by Bob'n Around
Invisible matters of the mind turned real into the written word.
|“New camera? Thought you were broke?” Shelly modeled herself into the thin space of Alley’s hallway. “What’s wrong? Make me famous.”
“Just got it. Lens alone is worth a fortune. Probably stolen and sold to that new pawnshop been wanting to check out with all the used photo gear.” Alley raised the bulky device and flicked the trigger with a well worn callused finger twitch. “Figuring out the controls. No language I ever heard of and I can’t find English.”
There was a gentle purring whir and the back screen lit up. “Ho.”
“Let me see,” Shelly stopped contorting herself and came over for a looky look. “Hey. That’s not me. Activated the thing’s history storage, is what you did. And it is in video mode. Wow. Gruesome.”
The stranger in the scene was being chewed up by a monster half lion, half snake with wings. Blood and guts flew everywhere followed by terrorized screams. Alley reached for the camera as Shelly’s fingers raced over knobs, luckily shutting the vivid images off. “Gotta be fake.”
“Don’t look like it. I think I am going to throw up.” The experience made her feel itchy.
“Acting. Got hold of a movie director wannabe making a low budget horror flick.”
“Don’t look low budget to me. Too real.”
“Think my hands have figured this thing partially out. Let’s see what else is it has recorded.” Shelly laughed as she noticed the protective cap to the big lens was still screwed on.
“Go stand by the window. Light is good this time of day. Strike a pose.”
“I don’t like that thing. Too foreign and creepy,” Alley stuck her tongue out but unable to resist acting herself into her dream job modeling anything besides sexy lace underwear, she obliged.
“Hold it. Tilt your head up to the right an inch.” Shelly held her breath, braced her balance and clicked.
“Hey. Where did you go?” Golden light shone in through the open window where Alley had been. “You didn’t fall out, did you?” Concerned, hoping her friend was making a joke, she walked over to investigate.
Normal noise and traffic streamed outside. Tulips in the border next to her house stood unbroken where footsteps would fall. The creepy feeling Alley talked about transferred itself to Shelly. “Darn, girl. This is some disappearing act. I know you were just here. I took the shot.”
Fingers activated the history button. “Yep. There you are. Wait. What’s that behind you?”
Shelly had to sit down. The camera fell into her lap as the movie scene unfolded. “Your worst nightmare,” Eyes widened. Lungs filled ready to scream. The scene transformed into a stalker raising a long sharp knife, grabbing Alley by the hair and slicing it across her throat.
“Just like you told me would be the worst way to die.” That had been the late night sleepover talk last weekend while watching horror flicks. There was Alley featured in the camera’s memory banks reenacting the horrible scene.
“Unreal.” Shelly got shakily to her feet. “Don’t want nothin’ to do with this shit. More than spooky.” The camera inside her mind ran the scene again. “Thing stole her spirit just like the Indian’s said a camera would. Stole it and her body. Murdered her with her own most horrible dreamed up death.”
It took all of Shelly’s strength to walk on her rubbery legs out her hallway door with the camera in tow swinging from one hip. “Bastard that sold this to me better have some answers.”
“Just my luck.” The shop was closed. Shelly cupped her hands against the store glass to peer inside for signs of life.
“Hey.” The owner’s shadow moved inside. Shelly pounded rapidly on the glass pane, attracting the pale floating ghost-like image’s attention. She pointed nervously to the shop door. “Let me in.”
“Yes? There is a problem?” The shadow squeezed itself into human form at the opening entrance.
Shelly barged inside. “What kind of sick man are you?” She brandished the camera around, aimed it at the owner and angrily pointed it like a weapon towards his face. Click.
The same disappearing act followed. Shelly felt her trigger finger still twitching. She stuffed it in her mouth, sucking on it. “I’ve just killed two people by barely lifting a finger in their direction.”
She stopped gnawing on the offending digit. “I have to see.” There on the camera’s screen lay revealed the shop owner’s tragic end. Caught in the act of burglary, the man was beaten to death by his own cameras before the two criminals escaped with their bounty, leaving a bloodied lifeless body behind.
Shelly’s stomach threatened to vomit up everything held inside. She felt like she was going mad. “I am so out of here.”
Darkness had fallen outside. “No evidence can be used against me. No bodies except these inside the camera.” She scurried like a cockroach, hiding in every crack and corner, afraid of her own shadow, afraid of who she had become. “Got to get rid of this curse. Only thing that ties what happened to me.”
“I’ll take that,” A voice growled, “and you, too.” A fist came out of nowhere, grabbed a handful of Shelly’s blouse and yanked her up onto her toes. “Be nice and I’ll let you go when I’m done.”
“Here. Take it. Just leave me alone.” Shelly raised the camera, nerveless fingers pushed the camera in her assaulter’s face. One twitched and the man was gone. A shivering sigh died on her lips. “Now, you are inside, too. Thing saved my life.”
She didn’t bother watching the recording. All she wanted was to leave this bad side of town. A flood of anxiety made every pore in her body spread a sheer thin paste of sweat across every pore. “God no. There’s Alley’s boyfriend at my door, looking for her. I can’t face him.”
Her mind turned into a whirl of what to do next. “Oh, oh. He’s waving. He saw me.” Shelly stuffed the camera into the half full litter of a garbage can, hiding the motion behind her, as she waved back.
“Alley here? Supposed to meet her?” Steve took Shelly into a hug. “Boy, you’re freezing cold. Best get inside. I been there. Where’s Alley? Saw her wrap.”
Shelly’s held on to Steve a bit too long, shivering against his chest. “She was here and then disappeared just before I left.”
“Yeah? Beauty isn’t she? Hoping you can advance her modeling career. I’ll look around, see if I can catch her coming back. You’d better go drink something warm. Feels like you almost caught your death out here.”
Steve’s strong arms withdrew and gave Shelly a shove. It got her feet moving, robot like, taking her up her stairs. The safety of being back home helped. She shed a few more shudders, made tea to further calm herself.
“Nothing could be worse than finding yourself on the wrong end of that camera. What a way to go.” Shelly got her legs underneath her at the sound of Steve’s returning steps. She had to come up with some kind of explanation on what had happened to Alley. She froze, framing herself on her doorstep.
Steve raised something in his hands. “Hey. Look what I found. Somebody threw it away. Thought of your love of cameras. Hold still and I’ll take a shot.”