Old Photos

The driver stops in an industrial area of jutting steel and slabs of light and dark. We ask why.  Can see the dim shape of the ferry with its many little lights, coming in, transporting people across the great unseen expanse. Gray black below, gray black above, the ship is suspended, its own twinkling constellation. Like to watch the ferry, he says. Continuing on, we arrive at the stone building in the city center, ancient imposing edifice. Many gather there, roiling slowly about the street and sidewalk, waiting. Colorful packets are handed out. All the many hues and tones, they are quickly opened to reveal the price. Everyone gets a price. Guy to the right of me is an executioner. Tells me it will be quick and painless. He’ll tie my hands and feet, less of a spectacle that way, more dignified.  I nod my head, as if in understanding. It’s your price. We all get a price, pay the price. On my left, a child clutches a few battered photos bound together with twine. Someone calls my name. The train is about to leave.  Have to hurry. Didn’t know I had to catch a train, but better to keep moving, get outa this place. I tell the kid it’s okay to go with us.  He and I travel a long time together, watching the changing landscape and time beyond the window. He does not look at the photos, nor do I, but we both know the images depicted, what it might take to love us, so long together, our photos, our everything. Speeding shadow train, pictures . . . an old movie played too fast, unearthed in the amphitheater at Phaistos amidst thick iron beams dripping rust, dank air trapped for centuries, old seats and gilt-edged walls. The explorer pulls a lever and the mechanism turns. Light flickers the illusion of a life once lived there the boy, the man. The mythical explorer imagines what went on in that brief span of forever, and what did not.


Published in The Closed Eye Open

Issue II Nov/Dec 2020

The Closed Eye Open - publisher of short fiction by Dan Reilly