This Polaroid Truth

Retired photo-journalist Leslie Klein receives a mysterious package in the mail, inside is an old, battered polaroid camera. This isn't any ordinary camera though, it's special, so special in fact that people will kill to get it back.

Nothing moved on the silent, dark moors at this early hour in the morning. The soothing silence of the breaking dawn was only interrupted by the faint twittering of birds singing their songs to the world and by the faint hiss of a camera shutter as it captured the world's waking moments.

Pleased with her shots, Leslie yawned and stretched. She'd been out here all night, waiting for the perfect shot, not for the promise of money or fame - those ships had long since sailed - but for her own satisfaction. Film was in her soul and developing fluid in her blood and when she felt the bug, she had to heed it's call.

It's was bitterly cold despite the sun now rising over the horizon, the dew covering everything from the ground to her clothes and sleeping bag, seeping in and greeting flesh and bone with numbness. The stretching helped though and as Leslie finished her yawn and rubbed her eyes, she pulled herself up, much to the chagrin of her numbed joints and began packing for the journey home.

When she retired, Leslie moved out of the city and into the country and now she lived only five short miles from the moors that seemed to capture her heart, just as her camera captured the moor's through it's lens. She'd been living here, in a small village on the outskirts of Dorset for the past two and a half years and had loved every minute of it. Since moving here she'd won the last two village photographer competitions and had supplemented her meager retirement package by teaching photography classes at the village hall on Wednesdays. By now, she knew everyone in the village and they all knew her, such was the country life she seemed to have fallen into. A cynic might find such a village somewhat stereotypical and fabricated, but Leslie accepted it just as it was and loved it for it. Thinking about all these things and eager to develop her negatives, she finished packing away her things into the back of her Landrover and began the short drive home.

It was eight in the morning by the time she got back and the driving combined with the late night and the numbing cold of her damp clothing was threatening to send her to sleep as she pulled into her driveway. As she got out of the Landrover, a postman's bell rung behind her.

"Morning Robert! Have anything for me this morning?"

Robert pulled up on his bicycle and leant it against the stone wall around Leslie's front garden.

"Morning Leslie and aye, that I do. I have package for you." He replied cheerily in a thick Scottish accent as he perched a small cardboard box on the wall. He winked. "More awards for that camera work of yours, no doubt, eh?"

Leslie laughed. "Flattery will get you everywhere Robert. Sorry to be a bore, but I've really got to get some sleep, I'm very tired."

"Aye, out on the moors again I see." He nodded at the car. "You've got to take some time off, give some of us amateurs a chance, my Tom is getting a dab hand with the ol' camera now, thanks to you."

"Well I make no promises, I've got a good feeling about these ones." Leslie smiled. "See you later Robert"

"Aye, enjoy your prezzies." Robert said as he slipped onto his bicycle and disappeared down the road, a sharp double-ring on the bell echoing as he did so.

Leslie let herself in and put the package Robert had left on the kitchen table before going back to fetch the rest of her things. When she got got back she lit the fire in the fireplace and after warming her hands up sat down at the table and looked it the box. There wasn't any return address or any indication of who had sent it, the name and address was hand-written though she didn't recognise the handwriting. Using her nails she pulled apart the brown tape holding the box together and opened it up to reveal styrofoam packing pieces. She dug through the pieces and felt something hard and angular in the box, her hands recognised it immediately. She pulled out the object to reveal an old, slightly battered polaroid camera and placed it on the table. She searched through the rest of the box and there was nothing but packing, no note or letter, nothing.

It struck her as a little odd that someone had sent her an old camera without so much as a note to say why or from whom, but she was so tired that she just left it on the table top and shuffled herself off to bed. She could deal with it in the morning.

The End

32 comments about this story Feed