Welcome to Flash Pulp episode eight.
Tonight’s story: Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 2
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.
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
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.