Category: Thomas Blackhall

Flash Pulp 008 – Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 2

Welcome to Flash Pulp episode eight.

Tonight’s story: Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 2

(Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6)

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Tonight’s episode is brought to you by MayTunes.com. Watch and listen to the highs and lows of one woman attempting to write fifty-two weekly songs over the course of a year.

Maytunes.com.

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

This evening we re-join Thomas Blackhall, who’s been buttonholed atop Talbot’s Plateau, deep in the primeval forests of 19th century North America.

Please note that this is the second episode in our current serialization, and should you not have heard or read the first entry, you do yourself a disservice to continue.

Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 2

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

The sun rolled heavily in the sky and began to dip beyond the horizon.

Blackhall sat, his sabre across his knees, waiting. His injured leg throbbed, and the fatigue of the long chase had begun to settle into his bones.

He did however hold some small solace in the bear’s alabaster fur – there was little chance it might unexpectedly creep upon him in the night.

Patience was the greatest lesson he’d learned from his Jesuit teachers, and it had often served him well.

Digging amongst the patched lining of his great coat, Thomas brought forth a mouth harp, and even as the beast grunted in his direction, he began to play. The song was an old Italian one, taught to him by a trio of bright young American patriots he’d had the pleasure of standing garrison over as they awaited escort from his Majesty’s Upper Canada.

Attempting a tone of contempt, he let the tune carry him against the chill that now filled the air in retort to the day’s baking sun. He played on for nearly twenty minutes before the rumblings of his captor were enough to interrupt his melody.

“I would rather my morsels cure in silence. Your life may no longer be your own to barter, but is there something I might have brought to you in exchange for this siege to last in silence? Perhaps a final meal of the freshest venison?” the bear asked, a towering white ghost sitting upon the edge of the forest.

“I might prefer silence if you were to bring me a half dozen bullrushes, still with reeds, from the edge of the creek we passed in our ascent,” Thomas replied.

“A strange request. It seems to me a stupid ploy if you asked it to send me from my post. I remind you that I have been lord of this forest for ten times the span you might ever wish to live,” the bear’s maw widened in a yawn. “You will have your cattails however.”

Without rising from his seat the bear began to turn out a complex guttural muttering, a throaty sound that seemed to cast stillness into the evening air and down the hillock.

Moments passed in this new silence, then the rustling of dry leaves announced the entrance of a pair of raccoons ambling forth from the underbrush to sit at the feet of their liege. A brief series of low snuffles set the pair of ringtails back into the shadows and down the darkened slope.

As they waited, the bear spoke.

“Come now, shivering crumb, come down to me and I will let you drink deeply of that same flowing water. When it comes time for me to kill you, I shall devour your entire skull in a single mouthful, so that your pain is brief and your end short.”

“Master Bear, despite the true enormity of your head, I must decline. I did not expect my request to send you away yonder – as you seem to think. I must also add that the death of Red Mouth brings me no small sadness. I know these churning days rest heavily upon the lords of all lands, but there must be some law. I am sure you must have breathed deep the slaughter on Red Mouth’s breath, seen the madness that had taken his eyes.”

The bear’s teeth shone against the night.

“There is law! I am that law. Who are you, pig-eater, to come here and tell me of law. The pig-eaters have run rampant in the south and west, killing the fish-eaters and the land-shapers since the moment of their arrival! What was it to you if Red Mouth sated himself on an inconsequential herd? It has been many moons since the fish-eaters of the valley have come to stand against me, and yet you, a grubby pig-eater, came creeping, creeping in the darkness and slew my eldest son!”

Blackhall stood then, his jaw set.

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Flash Pulp 007 – Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 1

Welcome to Flash Pulp episode seven.

Tonight’s story: Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 1

(Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6)

Flash Pulp[audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/skinner/FlashPulp007.mp3](Click play to listen or subscribe via libsyn RSS or iTunes)

Download MP3

Tonight’s episode is brought to you by OpopanaxFeathers.wordpress.com. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

That’s OpopanaxFeathers.wordpress.com.

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Tonight marks the first appearance of what will likely become a regularly occurring member of the Flash Pulp cast, Thomas Blackhall, as well as the first time we’ve presented a multi-part serial.

Our story opens in the wilds of 19th century North America, and our hero has already found himself in a spot of trouble.

Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 1

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

From such a height the entire valley lay to view, a march of descending green, thick with the heat of a summer sun that clung in the sky well into fall.

Thomas Blackhall pulled himself over the crest of the hill, his hands aching against the warm stones. The spot was known as Talbot’s Plateau, an occasional camp spot for those fool enough to attempt a shortcut over the rugged center of the hump. It warranted a name mostly for its peculiar configuration: the flat rise sat in a clearing, its top but a light dusting of dirt and scrub plants. It rode the hill like a crown, its “rear” a fifty foot sheer, its “front” still a ten foot scramble for a strong man.

He’d forced himself up the last few feet on nothing but will and fingernails.

He wiped his forehead with the torn remains of his former shirt. For a moment Blackhall rested on his back, filling his lungs with the breeze that the bulk of the hill had denied him until then.

Having caught his breath, he moaned to a sitting position, adjusting the plaid rag that acted as tourniquet for his bleeding leg.

By using his rifle as a crutch, he was able to bring himself to a standing position.

From the direction of his ascent came a bellow, and a half measure down the slope he watched a three hundred year old white pine topple. The thick giant came down with a sweeping roar, a wave of dust and ancient needles rolling through the parched underbrush.

Thomas’ face remained impassive, but his mouth fired off a half dozen curses. He began to hobble along the edge of his rocky precipice.

The expediency of his patrol spoke more to the size of his perch than to the condition of his injured leg, but a quick inspection told him that his memory had not lead him astray, that there was indeed only the single feasible approach. He returned to the flat’s shallowest height and braced himself, hoping he appeared more upright than he felt.

A cacophony of protesting timber and snarling foretold where the bear would make his appearance.

Still, he was hard pressed to face down the ferocity with which the beast appeared.

He’d dropped his rifle, and now raised his sabre.

The bear stopped short.

The weapon was long and lean, carrying a subtle weight. Seven years earlier, nearly a half decade after Blackhall had originally prized the weapon from the hands of a dead French officer, he’d had the blade reworked in silver. It no longer held a decent edge, and he didn’t bother with repair work unless it chipped or took on a sizable indent.

Thomas had no patience for staring matches.

“Well then, Master Bear, it’s been a grand chase indeed. It will soon grow dark however, and I think it would suit us both to find our beds.”

In response the bear lifted its shaggy white head, front legs leaving the ground, flanks rippling with massive breath, taking its true height. The majority of the animal was white as a winter morning, except in the area of its dark eyes, which were surrounded by a deepening ring of exposed black flesh – making it difficult to know where its visage ended and vision began.

At moments Thomas would think its eyes owl-like, in others they seemed like nothing but the emptiness of night.

“Only to have you come and murder me amongst my sows and birch leaves? I think not, you who will bleed to death upon my hill,” the bear replied.

At full height it was a marvel, easily the largest beast, mundane or mystical, that Thomas had ever laid his eyes upon; despite the rocky advantage, his nose was nearly level with that of the carnivore.

“Come then, let me bury my toothpick in your dense skull even as you trample me in the charge. We can both bleed to death on your lovely hillock.”

The snowy animal lowered itself onto its haunches.

“All men sleep,” the bear snorted.

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.