• Gayle

Photo Prompt #1

Hi and welcome to what I hope will be the first of many Photo Prompt posts. Each post will feature an image, courtesy of photo website, Unsplash, accompanied by a short piece of fiction that the image inspired me to write.


Rebecca stood waiting.


This was definitely the spot. She may have lost the faded, sepia photograph but the hours she had poured over it, ingesting every little detail, she just knew this was the exact spot the ghost of the 17th century merchant ship would appear.

And she was ready.


She checked her camera, making sure the batteries had enough power. Of course her mobile phone had a camera, but for something like this, she had wanted to go old-school, so she'd borrowed her dad's old Instant Camera.

She could have kicked herself for losing the photograph of the last known sighting of the ship, but she had been in such a rush when she had discovered - thanks to an online map - the co-ordinates for the ship's last appearance - that she had bundled everything into her rucksack and rushed to the train station. She had thought the photograph had been safe in the front zipped pocket of her bag but a search - and then another, more vigorous, urgent search - came up with naught. She just hoped it was lying on her bedroom floor or at least still in the house.

She checked her watch. It wasn't quite 7am, yet. The two references she had found about the ghost ship both mentioned the vessel appearing early morning. She just hoped she wasn't too late.


Her feet were beginning to ache. She must have been standing there for a good half hour, but she didn't want to sit down. Didn't want to take her eyes off the spot any more than she had done already. So she remained standing, finger hovering over the button that would hopefully capture the image of the ship.


And in the blink of an eye it was there before her, sitting on the waters beyond the two craggy rocks jutting out from the sea. Three masts stood tall, with the dirty-white sales sagging between them. The ship had had a troubled death.


Rebecca gasped and then grinned as she pushed the button down. A flash and then whirr as inside the camera the photograph was processed and emerged from the thin slot at the front. Rebecca let the photo hang out, unable to take her eyes off the schooner. She tried to make out any figures on the desk but the boat was too far away to see.


She finally took the newly-born photograph and waved it in the air, still watching the motionless ship.


The photograph fell like a leaf to the ground. The camera dropped heavily to the sand.


The ship had vanished.


And so had Rebecca.



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