“Okay everyone, we’re going old school today.” Mr. Timberline walked around the room, placing one camera on each table. “Each camera has a single roll of 35 mm film which your table will share. That means you only take nine photos apiece, so make them count. There’s no delete button on these.”
Groans echoed through the room.
“This is stupid. Nobody uses film anymore,” Carmen said, a sneer marring her otherwise beautiful face. Her sycophants automatons nodded and reached for the camera.
Anna sat quietly at the far end of the table, eyes already scanning the room for the perfect subject. Should she shoot one thing from many angles, or multiple ones from fewer?
Already most of the classmates were aiming at each other, capturing rolled eyes and stuck out tongues, along with a few fake smiles.
A flash blared too close and spots of color swam before Anna’s eyes as she tried to refocus.
“Great. I think Pizza Face broke our camera.” Carmen’s barb echoed through the room as the other kids snickered – timed perfectly when Mr. Timberline disappeared into the supply closet. “If it turns out, I’ll have to name it Worst Topping, Ever.” The laughter rolled again.
Anna’s cheeks flushed as she hung her head, trying to hide her reaction and the acne which refused to go away no matter what she did.
Normally she would flee. To the nurse. The bathroom.
But not in this class. Art was the single bright spot in her day. The smell of paint and clay and paper made her feel alive.
It made her forget.
Mr. Timberline returned and everyone returned to their photo taking, the flashing bulbs reminding her of a storm approaching shore.
“Here.” Carmen tossed the camera and Anna lurched out of her chair to catch the strap before it fell to the floor. “Have fun.”
Anna stood, leaving the table and immediately heading to the far corner by the single window. The afternoon light painted shadows over the small cross on the wall and she carefully arranged her shot.
She shifted to shoot again, but the camera came to life, whirring as it rewound the film.
She stared at it, comprehension flooding her. They had stolen her photos. A quick glance to her table and their smug grins ignited her fury, and she whirled toward Mr. Timberline.
They would pay for this.
* * *
Write a short fiction or non-fiction piece inspired by any or all of the photo below. Word limit: 400 words
Concrit is welcomed as always.