April’s Pictonaut Challenge

I sit here in a shattered throne of synthetic leather. The inside of my mouth tastes like something has recently died in it, only to be brought back from beyond the veil that hides that undiscovered country, only to then die again. Judging by taste alone this has probably happened many, many times. I sit here in a shattered throne of grey foam. My hip is still assailed by a strange and nebulous pain that remains undiagnosed, my supply of prescription pain killers has now run out and I contemplating the feasibility of using a plastic ruler to perform an impromptu amputation. So I sit upon my shattered throne. The haunting strains of Mike Oldfield’s Hergest Ridge are the only thing separating me from the deep, syrupy seas of madness. My hayfever has started drawing up some very intricate plans to kill my by drowning me in my own mucus. This all puts paid to my ingenious April Fool’s day plan to pretend to be a robot sent from the future to post poor quality fiction on some dark and forgotten corner of cyberspace. So instead here is a picture of something futuristic and vaguely robot like. It’s called Relay. Beep-boop you bastards, beep-fucking-boop.

32 - Apr 2014 - Relay - Steve Renn

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Another Walk

For the first time in a very long while I awoke into the realm of BST without feeling like someone had removed the top of my skull in the depths of night and taken a particularly large and particularly foul shit right on top of my brain. This is a novelty beyond words. Ordinarily my body reacts to this slight disruption of its diurnal rhythms throwing what back home they call “a massive wobbly.” First think on Sunday morning I woke up as hale and hearty as I have ever been and promptly wrote eight hundred words in less than an hour. This has filled me with a dark and brooding suspicion. I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. To drop like an asteroid thundering out of high orbit. Like an asteroid who’s been hitting the booze a bit too much and now, in the throes of an alcoholic stupor, thinks that Earth isn’t so great, that it could probably take that smug bastard. Swanning about with its “atmosphere” like it owns the whole solar system. I fully expect to wake up in a few days and no longer feel human. To feel more like a crude and badly constructed simulacrum of a man-shaped thing. Admittedly I am a crude and badly constructed simulacrum of a man-shaped thing, but I don’t like to be reminded about it.

Anyway, short stories…

31 - Mar 2014 - Another Walk

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March’s Pictonaut Challenge

March has finally rolled around and with it comes the first month of spring. We find ourselves with winter at our backs (at least in theory) and move onward into the promise of warm breezes and clear skies, or at the very least, slightly warmer rain. Spring is a time of new beginnings as the world awakens from its slumber, flowers spring into bloom, trees throw on a new coat of leaves and bird song fills the air. With daylight growing ever longer with each passing day there world seems so much more vital and real, as if everything we knew and saw in winter was a slightly fuzzy photograph; a slideshow of frozen moments in time. It makes you want to go outside and just be.

Last March we went for a walk. It’s good to get outside and feel the world beneath your feet, to stretch your legs and set out to see just where the road will take you. I think we should all go for Another Walk.

31 - Mar 2014 - Another Walk Continue reading


Barrow Door

When last we met dear readers it was on a pleasantly sunny day. Being the suspicious sort that I am, I suspect that February was plotting something most heinous and most foul. Which as chance would have it, it was. As heinous and foul most assuredly describe the weather of the last month. Large portions of the country have been transformed so that they are no more a green and sceptred land. Now they’re more of a muddy brown and sort of squelchy. The boffins at the MET office claim that it is the wettest winter on record and I’m certainly not going to disagree. It is times such as this that I am glad to live nowhere near a body of water and be on the 1st floor. But as much as my genetic heritage compells me to talk at length about the weather I should probably get down to the business of short stories and tall tales.

30 - Feb 2014 - Barrow Door

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February’s Pictonaut Challenge

“Why hello there February, aren’t you looking uncharacteristically sunny and pleasant today, what are you up to? WHAT DO YOU HAVE PLANNED YOU GREGORIAN RUNT!? I’M ON TO YOU!”

After the rain yesterday’s rain which could have been described with adjectives like biblical or apocalyptic, the shortest and most excellent of months has begun with a sky of clear and brilliant duck egg blue. A brief respite from the fickle throes of the British winter, or a karmic reward for enduring that which has passed? Who can say? Other than perhaps the Met Office, that is after all, their job. I for one doubt that the rains have deigned to relinquish their grasp on the world, not yet. But for now we can sit back and enjoy what good fortune we have and relish in the knowledge that so far we remain resolutely “not dead.” That day will come, the day where will finally be ensconced behind the Barrow Door.

30 - Feb 2014 - Barrow Door

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Mercury

And thus January comes to an end, and a particularly damp and dreary end at that. The sky bleeds like someone’s made a botched attempt at amateur surgery on our once glorious firmament. I’m going to be honest, it’s been a pretty dire month as January’s go. I usually adore rain but there can be too much of a good thing, nor has the ambient temperature come anywhere close to it’s seasonally appropriate winter chill. It’s been almost offensively mild (though my electricity bill will no doubt change my view on this in due course.) On top of this I have spent the balance of this month gripped by a vague and malignant malaise of spirit and soul. A cocktail of general-all-purpose fatigue, listlessness and the continued manful battle to not vomit everywhere. It has prompted me to actually get round to registering a the local health centre. As you read this I will most likely be being poked and prodded by a crack team of physicians, chirurgeons, quacks, apothecaries and shamans. After their examination they will, to a (wo)man, declare “Well Mister Verbumancer you seem to be perfectly healthy, if somewhat clinically dead.”

You know, standard January fare.

29 - Jan 2014 - Mercury - Cornelius Dämmrich Continue reading


January’s Pictonaut Challenge

Today is the first day of Two Thousand and Fourteen. The day has been cold and grey, the sun a wan and sickly thing. The gloom has pervaded throughout the entire day and so has the rain. rain so persistent and unrelenting that one would be forgiven for thinking that the world is crying; mourning the passing of Two Thousand and Thirteen. The world must go on, even though its old friend is now gone. There is something comforting about rain and cloud, something reassuring, something old and dependable. And that is a good thing to have when confronted by the myriad of possibilities that lay before us all. The beginning of a thing is always the most terrifying, the most monstrous and insurmountable. For to begin a thing we must overcome the mountain of inertia and haul ourselves up from the very bowels of the potential energy well. But once that’s done? Then it’s a downhill slope. Things get easier. Either that or you encounter an unforeseen co-interaction or strange quantum phenomenon and everything either catches fire or ends up filled with gribbly abominations from the Before Time. Swings and roundabouts really.

Other things once begun continue, ad infinitum, such is their inertia that they cannot be stopped by conventional means. They merely continue, because that is the way things are. So here we are in the first day of the first month, let us visit the first of the planets, let us visit Mercury.

29 - Jan 2014 - Mercury - Cornelius Dämmrich Continue reading


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