Click to read Chapter One
Josh opened the front door and flung his backpack to the foot of the stairs. Mom would have bitched him out for that, but she'd be at work until eight. He needed to check out those photos, but since he was down here, he might as well see what was for dinner. He wasn't a great cook, but could heat up a mean meal in the microwave, if he did say so himself.
The pantry proved practically bare. There were some possibilities, but nothing exciting. Same with the fridge and freezer. Damn! Sometimes Mom left some money for grocery shopping, but not today. He thought about his wallet, but besides a few fast food receipts, it was empty. No Taco Town runs tonight. He grabbed a pen and paper and scrawled a quick note to Mom about the lack of groceries.
He stomped off to his room, leaving the backpack where it landed. He didn't want to think about homework. He usually took a crappy dinner in stride, but tonight the creepy feelings from the farm lingered. Hopefully the pictures would clear that up by proving nothing was there except his and Zach's overactive imaginations.
After booting up his computer and plugging in his phone, Josh opened the photo program. The images on the first few didn't hold much more detail than he'd seen on the small screen. Just an indistinguishable blob of something. It could have been a malfunction in the flash, a piece of dust on the lens, or maybe even a bug. If that was all the pictures picked up, he had nothing to worry about. His skepticism would live.
The next few pictures showed more of the same, but something was different. He couldn't pinpoint it. A little ball of dread lay in the pit of his stomach. Was the blob vaguely human shaped? Was that a face? He shook his head and glanced away from the monitor. No, he was being paranoid and silly again, just like at the farm. Good thing he was alone; Zach would have him convinced there were ghosts in every pixel.
The next bunch of snaps did little to extinguish the feeling in his gut. That wasn't a smudgy blob, but an honest to goodness face. His eyes were playing tricks on him, right? Each subsequent picture clearly showed a person--a see-through person, but a person nonetheless. No, this was too weird. Just a trick of the light. But it wasn't, even if he couldn't admit it. He cycled through the pictures, seeing strange figures in each, until he reached the last two, those of the barn. As soon as they were on screen, he gasped and turned the program off. It took all his willpower not to grab his phone and hurl it into the wall.
Though the final two images were no longer on the monitor, he couldn't get them out of his head. The first one had an old farmer, just as Zach had said, peering out from the top window. He was in the second photo, too, but this time a headless figure, just like he thought he saw when they had turned to run, stood in the shadows of the barn doorway. He shuddered and powered off the computer, as if the ghosts in the pictures would somehow haunt him if left running. He'd check his email and all that later.
He thought about calling Zach to see what he'd caught, but decided he didn't care to discuss it today. By tomorrow it'd all seem like a dream. He'd look again and see his imagination had gotten the best of him. He was sure Zach would think they hit the supernatural goldmine, but his pictures would be the same as Josh's. Yeah. The morning would cure everything. He took a deep breath and headed downstairs for an uninspired dinner.
Click to read Chapter Three
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