Monday, September 29, 2008

What Comes of Cameras

"What Comes of Cameras"
by Chelsea Kronick

Aiden was scared. His hands were shaking, his breath was coming in short gasps and his t-shirt was sticking to his underarms, bunching up. He tugged at his shirt and kept walking, ignoring the giant claw marks in the soil and avoiding the huge trees torn up from their roots, despite the jelly-like quality his knees had taken on.

Fifty feet away and it was a straight shot. The camera lay near the mouth of the cave; sunlight glared off the cracked lens and the broken flash bulb glittered—crushed powder scattered around.

Forty more feet and Aiden was hyperventilating. He saw nothing but the camera as he broke into a run. He slipped and scrambled up the hill; shale tumbled down behind him, making enough noise to wake the beast sleeping inside the cave.

Fifteen feet and Aiden stopped. Paralyzed. The amber eyes of the creature watched him patiently from the semi-darkness. He switched to a slow approach, eyes jumping back and forth from the giant black head to his broken camera.

Ten more feet and the beast still hadn’t moved; it watched him with a critical eye.

Aiden stopped five feet from the camera. The animal began to move forward, stalking him like prey, and he couldn’t move. The smell of his sweat and fear drifted towards the creature on a breeze that chilled him to the bone.

The creature moved forward. In the dim light, Aiden saw only the amber eyes and grinning teeth of a giant dog, one that approached with tantalizing slowness.

The tears started to run down his face as the animal circled him, sniffing closer and closer. His knees finally gave out and he collapsed to the ground. Instinct took over and he brought his hands up over his head, protecting his neck.

For eons he stayed like that, his fear too great to allow him to raise his head or open his eyes. Pain shot through his knees, his back, his elbows and his neck. But he still couldn’t move.

And then he felt cool moisture. Something was licking his ankle, his shoulder, his hand. The beast was eating him!

And then he was up. And before he could look, the puppies were tumbling over each other in their hurry, and the black she wolf was laughing, tongue lolling, one lip raised in a snarl as if to reprimand him for scaring her pups. And Aiden was running, sliding down the hill, camera forgotten and it was only when he got home that he stopped to wonder.