Replica by Mackenzie Dougherty

  It was a beautiful day at home where young photographer, Rebecca, had just received her new camera. “This EBay order requires you to sign here miss.” said the mail man as he held out a tablet and stylus. “Well, that’s odd,” Rebecca said, ” all I ordered was a camera.” She signed her name. “It isn’t even supposed to be used.” The mail man just shrugged and drove away in his truck.

   When Rebecca went inside, she immediately unpackaged her new camera in excitement. When she had just finished assembling it, her friend, Lori, knocked on the door and Rebecca motioned her inside.

   “What are you doing?” Lori asked. “I’m testing my new camera,” Rebecca replied, and snapped a picture. “You are in my first photo.” “I bet I look ridiculous.” Lori commented. “Here you want to see it?” asked Rebecca as she held up the camera. Lori took the camera and observed her picture. “Yep, that’s me alright.” Lori said.

   Just as she said this, she almost dropped the camera but saved it before it hit the floor. “Oops, that was close. Wait that’s not me anymore.” Lori said, “I must have pressed a button.” Displayed on the camera was a strange man’s face. “Woah, that definitely isn’t you.” Rebecca said, ” Hey, I thought this was brand new.”  She took the camera back from Lori and started going through the photos on her camera. “Wow this guy really likes taking selfies.” Rebecca said. ” He’s making the same face in every picture too.” Lori laughed, “I guess that’s what you get for ordering a so called new camera from EBay.” Rebecca removed an SD card from the device. “I guess so,” Rebecca said, “I’ll just get a new SD card that’s where all the photos go anyway.” Lori looked at the SD card. “Is it okay if I use this on my phone?” Lori asked, “I can post the photos online and ask if anyone knows about the guy in those pictures.” Rebecca sighed “Sure why not,” she said, “But I doubt anyone will know who he is.” Lori inserted the card into her phone.  “Nah, everyone is online somewhere.” she commented. “Yeah, he just didn’t look like a guy who would even own a smartphone.” Rebecca said. “Well, I just got a new mess-” Lori stopped mid sentence. “What’s wrong?” Rebecca asked. “It says “DO NOT USE YOUR CAMERA OR YOU WILL REGRET IT!!!,” Lori said. “It’s anonymous as well. Rebecca chuckled. “Wow you actually believe that? We must be in big trouble because we already used it!” She laughed some more. Lori was serious. “You might just be right! Who knows what is going to happen!” she said panicked. “Do I have to show you the camera?” Rebecca asked. Rebecca grabbed the camera. Then her face fell. “The. Photos. Are. Still. There.” She stuttered. Lori’s face went white. “I need to go home. And lock myself in my room.” And Lori ran out the door. “There must be some logical reason for this.” Rebecca shouted at her, “You don’t need to take it to seriously.”

    Rebecca shrugged and went to the other end of the room. When she turned around, Lori was standing in the doorway. “Lori, I thought you left.” Rebecca said, “Did you think about this logically?” Lori looked confused. “Think about what logically?” she asked. “Oh, ok. I get it Rebecca said, “I won’t tell anyone you had a major freak out over nothing.” Lori still looked confused. “I still have no idea what you’re talking about.” Rebecca paused for a second then went back to Lori. “Yeah, yeah, let’s just figure out how to fix this camera.” Lori looked over at the camera. “You got a new camera?” Lori asked, “Can I try it?” Rebecca frowned. “You can stop playing dumb now. But I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to experiment with it some more.” Rebecca said. Lori still looked puzzled but took a shot of Rebecca. “Well, it looks like it works,” said Lori “I guess it’s just a regular camera.” “I told you so.” said Rebecca. “No, you didn’t but it is a normal camera.” Right after they finished speaking Rebecca shrieked.

    In her doorway was an exact copy of herself and Lori. Lori on the doorway spoke up. “What the heck is going on in here?” “I don’t know, but you were right!,” said Rebecca,”There is something really wrong with that camera. I think it’s making copies of us!” The Lori inside the room, and Rebecca in the doorway, ran toward the camera and started talking robotically in-sync. “Step away from the camera. It can not be destroyed.” The other two girls went to the other side of the room. “At least we know who is real and not a copy.” Lori replied. “Yeah, me too.” said Rebecca, “Should we grab  the camera and run?” “What would we do with it afterwards?” asked Lori. “I don’t know, I just don’t think it’s safe to leave it here with them or for us to stay.” Rebecca answered. “Yeah, good point.”

    Then Lori lunged for the camera but her copy pinned her to the wall Without much of a choice, Rebecca decided to taunt the copies. “So, sure you can come from whatever that camera is, but you can not hurt my friend.” Rebecca picked up a book from a shelf and threw it at the copies. In anger, Rebecca’s copy chased after her, and Lori’s copy let go of Lori to chase Rebecca. Lori, now free, grabbed the camera and shut it off. Instantly, the copies disappeared.

   “That was close,” Rebecca said relieved, “How did you know that would happen.” Lori stared at the camera. I just guessed. To be honest I wasn’t thinking through everything. We probably shouldn’t turn that back on.” Lori motioned to the camera. “I agree, at least until we do more research I wouldn’t even mess with it.” said Rebecca, “Why did you come back?” Lori shrugged. “I did think through what I thought was reality, but we both know that was wrong now.” Rebecca looked at the book she threw. “It’s a good thing you did come back.” Rebecca said, “How about we order some pizza and then find out what that thing really is.” Lori grabbed her phone. “Pepperoni?” She asked. “Yeah, sure why not.” Rebecca responded. Lori called and ordered the pizza. When she was done Rebecca asked, “How long on the pizza?” Lori put her phone down.

   “They said two minutes. That’s pretty fast for them, but we’ll see.” answered Lori. Someone knocked on the door. “That must be it,” said Rebecca as she answered the door. “Hello?” The pizza man gave the pizza to Rebecca. “That will be 6.75,” he said. Rebecca handed him a ten. “Keep the change.” Lori walked towards the pizza man. “You look familiar to me.” Lori said, “Have we met?” The pizza man looked puzzled. “No, I don’t think so,” he said, ” Unless I’ve delivered pizza to you before. But I can’t stand here all night. I have other orders.”  The pizza man left in his car.

   “Are you sure there wasn’t something familiar about that guy?” Lori asked. “Maybe a little but let’s eat this thing before it gets cold.” Rebecca said. Lori and Rebecca sat down and ate their pizza. “I was looking at the photos and I think you’re onto something.” Rebecca said, “Doesn’t he look similar to the pizza guy?” Lori jumped up. “He does!”she exclaimed, “Do we think we can find him?” Rebecca grabbed the receipt. “We have the address to the pizza restaurant.” she said. “Lets go,” said Lori “Let’s take my car.” When they arrived at the pizza shop it was closed. “Now what are we going to do?” Rebecca cried. Behind them a voice answered, “Go home because we’re closed.” The girls turned around to find the pizza delivery man. “Didn’t I deliver to you?” he asked, “If you’re here to complain about it everyone else is gone.” The man walked towards his car in the parking lot.  Rebecca spoke up. “It’s not about the pizza. We need information about a camera.” Lori joined in. “We had some weird occurrences and the pictures on it look like you.” The delivery man was intrigued. “Did happen to make copies of you?” he asked. Lori and Rebecca nodded. The delivery man motioned to his car. “Come with me.” He opened the door. “I don’t know, can we just follow you in our car?” asked Rebecca. “No, I don’t want to draw attention to us, if this is what I think this is.” the delivery man replied. “Are you coming or not?” The girls looked at each other, unsure, and climbed into the car. “What is your name?” Lori asked the delivery man as he got into the car. “I go by Alex,” he answered, “what’s yours?” Rebecca and Lori told him their names. “Well, Rebecca, Lori, prepare for a long story.” said Alex.

    “Were you the guy in those photos?” asked Rebecca. Alex sighed. “No, but when we get where we’re going I’ll explain more. Until then no more questions.” They rode in silence. When they pulled in to a dark road, it ended with a dead end. “We’re here.” said Alex. “Really because I can’t see anything other than trees.” Alex rolled his eyes. “We just need to walk behind those trees and we’ll be at my old house before college.” So, they walked into the trees and they arrived at a surprisingly well kept house.         

   “This place looks really nice.” said Rebecca. Alex led them into the house’s living room. “I come here often to clear my thoughts.” said Alex. “So, what do you know about the camera?” Lori asked. Alex spoke up. “Well, everything there is to know I guess. My dad was an inventory and was looking for a way to replicate things in real life but could be taken away at the press of a button. It was his most groundbreaking inventions. He used the photos as a blueprint in the camera that actually have actions. They were made out of electricity, photons, and dust, but felt like real objects. It almost acted like a 3D printer.” The girls were astonished. “What happened to it?” Rebecca asked. “My dad was being pushed by his peers to replicate people to do work for them.” Alex said, “When he refused, they stole the camera and used him as a test subject.”

   Lori looked worried. “The outcome wasn’t good was it?” she asked. “No, it wasn’t,” Alex said, “When they took pictures of him the replicas turned against him and they were very defensive over the camera. They almost destroyed the building they were in, but he was able to shut it down just in time. He was going to destroy the camera, bug it was stolen again. Dad always told me if I ever came across it, to eliminate it immediately.”

   “Whoa,” Rebecca said, “What happened to your dad after this?” Alex looked sad. “He disappeared after I graduated high school along with his other inventions. It’s been a year, and since then I’ve been working at the pizza shop to help pay for college. He still technically lives here, but I haven’t seen him. I do wish he would come back.”

   “It must be hard,” said Lori, “Is there anything we can do to help?” Alex perked up, “Yes, you can help me destroy this camera once and for all.” he said, “Did you bring it with you?” Rebecca pulled the camera out of a bag. “Here you do the honors.” She handed it to Alex.

   Just as Alex smashed it on the floor a figure came through the door. “Alex?”