Having worked late into the night editing the photos for her portfolio, she slept through her alarm. It was the noise of the downstairs neighbour clattering in after his night shift that wakened her shortly before eight. In a frantic panic, she had charged through her small flat getting ready in record time.
As she had scampered down the front steps, juggling her bags, camera and a half-eaten slice of toast, rain pelted down on her. Muttering as an icy drop slid down the neck of her jacket, she pulled up her hood and set off for her nine thirty meeting with her tutor.
Despite being tight for time, she couldn’t resist the temptation to pause in the square to take a few more photos. Part of her loved the effect of the rain on the stone. It added more shading and a subtle sheen to some of the effigies. Having spent hours studying the various statues the night before, she scanned the buildings and gardens seeking out the tall male and the girl with the long tumbling curls. She quickly spotted the girl. Unusually, she was on a plinth in the garden, staring down the road that she herself had just rushed up.
The tall, slender male was nowhere to be seen.
An icy chill ran down the student’s spine as, with trembling hands, she stuffed her camera back into her bag.
Her tutor was waiting for her when she came dashing into his small office.
“Sorry, sir,” she gasped, as she dumped her bag on the floor. “Overslept.”
“Relax, Jenny,” he replied. “You’re a whole thirty seconds late. Chill.”
“Oh, I’m chilled,” she declared emphatically. “To the bone! Wait until you see my photos.”
She handed the flash drive to her tutor and asked him to open the file “Moving Statues” that was stored in the “Portfolio Pieces” folder.
Nodding approvingly, he scanned the images one by one, occasionally complimenting her on the light or the angle or the balance of the composition.
“These are fabulous! Just the boost your portfolio needs. Which ones are you going to enlarge and print?”
“I’m not sure yet,” she said, twirling a strand of her coppery red hair round her finger. “Did you notice anything odd about those statues?”
“No. Was I meant to?”
“Sir,” she began nervously, suddenly feeling very foolish. “They move about that square.”
The look on his face told her that he thought she was crazy. Folding his hands in front of him, he continued, “Jenny, statues of that era or any others made of stone aren’t easily moved. It would take lifting equipment to shift some of the larger ones.”
“I know and I know it sounds insane, but I can prove it,” countered Jenny boldly. “Open the file “Changeable Locations.” The proof’s in there.”
Together they sat and studied the numerous photos of the sculptures. Again her focus had been on the tall male and the girl. Both statues appeared in at least a dozen different locations around the square and gardens. Both statues had been photographed in different poses but there was no denying that there were the same ones.
“Jenny, you must’ve Photoshopped these,” accused her tutor as he closed the file.
“I don’t have Photoshop!” she protested. “And I can confirm they move with this morning’s shots that are still in my camera.”
Before her tutor could levy any further accusations, she reached into her satchel and passed him her camera.
“Date and time stamp is on each image,” she stated.
Sceptically her tutor accepted the camera and browsed the pictures that had been captured only an hour before.
“Now do you believe me, sir?”
“I must be losing my mind,” muttered the disbelieving tutor as he switched off Jenny’s camera. “Yes, Jenny. I believe you.”
By the end of the day, Jenny had printed off half a dozen of the images and mounted them, ready to be included in her final portfolio of work. She had also left a copy of all of the files, including the fresh ones from that morning, with her tutor who had promised to speak with a colleague who studied paranormal phenomenon.
Straight after her last class, Jenny rushed off to work. Three nights a week she worked as a waitress in a small family –run city centre restaurant. As it was midweek and a miserable night, business was slow. An hour before the end of her shift, the owner’s wife suggested that she should finish up early and head home.
As she opened the garden gate, Jenny felt the temperature drop. An icy chill swept through her. The light above the entrance was off, leaving the doorway in virtual darkness, despite the lights being on in the two ground floor flats. Quickly she ran up the path and the half a dozen worn stone steps. As she reached to open the large wooden door, she heard a noise behind her.
Slowly she turned round. She found herself face to face with a tall, slender familiar looking man. His skin was alabaster white, almost translucent.