Tag: Flash Pulp 275

FP275 – Dwelling, Part 1 of 1

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode two hundred and seventy-five.

Flash PulpTonight we present Dwelling, Part 1 of 1

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This week’s episodes are brought to you by Dead Kitchen Radio.


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, a young boy finds himself unable to fully escape a haunted house.


Dwelling, Part 1 of 1

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


The trouble began late one Halloween evening.

Under the uncaring gaze of a flock of plastic ghosts hung on an elm across the street, a trio of fourteen-year-old boys were sizing up the rotting shutters and peeling yellow paint of 186 Bunten Road – and, unknown to them, the house was taking their measure in return.

ChillerTwo of the youths were dressed similarly, having adopted the personas of Jake and Elwood Blues, while the third, Samuel Curry, was dressed as Clark Kent. The costumes had been hasty choices made only once they’d realized their growing desire for maturity had yet to outweigh their need for candy. Church suits, cheap sunglasses, and Jake’s father’s fedora collection had simplified matters, and Sam had but to mousse up, and expose the Superman t-shirt he was already wearing, to perfect his attire.

It was perhaps his too-handsome looks which brought the Blues Brothers to challenge Curry with a dare of entry into the reputedly haunted property.

“Sure, if it isn’t locked tight,” was his final reply, and the hat-wearers smiled.

The false Kryptonian was somewhat disheartened to discover the door ajar, but he moved on nonetheless.

Digging his key chain from his pocket, the boy engaged the small flashlight which he’d long ago hung on the ring, and pushed through the tight antechamber which preceded the front hall.

The second entrance provided no more resistance than the first, despite its heft.

The building was a remnant of another age. Its armour was red brick, and its gilding, from frames to wainscoting, were of heavy oak. Even its innermost entryways held a bulk unheard of in modern construction. The occult symbols which crowded its woodwork were rarer still.

Inside, Sam was provided with a pair of choices – a passage to the left, which seemed to lead to a darkened living room, or, on the right, a set of stairs rising to the second floor. The agreed objective was the solitary unshuttered window facing the street, a pane on the story above, and the boy lay his sneaker on the gray carpet which ran down the center of the flight.

As he did so, the exterior most door slammed shut.

Sam decided it was only the wind – and held to it when the nearer slab also closed.

It was this tenacity that goaded the house.

In the kitchen below, a vodka bottle – abandoned atop the counter some years earlier by a startled drunk – shattered on the dusty linoleum.

The lad, at the head of the steps, ignored it.

He could see the opening that would lead to the end of his quest, and his focus was completely on his goal.

With a steady stride, he passed into the former bedroom. He had no time for the black and white leaves that filled the wallpaper, nor the constellation of unidentifiable stains which littered its floor – his eyes clung firmly to the square of illumination from the streetlamps beyond.

When he peered out, however, he discovered that his companions didn’t have his stomach for unexpected slamming.

They were gone.

Turning, Sam readied himself to retrace his route. Ten strides carried him to the cusp of the hall, and an eleventh would have put him safely outside the bedchamber, if it had not been for the sudden closing of the exit.

The hinged weight landed solidly on his leg, snapping bone below his knee, and the adolescent screamed.

Pinned in place, he had no option but to watch the corridor’s thick carpet writhe with mirth.

It was all too much for Samuel, and the teen lapsed into shock-induced unconsciousness.

He awoke to fresh agony, when the oak frame impacted twice more. His position shifted slightly with each hit, so that, though no blow landed in the same place, the shards of his tibia were churned into fragments, then splinters.

The boy realized, with horror, that the door was chewing on him.

The maw again swung wide, but, before a third bite might be taken, Sam dug his nails into the roiling carpet, and pulled himself forward.

Emitting a mix of grunts and tears, he crawled to the stairs, then down them.

The structure briefly considered heaving the rug to toss the child the distance, thus assuring an abrupt snapping of his neck at the bottom, but there was too much risk of becoming a known danger to the public.

No, it decided, permitting an escape would ensure its reputation – ensure the fear it needed.

Sam had made it to the lower-most step when flashing red lights began to pour through the no-longer-shuttered windows of the first floor.

Within moments, dual flashlights were probing the boy’s ashen face.

“I fell,” was the extent of the explanation he provided as the officers transported him to Capital City General.

No one doubted him.

* * *

For a time the house was content.

On another Halloween, four years later, it had scared away a similar group of explorers through simply swinging wide its front-facing slats while their backs were turned. Six months following that, it had allowed a stray Boston Terrier to enter its basement, only to hold it prisoner until it collapsed from starvation. The residence felt its carcass would make a nice surprise for some future adventurer – but none came till the second summer following, when a bored man in a fine suit made his way inside.

Having grown bored and hungry, the trap set itself to its best behaviour, as if laying out its tongue to await a meal.

A parade of workers followed, all instructed to maintain as many of the original fixtures possible. The cacophony scraped paint, varnished surfaces, and peeled the gummy fur from its cellar floor, and, in the end, the presence took some pride in the remarkable nature of its restoration. As they departed, it found itself hard pressed to want to murder this latest batch of subservient intruders.

On a later June morning, a smartly dressed woman carrying a clipboard lead a recently married couple over the threshold. The bride’s belly was growing heavy, and the twosome cooed at the flood of natural light that filled the room at the top of the stairs.

They lasted but three weeks – on a quiet Sunday evening the dwelling’s intelligence had exposed, to the expecting woman, every drawer and cupboard in the small kitchen. It had then silently shut each while she breathlessly retrieved her husband.

The house had not anticipated how seriously the young family would take the incident, and after their premature departure it still yearned for a more satisfying result.

As such, it again allowed the woman with the clipboard to tour the floors and prattle on about its historic beauty.

Eventually, a group of five attempted to nest within; a middle aged couple, their teen twin daughters, and the matron’s drooling mother.

This time the predator took a subtle approach. Tensions flared over missing money and mysterious injuries appearing on the senile gran. The old woman was an invalid, and the corruption took no end of pleasure in terrifying her awake upon a rocking bed – it enjoyed how she screamed endlessly behind her unmoving mouth.

After a half-decades careful effort, the situation was a primed powder keg. The wife was sure the husband was beating her increasingly frail mother, and the husband was progressively obsessing over the notion that nocturnal shutter creaks, and the sounds of shifting furniture, were signs that his beloved daughters were running rampant with their ne’er-do-well boyfriends – and yet he could never seem to catch them in the act, finding, instead, that when he entered their rooms they would claim they had just awoken, even if their clothing seemed freshly strewn across their floors.

His freshly purchased shotgun did little to reassure him, though the home viewed it with a sense of impending glee.

Then, one Tuesday morning, the sleepless nights, and air of constant suspicion, were unexpectedly interrupted by a phone call.

The malignancy could not penetrate the depths of the conversation, but the family had left together, chattering excitedly.

Much to the entity’s disappointment, they did not return.

* * *

Early Wednesday, a dozen broad-shouldered men arrived in boxy trucks.

Being familiar with the migration of movers, the house was content to lay silent as the paintings were stripped from its walls, and the furniture emptied from its living spaces. By noon only that which couldn’t be carried away remained.

As the rumble of engines drained from the lane, a black sedan pulled to a halt at the curb.

It was then that the lurking hunter realized the sudden departure was a greater threat than it had fathomed.

The sole of a well-built black shoe set down upon the sidewalk, followed by the stout nose of a masterly crafted oak cane.

A grown Samuel Curry stepped from the car, then removed his dark suit jacket.

He left it on the rear-seat as he retrieved his tools.

Despite his years of planning – his years of panicked awakenings and secret confessions to his psychiatrist – Sam made no speech.

He peeled the shutters first, plucking off the lowermost with crowbars, and using a ladder to reach those higher.

The doors came next, without subtlety: Guessing where the hinges might hide within, the avenging form simply laid his sledge against the barriers until they no longer stood. The rush of adrenaline made his stints away from his supporting cane all the more bearable.

Long planning had lead to caution, so Curry retrieved a pair of sharp bladed scissors, and dropped to his knees, before entering.

He immediately took to slicing wide shards from the carpeted surfaces, which he then carried to the lawn with meticulous care. As each passed through the house’s maw, it ceased its wiggling protestations. As the path of destruction advanced, the material increasingly bucked and jerked beneath his blades, but a lack of leverage left the complaints useless.

Every cupboard cover was stripped, and every shelf removed.

Sweating, the entrance which had left him with a permanent limp was the last tooth that Sam plucked.

Wandering from room to room , he then pummeled the plasterwork with his walking stick. The walls groaned with rage, but the lack of reprimand was proof enough to the bright-eyed man that the danger had passed.

As a last insult, Sam unfurled a sleeping bag and slept the night, soundly, upon the kitchen floor.

He was awoken by the sound of an arriving backhoe, with whose clasping bucket he would chew the house to rubble.


Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Freesound.org credits:

Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

– and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

FP274 – Sgt. Smith in Model Behaviour, Part 1 of 1

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode two hundred and seventy-four.

Flash PulpTonight we present Sgt. Smith in Model Behaviour, Part 1 of 1

[audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/skinner/FlashPulp274.mp3]Download MP3
(RSS / iTunes)


This week’s episodes are brought to you by Dead Kitchen Radio.


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, private investigator Mulligan Smith hears a tale from his father’s checkered history with the Capital City Police Department.


Sgt. Smith in Model Behaviour, Part 1 of 1

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


Mulligan SmithIt was a Sunday, and Mulligan was dabbing at his plate’s last smudge of Hollandaise sauce with his final sliver of English muffin.

He leaned back from the square oak table – the same he’d grown up leaving chocolate milk rings on – and burped.

His mute father grimaced, and pointed to a yellow blob that had escaped his son’s fork and landed on the unzipped hoodie he insisted on always wearing.

“Yeah, yeah,” replied Mulligan, as he rubbed at the stain. “Listen, Dad, not that I’m complaining, but you cook for me when you have a favour to ask – so ask.”

The gray-haired former police sergeant let out a lungful of air, and nodded.

Rising, with a creak, from the thrice reupholstered kitchen chair, the old man moved down the short wood-paneled hallway that lead to his bedroom. After a moment of shelf shuffling and drawer slamming, he returned with a cassette tape and a rectangular player consisting of a transparent flip-out door bookended by a pair of black speakers.

With a fast moving BIC pen, the elder Smith scrawled a short preface on his always-near pad of paper.

The note read: “Capital City wasn’t in great shape in ‘89.”

It was the only warning he provided, but it was clue enough to the younger Smith. He knew his father had regularly carried a pocket recorder during the era to capture witness statements. The method saved on hand cramping when tongueless-ly attempting to convey information to his fellow officers.

Except for a very few, however, those cassettes had been destroyed at his father’s retirement.

Mulligan’s belly felt suddenly heavy as the play button was pressed.

The voice was a woman’s; high pitched, but comfortable speaking with a cop.

“It’s Doreen – but, listen: I was washing my panties at the Washeteria on Danforth, maybe an hour ago, so 10PM-ish, and this blond came in wearing a Capital University jacket and a Walkman so loud it could frighten an Amish village off their land.

“She struts past me with a pink plastic laundry basket piled high with her frillies and a stack of textbooks – and I notice she’s wearing jewelery. At the goddamn Washeteria.

“Really, it was nothing too over the top. Classy stuff, but, you know, girlish. There was a gold music note on her neck that would get you at least a hundred bucks in any of the downtown pawn shops, and a bracelet chunky enough to club a seal.

“Anyhow, she picks the machine at the end to dump her clothes into, then she sits up on the counter and starts digging through one of her books. I mean, not in a bored kind of way, she was seriously tucking in.

“Thing is, there was this guy in a white sweater, with a blue zigzag pattern – sort of Charlie Brown style, but thinner, and around his collar instead of his stomach. His teeth were perfect and I’d be willing to bet he had his hair done earlier today – and not cheaply, either.

“Their conversation started about math – he was maybe twenty-five to her eighteen or nineteen, and I guess he’d been through the same accounting course. I tuned it all out until he said:

““I’m done my laundry too – and that looks like a lot of stuff. Could I drive you home?”

“Well, there was one car in the parking lot, a cherry red Corvette with windows as black as a blind guy’s sunglasses.

“She looked impressed – and I couldn’t believe it.

“Before she went through the door with him, I put myself in her path.

““I don’t think that’s the best idea, hon,” I said.

“She looked my little black dress over and I know she was thinking, “Jesus, this woman dresses like a whore.”

“Hell, I almost blurted “that’s because I AM a whore, bitch,” but one of us had to maintain some manners.

“She didn’t actually say anything to me, she just kept talking to the guy. Told him she was down the road at The Gardens, and how she really appreciated it.

“Now, I know you’re thinking, “who is this street walker to judge who this girl wants to climb in the sack with?”

“But that ain’t it.”

The woman cleared her throat, and the tape reported a lighter being struck twice, then igniting.

She continued.

“I don’t know how long he’d been haunting the place, but I’m sure he noticed the same thing I did: A good looking, but slightly overwhelmed, girl folding clothes with no wedding band on.

“Now, what’s a guy with that much expensive cologne on doing hanging around a laundromat after dusk? Waiting to play knight?

“Hell no. I can’t prove it, but that guy was either a rapist or an axe murderer.

“Worse, though, is that I know cars. You get in that pretty moving box, and you really don’t have any room to maneuver. A lot can happen in that tiny space before you can do anything about it.

“Hey, maybe I’m just being an idiot, but the news is always yammering about those missing blondes…”

Though the tape kept winding, there was a pause in the dialogue as a pencil scratched across paper.

“Yeah, actually,” said the woman, after reading an unseen request. “You’re lucky I’ve made it a professional habit to memorize license numbers.”

There was a juttering shift in the audio then, and, following a series of clicks, a man’s voice filled the speakers.

Mulligan recognized it to be that of Gus Kramer, his father’s former partner.

“You’re sure about the lawyer? Okay, in that case, why don’t you tell us what you’d intended to do with the Ms. Harrison once you knocked her out?”

The tape head ground on, but there was a deep silence before the response came.

“Yeah, sure guys, why not?” was the eventual reply. Despite the delay, the man’s tone was cool and clear. “She was the fifth. You’ll find the rest back at my house. The basement will be cold when you enter – I like how, er, pert it makes them, but I really keep it that way to slow the reaction.

“I built a tank in Dad’s old workshop; well, I had it built for me. I said I needed an incredibly strong giant aquarium.

“There’s two tubes on either side – are you familiar with casting resin at all? You mix two chemicals together and the goo hardens to something almost like glass. Sometimes, at booths in the mall, you can buy a tarantula in what looks like clear plastic. Basically the same thing.

“My first stab at a diorama was a failure. I started by dumping too much in, and I didn’t realize how hot the process would get – at her hips, she was screaming in agony. The whole place smelled like flaming chicken.

“I panicked a bit and finished filling the tank twice as quick. Her thrashing did a surprisingly good job of mixing things, and she was firmly stuck when the liquid stopped her bawling.

“The end product was terrible, because the resin cracked and went yellow from the heat, but she was good training.

“I ordered away for industrial stuff, which is way cooler, and number two taught me to do it in stages. She fought forever, though, and I ended up with something that looked like a woman curled in the fetal position at the top of a box, which isn’t exactly sexy.

“With number three I kept her unconscious till the bottom layer had already set, so that she had the use of the rest of her body, but her feet were pinned in place. From there it climbed a few inches of resin at a time, with a mix that allowed it to set as slowly as possible. Of course, she wanted to remain alive, so she stretched every muscle, with her back arched and face upturned to try and get that last breath.

“That definitely turned out sexy.

“Four is beautiful as well, actually – she showed me about the value of props, and now she’ll always be my naughty french maid.

“I had a school scene in mind for number five. I have a desk and plaid skirt at home waiting for her. Nothing more though – I prefer them topless. I thought I could strap her to her chair beneath the tartan, so that she could still move her arms a bit, and provide the randomness that’s really necessary for a life-like scene.

“Wouldn’t it be great if I could convince her to keep just one hand raised?

“I was so excited to see my beautiful liquid glass slide past her cherry lip gloss -”

The elder Smith stopped the tape, and his son sighed. He knew the case well enough, and that the man the press had dubbed The Cube Killer was long dead from a sharpened prison house toothbrush.

“I was wrong,” said the younger man, “you also cook before a funeral. The victim?”

Reaching into his pocket, the retiree retrieved a newspaper obituary for one Doreen Mitchell, mother of three. It indicated that viewings would begin Monday evening, and both Smiths wondered if the accompanying photo had struck many of those who habitually trawled the back-page column as inappropriate. Still, whatever the cut of her dress, the ferocity of the woman’s smile was inescapable.

Mulligan nodded, considering his words. Finally, he said, “I’ll get my suit pressed in the morning.”


Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Freesound.org credits:

Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

– and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.