God's Camera

God had seen him, weren’t no doubt about it. That big ol’ camera flash winking down at him from the sky like that. One single moment when the whole world was all lit up and the darkness seemed to have run like a jackrabbit with a fox at its heels. But the night was as much a fool as all God’s creatures, jackrabbits, foxes and all. Weren’t nothin’ could escape God’s camera. God’s camera caught it all.

Good or bad, right or wrong, when that big ol’ flashbulb went off like the pop of a cracker you was caught. God had seen ya’. Weren’t that he wouldn’ta known otherwise, God knew it all. Just that every now an’ then he like to take a snap or two, just to let ya’ know he was watching. Just so’s ya’ wouldn’t forget.

He weren’t that frightened of the lightning no more though. And if he was scared it wasn’t like he used to be, not like a fear of not knowin’. Even though he was only nine he’d learned long ago that there were different ways of fearin’. When he was six or there abouts he used to lie in bed and pull the covers close to him and listen to the storm, the crack of the thunder making him squirm deeper under the covers like a snail crawlin’ into its shell.

But that was a different way of being scared… back then anyway. Weren’t till his dad told him about God’s camera that the fearin’ changed it’s way. ‘Cordin’ to his dad, God was always watching. Always. ‘Cordin’ to his dad, that lightning in the sky was God taking a photograph of ya’. An’ that God, he’d stare good and hard at that photo, lookin’ at every nook and cranny of what he’d got. An’ if you were doin’ wrong when he took that photo there weren’t no denying it when ya’ died and met him in heaven. No denyin’ at all. He’d caught ya’ good and proper.

An’ when he’d think about God watching him like that, that big ol’ camera ready and waiting, it scared him. But not like it used to. Used to be that he’d see that lightning hanging in the sky, like a crooked thread made of the sun, and it’d startle the bejeezers out of him. Always took him by surprise an’ then it’d be over. Not any more though. Not with the camera. Now’days he was more worried when the lightning had been and gone, wonderin’ what God was thinkin’ as he looked at him in that photo. Hopin’ God thought him a good boy. ’Cause he was… for the most part.

Sometimes though, sometimes he’d lie awake at night, storm or no storm, and he’d wonder if there was someone out in the world that looked exactly like him. Someone doin’ wrong. That scared him. Weren’t no way he wanted to go to his grave and stand accused of things he just hadn’t done. ’Cause he truly believed himself to be good.

He used to think about twins too, what if one of ‘em was good, gettin’ blamed for the trouble of the other? That just wasn’t fair and if that was the case then he truly pitied that twin. Feared for ’em too. The whole darn thing was spooky.

But there were other kinds of fear though… weren’t there? Like the fear he always felt when his dad’d been drinkin’. “Bad turn” was what his dad always called it, was what his mum always called it too. But it weren’t. He weren’t sure just what it should’ve been called, maybe he was too young, but callin’ it a bad turn just didn’t sit right. When that old woman on the nearby farm took sick all the grown-ups had said she’d had a bad turn. An’ his dad never took sick, he just got drunk an’ angry was all.

Angry… he thought sadly as he kicked out at a stone. Angry weren’t the word for it! Now, his dad being angry an’ all, that was a different scared to the lightning. Weren’t no fear hangin’ round once he’d been whipped, not like the camera. Only fear he felt once his dad was done was the fear of not knowin’ when the next whippin’ would come. That was a fear of not knowin’ when the beatin’ would come, lightning scared him ‘cause it had been an’ gone, leavin’ him worried ‘bout what was done. Not what was gonna be doin’.

As he came up the hill he saw the lights were on at home an’ he knew his dad would be waitin’ on him, him comin’ home so late an’ all. He felt a knot in his stomach somethin’ terrible as he watched his dad walk by the window, staggerin’ like he always did when he’d been drinkin’.

Then _BANG! _ Off went the flashbulb again and the world lit up like a giant match’d been struck. All around him was bright in that instant, an’ it stuck in his mind like he had a photo of his own in his head.

In that brief moment he’d seen clear ‘cross the fields… seen the houses in the distance, seen every fence, cow an’ whatever. An’ he’d also seen that big ol’ tomcat tearin’ at one of them rats everyone had been talkin’ about.

’You’re gonna get it for that you dumb ol’ cat,’ he whispered to himself. ’We’re both gonna get it,’ he added as he looked to his dad, standin’ at the window all purposeful.

He stuck his hands in his pockets sadly as he began home across the field, knowin’ for sure that he was gonna get a beatin’, being out dark.

Caught by God’s camera an’ all…

God's Camera

Brett Cole

Regent, Australia

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 1

Artwork Comments

  • Tatterhood
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10% off

for joining the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.