Sarah made a good living as a photographer for the last decade. She fell into it by chance. She was in a job that paid very well but hated and in a marriage that she couldn’t endure one more day. She had trouble sleeping. So, one night she decided to pick up her mother’s old camera and started walking the streets just taking pictures. It was one of the first digital cameras with a very low pixel count and limited functionality. She could’ve easily bought her own fancy camera, but she liked the pictures this one made. Sarah liked the clunky mechanical sound it made when she fired it. What started as a means to help Sarah escape her nightmarish life became a job. After about a year of consistently taking pictures of her neighbourhood and posting them online got some traction and her audience became her loyal fans. Galleries came knocking on her door and within two years, she became a celebrity in the fine art world. Obviously, she quit her job at the law firm and divorced her so called husband.
Tonight, was no different. Despite the freezing temperatures in the downtown Dante City, she searched for her next pictures. She used to have someone to walk with her, carrying her latest equipment and double up as a bodyguard, lover but she found them distracting. So, for the past five years, she went back to the basics and walked the streets from midnight to early hours of the morning. At night, Dante City became another beast. Sarah loved taking pictures of strangers’ ghostly outlines in the distance. She would make a little story in her mind of what the passers-by were going through. Maybe, they were going through the same thing as her, just walking the dark, cold streets to escape a life that they can’t stand. She’s travelled the world taking pictures, but no other city provided the same feeling as Dante City. She loved the grimy, retro vibe of the buildings and everything else. It was home. But after a decade of success as a photographer, Sarah was getting a little bored of the routine. Sarah began to search for something else. What that something else was, she didn’t know.
On the 12th Street, Sarah came across and old apartment. She’s never noticed it before. She picked up her camera and took a picture, in her signature fashion. She took a quick look at the back screen to see if was exposed properly. Something wasn’t right. The building she was looking at had the appearance of being abandoned for a hundred years. It was a shade of brown and grey with boarded up windows. The four-storey art deco apartment had the appearance of a haunted house. But the picture she saw was something completely opposite. The walls were a shade of pretty baby blue, and the windows were draped with beautiful retro curtains that were opened to let the morning light in. That was impossible. The photo she took was of the same building but, in the picture, it was a bright morning, around nine. The apartment was quite a beautiful building and there was a tall woman walking across the window inside.
Sarah quickly ran up the stairs to the front door and pressed the doorbell. There was no answer. She turned the doorknob. At first it seemed to be locked but it opened. The interior was as her photo indicated. It was impossible for her to have taken the picture of the interior from outside as the windows were all boarded up. The furniture and wallpaper were as captured by her camera from the outside except in the state of neglect. She used the flashlight on her phone to look around. Her heart was pounding. She loved it.
She took another picture, this time with a flash. What she saw next, Sarah couldn’t have imagined. It was the same regal pretty woman. She was about six feet away, directly in front of her. What surprised Sarah was the way the woman was posing in the photo. The woman had her hands up towards her face as if she was startled by the flash from the camera. Sarah slowly looked up. There were no one there in the dark, dusty living room of the apartment.