Writing Prompts

Photographic memory

CameraHome from your vacation, you flip through the photos on your camera. As you pass a picture of a busy street, something catches your eye, something you didn’t see at the time. You slowly zoom in on a face in the crowd. When the image focuses, you gasp, dropping the camera to the floor. Who did you see? What was the person doing?

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  • Tom D

    It has to be the jet lag, the lack of sleep on the plane or maybe that bout of food poisoning I am just getting over, I knew it was a mistake to eat food from that street vendor before heading to the airport. But irregular bowel movements aside, I am almost positive that the man I am looking at in this picture is dead.

    I never actually met him myself; he died while my mother was still pregnant with me, the victim of a horrible car crash. While never seeing him in person myself, I have seen numerous photos to know that man looks exactly like my dead dad. I steady my fingers enough to work the buttons on the camera trying to zoom in closer to see the face. I silently thank my friend for recommending this camera, as its large resolution allows for great detail even when zoomed in.

    Zooming in on the picture, I move the focus to where the man was standing on the busy street. It looks identical to the face that I have seen hundreds of times; the face that I
    pass by every morning on my way down the stairs. The portrait of my parents has been at the landing of the stairs since I moved into mom’s house to help her out after she got ill.

    Getting up from the chair, I rush to the landing and pull the portrait off the wall, laying it gently on the computer desk I blow the light coating of dust off the glass front. Now
    that I have them side by side I can compare the two images.

    It’s just someone that looks like my dad, it can’t really be him. Plus if it was him, he would be in his eighties by now; this man is clearly in his mid-twenties. I pull the SD card out of the camera and power up my MacBook, slide the card inside and watch the pinwheel spin around as the card initializes. I immediately slide through all the other pictures and pull up the one with “my father” in it. With the larger screen I can clearly see his face and every little detail on the man’s face is the same as the portrait.

    I finally notice that the man is staring intently at something, zooming out slightly I see he is staring at me. I have to stop looking at this picture. Instinctively, I hit the arrow for the next picture and see the same man staring at me from an entirely different location. Freaked, I hit the power button and the screen goes black. I can see my ragged reflection in the monitor, the bags under my eyes even more prominent than normal. I lean closer running my hand along my face, pulling at the skin under my eyes when I catch another reflection in the blackness of the monitor, it is the same face from the picture, I turn around in horror and…

    • Michon Dubbs

      I want to know what happens!!

    • karl young

      A very nice little read. I like the mysterious ending, I had a fun five minutes making my own scenario up. 🙂

    • Josie Loggins

      see nothing. I looked back at the screen just in time to see a blue jay fly away. Its wings carrying it to a tree across the road and to the city park. I jumped out of my chair, grabbed a light jacket, and headed down the stairs. This time I didn’t stop to look at the portrait. I opened the door, and let the screen door slam behind me. With a quick glance at the road, I ran across and to the park. The cool breeze chilled the building sweat. I ran up to the tree the bird was in, and looked up. There was nothing there. Disappointed, I head back to my house. I opened the screen door when something caught my eye.
      A black car pulled up about a block away. The passenger door opened to let a man climb in. Not just any man, but my father. The door shut and the car pulled away. I had to figure out what was going on. I started running after the car, then decided to hop on my bike instead. I started pedaling after the car. I wasn’t going to let it get away. After about an hour, I started to tire. I had been pedaling as fast as I could and the car had not slowed. I pushed myself to go further. That was when I heard a gunshot and the car hit me from behind.
      I was flung forward and hit the pavement. Then I blacked out.
      I woke up in a white room. The floor was white, the walls, the ceiling, everything was white. I was hooked up to a machine beside me and I could hear the beeping of the heart monitor. I looked over to see a chair pulled up beside me. In the chair sat my father. I noticed his soft snores and relaxed just a bit. All of a sudden, he sat up and smiled at me. “Hello son. We have much to talk about.”

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