Old Family Photographs



Scene Title Old Family Photographs
Synopsis Another mysterious delivery brings Richard Ray to a realization that some of his credentials may not be correct after all…
Date March 15, 2018

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office

After taking the day off — it’s not like he has to ask permission, it’s his company — Richard Ray sat at a chess-board table in a park for twelve hours, with breaks to use the bathrooms in the park or pick up something to eat from the increasingly-sparse food stalls in the area. The price of a hot dog is outrageous right now, but if it’ll help the poor vendors of the Safe Zone — well, he can afford an outrageously-priced hot dog.

The man that he was expecting to show up never did, though, and he’s not quite sure if he can afford that.

It’s late when he gets back to the Raytech building, his card granting him entrance even though the lobby is dim and there isn’t a receptionist at the front desk. Upon reaching his office, the lights come on inside in a slow brightening, revealing a USPS bubble wrap envelope sitting atop his desk.


“She spelled out the ‘ha ha ha’,” Richard observes aloud in bemusement as he tears off the note, considering the package beneath. The same ‘childish’ scrawl is written upon it, the same return address for San Antonio as the previous one that he received, and he feels a cold weight in his stomach as he realizes this.

Slowly he steps back around the desk and drops down into his chair, reaching out to snag the package and pull it over. It’s torn open with little fanfare and tilted up, shaken a few times. Three polaroids fall out, rattling to the black glass of the desk’s surface.

The first photo shows David and Michelle Cardinal sitting on a ratty sofa in a garage drinking beers. They are maybe 20 years old. David has long hair as he did in other photos and is smoking a joint. Michelle is laughing with an arm around his shoulders. She has a Kansas City University sweater on.

The second photo is of David and Michelle around a campfire. David is trying to roast a marshmallow on a folding pocket knife and is laughing. Michelle is trying to eat a roasted marshmallow but is getting it all over herself.

The third is a photo of David and Michelle standing out front of a movie theater. The marquee reads E. T. THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL OPENING NIGHT. They are holding hands hands and smiling broadly. It must be summer, because Michelle is in a skinny blue sundress and sandals and David is in a Motorhead t shirt and cutoff jean shorts, wearing a pair of doc martens. They are both holding lit cigarettes.

There’s silence in the office for a long time as he looks over the photographs of his presumed biological parents, flipping between the three of them. A wistful smile briefly curves to his lips at the laughter, the closeness, the obvious love between the pair. At least there was that, he tells himself.

“Kansas City University,” he murmurs, taking a note on the screen beneath the glass of his desk, and then he stops… and stares at the third photograph. At his mother in a skinny sundress, at the marquee above her.

“Wait. Wait a second— “

It barely takes any time at all before he’s brought up the details for the United States release of E.T., the date of it reading June 11, 1982. He looks from the screen to the photograph again, to the dress that Michelle’s wearing, to the way it falls on her frame. Then he’s suddenly digging out his wallet as if needing to check what he already knows is true, pulling out his driver’s license.

DOB: 6 / 18 / 1982.

“She’s not— there’s no way she’s nine months pregnant there,” Richard exhales, staring at that photograph again as his stomach twists into knots at the implications. As he remembers the voice of a dead man from years prior, an old ghost haunting his dreams yet again.

Kain's head shakes slowly. "Ah' don't know you, Richard. Yer a goddamned ghost. Stint at Rikers, then nothin'. Ah' did mah homework on you, an' there ain't a whole lot that says you ever even existed before they gone and chucked you in that prison. Birth certificate, driver's license, prison record."

Kain's brows crease together slowly. "That don't sound like a man, that sounds like a lie."

“What the hell is going on?”

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License