When we were little we called them ‘holograms’ but I know now that they’re not the same thing. It didn’t matter, they were magical to me.
When my grandparents went on holiday, sometimes they’d bring me back a doll or a book, but more than anything they would bring me back a box of fudge and a bookmark. I collected them, and they were more than happy to feed my addiction.
My favourite, the pride of my collection, the bookmark most coveted by Linda and Charlie was the one with three kittens striding across a ludicrously neon landscape. As you tilted it, their legs moved and the flowers bobbed their heads. If you angled the bookmark slowly, they took stately procession, but if you waggled it back and forth you could make them gallop. It entertained me for hours and led me here.
While Linda grew up, and had her kids, and Charlie… well, poor Charlie…
I became obsessed. That’s what Mum and Dad said, but I just like to think I have a strong interest in my chosen field.
You see, it wasn’t enough to waggle the bookmark and watch the cats prance, I needed to know how it was done. I needed to do it myself.
So, the money was saved, the cameras were bought, the lens-printing equipment was found. And then, I don’t know what happened. I was making a lenticular photograph of the three of us and something went wrong. Rather than the three of us waving our hands as you moved the card, the image of Linda grew and shrank, grew and shrank. In the middle, the picture of me didn’t change at all, just sat with a static grin. And Charlie? Poor Charlie. The image of her seemed to slide between the slits in the lens and fall off the card altogether.
We sat, and we tilted the card, and we giggled, and Charlie disappeared before our eyes.
We’ve never seen her since.
Linda, as I said, went on to have her children – growing and shrinking, growing and shrinking. She’s had forty two at the last count.
And me? Well, I don’t go out anymore. People point and stare if I do and I’ve started to worry that they’ll come and take me away for experiments. You see, I haven’t changed, not at all. If you look at me straight on, I still look fifteen. But if I turn slightly to the side, you can see the skin sliding from the bones of my hundred year old corpse.
It distresses some people.
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