It was a particularly bad day in school, he had had enough of Jack and his friends teasing and making fun of him. From year 1 onwards, they had always found something to tease him about, and unlucky for him, this year happened to be his thick-framed glasses. He could remember the frustration boiling within him, as he had always been timid, afraid of the consequences of speaking up against bigger boys like Jack.
As he walked home from school, he took the longer route, the one that would bring him to St. Peter’s Park. The park was well-maintained, with huge trees that must have been several centuries old. It is relatively quiet, with the occasional mother with a stroller or a runner zipping through the park. It is his favourite place in the neighbourhood, because no one could find him there, at least no one in school goes to that park. He was looking forward to spending a quiet afternoon in the park, when he saw the sign.
“Hmm, garage sale? Everything must go?” He muttered to himself. The clockworks in his brain were going at high speed. Should he have a look? But what if the house belongs to someone in school? Hesitation clouded his mind. On one hand, he is really curious about the garage sale, wondering if he would find any treasures, but on the other hand, he really could not bear the thought of seeing someone from school right now.
While his mind mulled over the two choices, he suddenly found that he had ended up in front of the garage sale. It turned out his subconscious mind had made the decision without him realising. Slightly, surprised, he walked hesitantly into the compound. The garage was filled with random items, and some of the items were overflowing onto the driveway. No one was there, so he breathed a sigh of relief.
He walked past an old refrigerator with its door hanging on its hinges, a pile of crumply comics lay on the floor beside a basket full of yarns of all colours. He wandered through the piles of abandoned items, some were so old that a thick layer of dust covered them. There were a few items that were completely new, so he guessed that those might be unwanted Christmas or birthday presents. He did not dare to touch anything, for fear of breaking something, even though most items were already broken beyond repair.
All of a sudden, his gaze landed on an old camera. It sat amongst a pile of mouldy comforter, unattractively plain. With a few strides, he peered down at the camera for a closer look. Its sleek black body was free of mould, with a few scratches by the side. Its lens twinkled at him, reflecting the sunlight from its clear glass.
“Do you like it?” A voice asked from behind. He jumped and snapped his head around. Behind him, stood an old lady in her 70’s. His heart was thumping hard against his ribcage, his armpits started to sweat. He hated being surprised, but he did not hear her approaching him. He wondered why, he often knew when someone was walking too near to him, but this time, maybe he was too engrossed with the camera. He gazed at the old lady, she was dressed in a modest summer dress, with a shawl draped across her shoulders. She was smiling apologetically at him, seemingly aware that she had startled him.
“Erm.. Ye-ye-yes, the camera lo-lo-lo-looks quite interesting.” He stammered, after realising that he had been staring at her while his heart gathers itself back together. “How mu-much for the camera?”
She smiled to herself wistfully. At last, someone to take it off me. She thought to herself.
“Ahh you seemed like you really like it, I’ll give it to you as a gift. You look like a really nice boy anyway.” She said, and pushed the camera into his hands. “Just… Be careful with it, alright?”
He started to protest, but the old lady had already turned her back on him and walked away into the depths of her garage. He stared at the camera in his hands, his thumb subconsciously stroking the matte black exterior of the camera. Again, he hesitated. But in the end, he walked away with the camera in his hands, towards St. Peter’s Park where he could examine the camera without the world’s distractions.
While he was sitted at his favourite spot in the park, beneath the oak tree, he held the camera delicately, as though it might break apart anytime. He was delighted to find that it was still working well, and soon he started to fall in love with the mechanical click of the shutter. He fiddled with the different dials that controlled the aperture and focus, smiling to himself as his mind wandered about the things he could photograph. He wanted to photograph everything, his house, his dog, the park, even the pigeons scampering few feet away.
He raised the camera to his eyes, so he could look at the rest of the world through the viewfinder. To his astonishment, he could not see a thing. Confused, he wiped the viewfinder with his sleeve, and a layer of black muck came off it. He frowned, because he knew his mom will have a fit when she sees the dirt on his sleeve. Once again, he looked through the viewfinder, and this time, he could see through it. But there seemed to be a little blur on the right edge of the viewfinder. No matter how many times he wiped it, the blur remained stubbornly.
“Hmm, that’s odd.” He mused. The longer he stared through the viewfinder, the more the blur started to look like a shadow. All of a sudden, he froze.
The shadow moved. His heart started to beat wildly, like a trapped rabbit attempting to escape from its cage. As the shadow grow bigger and bigger, he felt his blood turned cold and the hairs of his neck stood. He could not remove the camera from his face, his hands were glued to the camera, and his eyes refused to obey commands as they stared unblinkingly at the shadow. He turned pale, and started to panic as a gruesome face started to form on the other side of the viewfinder.
Its lips, torn at the sides, with thick blood trickling down its tongue, grubs and cockroaches crawling in and out of the holes that used to be its nose. And the worse of all, its eyes. Bloodshot eyes that captured his gaze, irises so large that it seemed like he was staring into the depths of hell. Terror rushed through his veins, but there was nothing he could do. He couldn’t move at all.
It started to bang its head against the viewfinder. As the viewfinder cracked, he screamed as he was pulled into its unknown realm.