October’s Pictonaut Challenge

Can you smell it? That charnel scent blowing down from the fells, it leaves a foul and acrid taste in the back of your mouth. A taste like bile and rising gorge; a taste like fear. But only like fear. This doesn’t taste like fear. You know fear, all humans know fear. It is hard-wired into the most primal and bestial parts of our being. Fear is something we can live with. Fear keeps us sharp, it keeps us ready, it keeps us alive. But this? This is something else. It is something older. It is a thing which was ancient long before we came down from the trees. It was antiquated even before legless fish dragged their bellies across the mud of the shore. It is something beyond primeval. It is a thing primordial. Beyond our understanding, we experience only echoes of it, we feel only hints of its being. But that is enough, we know to beware. For this month it rises from the sleep of ages. Just when the skin between this world and the next is at its thinnest, it sallies forth, snaking its tendrils into reality and so it goes about its dark and eldritch purpose.

Hallowe’en is coming…

38 - Oct 2014 - Paint the Town Red

This month’s image is once again one of those unsourced and unattributed gems I found on tumblr. I scoured archives and google for hours trying to find a source, but to no avail. I do vaguely recall that it was in a set with a few other similarly coloured images. The vivid red colouring and eerie whites being the result of using infra-red photography and a, now discontinued, IR sensitive film produced by Kodak. The results give chilling, almost dreamlike landscapes that feel the same, yet unnervingly different. So rather perfect for the “Month of Weird” which October’s Pictonaut Challenge usually is.

For the uninitiated, the Pictonaut Challenge is a monthly writing exercise. You take a good look at the picture above; you sear it into the meat of your brain; you carve it into the flesh of your chest with a sacrificial knife; you howl into the endless void of the sky at the very memory of it. Then you sit down and write a 1,000 word short story (or wordascope) based on it. Then you send me the link, I share it around, and we all have a good read. Sounds easy doesn’t it? It is. Just like the first step down the road to evil and all-consuming darkness always is…


Run while you still can…

Or write.

They’re basically the same thing anyway.

About The Rogue Verbumancer

A chemistry graduate consumed by the demons of apathy and disinterest. Likes tea and cheese. Sleeps less than he should. View all posts by The Rogue Verbumancer

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