Camera girl

“Who’s that?”

The question catches Jennifer off-guard. She looks at her sister who is looking through the recently developed pictures from Jennifer’s garage sale find.

Amy hands over the pictures, pointing to a sad looking little girl in a flowered dress.

“Huh? I don’t remember her,” Jennifer says. “Must be some double exposure thing or something, from the film that was already in the camera.”

“If you say so,” Amy mutters, “you’re the expert, here.”

Jennifer glares at her sister before they both burst into laughter. Jennifer absently rifles through the remainder of the developed pictures.

“Hmm, there she is again. And again. She’s in nearly all these pictures,” she tells Amy.

Amy shrugs, repeating Jennifer’s thought, “It’s gotta be double exposure. Let’s shoot some more film, leaving out any girls we see, and go from there. Alright?”

Jennifer nods, thrusting the handful of pictures into her backpack. She pulls out a new roll of film and proceeds to thread it into the antique camera.

“I’ve got an idea,” Amy squeals, “let’s go take some pictures of the lake. I saw sailboats out earlier. I think they’re practicing for the race on Saturday.”

Jennifer follows Amy to their car to stow their backpacks then the pair strolls through the park to the shore of Lake Presston. Amy was right, there were many sailboats on the water, their multi-colored sails brilliant on the grey-blue of the lake.

Jennifer snapped a few pictures of the boats, a few shots of a pair of roller-bladers, and finished off the roll with dogs and their owners walking the path around the lake.

Dusk was settling over the park when the girls made it back to their car. Jennifer dropped Amy off at her dorm room then she went home to develop the new set of pictures.

In the darkroom, Jennifer again noticed the girl in the flowered dress. The mysterious girl was in every picture! Jennifer finished developing her pictures and left the darkroom. She picked up the bargain camera and examined it carefully. Nothing appeared out of place. Nothing extra was added to the camera. She cleaned the lenses and body and set the camera on her coffee table.

She called Amy to tell her sister about the strange girl on the film. When Amy answered the phone, Jennifer could tell something was wrong.

“H…he…helloooo?”

“Amy? What’s wrong? Amy, I need to talk to you. It’s about…”

Jennifer was interrupted by Amy’s wail.

“Amy!” Jennifer screamed into the phone.

“The girl,” Amy cried, “she’s here! She’s real. Jennifer, help!”

Jennifer dropped the phone, whirling to grab her car keys from the coffee table. But something standing in the corner stopped her cold. It was a sad looking girl in a flowered dress.

**************

The old film camera on the bargain table seemed to be in good shape. Leslie picked it up and asked the woman about it.

“That was my oldest daughter’s,” she said. “Jennifer loved to take pictures. I…I don’t want to sell it, but I need the money, you see. Headstones don’t come cheap, even with the ‘group’ discount.”

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