The Camera Man: Chapter 1
A Fictional Thriller by The Dock Line
“You’re closer to the truth than you think, Dusty. But be careful.”
The line went dead in Dusty’s hand. He looked down at his cell phone, sweat pouring from his brow, as he contemplated the events of the last twenty four hours. What had he gotten himself into?
It had started the night before, with a simple enough job. Dusty had been contracted to provide videography services for a charity gala. ‘Save the Whales’, or something like that. For Dusty, any chance to get dressed up, grab a martini, and mingle with Houston’s socialites was worth the hassle.
The night had progressed slowly, but the event was pleasant enough. Dusty had conducted a few quick interviews with a local oil company and the cast of a small film. He was just starting to get loosened up when he noticed a peculiar occurrence. In the corner of the room, Jenny Lancaster sat in all her unadulterated beauty, drinking champagne. Maybe Jenny would give an interview?
Dusty had taken a breath and began making his way across the event to her when something else caught his eye. A mysterious figure, dressed in all black, wearing a long coat and a black hat seemed to appear at Jenny’s table. The figure handed a slip of paper to the local beauty, and then, as quickly as he (or she?) had appeared, Jenny was once again alone at her table.
Dusty continued his approach, intrigued now. He had just reached the table when Jenny opened the note, looked at it, and went white as a sheet. She hadn’t even noticed the cameraman’s approach. Instead, she put her hand over the slip of paper and downed her glass of champagne in a single motion.
“Are you alright?”
The question shook Jenny out of her own mind. Her eyes wandered up to meet Dusty’s. She was clearly terrified, and Dusty had to know why.
“Maybe I can help,” Dusty suggested.
But Jenny had simply shaken her head. “No one can help me, I’m afraid.” Despite this comment, Jenny slid the note across the table to the camera man. He looked down at the partially-crumpled paper.
It was clearly some sort of code. Either that or complete gibberish. The note was filled with line after line of complex symbols and letters. Dusty wasn’t sure why, but the hair on the back of his neck began to stand up. The bottom of the paper was signed ‘The Copywriter’. Who the heck is that? Swiftly, Dusty snapped a picture of the note.
“I’m sorry,” Jenny said. Then she stood and was gone.
So Dusty had returned to his apartment and received the mysterious phone call. Now he stood, sweating, contemplating his options. But it didn’t take long for him to make up his mind. Grabbing his favorite sweatshirt, his camera, and his keys, Dusty was out the door again to return to the site of the gala.
The building was dark and empty, but unlocked. Quietly as he could, Dusty slipped inside. Streamers and confetti littered the ground, adding to an overall air of unease. Dusty made his way back to the table Jenny had been sitting at. A precursory search found no other clues.
What was going on?
Looking down at the floor, though, Dusty noticed something. There appeared to be a trail on the floor heading away from the table. Not footprints, per se, but a noticeable trail through the debris on the ground. Curious, now, Dusty followed the trail. It led to a far wall, where it appeared to stop.
Intuitively, Dusty ran his hands over the wall. His fingers stopped on a stone which appeared slightly different than the others. He pressed down.
With a dull hiss the stone depressed. Somewhere behind the wall, hinges sprung to life. The wall began to shift, revealing the outline of a door.
“Wow,” Dusty murmured to himself. This was the coolest thing he’d ever seen. It was so cool, in fact, that he didn’t hear the muffled footsteps approach from behind him. A rough hand grabbed Dusty’s shoulder and drove him forward, smashing him into the moving stones. As the cameraman faded from consciousness, the last thing he heard was a dull, croaking laugh…
Find out what happens next in The Camera Man, only in The Dock Line!