Megan was enjoying the photography classes. She’d bought a new camera and, four weeks in, she felt fairly confident when using the different settings. At the last session Tim, the instructor, had set some homework. Everyone had picked a bit of paper out of a hat and their task was to take photos on their chosen theme. Megan’s paper said ‘red’. She’d been disappointed at first, Paul had ‘dogs’ and Meera had ‘doors’. They seemed like good themes, things you could actually take pictures of. Megan had asked Tim if she could swop but he said no, she needed to think creatively. He’d smiled encouragingly and reminded her that Autumn was full of colour. Megan had backed down. Red it was.
Her mother had suggested the canal towpath and it seemed like a good idea. Taking photos in class was all well and good, everyone was doing the same thing. In the real world, however, taking random pictures with no people in them was odd. The towpath was usually deserted and Megan felt confident that she would be able to take pictures of berries and leaves without anyone watching. It had gone well, plenty of nature shots and even a couple of narrow boats with red writing or pictures. She was beginning to think that red was a good theme after all; the sun was shining, she had experimented a little with light, her camera was set to manual, and she felt confident. Perhaps she even felt happy.
Megan had signed up for evening classes after The Break Up. Whenever she thought about The Break Up, she added capital letters. Even when her mother spoke of it, in whispered tones, Megan could hear the capital letters. The classes had helped. They had given her a purpose and taken her out of the house. Photography for Beginners was her third class and the first one that had challenged her creativity. It was exciting to be doing something different. This trip out to the canal was fun, she believed that the photos she had taken were good. Well, maybe not good yet but certainly interesting. She was looking forward to showing them off next week.
A few more shots and then home. Megan looked around for some different shades of red. Yuk, someone had dumped some clothes in the bushes. Some people are so odd, still she took a look and snapped a picture of a red sock. Smiling to herself she thought about the contrast between the nature shots and this one. What else could she get that was different? Then she saw a streak of red paint on the path. This was good, she could put together a portfolio of contrast, ‘nature v vandals’. She moved closer to the paint, her creative juices flowing.
Not paint, blood. Megan moved a branch and stared down at the blood spattered body of a young woman. Whimpering, she stumbled back This was horrible, what should she do? Standing up she took a deep breath and reached for her phone. Then she realised that there was someone else on the towpath. Relieved, she staggered towards him. Her phone and camera fell to the ground as she realised her mistake.
Paul was enjoying the creative writing classes. At the last session Amy, the instructor, had set some homework. Everyone had picked a bit of paper out of a hat and their task was to write a short story in their chosen genre. Paul had been disappointed at first. His genre was unfamiliar to him, he had read a Stephen King book when he was about fifteen and that was it. Paul had asked Amy if he could swop but she said no, he needed to think creatively.
He had tried, starting three or four stories, but they had gone nowhere. Frustrated he looked back at the notes from the first few classes. ‘Write about what you know.’ Amy had said that in the first session. ‘Use your own experiences.’ That was a phrase he had noted down during session two. Paul was not one to give up. He was determined that this homework would be done. The advice was clear. As he set off to walk along the canal towpath he took a detour into the garage and picked up his axe.