Friday, July 22, 2011

The Red Tag

She stalked the aisles of the ancient shop and tried desperately to ignore the sounds of its ancient proprietor at the counter ruffling his newspaper and slurping his coffee. She had to focus, tune out any sounds so that she could concentrate on her objective.

Cameras lined the shelves of the shop, relics of a simpler time and place, antiques now all but obsolete. Her eyes touched on each one, searching for one with a red tag, one she had searched for in countless other shops. As she passed, the cameras seemed to cry out to her, each telling her its own tale.

Some of light. Of birthday parties and weddings. Vacations spent with families of four at the beach, journeys across Europe and time. Sunsets and newborns.

Some of darkness. Of haunted alleys and houses. Graveyards and dark rooms. Blood and sex and violence. Souls captured on film, damaged forever.

She ignored their pleas and furtive cries, eyes searching wildly for a flash of red. The shop’s air was becoming thick and heavy; her breathing came fast. As she turned down the last aisle, desperate to finish her search and burst out of the shop into the fresh air, she spotted it.

On the bottom shelf, shoved to the very back, a camera with a red tag.

The noises and thoughts crowding her busy mind fell silent. The ancient shop-owner and screaming cameras faded. If possible, the air around her grew heavier, thicker, so that as she moved through it towards the camera it felt as if she were walking through heavy curtains, pushing through some invisible force.

She kneeled at the shelf, hesitated only a moment, then reached for her prize. The camera felt nearly hot to the touch, and even though she knew that couldn’t be, that none of this could be, she felt the heat, was nearly burned by it.

The red tag was attached loosely to the shutter release button. Her name was printed on it in faded handwriting.  The camera was hers. She knew that without having to see her name; she knew when she dreamed of it months ago, sitting on some dusty shelf in some ancient shop with its bright red tag, waiting for her.

Taking a deep breath, she stood up, lifted the camera to her face, and gazed through the viewfinder into her destiny. 

Author's Note: This was written in response to a Red Dress Club prompt. We were to write a story based on the photo above in 400 words or less. Check out more great tales by clicking the link below! 

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