500 word sci-fi story based on a picture.

Picture Story 3 - Atlantis


Shahn approached the old house.

No-one else was about and, entering through a window he set to work. Soon half the dingy, dusty bedroom was thoroughly searched and he held his attention upon just one photograph.

“This could be they!” he thought.

"The big iron bars up high, the sunlight streaming down, the shadowed floor of an underground railway station … that lady and gent ... about 1940."

Flipping through the remainder of the old photo album Shahn found nothing of further interest and so replaced it just where he had found it.

He recalled the photograph vividly ... began to hear voices. 

The curtains wafted in the breeze.

In the distance a dog barked.

Then it was quiet again in the old house.



A chilly fear suddenly struck Mike . He turned to see who had come up behind him. Thankfully there was nobody to be seen nearby except the train commuters, the middle-aged woman approaching him, and that photographer over there looking their way.

“I’m getting jumpy” thought Mike.

“Oh, Mister Davies?” asked the lady.

“Why, yes”.

“I’m so pleased to see you!” she exclaimed. "I'm Jeanette Du Moor".

Pow! A camera bulb flashed.

Jeanette looked to her side, and around about. She and Mike walked over to the young man weilding the camera, an eager beaver by the name of Johnny, and arranged for their photo to be developed and delivered.


Later that night, as he stood over his trays of chemical solutions, Johnny remembered how his photography teacher used to peer over his shoulder at such times.

“Oh, here’s that one!” said Johnny happily. “Nice contrast. Good depth. Clever use of light ... if I do say so myself."

“It is they, definitely!”, thought Shahn. 


Johnny drove up the road through the Du Moor estate gardens the following day, admiring the bronze statuary, and tinkling water fountains. It occurred to him that Miss Du Moor, or that fellow she was with might be inclined to throw in a sizeable bonus for that photo when they saw it. 

Jeanette and Mike were secluded, seated in the study. The desk was half covered with papers and books and maps. A curved line of smoke rose slowly from an ash tray. 

"I just thought of something", said Mike suddenly. He turned and looked in the direction of the ancient looking scroll on the table, took hold of it carefully, unrolled it and studied it newly. He then looked at Jeanette, rather seriously.

“This site holds something of far greater significance than we at first suspected."

Janette held her gaze upon him.

"And if we ever find it, something will be missing.”


Johnny eyed the fancy, polished brass knocker on the front door of the mansion and cheerfully began to clunk it. 


Shahn, almost ecstatic, beheld the corroded remnants of a passageway, leading to the headquarters of a long-lost Colonial Governor.

Fathoms above him the ocean waves rolled and sprayed in the wind.



The end




Submitted: April 13, 2020

© Copyright 2023 James McMahon. All rights reserved.

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