The Rock Gate

Elijah stood at the top of the rocky outcrop, looking at the formation a few yards away. It was called the Rock Gate of Maine. He lifted the camera in his hand to put the gate into focus. Snapping the picture, he let a smile grow across his lips. His boss was going to love the shots from today. He took a step, slipping a bit as he made his way down toward the water. 

As he reached the smaller rocks where the waves were crashing, he fumbled with his camera, nearly dropping it. Wrapping the hand loop over his wrist, he once again focused his camera on the gate. Looking at the little view finder, his chest tightened. There was something hanging from the center of the arc of the gate. He raised his eyes and looked at the gate. There was nothing there. 

“Strange,” he said. Raising the camera again, he looked at the viewfinder. Again, there was something hanging over the water from the top of the arch. Using the camera as his eyes, he moved closer to the gate. As the water crashed over his feet with a flash of cold, he finally figured out what he was seeing. It was a body hanging by a noose. He dropped the camera, letting it hang from his wrist as he climbed back to where he had taken the first picture. He wanted nothing to do with a person hanging over the water. 

Elijah pulled out his cell phone and dialed. The call was answered before the first ring ended. “Hello,” a woman said. 

“Bonnie, something isn’t right here,” he said.

“What’s happened?” She asked.

He lifted his camera and scanned through the images he had taken of the gate. The figure hanging there was clearly visible. “I don’t know how to explain this. When I look at the gate with the naked eye, it’s just the gate arching over the water. Yet, when I take a picture, it shows someone hanging by a noose from the center of the archway,” he said.

“You have to be kidding. That’s not possible,” she said, the sound of keys clattering on keyboard came faintly through the phone line. 

“Possible or not, that’s what’s happening. What do you want to do now?” He asked.

“Head back, we can send someone else out later. The project isn’t due until next month,” she said.

“I’ll be back in about twenty minutes,” he said. He hung up the phone and headed back across the flat surface of the rocks to the parking lot. His car was waiting, and he climbed in behind the wheel with a shake of his head. Driving back to the office he shared with Bonnie, he thought about what he had seen at the beach. There was no way any of this was real. He had to have been wrong. 

He parked in his assigned space and picked up his camera from the passenger seat. He scanned through the images he had taken. The ones from the top of the rocks were normal, but the ones he had taken at the water’s edge revealed the body hanging with its feet just a few inches above the surface of the water. He climbed out of the car and walked with even steps up to the building. In the lobby, he tossed a smile at the security guard as he passed him. “Hey Gerald,” he said.

Gerald nodded. “Afternoon, Elijah. Photo shoot go well?” He asked.

“Only Bonnie can tell,” he said, giving the same answer as he always did. He continued on to the elevator and pushed the call button. The doors opened in the silence. Stepping in, he pushed the button for floor fourteen. It wasn’t a long ride before the doors slid open once again in a silence that always gave him pause. 

Bonnie’s office was straight ahead through the double glass doors and she was waiting at her desk. He crossed the open room and swallowed before opening his mouth. “Bonnie,” he said.

She stared at him, holding out her hand. “Camera,” she said. The single word cutting through the office like a knife. He handed her the camera and watched as she scanned through the pictures he had taken. 

As she flicked across the screen, he watched the range of emotions cross her face. He risked asking a question while she was still trying to process what she was seeing. “See what I mean?” He asked. 

Bonnie didn’t answer him right away. She finished looking through the images and sat the camera on her desk. Lifting her eyes to his, she spoke. “It would seem you are correct. Now the question is, what the hell did you take a picture of?” She turned to her computer. Typing on the keyboard, he watched as she searched on google for something. 

“What are you looking for?” He asked, moving and dropping into the chair across from her desk.

She glanced at him before turning back to her computer. “The Rock Gate. I want to know what that area was used for back around the turn of the century,” she said.

He sat in silence as she did her research. Ten minutes later, she lifted her head and turned back to him. “Well shit, this is not going to as easy as I thought,” she said.

“What did you find?” He asked. 

“We stepped into it big time. That was used by the courts around here to hang those convicted as pirates. Why you can see the last of them I don’t know, but it’s something we are going to have to look into before we can go ahead with the story we are working on.” She smiled, handing him back his camera. “Are you willing to do the work to honor the dead?” She asked. 

He smiled, taking the camera back. “You mean I get to work on a historical piece that honors sailors? When do I start?” He said. 

She laughed with honest humor. “You to your desk and get to work, freak. Just keep me updated.”

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