Inside Pandora’s Box by Jesse Rawlins

Crime Fiction, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humour, Jesse Rawlins, Noir, Pulp, Punk Noir Magazine, Red Fez

Pandora didn’t say a word; but of course she didn’t have to. Her fathomless eyes spoke volumes, and calmed his burdened-mind. The cancer that ravished her body had changed so many things. Yet the taloned-beast had failed to mutilate their love. Chemo had claimed her hair; but he found her wig exotic, black waves tonight pinned-back with Oriental Jade.

A tad bit cumbersome though, Pandora’s riddled glands no longer functioned properly. But beneath their rainbow-quilt, he knew what he would find: the loveliest heart-shaped box. And with a tenderness born of intimacy, he massaged the medical lubricant (without which sex was painful).

Until at last entwined in Love—Jake’s many worries melted.

Languidly wishing he could linger, Mother Nature called. And if he didn’t answer, his screaming bladder would explode.

Jake crawled out the coffin. And gently closed the lid. There was no place he felt better—

Than inside Pandora’s Box.


Manhunt Ends in Chilling Climax     

Skulled by Peter Blunt: Beat Writer for OhMG!

MONTREAL—In a real-life rendition of Tales from the Crypt, bristling federal agents manacled Jake “The Snake” Coleman—as the former mortician slithered from a deceased woman’s coffin—shortly after midnight.

As eerie-night waxed into morn, droves of forensic specialists, masked and clad in latex, scoured the industrial warehouse, where this alarming crime took place. But what’s left of the debauched corpse has yet to be identified.

Various ranking authorities (from the United States and Canada) say their efforts will continue. But there’s simply not much substance for detectives to collect—in what they’re aptly calling an “open-and-shut case.”

“As we breached the basement I watched Coleman suddenly open—then close that coffin lid. Soon as I spotted the pants goo, it was obvious what took place,” said U.S. Marshall Patty Cakes. “Besides state and federal lines—this guy crossed some lines few people dream of crossing. His cold-frosting on our three-year-hunt was absolutely chilling.”

Coleman, 34 (from Alabama-USA), launched his cryptic coffin circuit three years ago in May: leaving frigid puzzle-pieces—of cancerous female corpses—in his putrid wake. Fleeing too-hot Alabama, the ex-mortician humped his way thru Arizona’s Grandest Canyon: thumped Ruby Ridge in Idaho; then pounded poor Sioux Falls back down in South Dakota.

But two years into the manhunt, Coleman’s arctic trail turned colder—than his freeze-dried taste in women. And until his coffin-chronicles in wintry-Montreal, stifled authorities held no clue as to what Jake’s Bad Snake’s been doing. Nor they ruefully say do they have a sniff of whom.

OhMG! has learned that Dr. Eudora Dahl (the famous psycho-therapist of our many sultry dreams) has been hired to charm “The Snake” in hopes of getting answers. But we at OhMG! certainly hold our doubts: the dynamic Dr. D is not a bony-old cadaver. Despite her expertise that crunching critter Coleman will likely prove a Nut that the Hot-Doc just can’t crack.


Jacob (as she called him) didn’t mind their talks.

Though he much preferred dead women.

Because they couldn’t talk.

To Jacob’s way of thinking, not talking made them Virtuous. And worthy of Adoration. Like his beloved sweet Pandora—who he literally sorely missed after three punishing celibate months in this lunatic asylum, where half the raving lunatics literally crawled the walls. (All of them sadly male; and all of them sadly living.)

In Jacob’s humble opinion, Dr. Eudora C. Dahl was in fact two separate women—trapped inside one body.

The “C” he’d learned on the Internet, aptly stood for Cathy. And with her Medusa snake-like hair, Dr. Chatty-Cathy Dahl was anything but Virtuous. While her quiet-intriguing superior was elegantly named Eudora.

The Chatty-Cathy doctor also displayed a sloppy penchant for making false assumptions. But discretion he always felt was the better part of Valor. And how better to woo Eudora than with the Knightly Code of Chivalry? So not once did Jacob bother to correct the erroneous Doc.

“During our last session, we talked about your mother. And I bet you’d feel amazing, if we spent the day releasing these conflicting bottled feelings.”

As this proposition climaxed, outside her second-floor window (which overlooked the yard) a guy called Harvey Danger—clawed past their plate-glass view.

A fairly common site; so the three of them ignored him.

A month into his arrival, Jake had taken time to reflect—this crazy Canadian hospice wasn’t all that different than the Lone-Star state of Texas (or a bunch of other states).

Just as Jacob knew old Harvey was headed for the roof, he knew where the Doc was headed. He also knew exactly what an Oedipal Complex was. So he absolutely knew—that the crude delinquent Oedipus didn’t haunt his troubled Psyche: because only stinking perverts craved sex with their mothers.

“No need to plow old ground, Doc.”

“But plowing through old turf often yields such fresh desserts.”

Jake adeptly caught embarrassed Eudora’s darting eyes.

They both had caught Doc Cat’s crassly-catty drift.


Eudora Dahl’s frustrations mounted—in some deeply troubling ways. The technique that she’d perfected was technically very simple: stroke their egos, crank their fantasies—and away these whack-jobs went. They quickly spewed their guts. And typically sprayed some hair gel: an unfortunate clinical side-effect that couldn’t be prevented. Not without pre-approved castration (a snip she always offered; and all the nuts rejected).

Throughout this messy protocol, the much-loved Dr. Dahl never lifted a sultry-finger.

But after these purging psychic cleansings—which included countless bottles of anti-bacterial soap (let alone replacing a ton of squishy office chairs)—her work began in earnest, as her sultry-fingers chronicled every squalid detail in her Best-Selling Tell-ALL books. After each new hot release, she gave exclusive interviews to the highest bidders (which meant she’d posed for Penthouse, defunct-Playgirl and Playboy). Besides shopping and the gym, she devoted her remaining time to hot-gratuitous-sex, which she always performed blind-folded (while zoning on designer drugs).

Not merely insanely-recalcitrant each time the two of them talked, this new strange and maddening nut-job seemed impervious to her charms—no matter how she dressed. Or how many wigs she wore.

Her initial meeting with Mr. Coleman, she’d played the cancer card: by fashioning a corset, which artfully made her look as if one of her breasts was missing; and naturally she had pinned—a pink breast cancer ribbon—where her aching phantom boob would normally come to rest.

But this cold and limbless fish had not produced a drop of perverse perspiration; and not once did she catch a gleam in his squidded unblinking-eyes.

She then hired Hollywood artists from the sets of Horror movies. And they’d made her look as dead as a still-breathing-girl could seem. But all to no affect.

To further compound her troubles, she found the guy attractive in a primal kind of way. His uncanny ethereal tendency to linger in her eyes spurred these feelings further. And ultimately fueled her anger—as he prattled about Pandora—day-after-day-after-day.

To alleviate her frustrations, she’d booked a beach resort vacation: at a place she called Head-Med—where she’d get her carpet hoovered morning, noon, and night. (Much like the heralded rose, cunnilingus by any name—was always thankfully cunnilingus.)


Seven days a week, the asylum hosted seminars and an array of lifestyle workshops. So rather than waste his days throwing personal Pity Parties (or watching the bloody crazies crawl the blood-stained walls), Jake scrutinized their catalogue, and judiciously enrolled in two specific courses: Assertiveness Training 201 and Anger Management for Murderers (also known as AMM).

Jake had never killed a soul. And until this incarceration, had never once felt tempted. But each morning with his oatmeal, he always read the News (in several local papers; and also on the Web). And naturally he felt mystified by his portrayal in the Media.

The outlet that wrote the cruelest things called itself OhMG! And righteous-Jake soon lasered all his newfound-rage at the rag’s iconic writer: the phalus-sophical Peter Blunt.

To state his feelings bluntly: Jake ached to beat the writer—with the salty Peter’s peter—till all that remained of Blunt was six-inches of his life.

Toting his supplies as he schlepped from AMM, Jake spotted Dr. Dahl by her shiny silver Jaguar—hopping round in circles—like a bunny cranked on meth.

Unlike crazies climbing walls, this was something new. Energized himself, he strode alongside the Jag and leaned against the trunk, where he overheard the doctor snorting sharp instructions to a dim-wit tow-truck driver.

Stabbing her iPhone in mid-hop—she froze on seeing Jake: and the supernova smile on his enraptured face.

“Penny for your thoughts,” she snapped.

Stroking a new goatee, Jake cocked his head—and smirked: “I bet you’d feel amazing if we did something with your hair.”

“Maybe we will,” she countered, “if you tell me what turns you on.”

“Hair is superficial, Doc. You need to flip the question.”

Surprised by his sudden candor she adjoined him at the Jag; both their shoulders touching, as she frantically scrolled her phonebook: looking for a livery to carry her to the airport. If she missed this flight to the Rug Docs she just might lose her mind. But if she left her Jag here with the whack-jobs, they’d not only climb the roof: she’d come back to squishy seats.

“Okay then, Mister Coleman: besides my current hairstyle—what are the things that turn you off?”

“Keep working’ the puzzle doc: I’m sure you’ll sort it out.”

Again with his recalcitrance. Fearful of losing headway, she stoically plowed ahead: “I think I’ve worked a few things out—”

Amused he arched his eyebrows.

ALL those WOMEN that you slept with during the past three stressful years—against unseemly odds—it’s merely a strange coincidence that all of them had cancer.”

She finally caught a gleam in eyes that glowed with warmth.

“And despite what everyone’s saying, you do NOT have a coffin fetish. While you were being hunted, you often needed a place to rest. And since you’d worked as a mortician, coffins sprung to mind—almost anywhere you traveled, these boxes were available. Why stay at cheap motels—or crash in abandoned buildings—when you could steal a box instead. All the Cadillac models are comfortably upholstered. And impervious to the elements.

Nevertheless on a psychic level, these coffins where you rested eventually turned symbolic: they became your secret place, where you felt warm and safe; hidden from the world—as you hoped for a better future. That’s what Pandora represented.

She also never judged you—nor would she ever leave you.

“And ever since your capture, you’re struggling with her loss.”


Impressed by Doc’s conclusions, Jake smoothly crawled inside; and gently closed the lid.

There was no place he’d feel better: than inside Eudora’s trunk.

Eudora didn’t say a word; but of course she didn’t have to. Her fathomless eyes spoke volumes, and calmed his troubled-mind. While behind that duct-taped mouth—the suddenly-Virtuous Dr. Dahl screamed in silent horror: as the cuddled threesome lurched behind the rumbling-rolling tow truck.

Using the therapist’s iPhone, Coleman snapped her picture: which he fired to Peter Blunt and the jerks at OhMG!

Along with a torrid text—

“Thinkin’ of you—you wankers. This is who I’m doin’. But you’ll never catch a whiff! (’Cept in your twisted dreams.) As to where I’m doin’ Eudora? The GPS is off: Use your perverted imaginations. (What I do when I’m with women is none of your stinkin’ business.) With snarky regards, Jake Coleman XXOO!”

This assertive deed now done (and feeling a lot-less-murderous), Jake deleted both pic and message; then tugged the battery from the phone. Now the time had come to delete Ms. Chatty-Cathy from his eternal memory. Strangling Dr. Dahl would be a mercy killing (that just might save his sanity)—and save the trapped Eudora: whose wig would look exotic—

After he dispatched the dispatched driver, and shaved that Medusa hair. (If only all Life’s problems were so simply superficial. And so easily resolved.)

Before the demented client snapped her fragile hyoid—and, how had she crassly put it? Ah, yes: plowed her aged turf in his kinky-quest for fresh desserts, a cryptic piece of Coleman’s puzzle finally tumbled into place.

“OMG!” she thought. My mother always told me: You talk too bloody much.

Ah, well. While thirty-eight was young, her carpet had certainly borne some heavy Industrial use. Knowing Coleman would adore it (long after she was gone) left her coyly flattered—

She tenderly kissed his lips thru a half-inch-mound of duct-tape (which sneaky Jake had hidden beneath the books inside his bag). Though she hadn’t figured out how he’d sabotaged the Jag.

Drawing her last breath, the relaxed doctor smiled: Famous Jake “The Snake” Coleman—was in her well-upholstered trunk. The jealous boys at OhMG! would have a load of things to say.

To Coleman’s way of thinking Curiosity killed Doc Cat. He liked her a whole lot better now that she was Virtuous. And he would answer all her questions when the three of them had dinner.

Bio: Addicted to tawdry tales that sometimes make her blush, Jesse typically writes crime, mysteries, and humor. You’ll usually find her stories on the darker side of the tracks including Flash Fiction Offensive, flash-zine Shotgun Honey, and The Rye Whiskey Review. Jesse also pens Bad Ass Book Reviews, and author interviews—fondly known as Ink-Quisitions—for Southern Crime mag Story and Grit. At the time of this writing, she hasn’t killed anyone yet.

“Inside Pandora’s Box” kindly first appeared in Canada’s eclectic and electric Red Fez magazine.

Wanna say “Hello” you can vist her on Facebook:

Jesse Rawlins