Weekends are for sleeping in, big breakfasts and exploring old ruins.
Climbing in our blue pickup truck, I get comfy in the passenger seat. An obscenely large coffee in the cup holder, bacon sandwich in hand and camera equipment near my feet.
Jay drives and I ride along, relaxed with only the occasional argument with the radio. The leaves are as vibrant as a campfire.
Gravel crunches under the tires as the truck slows to a creep. “How about this one?”
I look up from my coffee, sandwich long since devoured. “Perfect.” Overgrown gardens, broken windows and full of character. Exactly what a photographer wants in an abandoned home.
It takes a while to find an entrance. Jay cuts some of the overgrowth away and we sneak inside. Something is not right. The air is heavy and unpleasant. The sensation intensifies in what looks like the remnants of a living room.
My camera slips from my hands and I’m glad it’s around my neck. Feeling faint, sick and violated, I steady myself against a doorframe. Was my sandwich bad?
Jay’s testing the stability of the stairs. “You okay?” He calls over, snapping a few photos before realizing the severity of my situation. “Oh shit. You’re really pale. Come on.”
Outside, my symptoms ease. Inside the truck, I feel safe. “Do you feel okay?” I ask Jay. “I’m fine. I’m worried about you.”
I look out my window at the house and dread creeps under my skin. “Can we go please?” He starts the engine.
Jay transfers the photos that afternoon. Seeing the house chills me. My stomach drops. There’s a face. Angry, bearded and beside me. A hoarse whisper grazes my ear. “You should be ashamed.” Our computer shuts off. The photos vanish.