Antique Shop『BEAR』 - Chapter 55
Chapter 55 – Mystery Camera
From the next day, Kuma began to take the train in the morning on days when he didn’t have a part-time job to visit places that were said to be haunted spots, dams, flea markets, etc.
Many of the tunnels and abandoned buildings that were regarded as haunted places did not show anything in particular, and Kuma wondered how people judged them by their appearance. At the dam, there were many shadows of what appeared to be suicide victims. At the flea markets, especially the antique markets and the markets selling antique goods, it was possible to capture something possessing an object. Kuma was obsessed. The camera and the strange things he captured made a wonderful work of art.
It was January 5th, the last day of the camera’s warranty period. Kuma went to the Haneda Photo Studio.
Most of the things in the store had been put away, and it had the impression of being deserted.
“Is today the last day?”
“Yeah. After sixty years, the time has come to end it.”
“Thank you for your service.”
“How’s the camera?”
“I love it. It’s a unique camera.”
“That’s good to know. Would you like to have your picture taken before I wrap up?”
“Eh… No. I’m not doing a photo shoot…”
“Isn’t it fine? Of course, I’m taking your picture for free.”
It was the first time for him to be photographed at a photo studio since he was five years old for the Shichi-Go-San. Moreover, he was alone. Kuma looked at his own clothes. He wore a gray shirt and slim black pants along with brown sneakers for a rough style.
“By all means.”
When he was led to the back of the store, Kuma took the time to follow. Behind the curtain was an old-fashioned black leather chair for one person to sit on. The walls were pure white and the dark interior made him feel dazzled.
“Now, please take a seat there.”
After the owner switched on the lights, he stood in front of a big old-fashioned camera. The moment he stood there, the owner’s face transformed into that of a photographer.
“Cross your legs and keep your chin back. Try putting your hands together on your knees. Keep your eyes right here. Good.”
Kuma posed awkwardly as he was told.
“That’s good. Smile.”
Kuma smiled falsely.
“No good, no good. Not a fake smile…”
Even so, he thought it would be… funny to laugh alone, and the owner said something strange.
“Oh, move over, move over.”
The moment Kuma’s gaze wandered, the store owner fired off a series of shots and released the shutter.
“It’s good. Your eyes are flowing and you look very dashing.”
“What’s was that…? You just said, ‘Move over’…”
“Ah. It was caught on camera. The camera here likes to take photographs of all kinds of people, too. But I got a good shot.”
While Kuma was in a daze, he was being beckoned.
He hurried over to the camera and saw what appeared to be a woman with long black hair vaguely above Kuma.
“… In the photo…”
“That’s the previous owner of the chair. Sometimes she’s a prankster and gets in the shot when I try to take the photo.”
“You can photograph them? This camera too is…”
“Mmm-hmm. It’s the best camera I’ve ever had. I’ll never give it up. It’s the first one I bought for myself when I took over this photo studio from my father. I use a new camera for my clients.”
“You took the trouble to show it to me?”
The owner of the shop laughed as he looked at the camera, “They often feature ghost photography on TV… but there’s also a possibility that the camera is possessed.”
A cold sweat streamed down Kuma’s back.
The photos that were developed turned out to be remarkably beautiful. The photo of him squinting and looking into the distance was taken in the style of a model. Of course, he was given a photo with nothing of the monster in it. Kuma thanked the store owner and went home.
Late at night, he meticulously polished the lens in his room. He viewed the camera on his desk.
Fourteen years later, he was still carefully polishing the lens and looking at the camera on the cash register table in the same way.
A bell rang, announcing the arrival of a customer.
Kuma raised his head and smiled.
『An antique shop BEAR』
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