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Author Topic: Minor Corrections  (Read 8493 times)

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Slimebeast

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on: 08:50:54 PM 02/12/13
Back in the day before digital photography, before computers were even thought of as anything important, my family and I liked to think we were on the cutting edge.

My Parents were the ones who always hosted. If there was a Holiday, Birthday, or any given celebration, they wanted to plan it, pay for it, and have it at our house. If anyone else tried to take the title away, like when my Aunt tried to throw a Super Bowl party, there would be Hell to pay.

Quiet, passive-agressive Hell.

I felt like I had a Birthday every month! There was always some cousin or other such relative who just HAD to have their party at my house... and it got to the point where I'd start making my own wishes when I watched them blow out their candles. It was great, and I even enjoyed watching the opening of presents that I knew weren't mine.

Back to being on the cutting ege.

Naturally, these events came with a great quantity of photographs. Random snapshots, but also the all-important captured moments that needed to be handed down to future generations.

Rather than travel back and forth to the Photomat in an endless loop, my Dad found an ad for "Mail Order Development" and signed right up. We'd ship off tons of film rolls, and get back pictures.

It was as close to "magic" as you could probably get back then.

We were already doing this, the mail order thing, by the time that fateful Thansgiving rolled around.

Everyone was there. Grandma, Grampa, Grandma and Granpa... All four? Can you believe that happened without someone leaving in a huff? Neither can I.

Dad's-Side Grandpa brought the Turkey a while before the party. He'd brought it to the house alive, shot it himself, and then Dad's-Side Grandma had plucked it. It was insane how much trouble everyone went to in those days. Not like now...

Even Uncle Duke and Aunt Georgia were there, and I'd barely even met them over the years.

Uncle Duke was a bit of a drinker. At the time I just thought he was a silly, happy guy with a brightly colored nose. Sort of like a clown, but not absolutely terrifying. As the event went on, he got funnier, sillier, started playing board games with the kids and telling very audible dirty stories to the adults.

All the while, he'd sip from the same bottomless red cup.

There were tons of photographs as usual. The Grandparents, all the kids, the Teenagers who wouldn't associate with either, and an amazing shot of Uncle Duke and Aunt Georgia dancing together in mid-fall as he began toppling over.

When the festivities ended, that was when the only hint of trouble came about. Dad insisted that Uncle Duke, his brother-in-law, was too drunk to leave the house. There was a brief scuffle, and eventually Dad threw his hands in the air and said Uncle Duke was a lunatic.

After cleaning up, Mom and Dad packed up all the film and addressed it to the mail-in photo lab. It went out with the next morning's mail.


I've never been too clear on how it happened, but I've been able to piece most of it together. I never saw Uncle Duke or Aunt Georgia again... just a brief glimpse into their caskets as they laid side-by-side at the funeral home.

I figure he must've crashed on the way home, either into a tree or... worse... some other poor driver who had done nothing wrong. He was incredibly drunk that night, and the amount of make-up on his deceased face startled me. He looked like a mannequin or an old woman with all of that on, and when someone else pointed it out, Mom said it was the only way to have an open casket.

Aunt Georgia was wearing a pair of white gloves I'd never seen before, and looking back on it all of the fingers were too perfectly aligned. Again, it seemed to my underaged mind as if someone had swapped in prosthetics.


When the photos came back, Mom and Dad weren't entirely sure if they wanted to look at them... to see Uncle Duke and Aunt Georgia enjoying themselves just before their violent shared death.

Still, realizing that they would *have* to sort the images out someday, they eventually broke down and started going through them at the kitchen table.

Mom smiled at the photos of me and the children. Dad thought he saw one of the teens palming a cigarette in one picture.

Then, Mom fell silent. She held one picture in her hand and studied it.

"Well this is a shame!" she finally mumbled.

First Dad looked at the photo, then me. The color was tinged yellow and the image itself was blurry and off-center. An oblong sticker on the back of the photo seemed to explain the anomaly.

"WHOOPS! THIS PHOTOGRAPH SEEMED INCORRECT AND MAY HAVE BEEN DAMAGED DURING DEVELOPMENT. WE HAVE TRIED TO MAKE A FEW MINOR CORRECTIONS."

It was a photograph of the Turkey Grandpa had brought. I held it close to my face and looked at it carefully, then I waved it at my parents.

"Look! Look, it's weird!"

I showed them the image they had already quickly passed over. The Turkey was out in the yard, tied to a stake, where Grandpa had first placed it before taking on the task of ending its life.

Except it wasn't alive.

The perfectly prepared, fully plucked and cooked turkey was sitting there in the grass. Bits of stuffing dribbled out of it and into the dirt.

"Well, what the Hell?" Dad was perplexed. He kept turning and studying the photo as if the answer would reveal itself if he discovered the correct viewing angle.

"It must be an overlap. A double-exposure." Mom deduced. She threw the photograph into the waste basket and continued looking through the great wad of images.

Dad stopped at another photo and shook his head.

"What?" I bounced in my seat, excited to see what else was wrong, "Where's the Turkey now??"

Dad showed the photo to Mom.

"Look at this. We caught Barb eating ham. So much for her conversion, huh?" Dad grinned wide, and they both laughed. I didn't get it.

It was a while longer before I finally got tired of the activity and started to remove myself from the kitchen table. I asked to be excused out of force of habit. As soon as I reached the doorway and took a step from tile to carpet, Mom screamed.

It was a bone-shaking sort of scream that would've made me wet myself if I hadn't gone earlier. My spine tingled, and until that point I thought that was just a figure of speech that couldn't really happen.

I ran back to Mom. Now Dad was holding her, keeping her limp body up off the floor. There was a photograph at her feet.

"What's wrong? Sweetheart, are you alright?" Dad fanned Mom's face as her eyes rolled uncontrollably as of she was trying to wake up from a deep sleep.

"What'd she find?" Dad asked me, gesturing as best he could to the photo on the floor.

I fished the glossy paper from between Mom's shoes and looked it over. The image displayed Uncle Duke and Aunt Georgia in that half-tumbling dip... as they drunkenly danced together...

Uncle Duke's face was completely mashed in, like a rotten, busted tomato someone tried to pick up. Aunt Georgia was burned over most of her body, her clothes hanging on in tatters. Her arms were mangled and bloody as if they'd telescoped inward, then dangled free connected only by thin strings of flesh.

The photograph was black and white with a large black line running through the lower half. I turned it over and found a familiar sticker on the back.

"WHOOPS! THIS PHOTOGRAPH SEEMED INCORRECT AND MAY HAVE BEEN DAMAGED DURING DEVELOPMENT. WE HAVE TRIED TO MAKE A FEW MINOR CORRECTIONS."


After that, we never sent out any more film to be developed. We never spoke of the incident, and for all anyone could tell nothing out of the ordinary had ever happened.

Mom and Dad fought a lot afterward, I don't know if it was about the pictures or not, but I would often catch Mom looking at pictures of Uncle Duke when she thought I wasn't around.

The normal pictures, I mean.

Dad just got really quiet. He wouldn't notice I was in the room sometimes, and he'd leave things half-finished. Work projects, books, even meals would be left out and abandoned.

This is how it was from then on, into my teen years. We just never seemed to be *right* again after that. I grew distant from both of them... or maybe they grew distant from me.

There were no more events hosted at our place. Everyone assumed it was just because of the original tragedy and nothing else. It wasn't until my Senior Prom that Mom actually picked up a camera again. She took a single photograph of me and my beautiful, amazing date. Dad hovered in the background between us, smiling and giving a thumbs-up as if he approved of my taste in women.

What follows... I don't know what to say for myself, other than curiosity simply won out.

I took that roll of film, with exactly one photograph on it, and started packing it into an envelope. I found the mail-in lab's location on an old receipt and addressed it accordingly.

My thought was... maybe when I got that developed image back, I would be able to see my future. I'd see if I was dressed like a rich guy, or if my girlfriend was pregnant... just any glimpse into what the Universe held for me seemed too huge an opportunity to pass up.

Mom asked where the film roll went only about a million times. I insisted I had no idea. The pictures arrived soonafter, almost quicker than ever. Probably becuase there were so few pictures to develop.

Excitedly, I sat in my room and, very cautiously, I opened the package.


I wasn't fast enough.


I didn't get to the basement before... I mean, I ran out of my bedroom, ran through the hallway, I sprinted down the stairs and nearly fell down them all... but I wasn't fast enough. By the time I flung open the basement door and plummetted to the bottom of the steps, Dad was already dead.

I just sat there where I was and cried for what must've been more than an hour.

What happened with Uncle Duke combined with my Mom's reaction must've been worse than I'd even realized.

I looked at the photo in my hand.

"WHOOPS! THIS PHOTOGRAPH SEEMED INCORRECT AND MAY HAVE BEEN DAMAGED DURING DEVELOPMENT. WE HAVE TRIED TO MAKE A FEW MINOR CORRECTIONS."

Discolored, off-center, speckled with a dark grain... my Prom date and I... Dad in the middle. Just his waist and legs dangling behind us. Like he was hanging from a noose.
If I should live until I wake, I pray the web my death to fake.



Evan Henry

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on: 07:00:17 AM 02/16/13
That was actually pretty unsettling. Nice job!  ;D



Slimebeast

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on: 02:38:09 PM 02/16/13
And it's 100% truuuuee!
If I should live until I wake, I pray the web my death to fake.



Felix Theo Wren

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on: 07:23:59 PM 07/19/13
Holy fucking shit.

This might be the most disturbing piece I've seen from you.  It has a level of dysphoric heaviness about it that I haven't found in the others I've read.. like it actually haunted me afterwards, haha.  I might be sleeping with the light on tonight.  Good job, sir!
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Mary

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on: 02:25:23 PM 12/18/13
Agreed. Most others have been pretty cheesy, this was haunting.
» You throw a tantrum, but all you seem to accomplish is slight disarray.



Trane1723

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on: 11:17:27 PM 12/18/13
I liked this a lot. Idk why, but it reminds me of a more horrific episode of goosebumps. Probably due to a few of the best one's involving cameras. Anyways thanks for the story it was pretty unsettling.



Slimebeast

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on: 11:18:53 PM 12/18/13
Nobody gives a back-handed compliment like Mary! :hurr:
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VizardMan

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on: 04:33:27 AM 07/27/14
I had my fun with cameras and stuff.. but wow.



Red

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on: 11:24:43 PM 01/19/19
This reminds me of the Ryan Gosling episode of Goosebumps. If it had actually been allowed to be scary, of course.