Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Thirty-Nine.
This evening’s story is brought to you by a creeping sense of anxiety.
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Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.
Tonight we present a chiller tale centered on the small hamlet of Geeston, on a Sunday not unlike most others – in Geeston.
Flash Pulp 039 – Sunday In Geeston, Part 1 of 1
Sunday, June 21st, 1998
Eddie sat in the darkened recess of the tiny strip-plaza office. Over the gray movable barrier that made up the demarcation between the sitting area, and the shabby little walnut desk he spent his hours behind, he had a clear view of the red-brick post office across the street.
Mrs. Krukowski was pulling herself up the steep cement stairs, the effort sending her knobby knees popping beneath her beige raincoat. He knew the old woman: she’d been in to buy insurance for her prim Chevy Vega, and on her way out the door she’d helped herself to a pocketful of his green and white mint candies.
He licked his lips, his cheeks twitching in anticipation.
By the time she was at the halfway point, he was up from his chair, leaning over the desk, confident the shadows would keep him invisible behind the bay window.
She reached the landing, taking a moment at the black handrail. She moved to the door.
It was locked.
“Suckers’ll do it every time! Everyone knows the post office is closed on Sunday.”
Eddie was sure the distance was too great for her to have heard him, but he ducked his eyes, focusing on doodling rough circles on the ancient cork mat that covered his desk.
He didn’t notice when Mrs. Krukowsi finally broke the stare of her eyeless sockets, and began to move on down the street.
* * *
It was later, and a noise from down the block rattled his attention away from the display pamphlets he’d been arranging and re-arranging in the sitting area.
Glancing at the street, Eddie moved to the rear of the office, recalling that he’d intended to clean up his coffee nook.
On the road, a man was running. Over seven feet tall, he had to stoop to keep the baby carriage upright at such speeds.
The navy blue buggy was on fire.
Annoyed at his inability to open the flower-patterned metal canister he kept the sugar in, Eddie began to slam it against the fake wood grain of the small table he kept the coffee pot on.
His eyes remained firmly fixed on the dark brown stir sticks.
* * *
Night was falling, and it struck Eddie that he should consider locking up.
In the distance, a ringing began, wobbling in and out of his hearing on a panicked wavelength.
Dogs flooded the street. Their bellies were lean, and their eyes were milky. They moved as a wall, over two hundred strong. They ran shoulder to shoulder, nose to anus. He could hear the whine of the pack through the thick glass of the window.
Then the children came, and he seemed to remember having seen them before.
One boy let go of his lunch pail as he ran, the flying blue plastic box slamming into the face of a pudgy companion in jean shorts.
The injured boy fell, and was immediately trampled by twin girls wearing matching pink spangled t-shirts and white skirts.
Bringing up the rear was Monica Telfort. She was a volunteer driver for kids headed to Sunday school – a service offered up by some of Geeston’s high minded, to keep the young on God’s path while their parents slept off their Saturday night hangovers. Her good humour was legend amongst the chatterers who held court on the benches outside Monty’s convenience.
The notion that she’d picked up his own son that morning, to go on a picnic with his church-mates, slipped into Eddie’s mind.
She was screaming at the children, screaming and pointing into the distance beyond his view.
As Eddie watched, the woman fell to the ground, clutching at her throat.
No child stopped, and he could see tears and vomit on their shirts as they pounded past his window.
He backed away and sat down, deciding it was a good time to complete some paperwork.
His pale hand reached into his rotting and empty desk.
* * *
Monday, June 22nd, 1998
“I can’t feel a thing from my lower back to my ankles,” Les said, stepping down from the battered jeep.
“Sorry, but I wouldn’t risk running a car with actual shocks all the way out here, I’d just be asking to pay for something. Jeep-asaurus dies, I’ll unscrew the plates and we’ll just leave it here and hike out, find a payphone along the highway,” replied Bailey, slamming the flimsy door and pulling a green rucksack from the open trunk.
“Well, it’s not much of a holiday so far though, is it? At least back at the office my spine doesn’t ache.” Stretching, Les surveyed the buildings beyond the access road. “So, the town is pretty safe? I mean with the chemicals and everything?”
“Sure, the Chembax plant burnt down over twenty years ago now, just don’t go eating any moldy sandwiches, or rubbing moss into your eyes. It’s pretty clear around the buildings that aren’t charred cinders though, I guess the same cloud that gassed everyone settled into the soil – it keeps the forest from reclaiming everything. The rescue people took all the bodies and survivors away, but otherwise, things are pretty much Geeston, 1976.”
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.