“The Camera”

After moving into the old Victorian  house, he noticed high up on a closet shelf what appeared to be a jewelry box sticking out just off the edge. It was odd because when he was moving in recently he hadn’t noticed anything there as he was placing items on that very shelf. Maybe it had been back in the corner and he just didn’t see it where it was, but why was it at the edge with one corner hanging over, as if to somehow get his attention. The logical explanation would come to be the illusive dilemma caught in the transcendence of time.

The turn of the century house had high ceilings and the closet shelves were also high, as he made his way up the step stool — he kept in the closet for the very purpose of getting up to the shelves — he reached for what he thought was a jewelry box. Holding it tightly as he stepped down and seated himself at a small table that he used for reading, he realized that what he found was a camera, a very old camera in fact likely from the same vintage era as the house. The corners were covered with ornate gold leaf and around the camera lens too, but he also noticed a keyhole to the side. To use the camera, one would hold it at their waist while looking down from the top into the small viewfinder, as the lens, located to the front would be facing the object of the photograph. Shaped like a cube, about eight inches by eight inches square, like the one his grandmother had, except for the ornate trim and keyhole. The camera was like nothing he had ever seen before and without the key to open it and explore any further, he would settle for displaying it on the marble mantle as a conversation piece. 

Sitting in his personal library one evening as he often did —  where he researched and kept a collection of strange and odd items for his unique one of a kind thrift shop — he became entranced by the camera, wondering about where it had been and the secrets it held. Perhaps he had  found himself in the company of a time capsule, if only he could open it  . . . There was an unusually chaotic storm going on outside with bursts of thunder and lightning that sounded at times more like a freight-liner crashing through a brick wall. Oddly enough, as he was enjoying the comforts of the warm fireplace with the lights off, the fire snuffed out into a darkened haze, as it filled the room with the scent of black licorice and mint. Turning to the end table close to him, he reached to turn on the lamp and found that the power was out as well. The room was then pitch black and he was unable to see anything at all as he continued to stay seated, deciding just to wait it out. Pondering more about the effect that the enchanting and unique artifact of time that he placed on the marble mantle was having on him.

——– * ——–           ——– * ——–           ——– * ——–           ——– * ——–

He awakened to the early morning calm, with the sunlight piercing through the slightly parted curtains. He enjoyed the storms, especially the late night ones because he felt such a personal connection to the darkness and the strange peace he got  from it. Recalling the sweet aroma of the black licorice and mint was the last that he could remember before sleep had taken him over, eight hours ago. A glimmering in the fireplace caught his attention, laying as if somehow placed on the ashes from last night was an object illuminated from the peering sunlight. Stepping over to the fireplace and leaning down for a closer look, he was fixated upon the key he saw laying there, with matching ornate gold leaf just like the camera he had found. As if in a dream-like state, he reached for the key and from there stood up to face the marble mantle where he had placed the camera, and with the matching key in hand, he inserted it into the keyhole at the side of the camera.

Inside what once was a camera, was a thin metal box, about the size of two decks of playing cards placed side by side. It was held securely by a leather strap and buckle in a recessed part that had been specially made to fit.  Never before had he ever seen anything like this — obviously custom made he thought or perhaps had been created for time travel — so he carefully unfastened the buckle and took hold of the metal box, then opened the hinged lid similar to opening a deck of cards. Inside were a stack of eight photographs and as he tilted the box to empty them into his hand, he expected to see some vintage era photographs, possibly of a family or vacation scenery. The images were black ‘n white and mounted on a card-like backing, making them much thicker than regular snapshots. He was intrigued with what he had found.

They appeared to be images taken of a distant barren land, desert-like with small sandy hills in places, crater-like indentations and a black clear sky. He was certainly not looking at anything taken on Earth as he studied each photograph and  flipping through the stack, there was one that showed a couple of heavily gloved fingers that had been caught in the frame of the captured moment. Still standing, he was enthralled by what he had found and at that moment a few photos had fallen to the floor, turning over as they landed on the floor. Leaning down to pick them up, he saw the stamp on the back “Mars 1938”, accompanied by what looked to be some handwritten lines of mathematical equations . . . There is no way this could be real, he thought — or had this really happened nearly a hundred years ago as his eyes surveyed around the rest of the library to see if there was anything else out of the ordinary — realizing too that he was not dreaming, he sat himself down still holding on to the contents from the camera, and continued looking through the last few photos of the deck.

——– * ——–            ——– * ——–           ——– * ——–          ——– * ——–

The sunlight was diminishing by now, with evening coming on. Impossible he thought, how could it be, that he had been looking at those eight photographs all that time (?)  He was again unsure if the day had been real, where had the time gone and still considering the obvious conclusion however was that he had been dreaming all along. But how could he have been conscious enough to question whether or not he was dreaming.

Finally, the  last photo at the bottom of the stack took his breath away as a single flash of lightning illuminated the wall clock above the fireplace as it struck at eight pm. The photo was of the vintage style camera with ornate gold trim, that he had placed upon the marble mantle above the fireplace.

End ~


Transcendence > 

Refers to the very highest and most inclusive levels of human                               consciousness, behaving and relating, to oneself,  to significant others, to human beings in general, to other species, to nature, and to the cosmos.

Time Capsule > 

A container storing a selection of objects chosen as being of special interest at the present time, buried or hidden for discovery in the future.

#camera #jewelrybox #chaotic #entranced #intrigued #dilemma #enthralled #transcendence #timecapsule #dreamstate #mars #earth #victorian #vintage #artifact #photograph #shortstories #fictionshorts #kentxsandersxwriter

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