How do you know he’s a good man? I’ve read his articles and most of them are excuses to complain about high taxes and the poor people he has to step over when he exits his neighbourhood.”

Behind him, the monster’s scorpion tale danced with eager curiosity.

Taking a deep breath, Margot’s lips flattened, as Lee knew his wife’s lips did whenever she’d come to a hard decision.

“Well,” she replied, “you know that I’ve had a history with Rocket Strongman. Bruce and I were together during that blimp tour that went out of control, and it was just as he ran to lock himself in the bathroom, pretending to vomit, that Rocket Strongman appeared. The same sort of thing happened when the lunar invaders tried to turn the city into a private zoo. There’s so much love in the eyes behind that mask, and, well, he’s always so flirtatious.

“How can I think he’s a good man? Well, honestly, I – I believe that Bruce is Rocket.”

The woman wheeled on her lover suddenly, whispering loudly, “save him!”

The reporter’s forehead dropped into his rising palms. “We’ve talked about this. I’m in news, I work long hours, when would I even have time? I’ve told you already that it’s just a coincidence that you’ve never seen us together.”

“Coincidence?” answered Lee, his voice seeming to gain heat, “It’s not coincidence. When there’s danger you sprint away so quickly Margot doesn’t even realize why you’re gone.

“I’ve known for a long time – well, a couple months, but it’s felt like forever. I realized when you were trapped together on the Hilton’s rooftop during Zombie Ape’s attack on the city. I – ”

Cranston looked from the newsman’s clean-shaven jaw to the gaping barrel of the Blood Manticore’s matter disassembler.

With a shrug, he gave up his secret.

“Margot, I’m sorry, but I’m Rocket Strongman. That’s why we’re here. Old Bloody here discovered my secret, and thus my weakness: You.

“I’ve known, but I’ve been unable to do anything about it. It’s been killing me. I damn near actually did start drinking. If I’d said anything, though, it would’ve given away my identity.

“Besides, I thought it would be the best thing for you. You were happier than you’ve been in a while, and I’ve always worried that you’d get hurt. You weren’t the one struck by the meteor, you don’t need to carry that responsibility.

“You mentioned my sister’s wedding – you didn’t find it odd that my disappearance and supposed binge happened to coincide with the Condor Crisis? I mean, I was finding feathers all over the apartment for days after I got home.

“Still, I should have told you.”

Silence descended on the room as Margot’s face shifted under the stresses of processing this new information.

Finally, Bruce asked the Manticore, “will you kill us all now?”

“Are you kidding me?” replied the beast, “Pushing my luck with a fight at this point would be an amateur mistake. It’s just when you learn these sorts of juicy tidbits that we villainous folk seem at highest risk of memory-erasing blunt force trauma, or, worse, an accidental death. I’m a mastermind, I play the long game: Outing Rocket Strongman to the press while destroying his marriage will do nicely.

“Have a bad night, y’all.”

After deploying his signature red smoke screen, they watched his shadow stroll away beyond the frosted glass.

Bruce turned his attention to the strongman. “Aren’t you going to chase him? None of the windows in this building open and I didn’t hear the elevator, so the stairs are the -”

As Clark spoke, Margot stood from her perch at the desk’s edge and approached her droop-shouldered husband.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

“I’m sorry,” he replied.

Much to the Manticore’s pleasure, and to the final detriment of Margot Cranston’s relationship with Bruce, the Daily Bulletin’s readers were well aware of Lee’s identity come the morning.

Yet, five years later, when an errant transmorphing beam passed through Archimede’s Gem and into the glass factory in which The Evil Twins had Margot’s tour trapped – the very moment she became Ms. Transparent – she was still gladly wearing her husband’s ring.

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

Freesound.org credits:

Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

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

FP410 – The Murder Plague: Recoil

0

Posted on by

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and ten.

Flash PulpTonight we present The Murder Plague: Recoil

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download MP3

(RSS / iTunes)

 

This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Forum

 

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 attempt to survive another encounter on the streets of Capital City alongside our hero, Harm Carter, a victim of the homicidal paranoia that infects the city’s inhabitants.

 

The Murder Plague: Recoil

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

 

Let’s talk, for a moment, about gunfights – and, more specifically, about gunfights at a time when a solid portion of the population has been infected in such a way as to think they’re the new Gary Cooper in town.

In my more adventurous years, as a young man on foreign soil, I’d occasionally found myself firing the rifles Uncle Sam kept handing me. I have never been a master shot, but, honestly, the technique we employed in dispensing ammunition across the countryside was often more a matter of statistics than precision.

All that to say: Even before Hitchcock’s disease convinced every grandmother to hide a revolver in her purse and every Saturday hunter that he should find a bell tower to climb, I’d already survived the lottery that is the high-velocity exchange of projectiles on more than one occasion.

Even then, I recall, a week or two into my own madness, encountering a darkened baseball diamond. Nothing overwrought, just a neighourhood lot with a chain-link backstop, two benches, a plywood concession stand, and a playground set off to the side to keep the local softball team’s kids entertained while they were swinging bats.

A cargo truck had been stationed in the outfield, and a tall-legged canvas tent had collapsed onto second base. Bottles of water waited on open palettes, and a stack of folding chairs sat, un-deployed, not far from the vehicle.

The scene rang of an aborted attempt at a governmental emergency response. Perhaps they’d tried setting up an evacuation point – I couldn’t tell what had happened to disappear all involved, but there was definitely a feeling as if the hulking rig had been vacated with haste, like a landlocked Mary Celeste.

Flash Pulp's The Murder Plague: A Science Fiction Fantasy PodcastIn search of supplies, I’d been crawling along the garden path between a two-car garage and a bungalow that’d had every one of its windows thoroughly shattered. I remember thinking the fluttering of the lace curtains blown through the living room’s missing bay window quite beautiful as I sat watching for any movement in, or across from, the park.

Feeding yourself when all is paranoia is a tricky matter. I’d spent the previous weeks stepping into booby traps, and there was no greater bait than the rations I suspected were abandoned to the feral grass.

Still, my stomach’s rumbling was a persuasive counter-argument, so the debate lasted a surprising while.

An hour into my vigil a cloud bank fought the moon for dominance of the sky, and my brain chemistry shifted from wait to run. Stooping low, I sprinted, full-tilt, from my location to the shelter of the metal bumpers lining the diamond’s car-less gravel lot, then along the wooden outfield fence and into the relief camp’s shadow.

From that distance I could see more signs of sudden passage – papers spread around the disordered turf and medical paraphernalia toppled near the thick rubber tires – but I could also make out the flat brown packaging that indicated a stack of MREs in the rear of the flatbed.

Things were going really well until I stepped onto the back of the truck.

The two-story houses on the far side of home plate all looked to have been picked from the same catalogue. Most were undamaged, and each one sported equally dark windows and closed garages at the end of paved driveways.

From the second floor of the third home from the right, however, a blinking light of death took to looking for me. Someone was waving a silenced automatic weapon in my direction.

Muzzle flash wasn’t my only sign of danger, though: The exploding bottles of water to my right were also a pretty good indication. I went over the truck’s side backwards, like a Navy diver enters the drink, but I landed like a drunken albatross in high wind.

Yet there was no chance to complain about my injured spine, as the winking flare was already busy conducting heavy duty body-work on the Army’s chariot.

Now, I wasn’t without my own means, but I was as well off chucking rocks at that distance as I was using a pistol. That did not stop me, however, from pulling my automatic from its pocket and making the first noises of the night.

At the least, I figured some excitement in the shooter’s direction would do little to steady their aim.

While throwing away my bullets, I ran. I hustled past the guest team’s bench, the surface splintering under the flicker, and made a dive for the concession stand.

There was definitely a proper door to the shack, but it was around back and I didn’t have the time. Instead, I plunged head long into the large hinged flap that would normally be pinned up to indicate the stand was open for business, hoping all the while that it wasn’t locked.

It was definitely locked.

The panic in my feet was such, though, that it didn’t really matter. The spinning slats of wood they rotated into place to hold the sheet down snapped under my impact, and the hatch gave way far enough to deposit me firmly on the cement slab that made up the floor.

There were two people already sheltering inside.

The man was maybe twenty-five. His hair had been close-cropped at some point, but it’d been quite a while since he’d seen a razor. He was dressed in jeans and a dark blue t-shirt, but I could have easily pictured him in a uniform before the collapse set in. She was maybe eighteen, wearing black stretch pants, a thick gray sweater, and a ponytail that seemed to bounce in defiance of the misery around her.

When I think on that moment I’m always slightly relieved I didn’t kill them, but, honestly, if I hadn’t emptied my weapon ahead of my arrival I’d likely have done exactly what the disease insisted.

They ran then, out the door I hadn’t used. There was a half eaten sandwich on the ground, a small guttering candle, and a harness with three grenades strung across it.

I didn’t wonder, then, how the pair had managed to stick together without murdering each other. I did wonder how anyone could possibly forget such useful equipment when departing, but I was too far distant from ordinary human perspective to understand that sort of surprise anymore.

Whatever the case, I stopped consideration of the matter twenty feet into their escape, when the fellow’s head blossomed three red stitches.

The woman did not pause, but she did scream as she doubled her speed and disappeared between a white Escalade and a maroon Mini Cooper across the way.

There must have been more twinkling from the second floor rifleman, as the SUV’s rear window shattered, but the block settled into silence once the runner was safely in the shadows.

I was left to wait and consider.

It’s hard to know where my will to survive stopped and the disease began. I obsessed about the grenades – how I might use them to defeat the deadly light blinking in the distance – but, the truth was, there was no hope I could cover the ground and remain free of some copper and lead marbling. My logical mind won that argument at least.

My brain worked every corner, rattling every scrap of material I had at hand, but there’s the reality of combat in a nutshell: It’s good to be fast, and it’s good to be accurate, but it’s not always enough.

In the end the madness decided on making a run for the truck. I can see now that I would have been just as dead as the t-shirted lad no further than ten yards from my shelter, but there was a strange commonality between the Murder Plague and being a contestant on Jeopardy. Tension makes the solution harder to see, and there is a constant need to do something. Sometimes that meant anything.

Loading another clip into my marble thrower, I did my best to steady my hand, and stood.

As I’ve said, there’s too much randomness in a firefight for my liking, but there are some rules that seem to hold. One is that chucking bullets will lead to bullets being chucked back at you. This scales all the way from a small bank robbery to the invasion of a Middle Eastern nation. If you’re going to do unto others you either have to massacre them all or accept the same kindness.

Even as I pulled back the hatch and let fly with my peashooter, the blinking became a brief nova, then portions of shredded flower-print curtain and beige house-siding began to rain across the lawn.

Deciding that was the perfect time to shop, I beelined to the brown bags, grabbed a double armful, and made for the same garden path that’d brought me there.

I’m glad I never came across the girl again. I suspect – no, I believe – that she acted out of revenge, meaning she wasn’t sick but a simple, angry, innocent. I’m also not sure I would have survived a second encounter: Even sane she’d thought to do what her lover hadn’t, bring some grenades.

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

Freesound.org credits:

Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

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

FP409 – Chum

0

Posted on by

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and nine.

Flash PulpTonight we present Chum

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download MP3

(RSS / iTunes)

 

This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Melting Potcast

 

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 tale of summer miscreancy and the unexpected phantasms of childhood.

 

Chum

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

 

The twelve-year-olds, Chuck and Grim Tom, were sitting on the splinter-filled bench that ran the length of the camp’s convenience store. They were sipping Dr. Peppers.

“Ain’t nothing interesting ever happen here,” Chuck was saying, his can already half empty.

Grim Tom smiled.

“That’s not true, there was that time the Gupta’s trailer caught fire, and the pig roast is tonight,” he replied, his can still half full.

Filmore Park, Capital City’s finest – or at least nearest – RV site, spread out from their perch. To the left, just behind the sparklingly-clean Canyon Stars of Filmore’s jetset, was a hilltop view of Lake Pichimonga. The hill itself was beset with jagged stones, inhabitable only by stubs of persistent grass, ensuring the richest campers prime scenery without disruption from the rabble.

To the right, down the sloping road that cut through the more tightly-packed sprawl, lay the small dock, the swings, and the hurly burly surrounding the boys’ own modest motorhomes.

Grim Tom had befriended Chuck during the first summer either had spent visiting the park. Now, after three seasons of water fights, preteen politics, and fireside crushes, they felt as if they had spent their entire lives scaling the moss-covered boulders and roaming the woods surrounding the rows of electrical outlets.

Finishing his soda with an extended slurp, Grim Tom lobbed the tin husk towards the recycling barrel and turned to witness the approach of a distant engine.

From beyond the corner of the store came the largest RV either youth had ever encountered. Its towering white walls seemed to bulge under their own weight, but every surface wide enough to contain a window had been converted into an expanse of glass.

Its flat nose provided a clear view of the clean-cut man behind its wheel.

“Huh,” said Chuck.

“Yeah, I’ve never seen a rolling shack like that,” answered Tom.

For a moment the stranger smiled, and it appeared to the boy as if the newcomer’s mouth was filled with rows of off-white spines, like porcupine quills, but then his lips closed to a tight smirk and the child knew it must have been a trick of the light.

As it passed, the vehicle moved through a slow turn, giving ample time to visually pry at the tautly-curtained windows that ran along its flanks. By the time it had claimed a prime spot overlooking the lake, they had seen little enough to have their curiosity roaring.

Grim Tom settled back on the bench, saying, “so much for nothing interesting ever happening.”

He smirked as he spoke, but the smile dropped away when his friend returned to a topic that would not remain buried.

“Okay then,” replied Chuck, “let’s see what’s inside THAT one.”

Chuck’s goal for the summer had revealed the afternoon of their first reunion of the season. They’d been inspecting the crayfish stocks in Miller’s Stream, the management of which they took to be a serious matter, and Charles had recounted his plan in short sentences while hopping along the stream’s archipelago of time-flattened boulders.

Alison Piper, Chuck’s quasi-girlfriend the year previous, had often proven her courage to her companions by pulling open the screen doors of darkened campers and rooting around in their fridges. On occasion she also brought back tales of booze bottles lying about or rubber penises left in the open, and these had gone far to draw on Chuck’s affections. To Tom, there’d never been any malice in the acts, only bravado, but he’d done his best to discourage the trespassing nonetheless.

He’d been less than thrilled when Chuck had begun to talk of the Grimaldi’s mammoth Zephyr as the Everest of such endeavours.

It was true that the trailer was the largest in the makeshift neighourhood, but Mr. Grimaldi was also one of its most ornery inhabitants. It would not go well for the burglars if they were caught munching down cold hot dogs from his mini-fridge.

Sauntering towards the edge of the convenience store’s porch, Grim Tom said, “give it up, I ain’t going to prison for any icy weiners.”

“They won’t send you to prison,” replied Chuck, who stood to follow, “they won’t know we were there! Even if we were caught, though, they’d just give us a talking to. It’s not like we’re stealing anything. Besides, they’re strangers who wouldn’t recognize us. Anyhow, they’ll be at the pig roast tonight for sure, right? That’s probably why they came, so we can sneak in then, easy peasy.”

On those few occasions when Grim Tom had been caught out by his strong-fingered mother, he knew it was usually one of Chuck’s arguments-by-avalanche that got him there. He was not willing to surrender the fight.

“Look at that monster, it has cost more than old man Filmore paid for the land itself. Any time they leave it’ll be locked tighter than your mom’s undies.”

“That’s when we use the glass hammer!”

Tom groaned. The window breaker, plucked from a roadside safety kit Chuck’s grandfather had given him after buying an upgrade for his big rig, had been the boy’s other obsession of the summer.

“They’ll definitely toss us in the clink then,” said Grim.

“Screw that,” replied Chuck. “It’s like what Dad said when he took wood from the Grimaldi’s pile over the spring – if they can afford that monster they can afford some new lumber – or, in this case, a new window.”

Though it had not been either’s intention, their wandering feet, guided by nothing more than the usual patterns of patrol they fell into when strolling the park, had carried them across the unfamiliar vehicle.

Most of the curtains were still firmly drawn, but, midway along its rounded exterior, the upper half of a dutch door had swung inward. A woman, perhaps only slightly younger than the driver, stood at the open portal.

She was blond, though Grim Tom thought he caught a hint of pastel pink and blue shimmering at the ends of her sweeping ringlets, and she wore a shimmering yellow blouse that seemed to float, barely there, about her shoulders. Her flesh was pale, her chin a gentle point, and it was apparent, as the silk shifted on her slight frame, that she wore no bra.

It was only when she chuckled that the youths realized they were staring. With red faces they wheeled, returning the way they had come at twice the pace of their approach.

“I definitely don’t want to go in there now,” said Tom.

“I’m definitely going in there now,” replied Chuck.

FP409 - ChumThe argument continued for seven hours. It was debated on the swings; it was discussed as pocket knives hacked at pine branches intended for their fort’s roof; it was argued at length under the stars and over marshmallow roasting sticks.

In the end, as the adults’ tinny rock music blared from the beach on the far side of the grounds, Grim Tom maintained he was only there to stop Chuck from going too far.

He claimed too far was even approaching the RV, and then he claimed too far was tugging at the transparent plastic door of the main entrance.

There was no time for him to mention that it was too far before Chuck’s hammer landed.

As the tool arced overhead, however, Tom did see the full length of the door swing wide, revealing the strangest sight his young mind had ever attempted to process.

Here was the man, no longer wearing the light blue polo shirt he’d driven in with. His mouth was agape, and he did, in fact, have a double row of spines for teeth, their heights irregular and their caps ending in jagged splinters.

The blond woman was also there, also topless, her sleepy eyes peering over his right shoulder.

To the left, another set of eyes looked on from beyond the corner of the entrance’s lower half. Tom knew it to be a child, but it barely registered. The lack of legs was all he could truly focus on: The lower halves of both male and female, just below the gently fanning slits that murmured along their ribs, were made up of nothing more than large fish tails.

Then the hammer landed, and both boys were thrown back by the sudden flood of water that shot from the shattered door. The tide was too much for the mer-family as well, and the flow carried them roughly down the iron steps – apparently largely ornamental – and onto the campground dirt.

Standing, Grim Tom took in the trio of fish folk, their fins glimmering under the stars like the surface of the Pichimonga down the barren and rocky slope, and said, “I am SO sorry.”

“Yes! Outside!” giggled the child, now obviously also tailed, and no older than four by human reckoning.

“Oh no,” answered his apparent mother. She began to crawl to his side.

“Five minutes at most and we’ll be drown,” the father shouted in her direction, panic in his voice.

Given the woman’s gasping breaths, Tom suspected she already knew.

Grim’s gaze tracked to the horizon. “Could the Pichimonga keep you alive? What if we dragged – uh, I mean, helped you into it?”

Flopping over, so that he might see his attacker, the father’s face was drawn tight with anger, but he seemed to know too well that he had little time to accuse or argue.

“The hell did you think you were doing!? No, nevermind.

“Yes the lake would be grand, but the stones and the distance are too much – we’ll be gutted or dried up before we get there. You’re onto something though. Get your hands about my munchkin and get him inside.”

Together Chuck and Tom were able to lift the child inside, then helped hoist the mother, her gooey skin appearing human but feeling more fish, and pulled the father across the black iron steps.

Inside, the table and benches, the couch and counters, the kitchenette and shelves: All was plastic except the plush bedding across their sleeping pads. The flooring was nothing more than a collection of pleasantly coloured stones never intended to be stepped upon.

“I can’t lift myself to operate the gas. I can turn us left, towards the slope, but you’ll have to push us in,” announced the man, his spines flashing as he spoke.

The child had taken to crying now, the novelty of his freedom having fled, and the mother held him across her scaly lap, cooing soft songs between which she gulped uselessly at the air.

“I’m sorry too,” said Chuck, too in a hurry to wait for a reply, and the humans departed to set their legs into the act of shoving.

There was a brief second in which Tom suspected the man might just be lying, and might, in fact, have intended to throw the RV in reverse and flatten the pair of intruders. Instead, the red blinkers flared, and it began to roll forward at a gentle pace.

With mighty grunts, the boy’s splayed hands imparted every ounce of momentum they could muster and the behemoth began to move at a greater pace. Tom could not tell if it had been five minutes, all told, when they watched the rear of the beast slide over the lip and begin its descent.

He guessed it a jarring ride, if the bumping and thrashing of the tail lights were any indication, but it somehow remained upright as it coasted over the rocks that marked the shoreline and into the drop off beyond.

Only the topmost of the roof, and the dual beams of its headlights, remained to mark its landing place against the darkness of the water.

Of course, the unexpected plummeting of such an expensive investment was noticed immediately by the adults partying a few hundred yards down the shoreline. A running crowd met Grim Tom and Chuck as they strolled, in a daze, towards their summer homes.

Endless suspicion flowed around the duo’s culpability in the gossip that followed them till the year’s close – but, strangely, no one ever came forward to claim the vehicle as their own, and, once fished from the water, no evidence of ownership, nor even bodies, were found within.

The motorhome was not the last item to be cast into the lake that season, however: Chuck’s hammer soon followed.

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

Freesound.org credits:

Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

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

FCM020 – The Picard Phase

0

Posted on by

FCM020 - The Picard Phase
Welcome to Flash Pulp Minisode 020 – The Picard Phase

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download MP3
(RSS / iTunes)

* * *

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

Freesound.org credits:

Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

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

1 2 3 4 5 50 51