Moon's a Wonder, Flashes of Blue This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

There's two things Jude believes in: one, he's the best photographer in the city, in the whole universe it seems, and two, every moment needs to be captured.

It doesn't matter if it's a funeral, a fire, a burglary, an evacuation; it all needs to be folded into the black box of the camera, inserted into the memory card, to be stored forever. Everybody needs memories, right?

And as Jude is walking home, he scans his surroundings, as usual, looking for a moment that's begging to be photographed. Anything. He hasn't taken many photos today, and he needs to fill his quota. It's like a race, or a business; he needs more to get his pay, or, in this case, his satisfaction.

He looks up at the moon, and his eyes go back to the streets laying before him, reaching towards the light blooming from streetlamps.

Ah, this is it. The moon can wait another day, it's nothing special; here, on earth, with the emergencies and the politicians and air, this is where it's all happening, the Times Square of the universe. It's filled with wonders, and the geography and travel articles are lying when they say there's only seven true wonders in the world, only seven to look at. Just visit these seven places, they boast, and you'll be content for the rest of your life, because you know you've seen the world.

It's a lie.

Jude raises the camera to his eye, and there's a click as the streetlamp is captured and sucked into the black box, where many other pictures sleep, waiting to be uploaded into technology and showcased for all to see.

Jude lowers the camera, still staring at the lamp. Something's not right. His eyes scan his surroundings once more, and ah, there it is, hanging on the wall of a building. It's a frame, perfect and colored gold, with a black and white picture inside.

Jude swallows as he stares at it, the light from the streetlamp casting a shadow behind him who copies his every move. He recognizes the picture.

He shakes it off as a coincidence; maybe some other photographer happened to like the streetlamp as well, and decided to hang the picture he took onto a wall for people to see as they passed by. But could another photographer capture the lamp in the exact light, the exact angle, as Jude did?

It doesn't make sense.

Jude shakes his head. It's the full moon, chillin' in the sky with his star homies, that's out tonight; it can drive people crazy, he's heard. He just needs to go home, process the pictures, bask in the glory of them, and he'll be done. He'll get a good night's sleep, wake up in the morning, and go take some more pictures. Everything will be fine.

As he turns, he hears a snap, a click of a camera, a flash. Jude whirls around, and, sure enough, there's another picture hanging on the firetruck-red stop sign, in the same gold frame. It's a photo of him, turning.

It's an understatement to say Jude's freaking out.

His chest is heaving, and he doesn't know what to do. Is it a murderer? An escaped convict from the asylum two towns over?

Jude takes this moment to slap himself, because, God, it's probably just some prank. Or maybe he's imagining things. Maybe he's the escaped convict, playing a trick on himself, and his parents knew of his mental illness, they just never told him because they wanted their boy to grow up sweet and marry and have a family and-

Stop it. Stop it stop it stop it. You're making things worse. Calm down. As Jude bends over to collect himself and maybe a few breaths if he's lucky, he hears the familiar click.

He's got to get out of here. Just get out. Now.

And he's doing just that: running and yelling and pointing to the frames that are following him, circling him, and he keeps hearing the clickclickclick and the swishes of pictures hanging off of different store signs and walls, and the flashes from the imaginery cameras are blinding him, and he can't see and he's tripping and falling and it's all being documented.Every moment, captured.

Just the way he wanted it.





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