Pictonaut Short Story Challenge: ‘Drawing Up the Final Dagger’…

Hark! In the midst of all the festive faffing around, there’s a monthly short story challenge to handle. As per usual, I’ve handled it and answered the Venerable and Very Excellent Mister John Steele‘s call for fresh fiction. On the first day of December, British Steele set the following painting – Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks  by Ilya Repin – as the inspirational image for this month’s Pictonaut challenge

“Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mehmed IV of the Ottoman Empire” by Ilya Repin, 1880-1891.

Repin’s painting is a striking one and the whole background history behind the artwork is fascinating. It’s a fantastic story of the drafting of the most profane and vulgar riposte to a belligerent enemy’s unreasonable demands ever. It contains a “your mum” joke and, quite frankly there’s no response to that and any words I write about the Cossacks will be pale and pitiful in comparison. I can’t do justice to those audacious historical heroes…

Fortunately when I went about the process of studying the picture and trying to work out what story I wanted to tell I got hit by outside influences. The outside influence is something I’m personally obsessed with and spend a lot of my time thinking about and following. It has nothing at all to do with 17th century Ukrainian history but in the positioning of the figures in the frame I felt a visual symmetry to something else. I also really wanted to grapple with one of my biggest enthusiasms and represent it in a fresh creative experimentation so yeah, why not? An idea for a short story with a twist and total off-tangent possibility stepped up and I just shot it and produced the following tale – Drawing Up the Final Dagger.

I will not say anything else about it ’cause it would probably kill the mystique and the effect. I hope you enjoy my December Pictonaut dribble…

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  1. Pay Day | The Rogue Verbumancer


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