When my grandfather died back in 1998, I didn't think much about it. I mean, he was sick, and we couldn't help him. It broke my heart to see him die, and I was there to watch him leave. I was there for his last breath. It tore me apart to see him leave, and I knew my life would change forever.
Me and my parents decided to visit my grandmother a couple of months ago. We knew she must be lonely without my pa with her, so we thought we'd keep her company. It was only a 30 minute drive, and I didn't mind seeing her. In fact, it was probably the first time since 2003.
When we got to her house, I hugged her and spoke with her before exploring around. When I looked around in an old box of photos, I found one of my Grandfather, just before he had died. He was sick when he died, so it must have been before he was sick. The photo was not in black and white, but not in colors either, which indicates it was from an old camera. It was the kind of photo you got from those cameras where when you take the picture, it spits out the photo onto a little photo card.
The photo seemed somewhat too real to me, as if it wasn't just a photo. It looked almost like the man inside of it was alive. I found a few more photos, like ones of my cousins and aunts that had died more than a few years ago.
My grandmother had come into the room, and she put a hand on my shoulder. I must admit, it scared me some, but when I realised it was her I sighed in relief.
"Nana, what are these?" I had asked her.
"Oh, don't worry about those, it's a collection of photos I keep in remembrance of all our family's losses." she had replied.
The next few days my grandmother kept us entertained with stories people would tell because of all our family's deaths. Some of them had to do with suicide by jumping off a cliff, their bodies never being found, and even a lion eating some of them. Some were hilarious, like they where juggling elephants and one swallowed them. Though they were just stories, I had a slight suspicion one may be true.
Out of all the stories she told, one would always stick out at me. One about a camera, and its deadly photos. She said that anyone who would get their picture taken with the camera would always become ill, and eventually die. She said it was as if not only their image was taken, but their soul taken as well. Then without a soul to have, they become ill and unresponsive, and eventually die.
The story stuck out to me in two reasons. One, the photo of my grandfather was so realistic, almost as if his soul was in it too. Two, when he had died, he was so sick. He wouldn't respond to anyone, and it seemed he had no soul. It was horrifying, the stories, and it gave me chills every time she spoke about them.
When I looked through the boxes, my grandmother would always call me to do her a favour. She'd never let me get so far as to touch a photo since the time I found them. It really started to annoy me, and so I got a plan on how to get to the photos without her knowing.
I waited until the weekend; she said she was going to meet a friend down at the docks. I smiled and waved as she left, and as soon as she was out of sight, I bolted to the photos. I looked them over and over, astonished at how realistic they looked. But, as I examined them closer, that's when I realized something. These photos were not just an ordinary collection, they where a collection of souls. I gasped and looked around, looking for the camera. When I found it, the first thing that came to mind was to break it. Maybe it will release the souls. I don't know why I thought that, maybe I had been watching way too many cartoons, but when I tried I couldn't break it. I tried again, still nothing. I even beat it with a hammer, but not so much as a scratch had gotten on it.
When she came back, I was still in the closet, trying to find a way to break it.
"Give that here, young man!" she shouted.
"Why are you breaking me stuff!?"
"I know what this is! This is the camera in your stories!" I yelled.
"What makes you think that?!"
"I- The- Their-"
"You can't even explain why."
I sighed and faced the ground, and as I walked off, I prayed and prayed she won't take a photo. Luckily, she didn't, but I knew that wouldn't be her last photo.
I kept the photo of my grandfather, though, and cried at the thought of how he died. His face so lifelike, his soul so fragile. His body may be dead, but his life will live forever in a still image never to be torn apart or broken, and an eternity in solitude. I may not be able to prove that the stories or true, but I do know one thing, the camera can do miracles. Miracles that only the victims could know.