‘A boy, just a boy…’
Chapter 1 – The Poem
‘When love is a flavored lost;
the Pain is a ripping cost,
for Love was only there,
To those who are Aware…’
What kind of artist ruffian would write this?
They are only words. But they don’t fit this place. No, not this place. Maybe somewhere in a traditional, cultured suburb one might find the likes of such a poem. But why at an old bus stop at the front of a vacate factory in a horrid town with an equally bleak horrid name.
Anakie (or as the High School kids called it “Anarchy”) was not a place for poets. It possessed an odd bad reputation, what some Mercly suburbanites might call a lowlife’s low-end. But not the boy who sat at the bus stop. He was a Mercly citizen, proudly, but he did not look down on those who were confined by their finance.
At his feet slunk his school bag with the prestigious Mercly Grammar School logo shining proudly. Inside the bag were an apple, camera and twelve very important photos.
Retrieving a comb from his bag, he sleeked it through his thick messy hair, straightening it up briefly before it retorted back to its natural curls. As he placed back the comb, he saw a crunched up official paper, for a second he forgot what it said, before he completely flattened it out he read the words, “Welcome to your final year of High School…”. Uninterested, he crunched the paper releasing the stress it held immediately.
Sitting still on the solid splintering wood at an un-loved bus stop, the teenage boy inspected a drying puddle on the rough, cracked footpath and retrieved his camera from his bag, focused and snapped a shot. His camera was old and with the turn of a new century camera’s were about to be everywhere, but for now he cherished his old heavy camera. One might think a want-a-be professional photographer would use something a little more up-to-date, but nonetheless it served its purpose, and his parents were not in the financial red to be flaunting out funds on expenses luxuries.
Yes, times were changing, but people who resided in Mercly were not. They remained superficial. It was a town of show-offs, of pompous money flinging families and their children who would follow in their footsteps and they were never expected to leave their comfortable bubble. They were frivolous; their dreamland was this place. The person who thought beyond this world was special. The person who thought beyond the singular-dimension had a chance to make their dreams real. This boy’s dreams felt real.
The teenage boy at the bus stop wore casual blue jeans, black sneakers, with a grey hoody. His face was comical, but he took himself seriously. He set rules for his life. However, evidently, found life would always challenge his morals. His black hair was thick and curly, covering his ears. His skin had a healthy olive glow, his teeth naturally straight and white, even with his recent acquired habit of the occasional cup of coffee.
He not only possessed a giant heart, with mature morals beyond his age. He also possessed an unusual secret gift unlike anything witnessed on Earth. A gift discovered accidently when he was eleven years old.
Chapter 2 – Who was the boy at the bus stop?
Whilst sitting at the bus stop, the boy felt a deeper meaning from the poem; it meant something to him, a connection of sorts. He read the poem again. His green eyes glittered as he pondered. The glitter shine in his eyes resembled that of a starry, far off galaxy.
What sort of person would live in this area and write something so profoundly deep on a bus stop outside the old factory?
The boy held a small cutout from a newspaper; “Painter requires Photographer” was all it said. He swung his legs childishly, anxiously. It was his first interview ever. His mother had coached him into it, made the phone call, as loving mothers do. She saw something in her son that he did not see – a spark – a point of difference in the world. She knew he was special. But of coarse, to the McKillop’s, family was special.
As he had just returned his camera to his bag and zipped it up a twist in the Earth’s mood swung wild wind. Clouds collided, creating loud cracks of lightning. The dust from the gravel Erebus Road hurled into his face. He raised his hand protecting from the speck of tiny rocks, whilst simultaneously unzipped his bag telepathically, then an umbrella flung through the air, opened by itself and shielded his face from the dust and small stones.
The boy looked around nervously, the umbrella hanging in the air. To his calming heart, no one was near to witness. He took a deep breathe in and a longer one out, and tried to gulp the anxiety away. Time stood still when he used his powers. They ran more and more on instinct rather than choice and this was beginning to scare him. But in this instant he was glad he was alone.
Out of the corner of his eyes he saw a boy riding a black BMX. Before the BMX rider could see, the boy at the bus stop quickly gripped the floating umbrella with both hands.
The wind flung another gust, spilling his bag towards the ground. His photos fell out of his brown journal and his old beat up camera tossed in the air. He couldn’t physically react in time, but then his mind took over catching the items in mid-air. Another gust of wind forced him to grip the umbrella tighter. He was unaware of his green apple, which fell to the ground, cracking as it rolled into the path of the black BMX.
The BMX had thick, black tires, with silver rims. The rider’s jeans were a dark grayish-blue and his dark tee shirt appeared to be a few years old, from the obvious creases and stretches. His brown eyes were blood shot, while his long hair scattered in front of his face. He either had something in his eyes from the wind or had been crying.
He seems too tough to cry.
Another gust of dust blew into the BMX rider’s eyes. He swerved, losing control, and swerved again, positioning his front wheel to avoid the green apple in the middle of the road.
Unable to focus, the boy at the bus stop dropped all his belongings on the ground, his old camera smashed into pieces. His photos whisked away with the wind.
The BMX rider regained control and proceeded to ride fast down the gravel road to the Mercly side of Erebus Road. His knees almost hitting the handlebars as he peddled.
The boy at the bus stop chased after his photos, believing he had collected them all. However one had drifted around to the opposite side of the bus stop.
As he stood in the middle of the gravel road, a brand new pearl Ranger Rover bumped along, unbeknown to him, heading straight for him.
The female driver was not paying attention as she peered into the rearview mirror to check her makeup, whilst her daughter in the passenger seat looked at a map.
‘I’m convinced she’s lost’; the daughter repeated in her mind.
The young photographer counted his photos in the middle of the road. The interviewing-painter specifically asked for twelve photos.
With the car only meters away, the boy glanced up. Instinctively he closed his eyes. A surge of energy thrust through the bottom of his feet to the circuits in his brain. His mind in that moment disappeared from Earth. It was only a second, but it was enough for him to visualize the world with golden skies and white atmosphere. A world as old as time itself.
The pearl Ranger Rover skidded on the dusty gravel road, stopping just inches away from boy’s kneecaps. The females in the car catapulted forward, their seatbelts holding them firmly and safely. They screamed in horror, unaware of what just happened.
The boy returned, zapping back from the world in his mind, opening his eyes when the eruption of noise drifted to silence. Astonished to be alive, he felt his body to make sure he wasn’t dead.
The mother and daughter were horrified from the unexpected braking. The driver more confused than the passenger because she never hit the brake pedal.
‘What happened? How? Did we stop?’ The mother said out loud, but to herself.
She looked over at her daughter, the perfect blonde hair shagged over her perfect face, ‘I never hit the brakes. The car just stopped. Like, by itself’.
The young photographer caught the young passenger’s glowing hazel-grey eyes. They stared at each other. Her eyes shifted colors from the reflection of the windscreen. She had soft, flowing blonde hair. She naturally had clean soft skin with rosy cheeks. However, she was unenthusiastically beautiful, attempting to appear plain, like another face in the crowd.
Behind the Ranger Rover a bus swerved around the corner. The grey skies opened up, and heavy droplets of rain began to fall. The boy sprinted to the bus stop, placing all his belongings in his bag with his hands.
‘Are we going the right way, Scarlett?’ the mother attempted to say casually, like nothing had happened.
The daughter didn’t reply, her attention caught by the boy at the bus stop.
The bus pulled up slowly, he stepped on, sitting at the front. The bus sped off to continue its route.
Scarlett Ray knew there was more to that boy then the obvious photographer-bus-catching-nerdy thing he presented to the world. He was different.
Who was the boy at the bus stop?
Chapter 3 – Painter seeks Photographer
Before stepping off the bus into the pouring rain, the young teenager asked the bus driver the direction of house number 351 on this long road. The driver answered silently, pointing his finger.
The painter’s house, or better described as a mansion, at 351 Erebus Road, was parallel to the bus stop. He lived on the boarder of Mercly and Anakie. The left hand side of the mansion had the old gravel Anakie Erebus road, whilst the other had the Mercly smooth, new road. The mansion itself was grim and oversized, the type of home one might find in the shabby backs streets of Anakie. Yet amongst the lush neighborhood homes of Mercly sat this gigantic eyesore.
This dim home created a nervous feeling for anyone who gazed upon it. However this boy had a memory he had pushed far, far into the back of his mind. The address had always fascinated him. Of course they were rumors and only rumors and his parents knew exactly where he was going to be. But this did not stop those memories from flooding back. His hair stood up on his body.
The house made him feel insignificant. Not just the mass of the address, but it was as if the house somehow was dwindling his inspiration and imagination. He felt as if there was a new voice within his consciousness feeding him atypical thoughts. He couldn’t explain it, but he surely felt it.
Flipping his hoody over his head, the boy ran towards the mansion. He eyed a wooden fence, three meters high, which hindered the full view of the mysterious address. It was a shabby fence, pieced together with scrap wood, including dangerous splinters spearing out. The heavy rain fell against the rotting wood.
Piercing out between the cracks was the hazard of prison wire. It was only noticeable once near. Upon a closer inspection, Lewis was able to find bizarre symbols engraved in the rotting wood. In a single line, encircling, hidden by thick weeds, he observed extraordinary foreign ciphers.
The front garden was replete with dead, black, overgrown plant life. Giant weeds grew amid the stoned pathway. In the center of the untended plant life was a dilapidated bluestone fountain. The neglect of the fountain created a green slime. Floating in the slime were dead goldfish. Bluestone seemed to be the theme of the front garden, with a bluestone bridge built to cross over a now slug-filled moat bordering the front of the house. The rotting wooden enclosure barricaded a two-meter bluestone fence hiding behind.
The painter was obviously obsessively private.
The boy had no time to assess any dangerous repercussions, as he was becoming increasingly wet every second he stood in the black, lifeless yard. He hammered the gate shut three times before it eventually closed, and sprinted to the sheltered front door, protected from the rain.
He gazed up at the mansion. It was drawing him in. The more steps he took toward it, the stronger the ill presence inside him stirred. He should have fear, but the house was eliminating all doubt. It was confusing. He didn’t want to go inside. He knew of rumors of the house. But that was a long time ago. Nothing was found, nothing discovered, no chargers layed. However he still felt the presence of his old friend whenever he saw the mansion. More than ever now.
He walked closer. Then, oddly, so, oddly, he had a feeling of home; of a lost dark home.
The boy flicked off his back pack opening it quickly, reaching for the photos, but then thought maybe he should enter the house with both hands free, just in case. He zipped up his Mercly Grammar School bag and searched for a doorbell, locating only a doorknocker. Above the doorknocker was a symbol scratched into the wood resembling a crucifix, with two horizontal lines instead of the traditional one. He quickly knocked three times, waited three seconds and knocked again. Music could be heard reverberating from inside the house. It echoed loud, classic, forgotten tunes, with a variety of horns blaring in the background. The boy repeated a thump of the doorknocker vigorously.
The unbroken sound of the pelting rain, coexisting with the boisterous music, gave the implication that he might be standing outside for some time –
Then out of nowhere, the rain just stopped -
The door swung open, elevating the young boy into a vertical jig. He turned to greet the painter however nobody could be seen. Anticipating, the boy stood still and wet in the spooky door entrance. The music was still playing at a high volume.
‘Ar’ya gonna come inside?’ demanded a voice, with a foreign accent. The boy investigated for an intercom, or maybe someone on the roof. But there was nothing. Nobody. He ran his hands through his thick, black curls, removing his hoody. Something inside him wasn’t right; his body could sense jeopardy. He felt as if he was drifting, like a daydream –
A head suddenly jolted from behind the open door.
‘Either ya come inside or I’ll close tis door’, firmly orders the head, ‘You’re lettin’ the chill in.’
With haste, the boy hurried inside, the slamming door just missing his backside. The warmth of the fireplace in the far back of the house ignited his young skin, dissolving the chill. The stench in the air resembled that of dirty laundry basket after a week of neglect. The old man wandered over to his record player, scratching it off.
‘Yar not really dressed for ‘tis weather are ya?’ the strange man forthrightly suggested.
The occupier of the mansion at 351 Erebus Road was old. His face had deep, thick wrinkles. His long, grey hair was thinning at the front. The tips were wavy, with dark streaks. He removed his spectacles to inspect his applicant. His eyes were very dark brown. They protruded from his long, artistic face. Once upon a time he might have been handsome, but now had no need to impress anyone, by the looks of his messy home.
The old man oozed neglect.
The boy looked down inspecting his own attire; jeans and a hoody seemed the appropriate clothing for the unpredictable weather of Anakie.
‘Ya need to be wearin’ a rain jacket and gloves, scarf and ya can’t wear denim in the rain, it takes forever to dry’, the old man stated.
The painter fixed his eagle eye on the young lad, walking around him, like a vulture’s breakfast.
‘Strange, a painter - giving fashion advice’.
The boy’s thought attracted the old man, almost as if he could feel what he was thinking. The painter stopped pacing. The old man looked down at his linen beige shorts that finished just past his knees, and an old, very timeworn white singlet, with various filthy stains. Around his neck rested a scarf. Warming his feet were brown slippers. The dark brown wooden walking stick he leaned on finished at hip height. Stained on the wooden walking stick was a rich, crimson streak.
The old man wandered over to the table, placing on his spectacles, and laying his walking stick against the chair.
‘I don’t plan on goin’ outside’, the old man said, while flicking his scarf from his neck, ‘So I’m dressed very ‘propriately’.
The boy ignored the statement with an immediate question.
‘Are you the painter?’ he asked nervously unable to make eye contact for longer than two seconds.
The old man turned facing his body to the young boy.
‘Ha. No. I’m his butler’.
The boy nodded gullibly. The old man burst out chuckling, enjoying this rare opportunity for comedy.
‘I don’t think thar butler would be dress’d like ‘tis, do ya? I wouldn’t be are good butler would I?’
The boy gazed around unintentionally opinionated at the mass of clutter in the room.
‘If only he was as clean as he was funny; wait he is!’
‘What was that?’ the old man asked.
Taken by surprise, the boy quickly replied, ‘Nothing. I didn’t say a thing’. He wondered if now what he a good time to show the photos, or maybe just leave?
The old man stared, investigating.
Around the house an array of messy trash was what the old man lived in. It was like someone got the biggest trash bin in the world, turned it upside down, scattering rubbish all over the old, polished wood floor; then vomited somewhere to create a complimentary lingering stench. The odor of urine drifted throughout.
In the kitchen, pots and pans were piled up, along with plastic cups and paper plates. Paintings crammed the room; each wall painted with a picture next to a picture, underneath a picture. Canvas paintings rested against the walls, against the furniture, against doors blocking the walkway. Then more paintings rested on top of them, stacked high above, some piles reaching the ceiling.
The floor was covered in spots of paint; each room having an array of rainbow splatter meshed into the next. The roof had a continuous theme, blue skies and clouds, combined with other atmospheric themes. There were birds, planes, balloons and assorts of flying apparatus, all somewhat abstract. People where painted in the ceiling sky, normal everyday people, dressed to go to work, with angel wings sticking out of their backs. In his peripheral vision, the boy noticed more abstract trees, animals, buildings, and trains, painted in the sky with angel wings. It really doesn’t seem to fit into the rest of the theme of the house; obsessive laziness – but certainly did brighten it up.
The couch was old and ratty, dusty with springs protruding through the ripped brown material. There was no television visible, merely a table with an outline of what used to be there. All the curtains were drawn, hiding any outside light.
The boy felt like he was the first eyes inside this mansion in a long time and then he noticed, a gold cloudy streak of paint running through out the ceiling, the walls, the floor, connecting and circling the entire house.
‘What? I’m sorry. Excuse me. I’m nervous’, he stammered out, ‘it’s very dark in here’.
The old man replied simply, almost obviously, ‘While painting I notice how much light there still was in the darkness’.
The old man picked up his walking stick, limping over to an easel. It is oddly placed; in the middle of a small kitchen, in between the sink and an aged fridge, which could, or, could not have been operational. He selected his paintbrush, while still leaning on the walking stick, and began to lightly stroke.
‘Do ya want to be here, boy?’ the painter challenged, in his somewhat-hard-to-place-accent. The old man’s dark brown eyes penetrated the sparkling green eyes of the young boy.
The boy handed the painter a folio from underneath his jacket. The painter accepted it gently from the young soft, damp grip. Still on guard, the boy glanced out of the corner of his eye to the painting the old man was working on. It was hideous, or worst, spiritless. Leering to the surrounding resplendent paintings piled all around them, and then swiftly emptied his mind from any further viewpoints.
Browsing through, the painter was hard to impress. He saw photos of black and white descent, varying from landscape, to nature, to commercial. He flipped around the photos and read out loud.
‘”Photo by Lewis McKillop”’, he commented.
Lewis forced a smile, his lips quivered – the longer he stood in this mansion the deeper his anxiety rose.
“Why do you take photos Lewis McKillop?’
Without a thought to his answer, Lewis simply replied, ‘I like it. It’s part of me, part of my life’.
‘That’s a weak answer. What we like, we can’t always do, and what we do, we don’t always like’.
Then Lewis said, ‘Life is like a camera. Focus. Capture what’s important. Capture the good times. Develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out; take another shot’.
‘Witty. Very witty. There are only eleven photos here. I instructed twelve!’
The painter paused to assess the photos again.
‘I can’t make me decision wit-out seein’ dar twelfth photo’.
He handed back the folio, returning to his painting.
Lewis stood in the middle of the dirty room, not really knowing what to do next.
He counted the photos, the painter was right.
‘Can’t you just look at the eleven photos again? I’m sure you could make a decision. It’s only one photo’ Lewis attempted to negotiate.
The painter, suddenly, almost anticipating, filled with anger, stormed out of the kitchen into the lounge.
‘No! I said no! And I mean ‘no’! If I wanted eleven I would have said eleven, bit I said twelve, so twelve it ‘tis. Go away, and don’t come back til you have twelve!’
‘I just thought that maybe-’
‘That’s where yar wrong kid, thinkin’ ‘tis not needed, only action- you kids of today; always wanting something for nothing, but guess what, you spoilt brat, you get nothing with nothing. There tis not eleven numbers on a clock, there tis twelve for a reason – to get to be my photographer, you need twelve. Yar think you’re the first to come ‘ere? Ya think I want someone bad enough ta give instructions ‘n let them lay. I want ar’ listener. I want someone who cun see reality. To see reality ya first need to live in reality. Yar need to listen. You need to count. You not countin’ equals I carn’t count on you’ –
Before Lewis could finish his sentence the painter turned the boy, pushing him towards the door.
‘I said get out’, the painter demanded, and he began to man handle the boy through the door.
Lewis pleaded one more time, forgetting about the fear and anxiety he had minutes before, now his ego was being batted and it did not like it, ‘I just think you could make a decision with eleven photos’.
‘You’re wrong - I can’t’, he pushed the teenager again, this time with more momentum, heaving his body outside. Lewis then stamped inside the mansion, forcing himself through the doorway once again.
It was rare for Lewis to be in a confrontation, however whilst in the mansion of 351 Erebus Road he felt something inside of him snap. A new dark voice inside him was insulted, hurt. Lewis gazed at the pile of paintings to the left of the old man. He instantly felt a rush of a different kind of energy run through his feet and into his body. It was a dark energy. The strong force willing him to react to the painter’s rage, or maybe the painter’s rage was becoming his own. For a brief second Lewis felt like a regular everyday person, he felt angry, he had bad, bad thoughts, and then his mind took over.
Lewis telepathically lifted a painting from the top of a tall pile, tossing it directly at the back of the painter’s head. Knocking him cold to the ground. His head thumped the hard wooden floor.
Lewis stood back. He had just broken his one golden rule; don’t use this power in front of others.
Chapter 4 – Enter the darkroom
Lewis felt the rush of energy exit his blood. He stood, paralyzed from his own fear, in front of the old man’s body.
‘Did I just kill him’?
Lewis had never used his powers to hurt anyone. Maybe the stress of needing a job, almost being hit by a car and the thought of starting his final year of school plagued him? He crept over to the old man lying unconscious on the dirty floor.
‘Mister?’ Lewis softly whispered, ‘Mister? Are you alright?’ He turned his head to the top of the pile of paintings.
‘I… What just came over me?’ Lewis then heard an echo of what seemed like his own voice.
‘I… What just came over me, came over me, over me?’
Lewis stepped back from the unconscious man, searching around the room. There was no one else present. However, he could sense there was something in that house with them. A presence. A voice. Energy. Lewis was not alone.
He searched around the room for a clean pillow to place under the painter’s head. In doing so, he saw a painting that caught his eye above the front doorway. It was a painting of a sandcastle.
Each decision is a grain of sand. Each grain of sand builds the castle of your life; Lewis’ father always told him whilst growing up.
The painter must have a lot of time on his hands to paint all these paintings. There were hundreds, maybe thousands throughout the house. Lewis did wonder who painted them; surely the morose painter couldn’t paint anything as beautiful as Lewis saw on those dirty walls. They were works of pure art. Genius. The type of paintings that could be in museums; they were exquisite, lifelike, real, they soaked into the eyes, coexisting with a sense of a lost mission, and then again, spoke of a person wanting to be distracted from the real world.
‘And the old man presented himself definitely as a person who was distracted from reality’.
The longest five minutes past, and the painter remained unconscious. Lewis began to worry. In searching for a telephone to call either his parents or the hospital, Lewis found himself walking to the back of the mansion. Near the back was a red door. A symbol was craved into it. It resembled the same symbol on the front door of the mansion. It was the symbol ‡.
Lewis considered the two options. The notion to enter the room was stronger than the one not to. As he placed his hand around the doorknob, he saw a Paracentric key inserted in the keyhole, with a string daggling from it.
He softly paced down a dark stairwell, until he found a level footing. The room was dark, pitch black. He could not see a thing. Lewis then felt a small piece of plastic bump lightly into his forehead. He flicked it away. It swiveled in the air and came back to hit Lewis again, this time on the side of his head.
Lewis took hold of the plastic, noticing it was attached to a piece of cord-string. He pulled down on the cord, having a hunch what it could be, and a red light ignited in the corner of the room.
This was no ordinary room. It had a strange, gravitational power. Lewis looked around the dark, red-lit room to find photo after photo stuck to the wall.
Lewis could not understand why a painter wanted a photographer when it was obvious from the hundreds of photos on the wall that the old man knew how to take a photo.
‘What did he need a photographer for?’
Lewis felt he had pried into the man’s life enough. As he thought of exiting the room a photo on the wall caught his eye.
Lewis attempted to use his powers to pull a photo toward him from the wall. The photo began to drift, then, for the first time since he discovered his powers, he wasn’t strong enough to complete the task and the photo fell to the ground. He shuffled to the photo, picking it off the basement ground apprehensively. He recognized the location immediately.
It was a photo of the bus stop at the front of the Fertilizing Factory. It was a photo of the poem on the bus stop.
Lewis gazed over to where the photo was fastened on the wall. Exposed on the brick was part of a word. Lewis severed the photos surrounding the entire area. Soon, after destroying oodles of photos, he was able to decipher the concealed text;
‘Dark rooms of the night
Let the light shine -
Take this body back;
Back to another time’.
Bright light shone from all the four walls and ceiling of the darkroom. The brightness made it impossible for Lewis to open his eyes.
He felt the atmosphere shift, and immediately, afterwards there was nothing, everything was black, as if he was staring out into space. The black stillness transported Lewis away from the darkroom. It was so dark Lewis didn’t know if he was closing his eyes or not. He began to feel light on his body. It took a second for his sight to adjust. He knew he wasn’t dead because he could still hear the thumping of his erratic heartbeat. He closed his eyes, then reopened them and found he had returned to the bus stop, watching his past-self from thirty minutes ago waiting for the bus to the painter’s house.
The darkroom had taken him back in time.
Lewis could sense all his past thoughts, feel his nervousness, and control his anxiety.
Lewis-in-the-darkroom had taken over his own past subconscious, like a puppets strings.
The wind began to gust. Lewis watched the boy at the bus stop retrieve an umbrella from his bag with his mind, and then watched himself drop his camera, and photos.
However this time, Lewis caught the photos, all twelve of them, with his mind. He concentrated hard, closing his eyes. With the wind gust, he let the camera fall to the ground as well as the green apple, which travelled into the middle of the road. In that moment the BMX rider peddled past the boy at bus stop. Lewis continued to hold onto the photos, never letting the worry of being caught enter his thoughts.
The BMX rider watched as he saw a young teenage boy floating photos and an umbrella in midair. He was stunned at the sight, unable to take his eyes away. In doing so, his front wheel travelled over the green apple. He fell hard to the gravel stone, scraping his face. His bike flipped in the air, falling on top of his batted body.
The pearl Ranger Rover bumped down the gravel road heading directly at the BMX rider, both female driver and passenger unaware of what lay ahead in their path.
Lewis continued to clench his photos as his umbrella caught a gust, just as the pearl Ranger Rover drove past.
The female passenger turned from her map for a second to witness a boy at the bus stop floating photos all around him.
‘What the?’, she said, gushing the words out of her wide-open mouth.
The driver of the vehicle was her mother, she took her sight away from the rearview mirror, ‘What is it dear?’
Out of the corner of her eye she saw something, or someone in the middle of the road. She repeated her observation casually; not expecting a teenage boy and his BMX to be lying on the road. The driver screamed, slamming her foot on the break. The Ranger Rover skidded across the dusty surface. It was too late; a collision was inescapable.
The BMX rider flung his bike to block the vehicle. The bike travelled under the thick tread of the Range Rover wheels, whilst the boy was knocked unconscious. Both the mother and daughter in the vehicle ran to the boy’s aid.
Lewis at the bus stop took a firm grip of all his photos with his hands, placing them in his bag, and quickly entered the bus as it arrived, leaving the scene.
Lewis-in-the-darkroom had instigated the entire accident by altering time.
But now, he had all his twelve photos.
Lewis shut his eyes anew. He was transported through time back into the middle of the painter’s mansion at 351 Erebus Road. The painter was assessing his photos.