The Video Shack

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The Man Who Points His Camera at Heartbreak

Chapter 11

The Man Who Points His Camera at Heartbreak

Kit suddenly didn’t like being alone in the large, elongated room with so many books filled with evil machinations. When he looked up from the desk where he set all the notebooks in a line the door at the far end of the room seemed to have moved farther away. It was as though the room was still growing even as he sat there. The shelves appeared to be taller than they were when he first entered with Tom and Magdalena. He understood now why the desk was arranged so that it kept the occupant with his back to the window. The void of the room was a threat. The darkness welcomed uncanny premonitions. He felt less alone than when Tom and Magdalena were still in the room with him. He couldn’t understand how that was possible. He couldn’t comprehend how a place so utterly silent could be so crowded with presence.

He turned his attention back to the blue notebooks spread across the desk in front of him. There were no markings on the outside. There was no way to determine which one he should examine first. He touched the smooth, paper covers with his fingertips. He wondered how long ago they began manufacturing this type of notebook. How long had they been locked in the box under the desk? Did the notebooks contain details about the contents of the library?

He hoped the notebook would contain information about the painting in the massive volume Tom dragged off the shelf. He wanted to know if Jesus was given a Zoetrope by King Herod’s Magicians. Kit didn’t know much about the story except through Christmas services at the small church where his parents attended only on the high holidays. He knew that men were sent to find Jesus and kill him. Of course, if you are going to kill someone you might as well bring a gift to distract them before they strike.

Kit did care for religion. He put his faith in movies. He believed all your questions could be answered at thirty frames per second. However, if someone in first-century Jerusalem had invented a Zoetrope all history would come into question.

He tapped his fingers along the unmarked covers of the notebook...enie, menie, minie, mo...until he reached the one he would open first. He fluttered the pages. Then he opened the book to a page at random. He decided it didn’t matter if he opened the first page, because he had no way of knowing which notebook came first.

Journal Entry

When I found him in the morning he had torn the skin from his face…

Kit slammed the cover of the book closed.

He pushed the chair away from the desk.

The words were difficult to decipher in the thin, glossimer of moonlight filtered through the thick panes of glass that made up the enormous window.

When he looked up at the room his eyes were clouded by the moisture that formed as he labored to read the few words he managed from the page before closing the notebook. The room vanished into blackness. The ends of the bookshelf appeared to be swallowed up by the vacuum of empty space beyond his line of sight. He couldn’t help but wonder again if something was hiding out there. If something lurked in the recess of the engorged room that he could not penetrate.

He opened a different notebook. This page had fewer words on it. He didn’t read the words right away. He merely considered their shape and the slant of the handwriting. He considered what it might tell him about the writer the way the words were tilted across the page. He noticed how the pen made a slight hook at the bottom of a capital “T.” He considered if that que might reveal something about the person behind the words.

Journal Entry

Last night, I couldn’t find the kitchen.

Kit read. He paused. He tried to comprehend what a line like that could mean. It couldn’t be so obvious as what the words said. It couldn’t mean the writer of the sentence couldn’t find the kitchen. What does that even mean? How is that a realistic statement?

He studied how the sentence lay on the page. He did not read the words. There was a concern the words might change before his eyes. It was hard to trust anything in this shade of moonlight.

That was the only sentence on the page. So he closed the book; fully prepared to open to a fresh page, in hopes that something meaningful might be written on the fine, grey lines that ran across the paper. Kit wanted to learn about the castle where he stood or the books on the shelves that towered over him in this library. He didn’t want to unravel the meanders of a lunatic.

What could a line like that possibly mean:

Last night, I couldn’t find the kitchen?

The next time he opened the notebook he hoped to find some semblance of reason. He had to assume the journal belonged to the owner of the estate. If this was the penmanship of one of the preeminent directors of cinema’s birth, he was desperate to read his original thoughts. Film scholars would crush each other under the wheels of their cars driving whatever museum or university library which took possession of this book. Here he was alone in the middle of the night holding the secrets of one of the men who birth the language of cinema. Nobody knew how to tell a story in moving pictures before men like Halleran climbed behind the camera and learned which angles had the power to break a viewer’s heart.

Kit could not accept the fate of a man like Halleran being reduced to the mad ramblings of a line like...

Last night, I couldn’t find the kitchen.

He opened the notebook again…

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