“Photographs” by Christopher Pine


I did not know what was written in the leather-bound notebook I found in the park just next to the old orphanage. I didn’t know about the photos taped inside, or the entries inside. Had I known, would it have stopped me looking inside the tome? Would it have expedited my intention to turn it into a lost and found somewhere? No, I don’t think so. Once I’ve set my mind to investigate something, I’m rarely able to stop.

 

Entry #1

I’ve secured the position of groundskeeper at Lonely Home Orphanage. I’m using the name Garon Jackobs for this job. The paper doesn’t understand why I wanted to do this job, why this place. My gut tells me something’s odd about this place though. I can’t place it, but just looking at the building… It seems off, there’s a haze around it, like it’s not quite all there.

 

This entry had been accompanied by a Polaroid photograph of the orphanage. I turned to look up at the place. With it’s high towers and jagged walls that made it look like it was some defensible building out of an old horror movie. The picture had looked a bit blurry, but the building had never given me any kind of particular feeling about it. Did it look blurry?

 

Entry #2

I mow the grass and trim hedges and trees, job stuff. Nothing big yet, but I’ve been provided a shack on grounds to sleep in, so when something does happen, I’ll spot it.  Seems the children are usually outside playing while the sun is out. I met a girl about 7 years old by the name of Suzy who insists on calling me Mousier Garon. Cute kid, I hope that my gut feeling doesn’t mean something’s being done to her.

 

The book had a pattern it seemed. Left page photograph, right page entry. The second photo was of a young girl. She had bright blue eyes and wore her raven hair in what started as a ponytail and ended in a sort of braid. A deep red dress was draped over her small features. Presumably this was Suzy smiling vibrantly out of the photo at me. I think I’d seen her through the gate once or twice when passing the eerie place. The kids playing never really dampen the effect much.

 

Entry #3

Suzy brought me lunch today, a roast beef sandwich and cherry pie. She’s such a sweet little girl, always smiling and laughing. Always wearing the same dress though, or what seems to be the same dress. I should try and look into that, the kids should be being provided enough clothing. I’ll make another entry when something interesting happens.

 

Another photograph of Suzy, this time grinning up at the camera holding a plate of food. There where eight small squares of sandwich, filled with folds of beef and a light sauce, each topped with a leaf of parsley and held together with toothpicks of various colors. Filling the rest of the plate was a perfect slice of pie absolutely filled with red cherries. They looked just soft enough you could cut straight through without disturbing any other cherries. Nothing on the plate was less then four inches tall.

 

I found my mouth watering just looking at the plate. Could that little corner café still be open? No, it was close to two in the morning, nothing was open. I turned my attention back to the notebook, turning the page as I placed myself on a swing.

 

Entry #4

Here it is, the big thing I’ve been waiting for, nothing all week until Saturday, now. Suzy was giving me my lunch as she has been, when a tone sounded from the building, like a microwave had gone off or something, and she dropped the plate in my hands and turned to head inside. All the children just stopped what they were doing, and went inside… It occurs to me I’ve never actually been inside the building. Strange, I’ll investigate tonight.

 

An image of Suzy leaving with all the other children heading inside is the occupant of the left page. Dozens of toys lay scattered across the grass. Toy cars up-ended, block towers unfinished, dolls abandoned. They have actually, almost literally, dropped everything to leave. Suzy’s in the middle of the picture, her ponytail braid stilled in a wave. I shivered. I could actually see a few toys sprawled out in the orphanage yard. It was an eerie comparison.

 

Entry #5

This was a terrible mistake.

I don’t know where the children have gone, but this is not what I’d call an orphanage. the halls are lined with candles, and the walls have strange markings on them now and then. Lots of circles with odd writing. This could be worth the front page… but at what cost? I’ll venture further, I should at least find the kids.

 

A dark photograph of the corridor. He wasn’t joking when he said lined with candles. There must have been hundreds of them. Weird runes and markings were carved into the stone walls, some of them even seem to be just claw marks. Which seems a good guess, as I remember my heart skipping as I had noticed a clawed hand gripping a corner around the wall in the photo. I stood and started pacing down the jogging path, notebook firmly in hand. I figured it was about time I started back on my way, and it didn’t hurt I was putting distance between myself and that crypt of a building.

 

Entry #6

What were those things?! Those horrible, horrible things…

I need to leave, I can’t stay here any longer, my arm is bleeding where one of them gashed me, I need to get help.

I keep hearing Suzy in my head… “Mousier Garon!..” I wish I didn’t have to leave her with those things… but I can’t fight them, what can I do? I’ll just have to come back with help. Wait, I see her, she’s standing by the gate, we can both leave.

 

There was a break in the pattern here, two entries with one photo. The first entry seemed to only have barely been finished. A stroke of ink seemed to dictate a period, and little red droplets spattered the page. I tried not to think about it too much.

 

The picture for this one was of Suzy standing next to the gate, her back to the photographer, Garon. Still in the same red dress, immaculately clean. Standing there just off the path that went through the gate. She was holding something white in her hand.

 

Wait… was that today’s date?

 

I turned the page once more, heart beating a hole through my chest.

 

“Ah, I see you’ve found my notebook.”

 

I jumped at the voice, as I almost ran into the figure standing in the middle of the path. There in the moonlight stood a man in a trench coat, holding a cane and wearing a hat that cast farther shadow over his eyes. He stretched out his hand as I stared at him. “Thank you so much, I really did need that back.”

 

I struggled to take in breath, and just stood there in shock as the man reached towards me and lifted the journal from my hands. Faintly, I could hear rustling around the playground. I could swear I heard a faint “Mousier Garon” off to my left. But I couldn’t make myself react to that right now, I couldn’t stop staring at the man’s eyes.

 

He had the same eyes from the last photograph.

 

The last photograph that showed Suzy, in her red dress that was incredibly clean, and with her hair in the ponytail braid. That showed her turning to stare at Mousier Garon with glowing, yellow, slitted eyes, and smiling with sharp pointed teeth forming a grin, holding that strange white mask up next to her face teasingly.

 

I finally forced myself to move, breaking into a run past the creature in front me. I don’t remember him trying to stop me, but my shirt bares a torn sleeve that says otherwise. I still haven’t been able to get the picture out of my head. The picture was accompanied by the seventh entry, scrawled in ragged letters.

 

Don’t

Go

To

The

Orphanage