FP381 – Of Two Minds

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and eighty-one.

Flash PulpTonight we present Of Two Minds

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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 we enter a terrifying future with a full head of steam.

 

Of Two Minds

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

 

Despite his two-month stay being the longest they’d been separated, Leanne Frost had refused to enter the hospital to visit her only son, Andrew.

Until that spring she’d never felt regrets about not birthing another. Now, while waiting for the slam of a car door in the silence of the kitchen with a mug of coffee in her hand and her eyes on the oven’s clock, she wondered briefly if she should have ever had any at all.

The fight had begun with Andrew’s announcement. Leanne had always considered herself an open minded woman, and as such she’d refused to acknowledge what made her uncomfortable about his news.

Court cases and news network coverage had often repeated that speaking ill of the displaced was an act of intolerance, but Leanne had long had suspicions that it was those same people who could afford to pay lawyers and anchors that were most likely to undertake the procedure.

Instead, she’d latched onto the fact that it would mean taking a year or two before continuing his education. High school had been an easy affair for Andrew, but that had had more to do with his football skills than his academics. Leanne knew her son’s distaste for the written word, and she worried that the loss of focus would make it difficult for him to move on to college.

They’d been sitting in the living room watching ancient mystery movies that Sunday morning, as had been their tradition since Leanne had divorced Andrew’s father, when, during a McCloud horse chase, he’d dropped his bomb

She almost said, “I won’t allow any monsters in my home,” but fumbled to the more politically correct, “you are going to university! No son of mine is going to laze around leeching off some rusting embezzler!”

“It’s murder not to!” he’d answered.

Leanne had heard the idea argued before on hospital dramas, and she’d never thought herself a bigot, but in that moment she shook with a revulsion she hadn’t suspected of herself.

She’d listened to the line echoed a hundred times since – if lives can be saved, shouldn’t they? Even if it was only those lives that could afford it?

“How could anyone afford not to?” she asked her empty coffee mug.

Two minutes later the screen door gave out its usual warning complaint, followed by the familiar closet shuffle and shoe kicking that marked Andrew’s entrance.

The sound of his socked feet on the hardwood was enough to wring her stomach twice. She missed her baby.

“Mom?” he asked.

“In here,” she replied, but she could not bring herself to move away from the support of the kitchen counter.

Leanne had known Andrew would not be alone when he entered, but the change in her child left her thankful for the strength of her perch.

Jules Wilson had a vulture’s eyes, and the angle of his insertion had left the transplanted head with a constant look of hard scrutiny. The old man’s balding pate and wrinkled jowls did nothing to dispel the carrion eater association.

Kar'Wick“Not in my house,” thought Leanne, but her mouth said nothing.

Still, her face was readable even by the stranger.

“I told you there’d be issues, Andy,” said the croaking attachment. “I understand what the contract says, but I still think everyone would be happier if we just went back to my place. There’s plenty of scotch handy and I’m sure we can find you some cute friends to invite over for the weekend.”

Before Andrew’s mother could find her tongue to respond, however, the drawers flew wide and the cupboards took to flapping like shattered bird wings.

Leanne would no longer have cause to worry about the path of her son’s life, and Wilson would be denied his immortality, for it was then, through the window above the sink, that the trio witnessed the rise of the black and gnarled carapace of Kar’Wick the Spider-God.

 

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.

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FC104 – Chicken Livers

FC104 - Chicken Livers

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Hello, and welcome to FlashCast 104.

Prepare yourself for: Drunk food, fan fic, solar powered cars, bronzed corpses, and Coffin.

* * *

Huge thanks to:

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* * *

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Audio-dacity of Hope:

  • Check out the new items on the store!
  • * * *

    Art of Narration:

  • Email Opop about Skinner Co. Ink at opopanax at skinner dot fm!
  • * * *

    Backroom Plots:

  • Coffin: Looking Down
  • Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: The Cuckoos
  • Equity
  • * * *

    Also, many thanks, as always, Retro Jim, of RelicRadio.com for hosting FlashPulp.com and the wiki!

    * * *

    If you have comments, questions or suggestions, you can find us at http://skinner.fm, or email us text/mp3s to comments@flashpulp.com.

    FlashCast is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

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    FP380 – Coffin: The Drop of the Shoe, Part 4 of 4

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and eighty.

    Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: The Drop of the Shoe, Part 4 of 4

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    This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Skinner Co. Store

     

    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 their lives threatened outside a downtown eatery.

     

    Coffin: The Drop of the Shoe, Part 4 of 4

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

     

    Bunny had been left with the ambulance.

    “Wait in the ####ing car?” she was saying to keep herself company, “like I’m a ###damn brat sitting in the back of a wood-paneled station wagon or some ####.”

    Unreadable behind his surgical mask, her toothy chauffeur said nothing.

    * * *

    Coffin hadn’t stood upon his balcony in some time.

    “I’ve been busy,” he was explaining to his wife, but it did little to slow the dead woman’s ascent, finger hold by finger hold, up the side of the building.

    She was already at the fifth floor, and he was left wondering if she’d been so fast the last time.

    No, definitely not.

    “Yeah, I heard,” she replied, “busy running around the country while everything fell apart.”

    Realizing small talk was only going to get him murdered, Will cut to the chase, saying, “They killed Pisky.”

    It was enough to stop her left hand in the middle of its ascent.

    “Shit,” replied Sandy.

    Such a pause was rare, and he relished the seconds. It was as close to mercy as she ever gave him.

    “So far it’s us and them that know,” he said. “Won’t be long before the succession talk starts though, then the news’ll be out.”

    Even a dozen floors down, he could see the twitch of her bloody palms. Every moment the apparition was away from her place of shattered resting was a struggle, and he knew she’d always found it easier to move forward than stay still. His hunger to make the occasion linger drew more honesty from his mouth than he’d intended.

    “Listen,” said Will, “there are also some spooks missing. I don’t think they’ve moved on, they seem to be just – gone.”

    “Gone?”

    He’d been watching Sandy’s eyes as he’d told her, and he could see her brain working through the equation.

    The squint that meant she realized she was in danger.

    Coffin: The Drop of the Show, an occult fiction podcast from Skinner Co.The lift of her brow as she realized the consequences.

    The frown she wore when she thought he was about to do something stupid.

    Suddenly she was climbing again, her ethereal fingers leaving behind flesh and nail at every handhold.

    “Don’t go in there,” she told him, and that was it, he knew the conversation was over.

    Stepping back, he slid the glass door shut, flicked the lock, then blocked out his view of the balcony by pulling the rarely used thick brown curtains across the usual gauze of white.

    Moving to the kitchen he opened the poorly masked fuse box and eyed the breakers within, then his practiced thumb sent the apartment into darkness.

    In truth it was the only way to turn off the hallway light, though Bunny had never noticed there was no switch.

    * * *

    Coffin thought the word needed to get around and there was no one with more time for conversation than The Insomniac.

    A single text had pushed the unsleeping man to return to Spinerette’s. He’d had twenty floating on a game of Shooter, but he hadn’t waited around to learn how things shook out. Obligations were obligations.

    Still, he knew better than to stand in the open.

    A dumpster and some fumbling had given him access to the roof of the florist’s shop across the road, and he’d watched their approach from the space between the painted yellow flowers that identified the store on its sign.

    In the fifteen minutes he’d been waiting just a single car had passed, and even that had stopped and disgorged a trio of passengers into the still-closed restaurant.

    The group had all been dressed alike, in bulky white hoods and white painter’s masks over their mouths.

    Their clothing had made it difficult to identify any of them, but their heavy arms and broad shoulders made it clear they weren’t there to apply for wait staff positions.

    Bunny and Coffin drifted in from the west, probably from a bus stop blocks away.

    With no attempt at stealth, Will walked the exterior of the brick structure. As he moved he seemed to be leaving a finger trailing along the structure’s mortar and winter-barren trestles.

    The city existed somewhere in the distance, but to The Insomniac nothing seemed alive on that street but the three shadows dancing across the interior windows and the pair of mystics facing them from the sidewalk.

    Inches from where he started, and thus from completing his circuit, Coffin shouted, “it’s a requirement of my office to give you an opportunity to surrender. Will you renounce Kar’Wick and his web or can I get on with making you an example?”

    It was then that the rooftop witness realized that it was not the shaman’s finger marking the route but a small stone that left a faint but glowing red line along its path.

    “Come on inside so we don’t have to kill you in the street,” came the reply from a second floor window.

    Will’s hand twitched, closing his loop.

    For a second there was naught but the arcane in the space which had once held Spinerette’s. The cutlery abandoned in its sinks were no more, the tables were no longer covered in unblemished white plates and carefully folded napkins, there was not even any longer a trio of wide necked twenty-somethings with pistols in the bands of their crisp white jogging pants.

    There was only blood, thick and red, holding the shape where chairs and potted plants and floor boards and bricks had once stood, then physics took its brutal hold and the sidewalk gutters ran red.

    The declaration of war did not entirely satisfy the Coffin’s taste for justice, but he considered it a good start.

     

    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.

    Categories: Coffin, Flash Pulp | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

    FP379 – Coffin: The Drop of the Shoe, Part 3 of 4

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and seventy-nine.

    Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: The Drop of the Shoe, Part 3 of 4

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    This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Skinner Co. Store

     

    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, discuss old dead friends with the Lady of the Northern Reaches.

     

    Coffin: The Drop of the Shoe, Part 3 of 4

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

     

    They’d sent no word, as Will had known it to be unnecessary. Those who remained of the Lords and Ladies which once held domain over the primeval lands were a reclusive lot, but news of a death amongst their ranks would carry on the song of every mourning sparrow and in the howling of every lamenting family hound.

    “I’ll wait here,” was the extent of their driver’s statement upon their second stop, but Bunny suspected that the shark-faced man would rather sit in silence than encounter the likely wrath of the occult nobility awaiting them in the abandoned motel’s husk.

    Still, it was in the arcane ambulance’s nature to be forgotten as soon as it had passed, and no one questioned its right of way or meteoric pace. She did not relish the thought of having had to try to explain a dead raccoon in the back seat to a highway patrolman, nor having the blood on the upholstery to the rental people.

    Stepping across rusting mattress springs and the scattered remains of a shattered television, Bunny and Coffin entered the collapsing shoreside resort. They found Sour Thistle not in her usual place, but at a window overlooking the snowy calm of the frozen lake.

    “How many times have I gazed upon this pond? Have I mentioned before that Blackhall and I used to meet at this same spot? There was no construction then – those few who walked these shores knew enough to move through my realm on tender feet. Now I’m lucky not to be run down by an eighteen wheeled rig while chasing my breakfast.”

    Her attendee, the Dead Faced Man, stood in the corner and said little. His rotting mask was beyond expression, but Coffin suspected the former swindler could not be terribly pleased to see the man who he deemed responsible for ending his career as a lawyer and the life he had made for himself in Capital City.

    Fortunately, Will didn’t especially care.

    “I’m sorry for the loss of your associate,” he told the wolverine.

    Dropping her mystically over-sized fore paws to the rotting carpet, the Lady of the Northern Reaches gave a welcoming nod to both Bunny and Coffin, then set her rump beside a recently erected card table at the room’s center.

    Without comment, her lackey stepped into the hall.

    Once the trio were alone a snarl entered Sour Thistle’s voice.

    “Do not hand me your cool condolences, reaper, you forget that I have seen you in tragedy before. You must have quite liked the sticky-fingered bandit to work so hard at calm.

    ”I had known Pisky some seven centuries. I can not say I liked him, but that does not mean we were not friends. Perhaps you can not understand, given the short spans afforded to you temporary bags of meat, but I assure you that two beings do not need to find moments of laughter or shared interest when faced with the commonality of a slow starvation.

    “A death of a hundred years can forge a bond deeper than any correspondence or childhood memory.”

    For the first time since they’d discovered the murder, Will struck Bunny as agitated.

    “It wasn’t just Rocky Raccoon you know,” replied Coffin. “There were several spirits in the area that seem to have been – erased. There’s nothing more than a stain where they once rested.”

    A series of slowing clicks came from deep within Sour Thistle’s throat, and Bunny briefly wondered if perhaps she was about to witness an occult throw down.

    Instead the forest queen lowered her head and nodded, saying, “there is murder, and then there is murder. I apologize, Coffin, and appreciate your concerns.

    “Do the records of your office include the account of how that idiot and I survived those desperate days when the energies were at their lowest and there was little to sustain beings of our nature? There were many emergencies of course, but it was truly Pisky who made what most consider the bleakest decades livable.

    “For a generation I survived solely by having my scouts on constant alert for brain-poisoned fairies and feral-eyed gnomes. Half-dead themselves, they were tidbits that provided only enough to hold me to the next meager meal.

    “Then Pisky arrived.

    “He’d tracked one of the foolish lake monster myths to a pool in the northwest. The territory’s tenant was ill with the red plague, though we did not know it – we knew simply that he was absent, which was all the justification for poaching that we required.

    “Until then Pisky had been clever enough to get the better end of every deal between us, so I thought him likely onto something when he came to me for help.

    “His mind was sharp, but his teeth were no match for my claws.

    “In those days you’d barely infected these lands, and there were still pockets, even starving as it also was, that a titan such as the hydra could hide its bulk.

    “We cornered it in a muddy bay, really little more than a lakeside swamp, and the contest lasted three days.

    “Two heads in place of every one, as legend says, and it had already sixteen at its command. Its neck meat was glorious, and my appetite was boundless.

    “When it was finally so top-weighted that it’s shattered legs could no longer think of escape, we collected our first harvest – some six hundred heads – and ate them between deep gulps of the cold clean water. In time our agents actually purchased the dirt and lay a barn overtop its form, but there was a certain sort of revelry to those early open-air picnics.

    “We slept with full bellies that winter, and I swear I have never tasted blood so sweet since.”

    With the tale told, all eyes fell to the tabletop.

    It was the queen who broke the silence, and Bunny couldn’t help but notice how chatty the old dame was being. It left her wondering if perhaps she was stalling the process of having to see the body.

    “Do you know who to hold accountable?” asked Sour Thistle.

    Coffin replied, “I’ve a discreet private investigator looking into the ownership of the place, but I think it’s pretty obvious.”

    “The festering disciples of the arachnid? Do they not understand their ultimate reward is oblivion?”

    “You can still have a lot of fun with unlimited power between now and the end of the world.”

    “It’s true then that they consumed him?”

    “Partially. There’s still plenty left to gnaw on.”

    “The dead queen will wish to hold the feast in her northern castle, will you attend and taste of his flesh?”

    “Nope.”

    Sour Thistle gave a sound that was half sniff and half snort.

    Somewhere a crow aired its grievances to the winter air, then the room was filled only with the misty wisps that marked the trio’s breathing.

    Finally, Will’s shoulders fell.

    “I meant no disrespect,” he answered, “I’d go, but I don’t think I could choke down my portion.”

    “It is not your refusal that worries me,” said the ancient beast, “it is your mood. Do not overreact in this, William.”

    Coffin’s posture stiffened and his battered leather jacket rose at his neck like the fur of a confronted cat.

    Despite his demeanour, however, his voice was still and empty.

    “Hey, if you wanted self control you should’ve talked to the Mute.”

    With that their palaver ended, and Bunny and Will exited to discover the casket already transferred into the RV that would carry Pisky to his ultimate destination.

    It was a long and silent ride home.

     

    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.

    Categories: Coffin, Flash Pulp | Leave a comment

    Research Fodder May 13, 2014

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    FP378 – Coffin: The Drop of the Shoe, Part 2 of 4

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and seventy-eight.

    Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: The Drop of the Shoe, Part 2 of 4

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    This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Skinner Co. Store

     

    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 return to our tale of arcane murder and questionable dinner parties as Will Coffin, urban shaman, and Bunny, his apprentice, travel northward.

     

    Coffin: The Drop of the Shoe, Part 2 of 4

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

     

    Perhaps the proximity to death reminded their driver, the last crew member of the Phantom Ambulance, of his own recently lost companion, or perhaps the phantasm kept to himself to prevent exposing the strings of saliva entwining amongst the spiraling teeth beneath his paramedic’s face mask. He could not help the desire, even if the carrion that might be his meal was forbidden.

    Whatever the case, Bunny was happy the ring-mouthed chauffeur wasn’t feeling conversational.

    The procession’s first stop was a short one, but, as Will explained it, still a diplomatic necessity. Wide Eye, the animal lord who held sway over the lands to the north of Capital City, was a ruler in decline, with his presence barely felt in his realm even in those days of growing power – yet, after a moment of silence over the corpse, the massive golden-pupiled owl had extended the smaller set of its four gray wings to summon a brown mass of rats bearing upon their backs a proper casket in which to lay the visiting dignitary’s remains.

    The box was made of simple wood bound together with tree-bark twine, but the lumber – a collection of driftwood, ancient and splintered downed maple, and fragrant fresh pine – had been etched and shaped by a multitude of beaks and claws. A single shard no bigger than Coffin’s thumb might hold a magpie’s pattern intricate enough to be mistaken for Victorian wallpaper, while other slabs held delicate spirals dug by chittering and weeping squirrels. The only gap in the construction looked upon Pisky’s shadowed face, and in that poor light it now almost appeared as if the raccoon had found some peace.

    Coffin had spent his brief time outside the surrogate hearse making insistent phone calls that otherwise would have felt inappropriate in the sanctified hush of their catafalque, but, two hours later, he finally broke the rattling quiet of the ambulance’s steady highway pace.

    The Drop of the Shoe“I remember one time – in the mid-’80s I guess – when this woman came to us for help. Francine. She was a nice lady; big hair, heart, and hips. She was having issues with her husband, who she was sure was possessed.

    “She was the sort to keep to herself, but he was the type that liked to roam downtown with the boys while wearing the too-tight pants of the era. On three or four occasions he’d woken her in the middle of the night. Once he was jabbering in a language she couldn’t understand, the next he was going through some sort of naked ritual dance in the living room.

    “Sandy asked around, but none of the dead folks had heard anything. We were starting to wonder if another magic peddler was moving in on our territory, so we began taking turns following him in the evening.

    “She figured what was going on on his second outing and set the trap.

    “It was a fairly simple thing – he was heading into Mierau Park, off of Fifth, and it was as shady then as it is now. He must have just done another bump of coke, or whatever he’d bought, when he came down the last stretch of sidewalk to the subway.

    “He was be-bopping to himself, his shoulders swaggering, and suddenly there was a five-foot-tall talking raccoon in a full tuxedo – Pisky insisted on the tux – demanding everything in his pockets.

    “You’ve got to picture it, the guy was deep in Don Johnson territory: sport coat, pastel shirt, white guy Jheri curl, the whole thing. He pulled out a big baggy of suspicious powder, a wallet fat with the bills he planned on blowing that night, and a ring of keys, but Pisky didn’t even blink, he simply tossed it all in the air and ate the whole collection.

    “Well, Francine’s fella wet his pleated teal trousers and ran. Far as I know he gave up his weekend ways.

    “Pisky, though, spent the next two days raving about ants.”

    Bunny shifted on the bench opposite and did her best to chuckle, but her mind was weighing the murder of a being that had lived hundreds of years.

     

    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.

    Categories: Coffin, Flash Pulp | Leave a comment

    FP377 – Coffin: The Drop of the Shoe, Part 1 of 4

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and seventy-seven.

    Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: The Drop of the Shoe, Part 1 of 4

    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
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    This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Skinner Co. Store

     

    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 sobering apprentice, are notified of an arcane murder.

     

    Coffin: The Drop of the Shoe, Part 1 of 4

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

     

    The restaurant, Spinerette’s, was packed with deep red leather and thickly varnished mahogany, but, from his view behind the small porthole in the swinging kitchen door, The Insomniac could see only the end of the banquet table that had been set at the center of the room. A forty-ish woman in a well cut suit, with close cropped graying hair and more than a passing resemblance to Judy Dench, was standing for a toast. Her champagne flute was in her raised right hand, and a skittering collection of thin-legged arachnids marched in and out of the sleeve cuff of her gesturing left.

    In whispered Spanish the meal’s chef, Santiago, caught the intruder’s attention.

    “You need to go,” he said, “there are only a few servers on hand, but they’re definitely better friends with those people than I am, and they’ll be coming for the next course shortly.”

    Nodding, the sleepless man’s sharp elbows cut through a turn.

    He asked, “how will you explain the missing meat?”

    “If these people are dumb enough to think I’d believe I’m just cooking a bunch of eccentrics a roadkill meal, fine, I’ll tell them I tossed it in the rear for the mutt that raids the dumpsters.

    ”Listen though, I regret ever having had a part in this. Will – will there be problems? I meant no offense.”

    Each step jarred the ache behind his eyes, but the meddler was moving quickly now, the paranoia of not being able to see who might be coming adding speed to his feet.

    “I honestly don’t know,” he answered as he shuffled along a chrome alley of knives and hanging pots.

    Entering the walk-in freezer, he took in what was left of the massive racoon. The beast’s ears were pierced with a dozen copper loops, but it looked as if someone had ripped out a dozen more, and, even though most of its lower body had been butchered to the bone, it still required two oversized black garbage bags to hide the shaved flesh of its torso and the canine grin full of shattered teeth.

    Once the job was done the salvager retrieved his phone and messaged the man who’d saved him from the horrors that lurked in his dreams, then, with the bagged corpse straining his exhausted arms, he slipped out the back door and into the night.

    * * *

    Two hours later, Coffin and Bunny were in possession of the stretched and ripping parcel.

    They were in an alley five blocks from Spinerette’s, and the sun was rising.

    “Holy ####,” Bunny was saying, “no disrespect meant to the dead, but it’s like the set of a Nightmare on Elm Street is leaking out of that thing.”

    CoffinA lack of transportation had hindered their arrival, and it was not the sort of neighbourhood in which a sack leaving a conspicuous trail of blood would go unnoticed. The hiding spot, behind the fenced rear of a spa that would open in the next forty-five minutes, was the best their informant had been able to do when a broken fibula had punctured the plastic.

    Will, who’d hoisted the sacks to see if he could stem the flow of gore, dropped the remains without ceremony.

    His trip to the now-abandoned restaurant had been brief.

    Clearing his throat, he said, “I’m sure the back entrance used to be haunted by the leftovers of a guy who caught a broken beer bottle in the neck in the early 1990s, but he wasn’t there. In fact, I walked a half block over to talk with a woman who bled out from a failed abortion, Bernita, and she’s missing too. She was a soft touch; always happy to trade info for whatever family gossip I could scrape from her niece’s blog.”

    Though she’d been left behind to keep watch on the remains, Bunny’s gaze had landed on everything in the cement lot but the cadaver.

    “You’re sure this is Pisky?” she asked.

    “Yeah, not a lot of other gigantic raccoons full of piercings in this neighbourhood,” replied Will. “Did you hear what I said about Bernita?”

    “That dumb bastard saved your life, and this #### is sadder than weeping ####ing kittens with emo haircuts – still, you don’t seem terribly broken up over it.”

    Coffin shrugged and began to dig in his pocket.

    “What’d’ya got in mind?” asked Bunny.

    “Calling the ambulance,” answered Will.

    “Little ####ing late for that, ain’t it?”

    “Not that kind. I plan on having a – vigorous conversation – with whoever’s responsible, but first we need to take a trip.”

    Within moments the pair, their driver, and the corpse began their long northward procession.

     

    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.

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