Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2205426-The-Most-Terrifying-Photo
Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Horror/Scary · #2205426
Some creepypasta for fun... :) 1,654 words
"I'm sure I took a picture of that carpet I really liked yesterday. Let me find it," Rachel said to Phil, her contractor. He rose from where he kneeled, ceasing his work on the floorboards. He set his hammer and box of nails on the table, then walked over to Rachel to see what she had to show him.

She opened the photo app on her phone and began to flip through to the correct picture. Before she could find it, her finger paused, frozen, while she looked at the photo that was displayed on the screen.

On her phone was a picture of her. Sleeping.

How was that picture there? How was that taken? She hadn't had anyone over to the house overnight while she was sleeping...

Realization suddenly dawned. Rachel's stomach dropped through the floor. The hand holding the phone began to tremble. What the fuck? Rachel thought. Who took this? Rachel set down the phone, seriously creeped out.

"Are you alright? You look like you just saw a ghost!" Phil said, his forehead crinkling in concern. The floorboards creaked as he walked to her. He put a hand lightly on her shoulder.

Rachel, horrified as the implications of the photo began to permeate her mind, shook her head, tears welling up in her large, glassy eyes. Someone had been in the house while she was asleep last night, alone. Someone who had quietly picked up her phone, taken a picture of her, and left it for her to find. Someone who wanted her to find it, to know.

Phil, perplexed, but seeing how upset Rachel was, reached around her and hugged her to him as the first tear rolled down her smooth cheek. He could feel her body shaking in his arms. He pulled his head back to look at her.

"What is it, Rachel? You're scaring me here. Are you alright?" Phil said.

"My phone... it... someone took a picture..." Rachel tried to explain, jaw trembling as if her teeth were chattering in the cold. She couldn't remember ever feeling this freaked.

Phil looked around at the ancient house as he tried to make sense of Rachel's words. The gray planks of aged, decaying wood, stripped of its drywall, seemed to loom around them. Cobwebs still decorated the corners. In a room lit only by portable lights, blackness filled nooks and crannies everywhere, causing nervous eyes to cast second glances whenever shadows appeared to move.

Phil thought Rachel was odd for wanting to stay in the house during the renovation, especially since it had been abandoned for so long. It was not in good condition. The wiring wasn't safe to use, the plumbing was a mess, the drywall was caved in in many places. But he had understood. She was sinking all of her money into renovating the place, and her lease had run out. She probably didn't have the money to stay anywhere else at the moment.

Phil followed Rachel's wide-eyed gaze to her phone. He picked it up, but the screen had gone black.

"Do you want me to look at the picture?" Phil asked softly.

Rachel nodded.

Phil swiped his finger on the screen, but only the lock screen came up. He turned the phone to face Rachel, and she turned her head, shying away, clearly not wanting to look at it. What had she seen? Phil wondered again. Rachel was completely, totally frightened of whatever it was. He felt remorse for scaring her again with the phone, unintentional as it had been.

"Um, could you give me your PIN?" Phil said. "I can't unlock it to see..."

Rachel took a moment to process her words, her mind nearly paralyzed in fright. Finally, she gathered herself enough to respond, "1234."

Phil couldn't help but smile. Maybe a bit of teasing would help her relax... "I can see that you take your password security really seriously there, Rachel..."

He felt her shoulders sag just a little as she gave a short, nervous laugh. Good! That was a start, anyway... he thought.

He tapped the numbers on the screen and the phone showed what she had last seen. It was a picture. Of her. Sleeping. Shit! His mind raced to the same conclusion's that Rachel's had.

Some kind of freak had entered her house last night and taken a really fucking creepy picture! His shock quickly turned to anger. How dare someone do this to this small, helpless woman! Fury built inside him. A man of action, Phil's anger began to focus him on what he could do to help.

"God, I'm so sorry, Rachel. What a creepy fucker, eh?" Phil's angry face suddenly softened to an apologetic expression. "Pardon my language, miss."

Phil thought he saw movement in the shadows of the room. His eyes darted toward it. But there was nothing. Just the darkened corner of the room. His eyes remained for a moment longer before discarding the movement as a trick of the light.

Phil seemed to consider for moment, lost in thought, his unfocused gaze distant. Then his eyes snapped back to Rachel.

"Any idea who did this?" Phil asked.

Rachel shook her head meekly, hands on Phil's chest, still tucked under his left arm as he held the phone in his right.

"We should probably call the police," Phil stated, matter-of-factly. He looked down at Rachel. She didn't meet his eyes, but nodded her acquiescence.

Phil dialed 911 on Rachel's phone. He gave his name and address to the operator, then described the situation.

Twenty minutes later, they heard a knock on the door. They opened it to find a rotund man with a bushy mustache and eyebrows, clad in navy blue. The badge on his chest flashed silver in the setting sun, and his equipment-laden belt creaked as he pressed down on his with gloved hands.

"So there was some sort of stalking incident last night?" the police officer began, his voice flat.

"We think so," Phil said. Still holding Rachel with one arm, he punched her PIN into the phone with his thumb. He pulled up the picture, then handed the phone to the officer.

The officer's lower lip was lost in his bushy mustache as his mouth formed a frown. He examined the picture. The officer's eyes looked up, then slid sideways until they found Rachel's. "Do you know of anyone that might have done this?"

"No," Rachel said simply.

"Does anyone else know that you're staying here?"

"Just Phil here," Rachel's eyes indicated the man standing beside her.

"Any ex-boyfriends or ex-husbands that might... you know..."

"No. I haven't dated in a long time, and I've never been married."

The officer sighed. "Well, not much I can do, I'm afraid. I understand that it is unusual and a bit weird, but this picture alone isn't enough for me to be able to do a whole lot."

"It seems like you guys should be doing more to help her out here. She's a single woman alone in the house with some kind of creepy psycho that got into her house. Can't you at least dust for prints or something?" Phil said in an annoyed tone.

"Prints on the phone are already gone, since you two were clearly holding it. And we have no way of tying any prints in the house to any kind of crime even if we found prints that weren't yours. This house has been vacant for decades. God knows how many real estate agents and people have been through here. Do you seriously expect me to find and question everyone that's been through this place for the last twenty years? What do you expect me to do?"

"I don't know. Maybe stay outside the house tonight to make sure no one comes in? This woman's life might be at risk here!" Phil said, exasperated.

"Sorry, pal. We don't have the kind of manpower it would take to do that kind of thing. There are seven police officers in this town. Two are on duty at night. We can't spare 50% of the police force every night to watch one woman's house. I'm sorry, but it's just not realistic. If you want to help her out, maybe you should stay here tonight to keep watch!" the officer huffed in a speech that sounded fairly rehearsed. He probably heard this kind of thing often.

Phil looked surprised before his expression changed to one of resolve. "You know what? That's a good idea. I will."

Rachel looked up to him, her expressive eyes radiating gratitude.

The officer nodded to him, turned on his heel and walked back to his car, the crunch of gravel audible as he backed out and drove away.

Phil gave Rachel a reassuring glance as they both walked back into the house. The dying light of the setting sun bathed it in crimson.


At 1:11 AM, Rachel awoke with a start. The dark shape of a man stood over her, watching her.

"I'm a photographer. I take pictures of dead people," the shadow said, his voice deep and cold, familiar yet not.

Rachel, attempting to make out his features, but detecting only blackness, said in a tiny voice, "Then why did you take a picture of me? I'm not dead!"

The glint of moonlight on the metallic head of a hammer flashed for a second as it rose before being cloaked, once again, in darkness. A massive surge of fear washed over Rachel like a tsunami. She cowered under the useless cotton protection of sheets and blankets, pulling them up to her terrified eyes.

The hideous, beatific grin that formed on the shadow's face, the only feature that was visible in the moonlight, was the last thing that Rachel ever saw.
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