The Broken Camera: A Tale of Terror

He laid awake and said the name into the night.

“Robyn….”. He said, as he clung to what was left of his pillow, shedding tears of infinite loss and emptiness into the darkness.

He missed her so much it hurt down to his soul. Her sudden disappearance during the storm last week and subsequent discovery of her lifeless body on the beach had broken him into shards of eggshell that no horses or men could heal.

“Why did you have to take that walk, take those pictures…?” he sobbed…”Why?”

Had it not been for her love of photography, especially the raw, unfettered power of a spring storm over the beach; she would have still been alive and by his side.

He had already smashed her camera against the wall. He immediately felt guilt over it; after all, it was part of her just like her auburn hair, her blazing green eyes and her heart of true, purest joy. He had kept the pieces and assembled them in a makeshift shrine on their dresser; surrounding it with the small, yet beautiful frames of images she had created. Frame upon frame stood like headstones around the broken debris; each a moment in time captured and never to be erased.

He continued to weep. This had been his new normal for weeks now and he had seen no end to it nor no need to deviate from it especially now. After all, they had been together for years, Robyn and he, and had joined their lives together over a shared love of nature as well as of art. Robyn, the headstrong, fiery, spitfire and he; the logical yet playful book nerd who was always pounding away at his beat up old word processor. He had refused a new model in favor of familiarity if nothing else.

There was a small click just across the room. He sat up slowly, thinking it was the faucet in the restroom dripping. He had meant to fix it, but, as in most things during this time, it had fallen by the wayside in favor of his grief. The click sounded again, only this time closer; more mechanical.

He got up and listened carefully in the darkness. He tuned all other noises from his mind and focused on just listening in the dark. Click…..zzzz…..Click! There it was again! Only this time, even more mechanical, and followed by a strange, dreamily whirring sound….he stiffened. He knew what it was.

He slowly walked to the “shrine” he had built from the pieces of the Nikon camera Robyn had treasured and worn out with her images. It had changed position.

The pieces had now come together in a more logical, almost organized way…and were moving on their own.

He grabbed his jaw to keep it from falling open but failed. What was this? Was he cracking up? Was this it? Had he just completely lost it and gone around the bend as they say? He took his hands and rubbed his eyes to sharpen his vision. Maybe it was just a trick of the dark or a dream he had come out of….but no; the pieces were moving.

His gaze then shifted to the frames surrounding the “shrine”. He stiffened again and a shudder of pur cold raced through him….each image, each memory of a moment in time now included a new image within them; his beloved, Robyn staring back at him. Only this Robyn was not smiling, nor passionate, nor the joyous girl he’d seen smile over a thousand Sundays…this Robyn had no eyes; only black holes and hair as pallid as roots in a swamp. Her skin was bleached and rotting and blackened teeth shown behind her taut grin that extended from cheek bone to rotting cheek bone.

“You took my eyes my love….” the image croaked….”Why did you take my eyes?”

“I didn’t baby! I didn’t I promise! he screamed,,,”I was just so sad and angry–I just threw your camera—I didn’t mean to…” but he stopped before he could finish as he realized that the image of Robyn wasn’t an image…but a reflection.

He turned to see her standing behind him. Eyeless and grinning; smiling with a malice he had never known from her…at least while she was living. “You took my eyes, my darling”, she croaked again through a voice sounding of things long drowned deep; “and now I need to take your picture”…

There was a sudden flash from the dresser. And all went black.

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