Dean awoke.  He stretched out, feeling for Sarah and remembered she’d left early for work.  He hated it when she had to work on a Saturday.  It meant missing out on a warm cozy wake up.  The sheet next to him was already cold.  He thought about going back to sleep but he knew he had too much to do and slowly got himself up.  He stumbled out of the bedroom heading to the kitchen.  Coffee was definitely first on the list.

On the way he glanced in the office.

The camera sat on the shelf.

He stopped and stared.  Something was different.  God damn it, the viewfinder was open.  He didn’t dream that.  But then why couldn’t he remember what happened?

The phone rang and he went into the kitchen to answer it.

“Hi it’s me” he heard Sarah saying.  He never understood why she always started calls like that.  He knew it was her before he answered; it said so on the phone’s screen.  “I just wanted to make sure you got those things from the store…” She went on to give him a list of things she needed from the grocery store.

He picked up the list from the counter which already had everything she was listing written on it.  He vaguely listened whilst he was thinking about the camera and started preparing the coffee.  There was a pause in the stream of words coming out of the phone as Sarah was interrupted by someone in the office.

“I have all that.” Dean said “Hey I was right last night, that camera”   She cut him off “Not that stupid camera again! Anyway, I’ve got to go, David’s got a problem and he needs help.  Bye.”  The phone went dead.

Dean stared at the coffee as it dripped into the pot.

In his mind he went over and over the events of the previous night; picking up the camera, examining it, the sticking hood, it opening and… nothing.  He tried to think about the dream, it was all so vague in his head, a smoke screen stopped him grasping it.  There was a girl for sure, young, something odd.

Before he realized it he was in the office; staring at the camera. The dirty lenses stared back at him.

He picked it up. Looked at the lens and pulled out a tissue from the box on the desk next to him.  He formed it around his finger and wiped around the lens.  He didn’t really know why he was trying to clean the lens.  The rest of the camera was much worse and would probably not improve as a result of a wipe down.  He switched the tissue around and did the other lens.

The doorbell rang.

Ugh that will be Doug he thought.  He put the camera down and went back to the kitchen.  He shouted to the door.

“Come in Doug!  Help yourself to coffee.  I’m just getting ready”

He went back to the bedroom.  Grabbed his running gear and quickly got dressed.

He returned to the kitchen to find Doug leaning against the counter with a coffee in his hand.  Dean looked about for his cup, nothing.  Typical, Doug had just poured his own.  Dean grabbed a cup and poured himself coffee.

“We’ll have to do the short route this morning” he said, “Sarah’s working and I have to go get groceries, plus I need to start on that fence today.  And I need to get the Yosemite pictures done for Sarah”

“Haven’t you done that yet?  I thought that was why you didn’t come out last night?”

“It was, I did…but… Something happened.”

“Huh?  What?”

“You know that old camera I picked up?”

“Which one?  You are always picking up junk” Doug teased.

“The messed up one.  Oh never mind.

“Come on, I’m only fucking with you”

“Well… nah! You’ll take the piss even more.  Come on let get moving” He put down his half-drunk coffee and headed for the door.

Doug shook his head and followed after.

In the office, the camera sat on the shelf.

An hour or two later Dean walked back though the door; his hands laden with grocery bags.  He tossed his keys and wallet on the couch and went into the kitchen.  The bags were lowered to the floor and he picked up the now cold coffee to take a sip.  I moment of disgust crossed his face as the coffee enters his mouth and he realized the temperature was not what he had in mind.

He opened the microwave and set the coffee to heat up.

We wandered towards the bedroom taking off his running shoes as we went and stopped again in the office door.  The camera stared at him from the shelf.

He wandered in and picked it up lowered it so he could look in the viewfinder and turned towards the window which was the main source of light.  The image on the ground glass was cloudy still and he bent closer to get a better look.  As he shifted position something came into view Dean cupped one hand over the viewfinder to help see.  There was something there, he glanced up to see what he was pointing it at but somehow the two didn’t match.  Back in the viewfinder he concentrated trying to make out the shape.  His finger tried to adjust the focus but it was seized.  Hang on though it was becoming clearer.  A figure, confused he glanced up again, still just an empty window.  He looked again.  The figure became clearer.  A girl and she was smiling.  There was something odd about here he tried to make it out, yes she was posing for..

“Oy!  Get out of the way dumbass!”

He turned around at the voice; there was a man with a camera staring at him.

“Move out o’ the way! Can’t you see I’m takin’ a picture!”

Dean looked around him as he stepped to the side.  He wasn’t in the office at home anymore.

He looked at the guy who was now looking down at his twin lens reflex camera, making adjustments and gesturing at the girl who was smiling and adjusting her pose.

Dean was standing somewhere that was vaguely familiar; the confusion of what was going on blocked his initial attempts to make sense of the situation.  A second ago he’d been somewhere else, at home, in his office and now he was….

He looked about him and at the girl, she was different, there was something odd about both her and this guy.  Then it dawned on him it was their clothes.  They were wearing vintage outfits, how cute.  And yet, as he looked about there were other things, there was the ocean and they were standing on a pier.  It seemed like a familiar place to him but unfamiliar too.

There was a large ornate building next to him and it looked like the one that housed the carousel on Santa Monica Pier but the pier had no amusement park, there was not Ferris wheel or anything like that.  He heard a car horn and still in confusion about what was going on looked over.  It was an old car, classic he thought but then he realized all of the cars were old cars yet they looked brand new.

The more he looked around himself the more he realized that everything around him was from a different era and it dawned on him that perhaps this was another time and this was the Santa Monica Pier.  He suddenly felt unwell as the realization took him over he felt dizzy and reached out for something to steady himself on; there was nothing and he started to fall backwards as darkness enveloped him.


©2017 Carrot Room