Tag: serial

Flash Pulp 068 – Koyle's Ferry: A Blackhall Tale, Part 2 of 3

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Sixty-Eight.

Flash PulpTonight, we present Koyle’s Ferry: A Blackhall Tale, Part 2 of 3

(Part 1Part 2Part 3)


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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.

In the second chapter of our current serialization, we obtain a glimpse of a younger Thomas, even as our hero is carried further off-course by the hands of fate, and John Koyle.

Flash Pulp 068 – Koyle’s Ferry: A Blackhall Tale, Part 2 of 3

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

Other than what he carried with him, rituals, promises and habits were all that Thomas Blackhall had to guide him through the primeval forest.

Even as he was pitched through the furious water, a combination of the three were again what saved him.

Years earlier, well before his journey to recover Mairi, or his encounter with the ferryman, he’d stood on a small hillock outside the city of Parma, a dead boar at his feet. As he’d shouldered his spent rifle, he’d thought himself the saviour of a frail woman of no less than eighty, and, given the tusks and speed of the rushing beast, he’d expected a look of thanks, or even fear, upon his approach – instead he’d seen naught but glee.

His understanding of the local form of Latin had been poor, and the woman’s vernacular was rapid fire. She seemed to have questions, but he could only shrug. After a moment she’d raised her shoulders in exchange, then begun to fold back a thick woolen sleeve.

Working free her forearm, she’d plunged it deep into the dead beast’s throat; with a sharp tug, and a moist pop, an ornate woven sack had come spilling from between its jaws.

Despite his earlier considerations, it was Blackhall who stood flummoxed. The woman had wasted no time in rummaging through the sack, a steady stream of indecipherable commentary pouring from her lips as she inventoried with nimble fingers. Turning on Blackhall, she’d pulled free a roughly hewn rawhide necklace from amongst her spoils, a milky stone dangled from its loop.

She’d thrust it at him.

“No worries, I’m glad to have been of assistance,” he’d replied, sure she understood none of it.

Shaking her head at his ignorance, she’d dropped the stone into her mouth, then begun inhaling and exhaling dramatically while miming as if swimming.

The show was enough that he’d accepted the token on her second offering. Having settled accounts, she had turned on the boar, delivering a swift kick to the corpse’s belly, then galloped down the slope at a speed he’d known he could only hope to match with the most agile of horseflesh.

It was the next day, after he’d spent the morning exploring the bed of a nearby stream with the stone lodged firmly in his sealed mouth, that he’d begun to understand the extent of the gift he’d received.

In time he grew used to using the artifact to expedite his fishing, and it had long become habit to grasp for the stone at the point of any submergence.

Still, as he rushed through Ophelia’s rapids, he would have had little chance to reach for his token if it had not been for the water tight container in the breast pocket of his great coat; the container in which the yellowing final letter from his wife rested alongside his sheaf of smoking papers.

Thomas BlackhallIn his half-conscious state, the bobbing package, plucked by the current, felt as if the fingers of Mairi herself, attempting to snatch him from an unwelcome dream. The tug pulled him from the deepest black, although his body had little left to give as he struggled to place the milky stone between his jaws. The rock in place, he swallowed around it, clearing his mouth of water in spite of the belly-full he’d already involuntarily drank.

Panic was the enemy then – he knew enough to save his strength for such a time as he might require it, but, even with his breath recovered, his muscles longed to fight the current; to kick free to the shore. By force of will he waited, patient against the tumbling darkness of the encompassing water.

His perseverance was rewarded.

Without warning he found himself ensnared in a net of fallen dead pines. His position was awkward – he was well below the surface – and yet he was glad to have solidity onto which to grasp. With only a brief pause, he began to pick a careful route amongst the jagged ends, climbing the wavering branches.

As he neared the surface, his hand encountered another surprise: where he had expected a thick protrusion of pine, he came away instead with a pliant human arm. He broke the surface, even as he had hold of the aberration with his free hand, and was taken aback to see there was naught attached to the appendage.

He cast it into the stream.

The flow immediately carried it once again into the waterlogged barricade.

Taking a moment to breath naturally, his gaze moved over the length of the obstruction which had halted his progress. His eyes encountered many patches of coloured cloth caught in the wooden spines.

Turning towards shore, he found himself facing the rotting visage of a woman. Maggots had taken root amongst her cheeks, writhing nubs indicating the progress of their consumption.

It was the low growling beyond, however, which left him longing for the Baker rifle he’d left in the ferryman’s indelicate care.

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.

Functional Friday

I need another three or four hours of sleep, so this is going to be a pretty light day. I did want to be sure to once again publicly shame myself though, as it seems to be serving the useful purpose of keeping me on task.

  • Lukas & Nan is currently 11% done. I realized I’d started my first scene too far into the plot, so I’ve been doing a lot of structural work and not throwing a lot of words on top that I may need to change down the line.
  • My serial project has been further fleshed out. It’ll be a story in four parts, and it’s my intention to finish the first half before putting anything up. I feel like the format is solid and the story flows like water, so there’s really nothing to complain about here. I’ll get a word count together for next Friday, but there’s no real way to guesstimate how much is complete because of its more freewheeling nature.
  • Lovely Alex has been doing sketches for the gag comic, but it’s a tough haul as we’re swimming in babies over here. Still, things are moving along slowly – we’ll see how the Gods Of Slumber feel over the course of the weekend.

New Year's Maintenance Notes

I haven’t been posting any Functional Friday info lately, mostly due to baby and holiday madness.

I haven’t been useless though, I’ve been attempting to putty in the stray moments with writing, a process which is actually going fairly well. I’ve had to toss the idea of the serial as it stood – I still believe it’s a great idea, but I don’t think I have enough ignition-point eyeballs to make it work. If I happen to get some people clustered around me who care from the get go it might fly, but without that support it might just come across as too messy to get into.

I still have plans to generate some kind of serial project, just not the one I’ve been working at the last couple of months. More info on this when my brain provides some.

In the mean time I’ve been working on another piece, lets call it Project: Lukas & Nan, and it’s chugging along nicely. A bit pulpy, but sometimes that’s how I like it. It’s approximately 2.5% done. That may not sound like much, but Rome, yadda yadda.

(Also, Jessica May has an interesting theory about Tiger Woods and his Dad, if she ever gets around to posting it.)

Functional Friday

I’m five scripts away from completing the first batch of strips for the gag comic. Its my intention to kick those out this weekend, and hopefully hassle the artist about getting the first few drawn. It’d be nice to come back Monday with something to post here as a teaser.

I’m completing second edits on the first small ‘arc’ of the serial story, and I really need to start moving the words from their scripts and into the design phase. I want to present it in a series of screenshots: a blog, a news story, I.M.s, etc, and I’m concerned that the story threads are going to get muddled in the transitions. It’s definitely leading me to believe its time to start laying things out and see how it looks. I’m sort of wondering if I should take Scott Sigler’s words of advice, (even though he was talking about podcasting your novel,) and complete the whole story before beginning any of it.



Despite the fact that it rarely gets mentioned, the function of this blog, other than being a dumping ground for the types of random thoughts already on display below, was always meant to relate more to my endeavors in writing fiction.

The truth is, despite the fact that my original mindset in setting this up was a sort of public shaming that would help encourage me to actually get writing, the fact that I’ve avoided discussing it at all has basically negated that effect. It feels awkward to discuss my creative work though, more so somehow than using this as a platform to shout at people about how dumb their kids are.

So, what have I got on my plate, and what do I want to get accomplished?

At the moment, I’ve got two projects in my pocket:

The goofier of the two is a gag comic strip I’ve been writing. Following the suggestion of the halfpixel folk, we’re building a backlog of comics before posting anything. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve scripted out the first thirteen, and come up with general ideas for another ten. Our idea is to post 3 a week, we’ll see how it goes.

It’s surprisingly tough to be funny on demand and I’m not sure I’ve managed to do it.

The other project is a piece of serial fiction I’ve been working on for quite a while. Explaining its format is tough, its definitely experimental, but I’m excited to see if it’ll fly. It’s a pulpy story with a definite arc and ending. Sort of an ensemble cast thing.

Well, it ain’t much, but at least I’ve introduced the children. Next time we’ll get into why you should love them.