Flash Fiction Challenge: The Portrait

Go visit last week’s flash fiction challenge — BABY PULP! It’s easily my favorite, so check out the stories.

Okay, so. See that photo?

When the wife and I were in San Francisco, we stopped in a kooky little antique store up near the Marina. It was truly eclectic, like many are, and particularly like many in the city of San Francisco are, and contained within were any number of strange delights and wonders. But then I found that portrait up there. Now, one suspects that the portrait — which clearly portrays a boy who is not, erm, precisely human — is Photoshopped and isn’t actually a real antique. But let’s be honest: that’s not the most interesting interpretation of that story, is it?

So, your task is:

Write some flash fiction about that portrait. Will you write about the monster in the picture? Or the photographer? Or the poor couple who buys the portrait? Or some other unseen angle?

Is it real? Is it fake? Will you write horror? Humor? Urban fantasy? Noir? Some weird mish-mash of genres that remains unexpected? Fuck it, go nuts.

You have 1000 words. (Though next week’s challenge? I’m giving you only 100.)

You have one week. (Next week’s challenge, you get one day.)

As always, post the stories at your blogs. Link to the stories here in the comments. And, if you’d be so kind, link to here from somewhere within your own post.

Once more, you’ve got till next Friday morning.

Please to enjoy.

47 responses to “Flash Fiction Challenge: The Portrait”

  1. Damn you, sir! As a Supernatural superfan I can’t resist this. So here we go again…

    P.S. What a great picture. I would totally hang it on my wall. It would freak Mr. Pinkwood out no end.

    • @Pinkwood —

      I totally should’ve bought it, but if I recall, it was very expensive.

      Probably because it’s art, and not an antique? I dunno.

      I did find an autographed picture of the Devil once at a flea market. (It was actually a creepy dude in a red lycra Devil body suit.) *That* was cheap and I totally should’ve bought it but had no cash on hand.

      — c.

  2. Another reason it might be expensive is if it’s actually an antique, early trick photography could well be a niche collector’s thing and that does look as if it could conceivably be a double exposure image… I’m not an expert or anything but I made a pinhole camera once as a kid so I’ve seen the kind of stuff you can do with really basic camera technology.

    Anyway, off to go and cook up something suitably weird.

  3. This one is too creepy for me. I can’t even look at the pic without cringing. Against my better judgment, I spent some time late last night reading the entries so far. Some truly excellent writing. Very well done. And then I had horrific nightmares. All night long. So thanks, everyone. Thanks a lot.

    Anyone remember Rod Serling’s Night Gallery? [lifted this intro from one of the episodes; they’re over at Hulu.com]

    “Good evening. Let me welcome you to this parlor of paintings. We offer them to you for your enjoyment and edification. Feel free to dwell on them at your leisure and in your own good fashion. But kindly don’t touch, because here they frequently touch back. Our number one painting in tonight’s exhibit is an intriguing portrait of . . .”

    Briefly considered writing something like that. But I just can’t. Yes, I am a wimp.

  4. Chuck, can I get your permission to use the image on my page to preface my entry? I’d really like to have the context there before people start reading. Most of the time they just ignore links.

    • MKS:

      Technically, it’s always good to ask — the Internet is often too free with using images. That being said, I am entirely fine with you using the pic. 🙂

      — c.

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