Your character finds an old, disposable camera on the ground. They get the photos developed. What they see tells an unsettling story.
Local legends tend to become exaggerated over time, so newcomers often do not take them seriously.
Sissy was the new student in the Greenville High School 11th grade having relocated in August after a bitter divorce between her parents. Her hopes were high to settle into a lifestyle that was ordinary, even mundane would be good, after all the drama in the year, so far. Her father’s full custody order couldn’t have come soon enough for her, so the quick purchase of the “fixer upper” house and a speedy move 200 miles away from the tempest of ‘wrong doings’ and ‘accusations’ was welcomed.
Most of her classmates were ‘locals’. In fact, they were SO local that their family names were posted everywhere. The Watson General Store, Hathaway Park, and Dawson Memorial Cemetery covered more than half of the surnames in the 32-member 11th grade class.
Lunch was therefore a gathering of cliques and cousins, so Sissy chose to sit alone at first.
“Hey”, she thought, “At least there’s no hysterical screaming.”
By the second day, she couldn’t help but observe a lot of pointing and whispering in her direction going on.
On her first examination of her new, long-vacant, ramshackle home, Sissy had a blast finding ‘ancient’ artifacts!
A collection of eight track music tapes, a disposable camera, something called a ‘shoehorn’, and piles of old newspaper clippings. Some of them dated as far back as the 1960s. The largest number of those clippings pertained to the disappearance of a young girl named Abigale Dawson.
“Figures” Sissy thought, “They’re all cousins here.”
Her Dad, in an effort to keep Sissy’s spirit of adventure alive, volunteered to take the disposable camera to be developed.
On her first Friday, while Sissy occupied her solo spot in the cafeteria, she was joined by a girl she hadn’t seen before but having just been ‘coasting’ through her first days, she didn’t find it particularly odd.
The girl was very pretty but extremely quiet only murmuring a “yes” or “no”, now and then, so Sissy decided to give her time to warm up and just enjoyed her company.
The next day was Saturday, so Sissy continued her treasure hunt by examining the clippings more closely.
She was stunned to find a photo of her house in far more pristine shape.
This was the home of Abigale Watson!
And by reading subsequent articles, Sissy learned that Abigale was never found but stories about her haunting the house were frequent and sensational in that town for decades. In fact, the clippings were primarily focused on that topic.
Dad’s voice startled her interrupting her creepy investigation.
“Sorry Peanut, the pictures didn’t develop. They were too old.”
Then he tossed a packet of five on her lap.
“Just shadows on a few of them. The guy ran them a few extra times so he said the images might have more substance given a while, but he seriously doubts it.”
Sissy stuffed them in her pocket and then into her bedroom dresser. She’d had enough of all this spooky stuff.
“Ordinary” she said, ” I want some ordinary for a change. Hauntings my eye!”
A month elapsed and by then Sissy had made some friends who filled her in on Abigale’s disappearance and told tales of people who had tried to occupy the house she now lived in. Every former owner supposedly had suddenly left, and all claimed frightening occurrences had been the reason.
Sissy yawned at all the hysterics after a while and told them they’d watched too many horror flicks.
She hadn’t even given her shy, “first friend” a second thought since she’d been asked to join a group, so her heart sank when she saw her, totally alone, shuffling by her house focused on her own feet. Guilt suddenly consumed Sissy, so she tapped on the window and offered a “happy to see you” wave. The girl paused, smiled, and waved in the same exaggerated fashion then continued.
That night, Sissy was jolted awake by the sound of her squeaky dresser drawer closing. And, standing there in her bedroom, was her shy pretty friend with a photo that she was holding out for Sissy to take.
“How’d you get in?… Why?!”
Sissy took the photo and gasped.
She’d forgotten all about the under-developed photos from the ancient disposable camera and on this one was a perfect image of that very friend!
The photo fell to the floor as Sissy screamed frozen in terror… all alone in her bedroom.