June 5th, 5:29 PM
My name is Blake Crest and this is the story of my first time in Paris. At the age of twenty, I have begun my journey as a traveling photographer to take pictures of not only landmarks but anything that catch the artist’s eye. During this time of the story, I was twenty-one and was interested to see the neon festival that is being held in the city of light. Even though the original festival involves psychedelics colors and chill music, this isn’t what Paris planned. The way they set it up was to bring the city of light into a large spectrum of color. Neon. I packed my bags and flew out to Paris early to experience their culture before neon lights take over. Everything was going well the first day up until I ended up taking a picture of him...
There it was, the Eiffel Tower, standing in its iron beauty as the sun begins to set. I undo the case that is on my camera and bring my partner up to my chest. The lens cap is removed before turning the camera on and bringing it up to my dark brown eye. As cheesy it is to center this tower in the middle of the image I couldn’t help myself when the sky has a magnificent color palette. My right pointer finger travels up to the shutter button and presses down, letting the clicking sound echo in my ears.
“Another perfect shot,” I said to myself. A small smile forms as I take a quick second to view the recent capture. While shutting off my camera and putting it away, someone from a group of people bumps into me. In my mind, I was going to yell at them but more kept coming. Curiosity decides to peak as the citizens and tourists all have mixed expressions. I quickly grab someone by the shoulder to get their attention. “Excuse me, what is going on?”
“They attacked another clothing store!” The lady said with a rich French accent.
“They?” She freed herself from my grasp and return to the herd of people. Did thieves rob a clothing store? No. The way how these people are reacting must be a bigger or even interesting issue. I decide to join the crowd to see what is making people go nuts.
Time passes by as I finally reach the store to see nothing but a crowd talking to each other. I look up to learn that it was a typical H&M store but from what I could see was paint on the glass window that is left from the door. Did someone vandalize the property? I maneuver my way through the crowd to get a better view of what was designed for the building. It was a black silhouette of a hummingbird with its wings out and a purple scar by the neck. Then on the other side was a skull wearing a punk version of a gas mask with neon green leaking from the eyes. Both of them show similarity in the background which is made up of nothing but paint splatters. While bringing out my camera to take pictures of these, I saw hints of paint faded on the edges. This is definitely the work of talented taggers.
“I can’t believe they tagged this place out of everything lately.” A large man said next to me. Lately? How many times has this happened in the city?
“Do you know who did this?” I asked him politely. He crosses his arms as he strokes the large black beard. The man doesn’t look enthused.
“They go by the names of Hummingbird and Ink. Everyone knows them for the street art that gets made overnight, however, they will rob stores of their money.” So these paintings are their trademark symbols? Usually, taggers are in trouble for vandalism but this is a different ballgame. Does that mean Hummingbird and Ink run a gang of criminals?! “No one has been able to capture them or even get an idea of where is their hideout. People who have tried to stop them learned about the taggers’ skills and knowledge. They know every street and alleyway in Paris while combining their parkour abilities to make a fast getaway.”
“So no one has any idea of who they are?” The man shakes his head. Damn, they are invincible.
“Be careful out there, kid. They like people with cameras who try to capture them.” His voice went to a deeper tone. It sends a shiver down my spine as I think about becoming a plaything for criminals. I better stay away as much as possible.
I lost track of time around seven pm as I head to the Luxembourg Palace to take a couple of pictures of the building at night. There are still so many places to capture with my camera and I barely scratched the surface without including the day of the neon festival. How much time do I have left before it is considered trespassing? I bring out my phone and go to the lock screen to see the time. It is a little after ten. I better head to the hotel and call it a night.
“Where would be the hotel be?” I said out loud. Please don’t tell me I’m a few miles away! I put my camera in the case and switch it out for a map. As I open the map up, the sound of hissing hits my ears. That doesn’t sound like a normal hiss. Is someone spraypainting here?
Everything in my being is telling me to head home while my curiosity wants to see who is doing it. After letting out a sigh, I take all of my stuff and follow the sound that disappears once in a while. The sound is very close to what I expected. From what I can see from the minimal light, it is this statue of two people, a woman sitting on a stone bench and a man hovering over her. While looking down to see the pillar are two people in black clothing painting with cans. I quietly take a few steps closer to see what they are working on. The person is painting a woman with her bare chest out with nothing but the word ‘HI’ covering the nipples. Is this the woman from the statue?
Wait, what is that? I take a look at the jacket that the one tagger is wearing and it contained a watermark. It spells out ‘Ink.’ Then that must mean the other one is Hummingbird. I hide behind some of the shrubberies and fetch my camera to get it set up. I slightly raise and made sure the taggers are in my line of sight. My heart beats against my chest as the two turn toward my direction. They reveal what is covering their face. Hummingbird is wearing something similar to a white masquerade mask but resembles the actual hummingbird’s face with paint-splattered along the beak. She is letting her long dark purple hair flow in the wind. Ink’s mask is the same gas mask that he painted back at the store but it is modified to having highlights that glow different colors. He is hiding the rest of his face with the hood and a pair of black shades.
I swallow the lump in my throat and press the shutter button. That is when my heart stopped because I left the flash on from the last session. They saw me! I’m dead! I watch Ink take a few more steps before I saw flashes of red and blue in my peripherals. The police found us? Hummingbird stops Ink in his tracks and bolts from the scene. There is no way I’m going to be blamed for their dirty work! I ended up chasing after the taggers.