Pictonaut Short Story Challenge: ‘They Were in My Head and Allah was Dead’…

Oh grief! It’s that time of the month again and you’re going to have to suffer through some disturbing horror for a short period. I’m talking about my Pictonaut Short Story Challenge effort, of course, but don’t worry because the ordeal doesn’t last that long and you may actually find it a worthwhile experience. To recap, every month I study a picture picked by John Steele the Just and Steely and write something inspired by it. It’s a nice challenge and I encourage people to have a crack at it to get their creative juices flowing and conjure up some fresh short fiction. For May’s wordascope the Rogue Verbumancer opted for a photo from designer Mike Kim and it was electric with exciting potential…

Audionaut photo by Mike Kim.

Can you feel the exhilarating charge? Techno-techno headgear! Bright jumpsuits! Futuristic minimalist spaces! So many ideas come to mind and I got high on the possibility of spawning some futuristic sci-fi. I thought about tapping the human-mind-and-tech fusions of films like Paprika and Inception and exploring virtual realities fabricated out of beautiful dreams. Alternatively, I thought I might get a bit dystopian and write something that ripped of Neuromancer or The Matrix. It’s an image used to advertise a high-fidelity audio symposium, so how about harmonising with the sonic resonances of all the electro music I’ve been listening to lately to write something that rides on synthesiser riffs and is all about dynamic aural energy?

What did I do in the end? Well, the sweeter hard sci-fi plan spontaneously dematerialised and the words that came out were not righteous techno-techno thrills. They were instead informed by the War on Terror and the piece of work I’ve titled ‘They Were in My Head and Allah was Dead‘ is way different than what I thought I was going to end up produce. I’ll leave you to make of it what you will (the golden rule: show don’t tell) though I’ll preface it with a warning that it is not intended as pleasant reading.

They Were in My Head and Allah was Dead is my Pictonaut effort for May, then. It’s not fun so I may make up for that by spawning something else inspired by the image to accompany it before the month is over. All being well I’ll be back with a fresh story in July after a break in June but for now, go forth and write your own Audionaut-inspired story and read mine if you like…

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