By Maya Levine
The camera fell to the ground. The lense shattered into the grass. She gasped. He smiled and bent down, running his hand along the dirt until all of the glass shards were embedded in his palm. He took the old camera and worked in the pieces like a puzzle.
“You’re bleeding,” she said.
He shrugged and put in another piece, and another. The pieces stuck to each other with the blood.
“The camera’s ruined,” she said.
He nodded once and felt around on the ground again.
“I can’t find the last piece.”
“The last piece,” she mimicked. “Who knows how many pieces there are?”
He found the last piece and put it into the camera. She scoffed as he drew his hand away and sure enough the glass was unstable and ready to shatter outward. He wiped his bloody palm over it and the red-tinted glass stuck together.
“It’s ruined,” she repeated, and picked up the camera, getting the old church in her sights. Everything was red-lined. The oak tree was fractured and dripping scarlet paint, the cathedral was crosshatched with burgundy lines, the murder of crows had crimson smiles along their throats and wings. He had no left arm for all the blood. She pulled the camera away and saw that he was still bleeding into the grass, hot and heavy, like split-pea soup left to rest for three days and reheated.
“It’ll work,” he maintained, and took the camera from her. He snapped her picture as a test and then turned to take a few pictures of the old church and then they were done for the day. The tree began to slide down along the myriad lines cut into it. The church bled and collapsed. The crows took flight all except for one, who fell back to earth, wingless, legless, headless, and began to crawl along the ground in search of restitution. Her elbow whimsically swung back and forth and her knee fell backwards. Her left eye collapsed inwards.
“Broken,” she wheezed, and he laughed.
“To think. We came all the way out to Borgund and it was over with six pictures.”
“And a broken camera,” she insisted, wetly.
“And a broken camera,” he conceded. “Come here, I’ll pack you up.”
She tried to say something but her face was sliding down towards her throat in the way that the world pushed California towards Alaska. The crow’s voiceless beak clattered together against the grass. Its black eye expanded until it contained the whole world.
Maya Levine has had works published in the Leyla Beban Short Story Contest, Palo Alto Roots magazine, and Enchanted Conversation. She has forthcoming work in FurPlanet and Zoetic Press. She is from Chicago, IL, and lives in Palo Alto, CA. Find more of her work at https://www.inkitt.com/Way_Out_There.