THE PHOTOGRAPH: Part 2
Kate woke at four in the morning, desperate for a wee. Moonlight bathed the room, lending it an unknown quality. As she swung her legs off the bed, she glanced up. Propped on the mantlepiece, against the clock, was the photograph.
Kate froze, heart pounding.
I ripped it up. I know I ripped it up.
She couldn't have imagined it. Could she?
On legs that felt weak and trembly, she walked across the room. Her fingers shook as she picked up the photo.
The moon in the picture sat high in the sky, bleaching the flat scene silver. The figure had almost reached the lane. In one hand it (he?) held something long and black. To Kate's untarined eye it looked suspiciously like a shotgun.
Big. With two barrels.
A scream lodged in Kate's throat.
She must be going insane. What other answer could there be? Torn photographs simply did not repair themselves.
She had been under a lot of pressure lately: her mother's death; the funeral arrangements; the house to sort.
That must be it.
She was tired, stressed, her mind was playing tricks. She must have only imagined ripping the picture up. She must have propped it up on the mantlepiece herself.
...but the figure? A voice inside her head whispered. What about the figure?
Through the open bedroom window came the sound of the gate creaking back on its hinges.
Kate's head whipped round in the direction of the noise. Eyes wide. Heart thumping.
She gulped in her throat, the small sound loud in the stillness of the room. Hardly daring to look she forced her eyes back to the photo.
The figure was gone.
The gate at the bottom of the photograph stood open.
Somewhere downstairs a window smahed.
Seconds later the sound of footsteps could be heard climbing the stairs.