Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and eighty-one.
Tonight we present Of Two Minds
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.
“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.
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