Say "Cheese" – Part 4

Tollin opened the door to exam room 14 and poked her head around it, smiling. “Got your water, Mel.”

Melody hadn’t moved, and her bleary eyes blinked a slow thanks. “I’m so thirsty.”

“I know, the IV’s coming. Here, drink this.” Tollin poured her another cup of water.

Mel gulped it down, took the pitcher and refilled the cup, and downed the second too. Gasping for a moment, she rested back on the pillow. “You were gone a while.”

“Sorry, I had to find another nurse, make sure she was available to administer the IV, and get your water.”

Mel gave a single nod, her face expressionless.

“Why don’t you continue your story? It will be a couple of minutes and I told the nurse to knock before she comes in.”

“Uh … all right. Well — wait, what was the last thing I told you?”

“Um … oh, the teacher. The photography teacher. He told your friend how to use the camera.”

“Oh, right! Right. Okay, so Charlie, he wants to have the film developed, and he gives it to the old guy, who takes it home to develop it. And he brought the pictures to Charlie. He says there’s no way to know how old the film is, but it seemed to develop okay. Only the pictures were all screwed up.”

Tollin waited. Mel was watching her finger trace a pattern on the blanket atop the bed.

“What was wrong with them?”

Mel looked up. “Nothing. But it looked like they were all … um … what’s it called when there’s, like, two pictures on one film thing? You know, like they forgot to go to the next one and took a picture over another one?”

“Oh, double exposure?”

“Yeah! They looked like they were all double-exposure.”

“Double exposed? How?”

“Well … when Charlie showed us the pics, they were … okay, there was the picture of someone standing there, smiling at the camera, you know? All normal and regular. And then, there was the second picture, and those … those were … definitely not normal, regular pictures. They were … people, I guess, but … smeared. Like the image was … pulled across the film. The people in them — their hands were up, all hooked into claws, like they were trying to grab onto something, and the eyes … God, those eyes … all black, no whites, like — like the eyes were gone, maybe, or just shadows … and their mouths were all … open … wide … screaming. You could … you could hardly see them but … you could see them.”

Tollin found herself considering the description, trying to form an image in her mind. “Did you see them? The pictures?”

Mel nodded, a grave gesture, her eyes dark and brooding. “Yes. I saw them. And I felt like … like my blood froze for a second. I could — almost hear them. The screams. I sort of … I guess I felt them.”

Tollin tipped her head. “Felt them?”

Mel nodded again. “Oh … oh yeah. I felt it in my core. The screams. They … those people, whoever they were. I could feel their screams in my heart. And … I’m not the only one, either. A couple of people in the troupe didn’t even look at them. They were too scared. It was … creepy.”

“Just a trick of the double exposure, I’m sure.”

“Yeah? Well the guy who developed them said he was sending them to the university to see if their photography department could … pull them apart, I guess? See if there was some way to get them separated. And when Charlie asked if he wanted the prints he made for us, the guy said no. He never wanted to see them again. Ever. And he never wanted to see Charlie’s camera again. Ever.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s