When the photograph was taken, there were three people in it. Now there are more. A lot more. THORLEY LANGDON has seen his ten-year-old son in the photograph. Thirty years after his son failed to come home from school.
The Photo was the name of the first piece of flash fiction I ever had published online. It was www.microhorror.com If you go there now, the site is gone, but there is a hand breaking through the earth and reaching for the sky. There is also some text that says ‘Some websites don’t stay dead…’ so who knows what’s happening there!
Here’s the piece in full:
The photo had been in his family for as long as Rick could remember. He was not sure how it found its way to him, but he wished that it hadn’t. Perhaps one day he would be rid of it. One day.
The photo was six inches by four inches, landscape and depicted a number of people smiling at the photographer. Folded and creased, the grainy black and white image was clear enough for Rick to pick out his father and mother, his grandfather and several other members of his family that he didn’t remember.
The first time he had looked at the photo, there were only half as many people in it. Over the years, the number of people in the photo had continued to increase, until it seemed as if the picture could hold no more, but somehow, it always managed.
Rick touched the picture gently. His wife and children stared back at him.
As you can see, there wasn’t much to go on, but the idea of a photograph that actually added people was one that seemed too good to pass on, and like the other stories in this collection, I had a photo prompt of my own to inspire me. Two photos to be precise:
The picture with all those happy faces, is my paternal grandad and his pals getting ready to ship out during the Second World War. The second picture is of the destroyer, The Arrow, on which my grandad was a master stoker.
At the time that I wrote this story, my dad and I were discussing his father (no longer with us), and he shared the above photos with me. They are exactly as I described, but when I saw them, the idea for The Photograph was born.
Protagonist, Biff Keller, fought in the Falklands War, and served aboard a destroyer, not unlike The Arrow. In A Sinister Six, it’s The Avenger. It’s such a small part of the story, but it was something about the pictures and listening to my dad talk about his own father, that stayed with me; the idea of an old and grainy black and white photo. Strange, but there it is.
My question to you:
Have you ever been inspired by an old photo?