Monday, 9 April 2012

Falling Into Fantasy: February's Pictonaut Overdue


After the initial euphoria of writing my first Pictonaut, I felt invincible. I decided I was going to try and write all the challenges I'd missed in a month. Well, I wrote three  before life caught up with me. This is the second of my Pictonauts, from February's challenge entitled Faces in the Woods. It's more stream of conciousness monologue stuff, only this one is a lot more stream of conciousness than Space Junkie. Also it's a little bit sweary. Still, I'm kind of proud of it. This was also published in the University of Nottingham's Science Fiction, Fantasy and Anime Society's Zine as "Fantasy vs Reality". That's what happens when I have to come up with titles on a deadline. I like the new title better.

Now someone make me write this months' challenge.

Falling into Fantasy





Why the fucking fuck do these trees have faces? I'm not joking, they've got sodding faces. Not the kind you see in pictures on the internet, where a particular combination of knots or branches combined with a clever camera angle makes it look like they have faces. These look like real human faces. Hell, they look like they could speak if they wanted to. They're so real; they look like they could open their mouths and eat me. Thinking about it, they look pretty fucking angry.

And it's not just a few of the trees that have these faces, its all of them. Every. Single. One. I've never seen trees like this in my life, and I’ve looked at a few trees in my time. It's like I've been dropped into, I don't know, Middle fucking Earth or something. I seem to recall that the trees got pretty angry in that and started ripping shit up. Fuck. Maybe Game of Thrones, there are trees with faces in that, and I don't remember those upping sticks and destroying anything. Although, come to think of it, the trees in that are worshipped as gods and are probably linked with some ancient magical power. Shit. This is what I get for reading too many fantasy novels.

Back away, slowly. Nice trees. Friendly trees. I don't want to hurt you. I’m not going to chop you down and set fire to you. I'm a nice guy, I like trees, I'm a regular tree hugger me. Er, that is, if you want to be hugged, I can totally respect your personal space if you don't want a hug.

Shit. Stop talking to the trees. Can trees the trees even hear me? If a man screams in a forest and there's no one around, are the trees listening and plotting to kill me?

Bloody smegging hell, where the fuck am I? I don't remember planning on taking a walk in a wood where the trees have faces. I don't remember taking a walk at all. How the hell did I get here? Crap, maybe I did get transported to some fantasy world. Which is not good, not good at all. Unless I'm the protagonist in this fantasy novel. That would be pretty cool. Except I'll probably have some sort of ridiculously evil baddie to kill, and there'll be lots of danger and at some point I’ll have to utterly lose hope in order to be able to triumph over evil. Shit, that doesn’t sound so good at all. I think I'll just stay right here. Maybe the story will pass me by.

Nice trees...

What was that noise? Oh hell, there are things in this forest with me. Maybe staying here is a bad idea. I should try to find my way out, or at least a clearing, then the trees won't be so damn close. Right, let’s try to find some wide open space so I can breathe.

It's really quite warm here, and sort of dank and musty. Smells a bit like my basement, only a bit more 
green. Does green have a smell? If it did, it would smell exactly like this place. Oh God, why is it so warm here? The air is really oppressive, almost like it's out to get me as well as the trees. How'd the trees even get so big anyway? This forest must be really old for them to have gotten that tall. Wonderful, sentient trees with face that want to kill me and eat me. It would hardly be fair if one of them ate me, I mean, I’ve never eaten a tree in my life. Don't think it would taste nice.

This forest must be the quietest forest I’ve ever been in. There are no birds or little furry creatures or even any little bugs crawling around. Just the noise of me thinking. And breathing and crashing through the trees with faces. Not that bugs would be any better. I don't really like bugs. Why is there no noise here? Maybe this forest is inhabited by some sort of ninja animals. Maybe some of them have really big teeth want to eat me. I'll never even hear it coming...

Awesome, trees with faces and ninja predators that want to eat me. That's really going to help fight the urge to shit my pants.

Wait a minute, it's a bit lighter up ahead. Maybe I've found a clearing at last. It would be really nice to have some extra air, so breathing doesn't hurt so much. A little breeze wouldn't go amiss either.

Shit! Voices. There are people in that clearing. I'll crawl up nice and quiet, see who they are. Maybe they're friendly and will help get me out of here. Maybe they'll want to kill me too. That wouldn't be good.  I can see them now. Maybe if I keep down nice and low they won't see me. I can't understand a word they're saying. They're definitely not speaking English. Doesn't sound like any other language I've ever heard either. Bollocks, definitely got dropped into some sort of fantasy story. It's not one I've read though, I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I hope I'm not the protagonist.

Oh God, that guy has horns on his helmet. And they're all wearing black. Definitely bad guys. Those look like pretty big swords too. Nasty. I bet that's some sort of wizard staff as well. Horned helmets, all in black, big ass swords and a magic staff, outnumbered three-to-one; doesn't look too good for me if they find me. Oooh, pretty blue light; definitely a magic staff, that doesn't bode well- shit, they've seen me.
Running flailing time. Shit shit shit shit shit. Oof, hello ground will you be my friend? Ouch, didn't know that light could hurt so damn much, but I guess it is magical light. Can't move my limbs. Fuck, they've caught me. 

Nice bad guys, don't hurt me. What are you doing? No, don’t pick me up, I can walk just fine by myself if you’d just let me…

Oh, didn’t notice that big stone table before, wonder what it’s for. Oh, they’re tying me down. That’s probably not good. Fantastic, looks like I’m about to be sacrificed for something. And I seriously doubt that afterwards the table will crack and I’ll be resurrected like a ragingly obvious Jesus metaphor. I wish I could understand what these guys were saying, even just a word to know why.

Bollock, bollocks, bollocks, bollocks and bottoms.

That, that’s a pretty big knife, nice and ceremonial looking. The ropes are too tight to escape. Fuck. End of the line for little old me. And I have no idea why, or even how I got here. Maybe this is just a bad fucking dream. I know, I’ll try pinching myself awake. OW! Well, looks like I’m not dreaming. Either that or someone changed the rules of pain in dreams just to fuck me over. Which isn’t all that good either.

Yes, yes, yes chanting, mystical spells, blue light. All that shit I’ve read about a hundred times. Get it over with. If I have to die, I’d rather it happen quickly, before I actually do shit my pants. Fuck fuck fucketty fuck fuck. I didn’t want it to end like this. Maybe if I close my eyes they’ll go away. Nope, still chanting. And now the horn-helmet guy has raised his knife. This is it.

Shit.

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