Friday, April 13, 2012

Night Shot 6: Darkness

In which Jerry realizes what time it is…


Jerry gripped his camera and turned slowly. He scanned the darkness, trying to locate the sound, but it remained—darkness.

Just a truck,” Jerry told himself. “Just a truck.”

He caught himself shivering and forced himself to shake it off. “Just a truck.” He paused, fumbling with the light meter, but he found he was still holding the flashlight. Annoyed, he flicked it off and shoved it in his pocket. As he bent forward, trying to focus, the wind gusted across the parking lot. It shook the light above the platform, and the shadows ran trembling around him.

Jerry moved closer, grumbling, as he waited for the wind to settle.

The shutter whirred—click—click—click—click.

He moved forward again and refocused. No, that still didn’t look right.

Jerry backed sideways and picked his way around the dull gleam of a puddle. He was about to kneel, when he realized he was standing in a small rivulet. For a moment, he hesitated. Then he gave up and knelt anyway, steadying the camera and focusing on the dim silhouette of the platform.

Something began beeping in his pocket—Jerry almost jumped, before he realized it was his phone.

Jerry checked his settings hastily and pushed the shutter release. His phone was still beeping loudly, like an impatient horn, but Jerry waited until the camera had finished whirring. The instant it ended, he snatched for his phone.

It snagged in his coat pocket, and when he pulled it free, he felt his flashlight fall out of his pocket and heard it bounce on the gravel. Jerry ignored it. With a quick swipe, he unlocked his phone’s screen and hit the silence button. Then he looked at the screen—as the number flashed and disappeared, he recognized it and cringed.

That was going to be big trouble—if he wasn’t already in such big trouble.

He was about to put his phone back in his pocket when he noticed the time—just past midnight. That meant it was Friday already—Friday the 13th…

He hit the power button until his phone blanked out, and then shoved it back in his pocket.

But there was nothing he could do about it now. “Except maybe go home. Maybe he should. As if he was going to find anything out by standing in the rain by the tracks. As if there was anything to find out.

Absently, he hit display on the camera and scrolled back through his photos.

He stopped, staring at one of them. Then he tilted the camera, trying to see the display better. That might just work—that might…

Forgetting everything else, he dashed back to his original position. “Right here—no, left, left, just a little more to the left. There—a little more tilt, not too much.” Jerry pressed the shutter and sat back to study the photo. “That almost did it—now if he could get the colors right.

Jerry played with his settings, studying the train station. He had almost got the white balance right, when a sudden doubt flashed through his mind. He hit display once more and scrolled back until he found the photo again.

It was hard to see on the narrow display screen, but it was there—the dark, oblong shadow in the lower corner. The Shadow.

Jerry sprang up and stared around.

He could see nothing. Only the darkness around him, and the orange, bobbing light above the empty wall of the train station.

Out of the darkness, a shadow began to move.

Jerry turned to run, but he tripped and fell, trying to cradle his camera under his arm as he rolled on the wet gravel. The gravel cut into his free hand, but he scrambled forward in desperation, blind, gasping, slithering on the loose stones.

Then the shadow swept across him, and darkness fell…

(In Night Shot 7, readers determined what happened the following week in Night Shot 8. To go back to the beginning of the story,  see Night Shot 1.)


Andrew Engel said...

Why don't you collect these all into another page where they're all together? :)

Audrey said...

We'll see, we'll see...

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