This is a print version of story Serena Shade: Part One by Johnny_Lee_Miller from

Serena Shade: Part One

I still remember the first time I saw her.

I was Ten years old and my f****y had just left our apartment in the city for a house in the suburbs.

As the Movers emptied the van I found myself wandering around to the back of the House drawn by some compulsion to the rusted swing set in the back yard.

As I kicked the dirt patch underfoot I felt someone was watching me. On the edge of the property was a person, she was hazy and out of focus much like someone would look from a distance on a Hot day.

I lifted my hand and waved with a smile. The woman, looked around to see who I was waving at..not knowing that it was her I was greeting.

After we were unpacked and had dinner (KFC, Mom didn't feel like cooking) I went back outside, this time with an old Polaroid Instant Camera.

As I sat in the tall grass snapping pictures a cold fell over me.

"What're you doing?" an unfamiliar voice asked.

I looked up to see the Woman from earlier. She looked down at me with these icy blue eyes, eyes that seemed like they would start pouring tears at any moment.

"Just taking pictures of cool things." I said.

"Cool things?" she asked

" this." I said handing her a picture.

"That's a Praying Mantis I saw earlier today."

"It looks creepy." she said.

"Exactly Creepy and Cool."

"What's your name?" she asking sitting next to me.

"I'm Bently John Carrol the 3rd, but must people call me BJ. What's yours?" I asked.

"I don't know." she said shaking her head.

"How can someone not know there name?" I asked.

"I forgot it, It's been so long since anybody needed to know." she said.

"Well if you're gonna be my friend then you're gonna need a name!"

"Oh so were friends now?" she asked, a smile plastered on her face that seemed to chase her sadness away.

"If you can't remember your name I guess I'll have to pick one for you." I said.

I lept to my feet and picked up a twig from the grass.

" you don't look like a Julie. Sally, no not Sally. I've got it, from this day forth you shall be known as Serena!" I said with a wave of my twig as if it were a wand.

Serena got to her feet and bowed with a giggle.

"Can I take your picture?" I asked.

"But I thought you only photograph cool things?" she said.

"Usually, but you are now eligible for the Friend loophole."

With a flash and a buzz Serena's picture was done. As the snapshot erupted from the camera I stuck it in my pocket with the others. I was gonna show it to Serena but she had already left.

Back inside I took my photos and camera and put them on the kitchen table, As I buttered a left over Biscuit Mom came over and picked up the stack.

"Get any good shots?" she asked.

"A few" I said.

As Mom thumbed through the snaps she stopped on one in particular.

"What happened here?" she asked.

She handed me the picture, a shot of the yard with a black haze in center frame.

"I'm not sure." I said lying.

That was clearly the photo of Serena I took, but why didn't she show up?

Back in my room I began to thumb through books that I've been given about Photography trying to find some explanation as to why Serena didn't show up.
In a book called "History of Photography" by Alston Yates I found a chapter called "Spirit Photography". It mentioned a long history of Ghosts appearing on Photos, most of the time they are unseen until the film is developed by I saw Serena clear as day.

The next day I was in the backyard bright and early, camera in hand waiting.

As if by magic Serena appeared, Her blue floral dress fluttering in the slight breeze.

"Hey BJ." She said with a smile.

"Hey." I said sadly.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"Don't take this the wrong way, but are you a Ghost?"

"Why do you ask?"

"The photo I took of you, it looks like photos of reported Ghosts in my book."

"Did anyone ever tell you that you were clever BJ?" Serena asked.

"My grandma, so is that a yes?" I asked again.

"Yes, are you ok with that BJ?"

"Mommy says that friends love each other no matter what."

I was to young to truly grasp Serena's plight, but by her happiness I could tell it'd been quite a while since she had a friend.

Serena was there with me from that day. We danced, laughed, cried and even found love.

But that's another story.

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