Sunday, May 6, 2012

May I? Day 5 - The Girl who Loved Film

My usual process is to write during my commute, post when I get to a wifi hotspot. This means that weekends are ironically the least likely time for me to post, as I like to have the day with my family and need to have it with chores.

This one I'm writing on an airplane, en route to Dallas for some training. More on that later this week. For now, we'll pick up the next daily-ish writing exercise, another of the "May I?" photoprompts from over at G+. This is a core conceit that I very much like; it might be one of the daily flashes which grows into something more. Yesterday's writing accomplishment - sending "The Witch of Suburbia" out in search of a home - grew directly from a flash piece I wrote from one of these. Very little of my original prose remained, and I moved it from third-person to second-person, but it kept the idea and some of the tone of the original.  I'm not yet sure where this one will go if I carry it forward, but it might be fun to see.

"The Girl Who Loved Film"

On her first date with Zach, Jane brought an old, battered film camera. She wished she'd been born decades earlier, when photographs were something one took with a camera. Carefully and mindfully, followed by a patient wait for negatives, slides, prints. She'd set it at the table, gently touched it as she sipped her drink.
"Nobody even uses a camera anymore. They use phones or even iPads. And they don't take photograps. They take pictures."
Zach looked from the camera up to her eyes, his gaze lingering for just a half-beat  "What's the difference?"
"A photograph is a thing, an artifact, a unique work of art. The alchemy of the darkroom, double exposures, the enlarger lit or a heartbeat too long. It's magic in a way that a digital photo is not."
He grunted an assent through a mouthful of eggroll, discretely checking that his cameraphone was safely hidden in his pants pocket. If he knew one thing, he knew that if you wanted to get anywhere, you needed to humor your date. Besides, the craziest ones were often the kinkiest.
He'd later learn that she wasn't especially kinky, but was an agreeable lover with a soft, pleasant body. Her one quirk was, predictably, her damn cameras. She watched him undress through the viewfinder of an old SLR, playfully snapped shots of him with a refurbished polaroid, even photographed herself nude in the mirror, barely concious of his body pressed behind her, his hardness against her soft curves, one arm reaching across her body to cup a breast. He was barely aware of the camera. She smelled faintly of chemicals. Always.
At last she lead him, still naked, to her darkroom.  She gave him a moment to memorize the locations of shallow pans of developer and fixer, sealed cannisters of film, the remaining arcane tools of the photographer's trade. She turned off the lights, cloaking them in deeper darkness than he could remember; no illuminated clock, no streetlight spilling in through a window, no nightlight, nothing. Now she moved behind him, fingertips tracing his flank down to his hip, erect nipples scraping erotically against his back. She whispered, "don't you love this? Isn't it so much more real than digital?"
He whispered back a breathy yes, whether to the question or her touch unclear. To speak outloud seemed wrong, almost blasphemous. In the darkness, he became hyperaware of her touch, disconnected from any other awareness. As she wrapped a hand around him he closes his eyes, enveloping darkness in darkness. As the tension grew in him, she whisered,
"some say that the darkroon is a place of magic, of alchemy. That a true photographer can catch your very soul."
Her words came from impossibly far away, her touch impossibly near. The sounds of flesh against flesh, her hand squeezing tighter, moving faster, then at the moment of release a brightflash of white hot light, from nowhere, burning into the back of eyes and his brain and then fading
to nothing.
Hours later, Jane returned to her darkroom. Alone, she examined the latest soul-print pinned it to the wall with the rest of her collection.
Prompt image, linked here, is NSFW.

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