My camera turned itself off, and I knew the battery was drained. As I wasn’t done taking pictures of the damage yet, I pulled the drained battery out, and put in the last of my spares. Six batteries, drained, taking pictures of this site.
“There’s a pattern in the damage,” was all I could think. “A pattern that repeats.” Pictures tend not to lie, especially unedited pictures, captured straight to film. Not like digital images where you can change everything. It’s why I used film for the research.
“Same damage as the other seven sites in the state.” The tension in my jaw made my teeth ache, and I wondered if I’d crack another tooth from the stress. “Breathe, damn-it. Breathe.”
The damage wasn’t to destroy the structure, or the framework of the building. It was designed to lower the value of the building. To make it ugly, and unmarketable. It was always focused on surfaces. Taking down walls, leaving the maximum amount of debris, destroying stair rails, but leaving the stairs in place, pulling down the ceiling, showing the framework, cables, pipes, and insulation.
The framework of a building was the least expensive part, relatively speaking. What made it expensive was the appearance. Wreck the appearance, and the price of the building plummeted.
A second aspect of the damage, people stopped visiting the damaged places. Business inside went under, closed, left. No one wanted to shop amid the damage. No one wanted to watch a movie, or a theater performance in a wrecked place. Didn’t matter how big the place had been. The damage killed it.
With enough pictures, from enough sites, I hoped to show the damage was deliberate. Someone wanted the framework to use for themselves. That was obvious. What was not obvious was who.
It’s Week 37 of #SwiftFicFriday, hosted by Kathryn J. Avila. I’m trying this fiction writing challenge out for the first time. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #SwiftFicFriday, and if you like a story, click on the like button.