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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Oh god! Not another "haunted camera" story! We've already got Shutter and countless lame white-bread kid's stories!!! But I think it's o.k.

Submitted: December 08, 2008

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Submitted: December 08, 2008

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“…Flash Gordon; The Musical? Dad, that’s so retarded.”
David Ash glared at his daughter. “Don’t use words like that! And yes, it’s called that.”
On the cover of the flyer was a blond hunk dressed in a red lycra suit and a fake-looking laser in his hand. It was my dad, and his new production was on tomorrow. It had been kept hush-hush until today, and I sniffed at it.
“It’s my year, right?”
“Yep.” Said her father, thumbing through a script, tattered and covered in highlights.
“Well, what does anything have to do anything?”
You see, every year, my dad doesn’t have a birthday. He works at the Malvern Theatre Company, and does a play every year. He’s a pretty good actor, and is super committed. Anyway, instead of his birthday we have his opening night; and we give him a present that has something to do with the play. We take it in turns; One year Mum gives the present, then Gabbi, the next me. Last year, when Dad was in, “Guys and Dolls”, Gabbi got him a home poker set with instructions on playing crap. Get it? That’ll be hard to beat…
After half an hour of some boring, scriptless rehearsals and creepy pep-up rituals, I decided I was officially bored. I lumbered out of the theatre, and saw a flurry of lights. Oh, right! The Malvern Junk Sale. There’s this empty lot, right? Just long grass and a bendy metal fence. But cars drive in and open up the boot-you might find a stained jumper, a broken toaster, or even-gasp!-a Bay City Rollers CD! Wowww.
I sighed and pulled out my thirty bucks. All the shop owners sat up straighter, and started to shout prices. I chuckled at the cheap-skates.
Then, a Jeep Wrangler backed up, and the boot swung open promptly. The owner didn’t even step out. He just beeped, and said some of my favourite words.
“All wares free!”
Even the shop owners came over to look, but I nonchalantly slid over as to hide the objects. A Gameboy Advance with a broken screen, loads of odd socks, the usual junk…But something that stood out.
“Cool Camera.” I said, picking it up. “Does it work?”
“Dunno, Dun’Care.” The owner shouted.
Hey, this was the perfect gift for dad! He was in FLASH Gordon, and the camera FLASHED!
I shrugged, and was going to take it, but I saw a label; Duncan Craw. Hmm, I thought, better do a background check.
Walking around to the side of the Wrangler, a tubby man sat in a soiled singlet was the driver. “What?” he said, his voice hinting at a Greek background.
“Um, who owned this camera before me?” I said, nervously. I don’t like talking to strange people.
“One of those kids, Dinky, I tink it wos. I owned a yout ‘ostel, and e wos one of te tenants, wit one of his friends. But dey were found dead.” He spat, then took a breath and continued. “It wos his, I just want to get riddof it. Dey were taking photos all de time vis it.”
“Oh, yeah, thanks.” I said, shying away. Found dead? Creepy. But Dad wouldn’t mind.

When we got home, Mum had cooked meat loaf, and we sat in front of the telly, watching “Bert’s Family Feud”. Our cat, Maggie ( a birthday present from when dad was in “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” as Big Bubba) curled under our feet, mewing for scraps. Our house was full of souvenirs, like tones of snow globes and fridge magnets from our trip to Chicago (you guessed it, dad was in Chicago). We also had a cherry blossom tree out back, from when he did, “Branches of the Blossom”. After dinner, me and Gabbi went walking by the creek, and I showed her the camera. It had a dirty, soggy sticker on it that had been in my pocket, but I peeled it off quickly and examined it for any scratches. None, thank god.
“Cool!” Gabi marveled. “I get it, Flash Gordon! He’ll love that. Let’s take some pictures with it, and they can be the card!”
I sneered. “That’s so weird. But let’s do it anyway.”
I actually thought it was a good idea, but I didn’t want my sister to think she was more clever than me.
The first thing we took a picture of was Maggie, but when the photo developed her eyes went weird, so we took another picture. This time we got a side shot of her, and it had pretty good resolution.
We took pictures of everything, the cherry blossom tree, my phone, the Leopard Mac...but we were summoned to the bed chamber (our bedrooms) , so I just tucked it under my bed.
When I woke up in the morning, there was nobody else in the house. I made myself a super-Milo with at least ten heaps of Milo in it, and barely any milk. It was about ten o’ clock when I heard the fly screen door creak and slam.
I leaned my head back, so that my neck was on the arm rest. The collar of my pajama’s was swimming around my chest.
Why was mum crying?
I leapt up, and only lowered my eyebrows when mum whispered, “Maggie’s dead.”
Mum had backed out of the driveway, and she just shot out, Maggie did. She broke her neck within seconds, and she mustn’t have felt any pain.
At least we would have the picture of her, I though, reaching for it.
But the picture wasn’t there.

The next day we were in the car driving to the tip. The cherry blossom had died, so we were tossing it out.
It got too many termites in it, and just snapped.
“Unbelievable.” said Dad. “Simply unbelievable. Lasted us more than five years! And dead, within a day or two. The gods must be crazy.” He says, barely keeping his eyes on the road.
I was having a bad day. I had got a black mark for my project because the Leopard Mac crashed at home-and quite suddenly, too! It just got an immediate virus, I guess.
But I wasn’t having too bad a day, because tonight I would give Dad his gift.

“Doll, that’s gorgeous! Thanks, Soph.” he said upon opening the present. It was a simple brown package that I had tried to spruce up with a floral ribbon, but I failed dismally. Dad seemed pleased though.
Gabi wasn’t around, she was out near the south side with her friend Kate, or K for short
He gave me a bristly hug, as he was growing stubble for his role in the musical.
“Oh! The musical!” I cried. “Dad, you’ll be late!”
He leapt from the couch and grabbed the suit-bag which held his costume. Mum snatched the keys and bounded excitedly out the door, taking me in her elbow.
But before she could drag me too far, I grabbed the Polaroid printouts from the camera.

After the performance, (it kind of sucked, and Dad forgot a few of his lines) I dug out the photos. Strangely enough, there was no image. Just a blank, negative space with a few lines on it. I wondered where the camera was, when I finally got a text message from my sister.

Hi
Having fun? Tell me l8r
Btw me and k taking the camera 2 the beach
Come by l8r!
Lv, gab

I wanted to re-read the message, but my phone had ran out of credit.
“Poo. Everything’s breaking! The cherry blossom tree, my phone, the Mac, Maggie…”
I paused. There was a pattern here.
I had taken pictures of all of those things.
But there must be something somebody took a picture of something that didn’t die?

There was something else that broke.
Duncan, the owner of the camera. And his friends. Found dead after using the camera.
Oh god! I thought. I have to get to Gabi and Kate before they take pictures of anything else!
What if they take a picture of themselves?

My heart felt as if I never owned it, like it was far, far behind me. I just kept running. To the tram. I didn’t have the ticket, but I still shot out the doors and down to the shore near Brighton. She was there with Kate, but I didn’t see the camera.
“Gab-abi!” My words all ot split in half by my heaving lungs. “D-id you…take any pict-ures?”
Gabi reached out under her jumper and pulled out the camera.
“Out of battery. Why are you so puffed, Soph?”
“N-ever mind. D-id you…take an-ny pict-ures…of your…self?”
“No, why?”
“Sh…nothing.”
“But we did take one picture before it lost battery.” She said.
I looked up at her in horror. “Of what? What did you take the damn picture of???”
Gabi gulped. “Hey, easy! I just took a picture of the city.”
“The city?”
“Yeah! A landscape view. I think I just about got all of Melbourne in the shot.”
The camera’s lens twisted as the photo developed.
Oh god.
Dark sky began to rumble across Eureka Towers.


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