Category Archives: Coffin

FP535 – Bunny: Haunted, Part 3 of 3

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

Flash PulpTonight we present Bunny: Haunted, Part 3 of 3

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This week’s episodes are brought to you by Mutant County!

 

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you every Friday evening.

Tonight, we hear another story, this time from the lips of the too-grateful dead.

 

Bunny: Haunted, Part 3 of 3

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

 

Tonight, we hear another story, this time from the lips of the too-grateful dead.

 

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.

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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.

FPSE46 – Mulligan Smith and Bunny in The Case of the Pilfered Presents

Welcome to Flash Pulp, special episode forty-six.

Flash PulpTonight we present Mulligan Smith and Bunny in The Case of the Pilfered Presents

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Merry Kar’Mas from all of us at Skinner Co. Here’s a gift just for you.

Not for small children though. Just for you.

 

Mulligan Smith and Bunny in The Case of the Pilfered Presents

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

 

FPSE46

 

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.

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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.

FP445 – Coffin: Bogeyman, Part 3 of 3

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and forty-five.

Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: Bogeyman, Part 3 of 3

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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, Bunny Davis, apprentice to urban shaman Will Coffin, has had enough.

 

Coffin: Bogeyman, Part 3 of 3

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

 

FP445 - Coffin: Bogeyman, Part 3 of 3

 

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:

  • Knuckles by VlatkoBlazek
  • Door close by joedeshon
  • Impact by duckduckpony
  • 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.

    FP444 – Coffin: Bogeyman, Part 2 of 3

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and forty-four.

    Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: Bogeyman, Part 2 of 3

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    This week’s episodes are brought to you by Lies & Half Truths!

     

    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, receives rough treatment at the tool-wielding hands of a torturess, while Bunny, his apprentice, thirstily watches on.

     

    Coffin: Bogeyman, Part 2 of 3

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

     

    FP444 - Coffin: Bogeyman, Part 2 of 3

     

    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:

  • Knuckles by VlatkoBlazek
  • Door close by joedeshon
  • Impact by duckduckpony
  • 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.

    FP443 – Coffin: Bogeyman, Part 1 of 3

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and forty-three.

    Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: Bogeyman, Part 1 of 3

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    This week’s episodes are brought to you by Lies & Half Truths!

     

    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 find Will Coffin, urban shaman, and Bunny, his attempting-to-be-sober apprentice, loitering in a darkened bedroom.

     

    Coffin: Bogeyman, Part 1 of 3

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

     

    FP443 - Coffin: Bogeyman, Part 1 of 3

     

    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.

    FP435 – Coffin: Wrong Tree

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

    Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: Wrong Tree

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    This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Way of the Buffalo Podcast!

     

    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, and Bunny, his recovering-alcoholic apprentice, must pay a call to a hairy situation in a suburban home.

     

    Coffin: Wrong Tree

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

     

    It was dusk as they arrived at the faux chateau surrounded by its moat of perfectly squared hedges.

    “You know, it’s in these Leave it to Beaver houses that poor motherf#ckers such as ourselves get themselves murdered,” said Bunny.

    “Maybe, but they offered cash and rent will soon be due,” replied Will. He gave the doorbell a second stab, but this time he left his finger on the button.

    The entrance swung wide, and a tall man with a head full of tight black curls stared down at them from across the threshold.

    “Yes?”

    His gaze shifted from Bunny’s ragged jeans and denim coat to the Coffin’s thick leather jacket.

    “We’re here about your son,” replied Will.

    “I -” started the man, but he seemed to think better of it. His eyes had fallen upon a button pinned to the apprentice’s chest that read, “Make tacos, not war – unless someone tries to take your tacos.”

    She was not unfamiliar with the conclusions such suburbanites might likely jump to, however.

    “Yeah, yeah,” she said, “my friend looks like one of the kids from Grease fell into a bad horse habit and I look like I was rejected from a Whitesnake video twenty years ago and just couldn’t f#ckin’ let it go – but, what, did you expect a couple ###holes in velvet-robes? You figure that hobbit-fondler Gandalf is gonna tap at the door and blow you some goddamn smoke rings?

    “Open up and let us in before your kid starts making the local sheep wranglers and burgermeisters nervous.”

    Will winced at the delivery, but it seemed to be an alien enough reaction to convince the man that they were the mystics in question.

    He stepped aside, saying, “I’m Martin.”

    The front hall contained a tasteful selection of vases, filled with dried plants, and large nature photos, whose frames spoke of false age and a love of Pottery Barn.

    They found the boy at a broad mahogany dining room table. His mother sat to his left, her lips tight, and, assuming no one sits that close otherwise, Bunny guessed the pushed-back chair to his right meant they’d interrupted a tense family conversation.

    “Jackson,” said the father, “this is Will and Bunny. They clai- uh, they’re here to help you.”

    Before the eighteen-year-old might reply, his mother extended a dry hand across the vast polished surface.

    “Anita,” she said.

    The coaxing kick she delivered to her son’s ankle, though well below the depths of the table’s surface, was hardly subtle, and the teen rose to repeat the round of palm grabbing.

    “Thank you for coming, but I don’t-” began Jackson, until a second, firmer, kick landed.

    As Martin retook his position flanking his son, Anita dug into the matter.

    “We realized a month ago. I’ve been to every library and spent hours on Google, yet – well, there’s a lot of superstition and junk science, but no answers.”

    Though Martin motioned towards a chair, neither the shaman nor his companion chose to sit.

    “You say you realized a month ago, how long has it been going on?” Will asked Jackson.

    “Apparently it’s happened six times,” replied Anita.

    Bunny frowned.

    Coffin raised a brow at the youth.

    “Half a year? That’s quite a while to wait before seeking help?”

    “So far he’s -” began Martin, and Bunny laughed.

    “Stop interrupting like he’s f#cking Taylor Swift,” she said. “No wonder you had no clue until recently, kid probably didn’t want to open his mouth in case he caught some of the bullsh#t flyin’ through the air in his teeth.”

    Anita and Martin sat, bolt upright, but Coffin could only shrug. He wanted to get paid, but also wanted to do it in a timely fashion.

    It was Jackson who broke the silence.

    “I need to show you something in my room,” he said, and, without making eye contact, or awaiting parental approval, he headed up the stairs. Anita and Martin moved to also stand, but Coffin shook his head twice and retrieved a long silver chain from his pocket. An intricate hook that looped and wound in on itself hung from its tail, and trapped upon the intricate curve was a plug of glistening meat.

    FP435 - Coffin: Wrong TreeThough Will had no intention of using the arcane artifact, its off-putting appearance was enough to convince the parents to remain in place while Coffin and Bunny followed the slouching ascent.

    At the top of the flight they took a left and entered a dustless room filled with evenly-hung posters.

    The Coffin was formulating an attempt at a fresh start to the conversation when his eyes took in the chamber’s true nature.

    Here was a poster of a fuzzy blue hedgehog hugging a rather well-muscled anthropomorphic lion, and next to it a hand-sketched image of a reclining bipedal fox.

    Before either the mystic or his student could comment, the room’s owner’s voice landed as a mix of plea and anger.

    “I don’t see what the problem is, I feed myself every time – I even learned to bake my own honeyed ham! – and I’ve never hurt anyone, why can’t they – why don’t you just leave me alone?”

    Will’s eyes narrowed. “You’re pretty lucid under the influence? You’re sure you’ve got yourself under control?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Must be the Grecian strain.” replied the Coffin, his voice distant.

    “Have you told them why it happened?” asked his apprentice.

    “No,” answered Jackson. “They don’t want to hear it anyway. They just want the problem to go away.”

    Bunny snorted. “Even if we yank your tail off the truth is you don’t need a f#ckin’ exorcist, kid, you need a family counselor.”

    “You know,” said the shaman, his jacket creaking as he settled onto the nearest corner of the firmly-made bed, “folks with, uh, your sorts of interests are really the vestigial remnants of an ancient age. There was a time when the gods themselves, bunch of sex maniacs that they were, would come down in the form of goats or swans or bulls just to rut – and no one thought twice. Now they call you a furry, but back then they’d have signed you up for an obscure, but respected, holy order.

    “I’ll make you a deal: Give me the name of whoever infected you with your lycanthropy and I’ll come around every full moon to ‘bring you to a safe place.’ Just don’t tell your parents that I’m dropping you off at a private club across town called The Fur Ball, and be sure to wear proper protection – oh, and that my monthly bill gets paid on time.”

     

    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.

    FP429 – Coffin: Dislocation

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and twenty-nine.

    Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: Dislocation

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    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, Will Coffin, urban shaman, and Bunny, his apprentice, find themselves dealing with an apparition that simply wants to move on.

     

    Coffin: Dislocation

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

     

    It was a strange gig.

    Bunny stood at the edge of the lake, her hands deep in her pockets and her denim jacket shut against the wind that roared across the water.

    She stood with Mantas and Greta Kulpa, whose hard faces watched Will Coffin swing high his arcane token upon the rocky shore.

    Behind them was a plain white cross, nailed together and painted by Mantas’ own hands.

    The sky howled and the rain came, yet still somehow the Kulpa’s cheeks remained dry.

    Their English was crisp, but they delivered it as embittered spitting.

    Mantas asked, “is this going to take long?”

    Bunny shrugged. “Do you really hate it that much here?”

    “How much do we hate this place?” asked Greta.

    “We hate this place so much we are literally driving directly to the airport to leave,” replied Mantas.

    “We hate this place so much I may lobby the Grand Duchy to declare war on your miserable nation. I hardly think you’ll notice, but hopefully it will be enough to find us on the no fly list, and thus free of your grubby hands, sarcastic remarks, and ironic tourist sunglasses.”

    “Not much longer,” answered Bunny.

    The Crook of Ortez maintained its revolutions, its power, waxing in these late days, summoning up waves as well as pulling at the phantoms of the dead, teasing them to rise.

    Bunny had seen her partner conjure the apparitions dozens of times, but never quite like this. It certainly was dramatic, at least.

    On this occasion, however, no shimmering form appeared. Her partner made no extended entreaties, nor threats, nor even dry coughs. The storm hit a furious tempo, and then he let the chain drop, and the gale with it.

    Thunder broke and rolled across the calming blue, and a downpour began to march in their direction from the distant shore. It’s ferocity, however, was nothing more than natural.

    “It’s done,” said Will, his leather jacket dripping as he approached the cluster of observers.

    “Great light show,” said Bunny, “but next time play some Floyd or something,”

    The comment was out of her mouth before she considered her audience, but, given the Kulpa’s stolid indifference, she found it difficult to deliver a sorry.

    “You spoke with her?” asked Greta.

    “Yes,” replied Coffin.

    “You told her we still intend to depart?” asked Mantas.

    “Yes,” replied Coffin.

    “How did she take it?” asked the mother, and Bunny thought it seemed as if she expected the dead girl would talk back.

    Will shrugged. “She seemed okay.”

    FP429 - Coffin: Disclosure, a Skinner Co. Network Podcast“Indifference? Typical,” said Greta. “I told you this place had warped her. Even in death she does not care about her parents. So ungrateful – so, so: So American.”

    Mantas only grunted.

    Coffin and Bunny stood together as they watched the pair climb the embankment, arm in arm. Within seconds the rented yellow hatchback was back on the highway and out of sight.

    There was no wave goodbye, but Bunny consoled herself with the fact that they at least hadn’t spit on her as they departed.

    “I missed what you were supposed to tell her – was it anything that would make me feel bad about thinking they’re a couple of puckered-asshole righteousness fondlers?”

    “Nah,” answered Coffin. “They said, ‘tell her we can not stand this place. We are still leaving, good luck in the afterlife.”

    “They didn’t seem too fuckin’ wadded up about the untimely death, and still missing corpse, of their only offspring? For all they know the bass are slowly shitting out their daughter down there. Why didn’t they at least ask her where her remains were?”

    “Some use ritual as a system for dealing with the guilt they ignore. Those folks know they are right and proper, so it’s not their fault they’ve failed to make it in America, or failed to raise their daughter, or failed to change in any way as the world has ground on around them.

    “They came to me not to get answers, but to simply put a period on the sentence. They have, to their own minds, done what they can – and now they’ll get on with the next thing.”

    As they spoke, the pair climbed the same hill they’d watched the parents scale. Shuffling towards the car they’d rented at the Kulpa’s expense, a sixteen-year-old girl in a Ramones t-shirt and frayed-kneed jeans joined them.

    “Exactly,” she said, “and it’s that same unthinking dedication to their ancient ways that would have forced them to drag me back to a place I remember hating as much as I remember it at all – or, if I’d fought hard enough, would have left them in a small town half a world away, complaining endlessly about the daughter they never saw, talked to, or in any way helped support. Still, they’d cry over it, and they wouldn’t even understand why. Just that it’s what is done.

    “Better they think I’m dead then a blight upon the family, carousing and living a wild life in America.”

    With no more time spent lingering than Matas and Greta had invested, Will, Bunny, and the very alive Melina Kulpas leaned into a quick U-turn, then sped back to the city.

     

    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.

    FPSE027 – Meeting

    Welcome to Flash Pulp Special Episode Twenty-Seven.

    Flash PulpTonight we present Meeting

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    This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Jr. Execs!

     

    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 JRD’s Father’s Day gift!

     

    Meeting

    Written by Opopanax
    Art and Narration by Opopanax
    and Audio produced by Jessica May

     

    FPSE27 - Meeting

     

    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.

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    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.

    FP415 – Coffin: Moving, Part 3 of 3

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and fifteen.

    Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: Moving, Part 3 of 3

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    This week’s episodes are brought to you by the Earth Station One podcast

     

    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, and Bunny, his increasingly sober apprentice, eat pancakes and aid a man haunted by his past.

     

    Coffin: Moving, Part 3 of 3

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

     

    The Denny’s stood at the low tide between breakfasting retirees and office workers on a panickedly short lunch break. Only three other booths were occupied, beyond the trio of customers clustered in the corner, and one of those appeared to be the store’s manager entertaining himself with online trivia instead of instructing the waiter in heavy eyeliner to clear the last of the Grand Slamwich wreckage.

    Bunny gave the kid a nod, and the kid nodded back.

    “Napkins?” he asked.

    “Nah, I’ll take some of the s##t water you folks call coffee, and maybe a two buck pancake stack?”

    “We’re only supposed to sell the cheap plates as a side.”

    Bunny raised a her brow and shrugged. Coffin waved off the topping-up of his mug, and their interviewee, one Douglas Holloway, continued to gently weep into the collar of his polo shirt.

    When they were once again alone, the crying man worked at clearing his throat, then asked, “how did you find me?”

    “How badly do you want to be free of -” began Coffin, but Bunny overrode the statement.

    “His ex put us in touch with yours,” she said to Holloway, “but don’t worry about that. We’ll get to the haggling and details, just give us the rundown on your wife and girlfriend.”

    To Bunny there was something familiar in Holloway’s stunned yet exhausted face that left her with the impression that he’d simply been waiting for this particular dam to break.

    “Arlene died five years ago,” replied the widower. “It was eighteen months after we were married, and we were infatuated with each other till the end. We’d known she had a fight in front of her when we went down the aisle – her chemo meant all of her wedding photos were hairless – but she was the sort of person who was strong enough not to wear a wig.

    Coffin: A Occult Serial Fiction Podcast “We were the classic goofballs-in-love couple, content just to be close to each other; to hold each other. She seemed magical, and I always assumed somehow that that would win us the war.

    “It didn’t.

    “She died at home. I did my damndest to make it as comfortable and peaceful as possible, but by the end there was a miniature hospital set up in our living room. It was like a pocket universe in there, an eternity of listening to her ragged breathing over constant Law & Order reruns. I still change the channel as soon as I hear that damned theme. When she let go I was at the bed’s edge, holding her hand, and she was surrounded by her sisters. I thought it was the hardest moment I’d ever have to survive through, but that I’d done the right thing.

    “My first notion was to move away from the memories, but two years later I was in the same bungalow, alone with our mortgage and our corgi, Sycamore. Every time I stepped onto the living room carpet I could feel the anxiety of those last days creep in, but I hadn’t finished paying the bills for high powered narcotics and medical staff.

    “Even if I couldn’t escape, things changed around me. I spent a lot of hours at the kitchen table with work I’d taken home, just to avoid the rest of the house. If I wasn’t working, Sycamore and I patrolled the block. Despite my evasions, or more likely because of it, I got promoted. I made new acquaintances around the neighbourhood.

    “The second January after Arlene’s death I met Selena. I wasn’t looking to. I’d spent so long focused on the next set of reports, and the next patch of sidewalk ahead of me, I hadn’t realized how far I’d gone with my head down.

    “I was re-tying a shoelace outside the local Starbucks when she exited with a white chocolate mocha. One of the tallest ladies I’d ever seen, and with a smile as friendly as a children’s television show host.

    “She said ‘excuse me,’ because she walked near me while I was hogging the sidewalk and she’s the sort of person who’d rather be polite than annoyed.

    “As she’s adjusting course though, she reaches into her pocket and retrieves a dog treat shaped like a bone. Sycamore sits, which is a trick that I’d forgotten Arlene had taught him, and she tosses him the mini-femur.

    “That dog was all the family I’d had for two years, and I loved it like a child, but for whatever reason it’d never struck me to carry treats with me. It sounds kind of stupid, but it was just different than anything I’d known until then. Somehow that brought my chin up.”

    The tale paused as the narrator was distracted by his audience straightening in their seats. Before he could turn to identify what had roused them, however, the waiter strolled by at a near trot, a plate tucked tight to his side, out of sight of his trivia master manager.

    With a twist of his wrist the low mountain of pancakes slid across the largely empty table, stopping just short of Bunny’s coffee.

    There was no opportunity for a thank you before he was beyond hearing range.

    “Don’t stop now, Dougie,” said Bunny, while twirling her syrupy fork encouragingly, “we haven’t even gotten to the spooky s##t.”

    “We dated for six months,” answered Holloway. “A lot of movie theaters, diner dinners, and dog parks with Sycamore. When we started spending the night together it was always at her apartment. Eventually I moved the dog dishes and I almost sort of forgot that I had another home.

    “Then I got a funny letter: I’d accidentally paid off my mortgage while I wasn’t paying attention.

    “Now, it’s not like I’d ever forgotten Arlene, but I’d had some time away. Selena loves renovation shows, and we kind of jointly arrived at the idea that we should do some repair work before putting the shack on the market and maybe looking for a fresh place together. Thing is, the more effort we sunk into projects, the more it began to feel like a new house – our house.

    “One night we were both exhausted from a day of basement drywalling, and we decided to just sleep in my, uh, our, uh, the old bed – the bed that was there – instead of heading back to Selena’s.

    “I woke around three in the morning thinking I heard someone talking in the dark. I pulled on pants and went down the hall to the living room, and for a second I thought I saw Arlene’s face.

    “Now, I should be clear, it wasn’t a huge ‘Arlene, is that you!?’ moment, it was more like thinking you see a person standing in a corner, then realizing it’s actually that robe you draped over a chair with the shadow of a lamp behind it that looks like a head.

    “The only thing out of place was that Sycamore was sitting perfectly upright in the middle of the carpet, but I was so tired I assumed that I’d heard him growling at dreams and went back to bed.

    “With the seal off, so to speak, we spent more and more nights there. We were already investing the majority of our evenings tag teaming plumbing, or hoisting hammers, so why leave?

    “When we first, uh, made love in the old house, I later awoke thinking I heard Selena crying. I actually prodded her until she responded with a clearly still sleeping “no.”

    “It happened again the next night, then everything went smoothly for about a week.”

    “The calm before the s##t storm,” said Bunny, through a mouthful of fluffy batter.

    “Yeah, then the screaming started. I couldn’t see where it was coming from, it just chased me from the sheets, then around the house. I kind of stopped when I was rampaging along the hallway for a second loop, because – well, it’s incredibly terrifying, but after a bit you lose steam when you can’t see the source of your panic.

    “Selena, wearing only my stained work t-shirt, comes running, and suddenly she’s slapped across the face, hard. It kept going, like someone clapping to count time, and then gained momentum into a hail storm.

    “I’d never seen her cry before.

    “I followed her through the door, but she was in her car and on the street before I could catch up. Her place was close enough to walk, but it was cold, so I decided to risk going back inside to pull something on. Besides, I needed to get Sycamore.

    “Everything was silent when I re-entered. I whistled for the dog, but he didn’t come. I found him in the living room again, sitting at attention.

    “The call came before I was done packing. Everything had changed for me in the moment I’d seen Selena with that dog treat, and everything had changed for her in the moment she’d been chased from the house by an invisible hurricane. She was clearly having difficulty making sense of what had happened, but it seemed to her that it was my fault.

    “While I was sitting there at the edge of the bed, crying, I heard laughter. I knew that giggle. Without even realizing I’d fully accepted all of the implications, I started a screaming match with a ghost.

    “‘How could you do this?’

    “‘How could you? I’m dead!’ she shrieks back.

    “‘You had it easy, I was the one who had to keep living” – and on and on.

    “At some point the door slammed shut, and I somehow fury’d myself to sleep.

    “The alarm clock woke me for work, and I went in on automatic. Tried texting Selena, but she ignored it. I ignored the ignoring by staring at reports. I went home.

    “While I was watching Sycamore sniff around the backyard I heard Arlene say, ‘I’m sorry.’

    “That was – I dunno, three months ago? Since then it’s just been crying, every night. Sometimes it’s me, sometimes it’s her. I’d like to try and reach out to Selena again. I miss her – but at the same time, the woman I loved, whatever is left of her, is somewhere in that house. I swear, some nights the bed shifts with her weight.

    “I want to move on. I want her to move on. I just feel so guilty.”

    Washing away the pancake crumbs with a deep pull of coffee, Bunny said, “in a situation like this, it’s really nobody’s fault. You can’t blame Selena for running off after getting in a one-sided slap fight with Sue Richards, and you can’t blame Arlene for being pissed she’s been trapped in your empty living room until you started f##king another lady in her bed – but you also can’t blame yourself. You didn’t know she was lingering around until she was furious enough to get all Amityville about s##t.

    “We think your ex-wife needs to date and we know just the fellow. He’s also into Law & Order and cuddling. He currently has a thing for a lady named Laila, but all you sentimental motherf##kers have the same problem: You need to learn to move on.

    “Actually, Laila’ll probably be looking for a new place soon, you should meet her. You might make a nice couple.”

    In unveiling her solution, Bunny did not delve into the complicated game of telephone that was communication between the dead. Adding to Dougie’s sense of guilt would not get him any closer to moving, which was clearly the opening step.

    In the end, Holloway agreed acting as dating coach to his dead wife was worth at least a nicely pawnable ratchet set, and Coffin had to nod in agreement.

    Matchmaking was not his usual sort of work, but rent was due.

     

    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.

    FP414 – Coffin: Moving, Part 2 of 3

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and fourteen.

    Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: Moving, Part 2 of 3

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    This week’s episodes are brought to you by the Earth Station One podcast

     

    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, and Bunny, his vodka-dependent apprentice, encounter the strange tale of Laila Hamilton, wife and secret nuzzler.

     

    Coffin: Moving, Part 2 of 3

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

     

    It was chill as Coffin stepped onto his balcony, and the leaf husks of the philodendron that Bunny had attempted to grow, a month earlier, rattled in the wind.

    Had he been neglectful in not making more appearances? No, he told himself, he’d simply been busy – but, then, Sandy had also been busy once.

    His dead wife, on the pavement eighteen floors below, grunted.

    Rolling his shoulders, Will asked, “how’s the afterlife?”

    There was a long pause before Sandy’s shattered jaw murmured, “you always were terrible at small talk,” into the unyielding cement.

    “Must be going well if you’re not even trying to murder me,” he replied.

    Silence, then, “you’re not worth the effort,”

    “Huh,” said Will, but he couldn’t help but crack a smile. There were many reasons to fear Sandy’s apparition, but her skill at delivering the cold shoulder was not one of them.

    Coffin leaned over the railing. She could have heard him whisper, even at that height, and the slab walls and platform of the balcony echoed with her every crush-lunged breath. Nonetheless, he squinted through the bitter wind to make out her twisted form.

    He counted a dozen skipping inhalations, and a dozen moist and whistling exhalations, before she gave up her hush.

    “Any news?”

    At another time he probably would have just invented something. The matters he conveyed were trivial at best: He could easily fake calls on the two birthdays he’d missed and stitch those falsehoods with the same old arguments Sandy’s family were constantly re-chewing – but he didn’t.

    Things were changing. She’d always been so sure when she’d worn the jacket and held the chain, and he envied it.

    He knew, however, that her certainty had also been her downfall.

    FP414 - Coffin: Moving, Part 2 of 3“I’ve been too busy to call around. I’m sorry,” he said. It was a vague sort of statement, and intentionally so.

    With the dragging effort of a winded marathoner, Sandy’s left arm, the bones at her wrist projecting through her torn skin, rose, and her palm set its heel firmly on the pavement. She began to drag her motionless legs towards the apartment block’s foundation.

    “Too occupied with your new sidekick?” she asked.

    “The ogre’s amok out west, the city seems to be overrun with Kar’Wickians, and someone’s dispatching ghosts without my assistance.”

    “Which one am I supposed to be able to help with?” she asked, as the fingernails of her right hand came loose on a particularly jagged ridge of mason work. Yet still she climbed.

    “None,” he answered, and, as she scaled the second through fifth floor, he recapped his encounter with Laila Hamilton.

    When he’d completed his recitation, she asked, “didn’t you say there were Kar’Wickians in the city?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Didn’t you say the ogre was up and the dead were going missing?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Why are you working this thing then?”

    It was his turn to fall quiet.

    At the twelfth floor he changed the subject.

    “You understand what I need then?”

    “Yeah,” replied Sandy, not stopping in her attempt to scale the building and murder her former husband.

    “Sandy, I’m sorry,” he said.

    “So you’ve said,” she replied.

    “It was for your own good,” he said.

    “So you’ve said,” she repeated.

    With a gap where her front teeth should have been, she bit her lip, then continued. “Don’t get weak kneed now, you put that jacket on yourself. If you were going to start second guessing I would’ve appreciated if it happened before I landed.

    “Will, if you can’t handle this business pass it on and join me at the bottom.”

    There was a pause then, and suddenly her ascent stopped. Her decades-old plunge played itself back at triple speed, and she once again returned to her place of rest.

    “Go buy some belated birthday cards and I’ll ask around,” she concluded.

    He turned, eagerly pawing at the sliding screen with chilled fingers.

     

    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.