You Take Another Look at that Negative. Something has Appeared.

You're climbing a goat track. In the wrong shoes for it. The merciless sun bakes down over you. Those facts clear your head.

Those cops, like creeps out of nightmare. Everybody pointing fingers. Everybody pointing at you. Like you're supposed to simply go and climb this goat track. Like you're nothing but a button anyone can push. YOU. A pro. You do the button pushing. And you're American. Aphrodite in chains might be a rock'n'roll concert prop for all you care.

A goat bleats. It clatters past you up the stony ground.

You stop climbing, breathing hard. The goat track here cuts across a rutted road barely wider. TAP TAP TAP. That Athenian cab from last night. You spot it, parked over on your right. The cabbie is tap-tapping one headlight with a rock. The faint breeze rising uphill isn't cooling the shirt sticking over your back. You see the hotel below the hill, its debris field, shimmering in the day's heat. And the Ionian Sea, bluer than possible and mocking, and filling the horizon beyond.

The negative in your shirt pocket. It feels heavier than it should. Tap tapping over your heart.

It's a polaroid, you see, holding it now and staring. Your mouth hangs open, suddenly dry.

It's the hotel lobby. Wicker chairs and potted palms. A marble-like fountain, Venus on a half shell. The tall hotelier smiling behind his reception desk and pictures of the Cornish coast over the back wall.

Your hand shakes.

The hotelier is smiling at a woman signing the register. She's in a flowery summer dress. You know who she is, only seeing her back.

This is all too much. Too Stephen King for you to bear.


The End

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