Now past gloaming, and into tenebrous seeming, the cloak of darkness has fallen across our land. We slide slowly into the belly of night on a stately and nightmarish procession towards the plutonian heights of midnight and the advent of the witching hour. Dread and fell things stalk our world, sure and safe below the onyx sky. They wait in shadowy hollows, waiting, hunting and mayhaps even preying upon that thing which is man. But while some may thing it wise to lock the doors and cower in our quaint fortresses of brick and mortar, we instead sally forth into the Stygian murk. We festoon our vulnerable and fleshy forms in gruesome masks and frightful frippery, so as to scare aware these vaporous horrors. We carve the faces of gurning monstrosities into vivid orange gourds and leave them to stand sentinel before the gateways of our fastnesses. Or we hack the essence of a face into the hard and unyielding flesh of turnips and swing these Snanny Lanterns by our sides as we go a galumphing in the gloom. As so we bravely, perhaps even foolishly, hold make the monsters for the night.
All Hallows Eve is weird.
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…
And so begins another month, the auspicious days of autumnal October. A month when the nights begin to close in around us and Winter begins to flex its chill fingers. It’s a month when the cold starts to nip at our heels just before it really begins to bite. October to me is a time of transition, a slightly mystical month; with the world-changing around us it feels like almost anything could happen. When it finally draws to a close October goes out with a bang, culminating in All Hallows Eve. If there is a day that embodies the mystery of the unknown I have yet to discover it. It is a night where the world feels just a little flimsy and surreal, as if the fabric which holds everything together is not quite as stolid as we believe it to be. The night where even the bravest and most sceptical of us all are just a little bit afraid of what might really be out there, lurking in the dark and dim corners of the world…
It’s the first of October, it’s a new month, it’s time for Pictonauts old and new to start flexing their fiction muscles.