Friday, April 6, 2012

Night Shot 5: Shadow Chase

…in which Jerry finds himself down a back alley with a camera and a half-dead flashlight, and he decides that his decision in the previous installment (Night Shot 4: Silas's Shop) may have been a bad idea.


The darkness closed around Jerry. The rain seemed to increase as he groped his way forward, around the corner of the building. He could still see the glow of streetlight behind him, a red glare against night.

He tried to take a few more steps, remembered his flashlight, and flicked it on.

The beam wavered and nearly went out. Jerry shook it, then looped his camera strap over his neck and banged the flashlight with his free hand. It brightened briefly, and he trudged forward, squinting into the dark curtain of rain.

After a few minutes, he noticed a faint row of lights ahead of him. He realized it was the train station. He veered toward it, swinging his light back and forth until it caught on the dim gleam of the tracks.

The rain drummed on his jacket. He’d forgotten his hat, and the water was already trickling down his neck, but he hunched forward and kept on.

When he reached the station, the rain was gushing off the roof. It splashed around the building, jumping and rushing in streams beside the platform. Jerry sloshed through the puddles and climbed onto the platform. It was a little drier, though a thin current of air swept the rain back under the roof. Jerry huddled as far back as he could, trying to shake the water off, as he checked his camera.

Okay, now what?” Jerry mumbled to himself.

He looked around.

If he were smart, he’d have a plan. A plan for what? For finding the Shadow—how had he found it before?” Jerry grimaced, remembering that he hadn’t found the Shadow before. “So I start taking photos and—what? It just shows up again?

He looked around and found the best light—a lamp hanging from the side of the train station. It bobbed faintly in the wind, and its light flickered over the gravel parking lot.

Jerry leaned forward, trying to keep out of the rain as he focused his camera on the patch of light. “No—that doesn’t work.

Steadying the camera, he squirmed along the side of the building. For a moment he studied the image on his narrow screen, but it still didn’t work—he couldn’t get it to look right.

Then he realized what was wrong. In his other photos, the building had been behind the light, not in front of it.

With a sigh, Jerry tucked his camera under his jacket and started out into the rain.

He thought he’d missed the puddle this time, but he landed in the last three inches of it and splashing his pant legs with cold water. “Of course—it would do that—what else? He’d known this was a bad idea when he set out.” But he kept on.

About a dozen yards off, on the edge of the parking lot, he turned and tried again, inching forward until he could frame the gray-white side of the train station and the platform.

Now the focus was wrong. Jerry hunched forward again, trying to keep the pelting rain off his camera as he adjusted its lens. Then he paused, staring around, wondering what it was.

Next minute, he was on his feet. Something rumbled through the darkness beside him...

(Continued on Friday, April 13th, Night Shot 6: Darkness)

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