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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 Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. As the weeks unfold a recurring cast of characters will appear in both one off and serial tales, five minute chapters of classically styled weird, fantasy and adventure stories for your eyes or podcast feed.
Mulligan Smith And The Runner, Part one of one.
Mulligan Smith, 36, had tucked away his license and was pounding his way across the gravel and shrub back-lot of an abandoned foundry. It hadn’t been an easy place to get into, he’d had to scramble up and over an iron gate. Hard work, but the round man he was chasing was having the worse time of it – he’d only made it over the fence before Mulligan because he’d had a twenty yard lead.
Smith wasn’t sure how the sloppy drunk had managed to hold onto the pistol so long. Mid-way up he’d noticed the thing rolling precariously along the sagging waistband of the chubby man’s sweat pants, but by the time they’d both reached the turnover point and hopped down, the chasee confidently had the thing back in his hands.
Mulligan knew this left him in an odd position: a man chasing after a possible bullet. He’d had some experience with the situation however and had instinctively fallen back to plan B: not catching up.
Projecting from the towering central building that dominated the scrubby clearing, a dual row of rail tracks ran a smooth curve to the edge of the yard to be cut short by the iron fence and the street’s modern re-paving.
Bernard Thompson, 53, the man in baggy grey pants, stumbled as he crossed the rusted siding and fell to one knee. The impact nearly caused his moist right hand to lose hold of the pistol, but it hastily re-found its grip, unwilling to surrender its last hope.
Bernard was a balding man, and yet somehow the remainder of his sweat-clumped hair insisted on finding its way into his eyes, forcing him to brush aside the rogue strands with his free hand while a salty trickle of yard dust rolled into his lolling mouth.
He found his way to his feet, but now he was too overwhelmed to make reasoned decisions and simply stumbled along the curve of the rail towards the edge of the yard, his lungs pulling in ragged breaths.
He fell again.
Welling panic drove him back to his feet, the need to escape this ridiculous situation he’d put himself into, but his ribs ached in protest and his legs rebelled at the rough terrain and desperate use.
He knew somewhere behind him was the hunter, somewhere not far behind lurked prison and shame and the accusing eyes of Melanie Bates, 8.
He tried for a last burst of speed, but instead tripped over one of the sun baked wooden slats. He fell for the final time, his shoulder digging into the lip of the rail, his face grinding through rock chips and dirt.
He began to cry.
Mulligan slowed to a stop less than an arms length from the weeping man. Pulling out a rumpled evidence bag, the PI turned the clear plastic inside-out over his hand and enveloped the pistol, tucking it away in one of his black hoodie’s deep pockets.
Then he reached for his phone.
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.