Chapter 13:

Epilogue - In Flames

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Epilogue: In FlamesBookmark here

The sun was bright in the blue sky as Tyler walked down the windy palm tree-lined beaches of Honolulu. Clad in his dirty sleeveless shirt and cargo shorts, he scoped out the area in search of trash cans to dig through.Bookmark here

Bingo, he thought, spotting a black metal trash can situated next to a wooden park bench.Bookmark here

As he made his way over, he sized up the man who was sitting on the bench. Despite the heat that day, the man was dressed in a black hoodie with the hood up. His face was concealed by a black hummingbird mask with a long pointy beak.Bookmark here

What’s with this guy? Tyler wondered. He doesn’t seem to be bothering anyone, at least.Bookmark here

He opened up the top of the trash can and dug around for any sort of food he could find. He had hoped for a donut that day, but hadn’t had any luck so far.Bookmark here

Nothing, he thought, disappointed.Bookmark here

Oh well…Bookmark here

As he turned to leave, he noticed the man in black from earlier had disappeared. Sitting on the bench where the man used to be was an old camera.Bookmark here

Huh? Did he leave that there?Bookmark here

Tyler walked closer to get a better look. It was indeed a camera, the type that spat out a photograph right after you took a picture. He remembered his parents having one when he was a kid.Bookmark here

Woah. Neat!Bookmark here

He decided to pick it up and give it a try. There was another homeless man named Bill sleeping under a gazebo nearby. Tyler made his way over, checking out the camera as he walked.Bookmark here

I don’t see a power button, he thought. Weird…Bookmark here

Once he was at his destination, he raised the viewfinder up to his face.Bookmark here

Here goes nothin’...Bookmark here

He pushed in the shutter button, resulting in a flash of red light.Bookmark here

Woah! he thought. Pretty sure it’s not supposed to look like that.Bookmark here

The camera spit out a photo regardless, which was still a grey color. It needed to develop for a few minutes before he could see how it turned out.Bookmark here

He decided to leave for now. He stepped out from the gazebo back into the intense sunlight, waving the photo back and forth. He didn’t know why he was waving it, but he vaguely remembered that it helped the pictures develop faster or something like that.Bookmark here

Eventually, he sat down to rest at a bus stop across the street. Finally getting a moment to relax, he checked to see how the photo was doing and nearly fell off of the bench in shock.Bookmark here

What the hell?!Bookmark here

The photo depicted Bill, as intended. However, Bill appeared to be entirely consumed by bright orange flames.Bookmark here

Tyler rubbed at the photo, thinking it might be some kind of error. After examining it for a while, he simply put it into his pocket, deciding it wasn’t anything to worry about.Bookmark here

It’s just a broken camera, he thought. Maybe I can pawn it off for a few extra bucks or something…Bookmark here

He instantly forgot about the whole ordeal and continued his search for food.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

That night, after selling the camera at a nearby second-hand store, Tyler met back up with Bill near the gazebo. The night had gotten surprisingly cold, as they occasionally do near the ocean, so Bill wanted to light a fire using an old steel barrel filled with gasoline-doused trash.Bookmark here

As Bill lit a match, Tyler suddenly remembered that photo he had taken earlier that day.Bookmark here

“You made sure to check for any combustibles, right?” he asked.Bookmark here

Bill nodded drunkenly. “Yeah,” he replied with a hiccup. “Should be ‘aight.”Bookmark here

He dropped the match into the barrel, and the flames leapt to life, burning with a fierce orange intensity. Then “BANG!” There was an explosion from an unnoticed aerosol can that knocked both the men off of their feet.Bookmark here

“RIIIIIIING!” Tyler’s hearing had gone out, giving way to an incessant ringing that overtook everything else.Bookmark here

That drunken idiot, Tyler thought. Why did I trust that guy?Bookmark here

He opened his eyes and carefully sat up. What he saw then made his jaw drop in utter fear.Bookmark here

Just like in the photograph, Bill was engulfed in flames. He rolled around and flailed wildly on the sidewalk, screaming in desperate agony.Bookmark here

“GRAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGH!”Bookmark here

Oh god! Tyler thought. That camera did this! It was that camera!Bookmark here

...Bookmark here

From the beach, the man in the hummingbird mask watched the entire gruesome scene unfold in complete silence.Bookmark here

Just like with those “paranormal investigators” he had given that photograph to a while back, everything was unfolding just as he had planned.Bookmark here

Gloved hands resting comfortably in the pockets of his black hooded sweatshirt, Low stood there and waited for the screams of the burning man to finally subside. Satisfied, he quietly departed, wandering off into the dark starry night.Bookmark here

Real Aire
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