Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and forty-three.
This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Donut Button – thanks to all who’ve used it!
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 chilling tale of unpleasant people and unpleasant endings.
Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May
The tick held little memory.
There had been a time when its life was leaf bound, but its very existence had changed the moment the brown beast had wandered by. The buffet’s horns had shaken the green home of its birth, and, once gravity and instinct had drawn it so close to the thing’s warmth, the tick had had only to slice its feeding hole and begin to drink.
In turn, and despite the thousands of years the massive moving-meal’s kind had sprinted through the area’s grass and trees, its personal experience had been confined to the verdant fringes pacing the wide rivers of pavement – much as the tick had been, until recently, restricted to the horizons of its leaf.
Also as with the tick, a brief impact, followed by an unexpected flight, changed the deer’s life course irrevocably. Interstate 83, a too-soon addition as far as the animal’s survival instinct was concerned, was unusually empty for the hour of travel, but, though he’d spotted the approaching fawn from three-hundred-meters, Darren Peck had no interest in shifting lanes to avoid the creature.
It was not his first run-in with what he called “a rat with antlers.” His wife, before their separation, had been aghast at his tales of gore, and the excited way in which he’d told the drinking buddies he often gathered around his kitchen table.
Initially he’d stopped to check for damage, but on this, his eighth collision, he simply considered buying a hoof stencil so that he might both decorate his rig and not lose count. Double digit math was not his strong point.
There was something to the idea he liked. Delma had left, she claimed, not because he had a tendency to yell when he had an occasion to drink, nor because he considered any time he wasn’t in the truck such an occasion – no, she’d gone, she’d said, because he was “so goddamn stupid.”
Well, if he was so stupid, how’d he come up with such a great idea as the hoof stencil?
Snickering, he cranked the volume on the same copy of Hank Williams’ Hey Good Lookin’ that he’d driven to for the last twenty years.
Hell, while he was considering it, wasn’t she really the parasite – just like that goddamn deer? Hadn’t she fed off his paycheck while sitting around telling their five brats what to do? How hard was it to take care of a house when you had a small army to do it with?
“Parasite,” she’d said – and to the goddamn judge too. He smiled at the thought of giving Delma the same treatment he’d given the now distant, but still whimpering, antlered rat.
They could send as many notices as they liked, he’d be damned if he’d pay a dime of child support to any of those ingrates.
Peck began to howl along to the tune, asking, “how’s about cookin’ somethin’ up with meeeee?”
He’d just cut off a tan Honda Civic who’d been riding in the fast lane when, for a passing instant, he almost believed he’d fallen asleep: The sudden shaking of the wheel in his hand was rough, vigorous, and not altogether unlike the feedback given by the rumble strips at the highway’s edge. Still, there had been no unexpected passing of terrain, and no sense of missing time.
After the seven seconds of airbrake-riding that Darren needed to settle on the notion that he was mid-earthquake, it was already obvious that it was no such boon.
No, even as the tick continued to feed on the shattered and forgotten deer, Kar’Wick’s knotted thorax gorged itself upon the sky, and a thorny monolith – which, in truth, was but one of the forgotten god’s eight ebony limbs – set its broad weight across the highway. All vehicles fortunate enough to know immediate and final escape became naught but dross amongst the corkscrew spires of the Spider-God’s towering appendage, including the caterwauling driver.
In the desperate, but brief, window during which the news of Kar’Wick’s arrival outpaced the Spider-God itself, Peck was not missed.
Flash Pulp is presented by https://www.skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.
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