Darkroom

By Kevin Slattery

Chapter 1

He began to pour in the developer, growing increasingly impatient. Jeff knew he had been low on chemicals, especially the D-76, but he figured there was at least enough for his next set of prints. Searching the entire basement for developer and fix remover had not been on Jeff's itinerary, and it irked him to waste time like this.

Jeffery Graves was an aging man at sixty-two, but could still be considered handsome without a doubt. His gray, curly hair only added to the formality of his appearance. Six foot four, clean shaven, and never appearing in public without a dress shirt and a tie, Jeff still managed to bring class to a society that had been cleansed of it over time.

Inside the lab, Jeff was different. The youthful smile was nowhere to be seen as his exposed glossy paper was still lain on the darkroom's dry side. He retrieved it, dropping the soon to be photographs in two at a time while the green safelight illuminated the oversized tray. Jeff agitated the tray for about ninety seconds before adding the paper to the stop bath for another fifteen. He repeated the process with the third picture. The test strips had each shown that about nine seconds provided the full effect for the 8 x 10 black and whites. It had proved accurate, as Jeff marveled at the completed photos under a small, bright yellow light. The fear in the woman's eyes unmatched, the stab wound in the final exposure seemed to glitter. The gray blood almost came to life in a brick-red fashion for Jeff, but he still had work to do. Hanging the prints up to dry, Jeff walked back to his enlarger, ready to add in the next set of negatives.