Monday, 30 June 2014

Pictonaut - June 2014 - Forbiddon!

Another month rolls around and another pictonaut challenge comes to an end. Here was this month's:

And it was a doozy. Way way waaaay open. Could do almost anything with it. My first thought was, 'Nah, skip this one. Too many options.' Then inspiration stuck and I bashed out the below fairly sharpish. Then I sat on it for days on end and still didn't manage to upload it in time.

Anyway, here it is, only a little late.

Forbiddon!



Sand, dry sand, and even drier blood caked around the moistureless lips of The Walker, the trudger, the endless wanderer towards his final, shining goal. It had been longer than he could count which, while his formal education had been little to speak of, was still considerable in the grand scheme of things. His life had been trained to this task. Not just his mind or his body, but his circumstance, his home, his surroundings had all been finely tuned to allow this moment to come to pass. He knew nothing else, he wanted nothing else. Before him lay the great sandstone gates to the city that contained within it everything about his soul that made him who was. The gates were large, featureless and foreboding, and he enjoyed that deeply.

But what of his journey? What of those people he left behind - his own, others? What of his deeds or the path that he trod? And what of them indeed, thought he. Those things that have past, he had been taught, had died. More than that, these people, places, events, were obliterated from existence by the ever destructive passing of the present moment, the only one of consequence, an immense guillotine cutting through time, leaving only oblivion behind it.

And now the blade was poised to swipe away the closed gate before him, revealing an open portal to the city beyond. Time would clear his path just as it had always done, all he need do was wait. So he waited, and in a moment a sentry appeared, and in a moment a question was asked, and in a moment an answer was given, and in a moment the gates were swung wide.

Any other observer at this point would have been consumed by the busy bustle of the city that lay beyond. Great sandstone monoliths played host to endless infestations of human beings, forcing themselves in, or being unceremoniously sprayed out. The dusty track ways that made up the roads were swarmed with falling feet, stamping them down wherever they dared vary from the uniform parallel they were designed for. Everywhere, trade was to be had, the whole city was a thriving commercial venture; everything was for sale. Any other observer might have drowned, but not this man.

The Walker did not see the motion around him, he did not follow step with step. All the wanderer saw was the change. And nothing changed in this golden city. Oh, many things moved around, many people grew richer, some grew poorer, but in the end it achieved little. Things changed hands, nothing changed. And so The Walked saw nothing, nothing but his prize.

It called to him, a shining jewel in a vast plain, a glistening red beacon of all that he had been promised. He would find it and, it was prophesied, the prize would be given to him freely, he would consume it and find enlightenment. The wanderer closed his eyes and felt for the power of his grail through the moments in time.

The crowd around him parted as he moved, trance-like through the city hunting, homing, drawing in to the glorious jewel. A brightness filled The Walker's mind, a brilliant red light that engulfed his thoughts entire. He opened his eyes and he knew he beheld his prize.

Before him, a jolly old hag with wisdom behind her eyes, the wisdom of many sights seen, held a basket of rosy red apples. People, old and young, man and woman, black and white, all people thronged around her. They crowded her and she smiled, they held out their hands and she handed them apples, laughing as she just gave away her precious wares, his prize by right, as though she did not even know what she had in her hands. And the prophesy would be proved true; she gave freely of her wondrous gift to all.

The wanderer moved into the crowd and pushed aside the hopeful masses standing beneath the hag with the purposeful arrogance of the righteous, caring not for the petty needs of the heathens who sullied his great reward. As the beggars around him had unwittingly revealed, he performed the ritual for her, raising his two hands together in hope, in need. And she passed apples. She handed them to The Walker's left and to his right. All around him, sun red fruit was carelessly tossed and hurled, but not to him. Each time her hand went to the basket his hopes swelled in his breast and were shattered, as fragile as dreams, as she passed him by once and again.

Frustration began to cloud the mind of the wanderer, thoughts and feelings he had been trained against beating at the chinks in his armour, once as tough as steel, now as fragile as shell. Physical changes began to come over the man - rising temperature, increased heart rate - that told The Walker the time was near, he could wait no longer. As the hag's hand fell to the basket, The Walker could see it would be for the last time, a soul ruby left to gift.

The hag held the precious jewelled apple aloft and time slowed for The Walker. It was a deeper red than any that had come before it, it held a crisper shine. The apple luminesced with the brilliance of a wisdom and knowledge that none but The Walker could comprehend. This must be his prize, he had waited so long and been promised so much. None other may touch her! The hag's hand moved out from the basket... and away from the wanderer's reaching grasp!

The Walker could contain himself no longer. He lurched forward and snatched the apple from the old woman's palm. The poor lady screamed at this presumption, but The Walker paid no heed. He had his prize. A great grin spread itself across his face and he bit down hard into the succulent fruit.

The Walker breathed out a mighty sigh of relief as the sweet, cool juice slid down his throat. His prize was everything it should have been; it was clear, pure, intense, brilliant, radiant, wise, whole, glorious, mystifying.

Poisoned.