Elysa and Georgia headed out to the lake to take pictures. Elysa – Georgia's aunt – was a photographer, and a good one at that. Georgia was eighteen and had never had a boyfriend. Elysa was trying to fix that. She’d been a teenager a long time ago and wanted terribly to live vicariously through her pretty young niece. There were few things worse than watching a gorgeous girl sit in low self-confidence. Elysa might not be what she used to be, but she was never lacking in confidence.
“Wow, look at that church!” Georgia gasped as they were driving. Elysa had to stop just to get a good look at it. It was tucked back behind the trees of the forest, its white paint peeling but still it stood tall and straight. Elysa parked the car on the side of the road and got out. “What are you doing?” Georgia asked nervously.
“I’m going to take pictures of you with that church in the background. Come on! It’ll be great.”
“What if we’re not allowed back there?”
“Then we’ll be asked to leave,” Elysa said obviously, already heading towards the abandoned little church. She looked over her shoulder. Georgia was still standing by the car in her short, strapless dress and cowboy boots. She was as pretty as could be and scared as a mouse. “Come on, Georgi!” She pursed her lips and came.
“There’s a graveyard behind the church,” she commented quietly.
“Sure is. Man, those are some beautiful trees!”
Georgia shook her head. Her aunt wasn’t scared of anything. She admired that. She wanted to be brave and confident like Elysa. There was a small plaque on the wall of the church that read:
Church of the Commons
Built in 1818
Rev Richard Smith.
“How long do you think it’s been abandoned?” Georgia asked.
“Don’t know. Go stand by the door, with your back against it,” Elysa instructed. Georgia slowly complied, obviously uncomfortable. “Relax, Georgi, it’s fine.”
From the very first shot, Elysa knew she had magic. Georgi was glowing. Her pictures were outstanding. “Oh, wow, girl, you’ve got it!” Georgia giggled and shook out her long, brown hair. “Sit on the doorstep for me,” her aunt said. Georgia tested the door to make sure it would take her weight and found it was solidly locked shut. She sat down but before Elysa could snap another picture, the door swung open and a tall man in dark dress clothes stepped out. Georgia sprang up and stood behind her aunt, who was dumbstruck. The man looked them over with curious eyes. After what seemed a silent eternity, the man spoke,
“Goodness, child, you must be freezing,” he shrugged out of his dress coat and reached to drape it over Georgia’s bare shoulders. When neither spoke, he continued, “You could at least say thank you.”
“Thank you,” Georgia mumbled.
“What are you ladies doing here?”
“We were just taking pictures. I’m sorry, we didn’t –”
“Pictures?” he interrupted Elysa.
“Yes, she’s a senior so we’re taking pictures.”
“Senior? How old are you, girl? You don’t look like a senior.”
“I’m eighteen,” Georgia replied quietly.
“See, a senior is an elderly person.”
“No, a senior in high school,” Elysa laughed, thinking he was playing a words with them. “We’ll leave. We didn’t know the church was still in use.”
“Of course it’s still in use.” The man sounded almost offended. “It was only built three years ago.”
Elysa and Georgia exchanged a glance. “Three years ago?” Georgia whispered.
“Yes, three years ago, in 1815.”
“Sir,” Elysa laughed, “Three years ago was 2008!”
The man sighed and looked up, “God, why do you plague me with simpletons?”
“Aunt Elysa,” Georgia whispered. “Do you think–”
“Uh-huh,” Elysa nodded. “I think he thinks it’s 1818.”