Cover of Smile

"Smile" first appeared in The Cynic Online Magazine, volume 10, issue 10, October 2008 and Bewildering Stories, issue 335, May 2009 under the pen name Tom C. Underhill.

 

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While Tammy, a teenage soccer star and budding writer, contemplates her adolescent problems and waits for her flaky mom to pick her up from practice, a stranger takes a secret picture of her. Tammy shivers as the camera captures her image, but she doesn’t notice anything else out of the ordinary until the next day, when the stranger starts to develop his film.

Then her life begins falling apart.

Piece by piece, the things that make her Tammy are parceled out to other girls, and she starts to feel more and more invisible, fading from real life as her image comes into focus on the stranger’s light-sensitive paper.