The soft light from the computer screen was the only illumination in the room. Staring intently at the screen, the young art student couldn’t comprehend what she was seeing. It was late and she knew she was tired however what she had just noticed made no logical sense at all.
For the past two weeks she had been focussed on her final photography project for her portfolio. She had a love/hate relationship with the camera but, after a lengthy lecture from her tutor, had conceded that she had no choice but to submit some photographic images as part of her overall degree portfolio. In an attempt to make things easier for herself, she had elected to centre the theme of her coursework on the stone statues that she walked past every day on her way to college.
Her daily route took her across a small square in the city centre, slightly off the beaten track, but filled with stone statues. It had caught her attention in her first year and she had done some research at that time into its history. All the sandstone buildings around the perimeter of the square had been designed by a Victorian architect who was renowned for adding Gothic touches to his work. He had met up with an aspiring French sculptor and together they had collaborated on the architecture of the square. Every building had at least one carved stone image on display, some having several. There were gargoyles leering down from every angle. In the centre of the quadrangle there was a small public garden containing more samples of the sculptor’s work.Her research had come to an abrupt halt. Both the architect and the sculptor had mysteriously disappeared shortly before the last house was completed, leaving one home with an empty plinth within the archway above the front entrance. As the sculptor hadn’t left any instructions or partially finished pieces, no one knew which statue had been destined to fill the space.
The following day she had scoured the area and finally found the house with the missing statue. It may have been her imagination but the air temperature had seemed to drop a few degrees as she stood gazing up at the empty arch.
Now almost three years later she used these statues as the models for her photography project. They had proved to be the perfect subjects. Always still. Facial expressions fixed. No risk of them twitching and ruining the shot. She had photographed them over several days, taking hundreds of shots from every conceivable angle. In different light they looked subtly altered so she repeated her photographic session by the light of the dawn and by the light of the moon. The variable Scottish weather had aided her project too, allowing her the opportunity to capture images of the stone figures bathed in bright sunshine and lashed by driving rain.
As she had edited the photographs she had felt pleased with the results. Her camera had captured the texture of the stone, the emotions carved into the faces and she had even picked out a few smaller carvings that she previously missed.
Now though, as she sat preparing the final images for printing off in college in the morning, she couldn’t make sense of the scenes before her.
Crazy as it sounded, the statues weren’t always in the same location.
Scrutinising the hundreds of photographs she concentrated on four statues who appeared to move about the most. Within the four folders she had saved out she had photographic proof that she had shot them in at least half a dozen different locations around the square. One, a tall slender striking male had even managed to appear in the park on a short column instead of his usual position beside the door of number seven. The statue of a young woman with long tumbling curls also moved from house to house. In one image she was crouching down above a doorway, almost as if she were trying to squeeze into a space too small for her, instead of standing on a wide base in a corner of the gardens.
A cold chill ran down her spine as she copied the pictures onto a flash drive. She would take them into college and show her tutor what she had uncovered.
With the images saved and the flash drive removed, she shut down the laptop and headed for bed.
Outside on the window sill, a tall slender male was crouched down watching her. He had been there all evening, as he had every other evening for a week. In the moonlight his alabaster white skin glistened.
He had repeatedly warned the others to take more care. Cautioned them against their reckless behaviour. Now, from what he had just witnessed, he knew they were all at risk. The art student had discovered their secret…or at least she thought she had. Little did she truly know.