The Photograph

Submitted into Contest #144 in response to: Start your story with somebody taking a photo.... view prompt

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Fiction Horror Suspense

"Looks Good," said Willis as he took the picture of his newborn baby niece. Willis was an aspiring photographer who was just starting his career. "You took way too many pictures," Marissa said, laughing as she looked lovingly at her baby. You can never take too many pictures. We might need them someday," he replied jokingly. Marissa put the baby to bed, and they quietly walked downstairs. They walked into the kitchen and sat down. “Have you heard anything from Brad?” Willis said sadly. Brad was Marissa’s ex-boyfriend, who had left when she became pregnant. “No, I expect I never will,” Marissa said quickly, giving him an icy look. Willis took this as a sign to drop the subject. Willis currently lived with Marissa, since he did not have the money to buy a house. “Well, I gotta get to the studio to get these pictures developed,” he said, standing up slowly. Marissa stood up as well and walked over to the stove. “When will you be back?” Marissa said, trying to forget the previous conversation. “I should be back by 9,” he said, grabbing his car keys and putting his hand on the doorknob. “I’ll put your plate in the fridge,” she said, pulling ingredients out of the fridge. “Bye,” Willis said, walking out the door. “Bye,” said Marissa sadly, after the door had already closed. Willis got into his car and drove to his studio. It was about 20 minutes from their house. He had been there for about 20 minutes when he fell asleep on his large couch. When he awoke, he checked the clock and realized it was 8:00. He slowly got up and went to see how the pictures turned out. He was slightly shocked after looking at the photos. He saw a weird shadowy figure outlined in some of the pictures. He stared at it for a few minutes and blinked his eyes. He started to think he was imagining it from his lack of sleep or it was a distortion in the picture. He hung the pictures and sat back down for a minute, thinking again about the photo. He didn’t notice he had sat there for an hour. He checked the time and quickly jumped up. He quietly opened the door leading to the kitchen in their small house. He hung his keys and went to the fridge to get him dinner. He grabbed it and put it in the oven. He sat down at the moonlit table. He was startled as he heard a noise coming from the doorway. He looked and saw Marissa. “Why were you late?” Marissa said as she, too, sat at the table. “Lost track of time,” Willis said calmly. He didn’t want to mention the photos to his sister. “she already has too much stress,” he said to himself as he walked to the stove. “I’m going to bed. I was just waiting for you to get home,” she said, standing up. “I’m a grown man Mar, I don’t need my big sister waiting up for me,” he said tiredly. “Ok, sure, goodnight,” she said, walking out of the kitchen. “Oh! One more thing, I need to go to the store tomorrow and get a new baby camera. I think the one we have is broken,” said Marissa. “Why do you think it’s broken,” asked Willis as he pulled his dinner out of the stove. “It was beeping because it sensed movement, but when I looked, the baby was sleeping. There is also a weird shadow in the background. I think it's a glitch,” Marissa said calmly. Willis stood there frozen, thinking back to the picture, then to the baby camera. He stood there for a few seconds until Marissa’s voice pulled him from his trance. He hadn’t noticed he was holding the hot plate with his bare hand. Marissa rushed over and grabbed the plate from his hand, saying, “Oh my gosh! Will, what is wrong with you?” he said nothing and went to the sink to run his hand under cold water. “What’s wrong, Will,” Marissa said again, concerned. “I-I saw something i-in the p-photos,” Willis said slowly. “What do you mean you saw something?” Marissa said sharply. “I s-saw a weird s-shadow in the p-pictures,” he said, looking at her with fear in his eyes. “I thought it was just distortion or something, but when you said you saw the same thing on the camera, it-,” he said, cutting himself off. “It’s probably nothing, Will,” Marissa said, trying to calm him down. They stared at each other for a few seconds when they suddenly heard the baby camera beeping again. “The baby probably woke up,” she said, walking over to her phone to see why it was beeping. She stood there frozen, staring at her phone screen when Will said, “What is it?” She simply handed him the phone and continued standing, staring straight ahead. Willis took the phone and looked cautiously at the phone. He, too, froze, then looked up at his sister. On the camera, the baby was looking up and laughing at something, but there was no one in the room. They could slightly see a dark shadow right above the baby’s crib. They both stared at each other without saying anything, then both suddenly took off toward the stairs. They ran up the stairs and burst into the nursery. They saw the baby still looking up and laughing. They stood there in the doorway for a few minutes, just watching. Marissa slowly walked over to the crib and looked at her baby. She then slowly looked up to where the baby was looking. She didn’t see the shadow. Willis suddenly ran downstairs. He quickly ran back up, holding his digital camera. “What are you doing?” Marissa whispered quickly. He didn’t respond and just started taking pictures of the crib. He looked at them, then whispered for Marissa to come look. As she walked away from the crib and reached Willis, the baby suddenly stopped laughing. They didn’t notice and looked at the pictures. They could see the shadow leaning over the crib, but this time they could see it clearer. They both looked back at the crib and noticed the baby wasn’t laughing anymore. It wasn’t moving at all. Willis slowly lifted the camera and took another picture. As Willis looked at the picture, Marissa had started to walk back to the crib to check on her baby. He suddenly stopped her and showed her the photo. The shallow had now moved to the front of the crib right in front of them. “Mar, we gotta get out of here.” Will said quickly. “I’m not leaving my baby,”

Marissa said, looking up at Willis. They looked back ahead and could see the shadow, but this time without the camera. Suddenly Marissa was thrown back into the wall. “Marissa!” yelled Willis as he ran to his sister. She was lying on the floor, not moving. He looked back up towards the crib and could see the shadow, but it started to take more of a human-like shape. He stood up and stared at the shadow as it walked back around the crib and reached down to the baby. Willis yelled, “Leave her alone,” as he ran to the crib. He was launched backwards against the wall as the shadow picked up the baby. He looked up from the ground and saw the shadow completely become visible. It was very tall and skinny. It had no face, and it had a dark gray body. He stood up again and ran towards the creature. It held out its long skinny arm and pointed at him. He suddenly couldn’t move. The creature then tilted its head at him and the baby started to cry. He was then lifted into the air and thrown back into the wall again. He then fell unconscious. He was awakened by Marissa yelling and shaking him. She was yelling, “Where’s the baby!” He slowly stood up and looked at the crib, there was a small drop of blood on the edge. He pointed at it and looked at Marissa. They looked and saw a trail of blood leading down the stairs. They followed it to the ground floor. They saw the baby laying on the floor with all the blood drained from its body. Marissa started sobbing loudly as Willis just stood there in shock. Suddenly, the creature appeared in front of them. Marissa stopped crying and backed up next to Will. “Will-,” she said as she looked at him. He looked at her for a second, then they both looked back at the creature. It slowly tilted its head and pointed at them. 

May 04, 2022 21:21

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1 comment

Calvin Kirby
17:27 May 12, 2022

Wow, this story was a real scary one. I think it was like a Twilight Zone episode. It grabbed me and held my interest right away. I wanted a little more at the end, but it sure left me thinking of many different endings that I could apply to finish. Thanks and good writing. Cal


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