Marianne approached the window, keeping well to one side and peered out between the bars. Beyond the little garden was a faence of high, uneven posts. Beyond the posts she could see the outlines of squat figures, standing round the garden like sentinels. She jumped back.
‘Mark! People, outside!’
‘Look again,’ Mark said.
Marianne peered out, more cautiously than ever. The people stood in strangely stiff, unyielding positions. She looked fixedly at one to see him shift his position, give some indication that he was alive. But he stayed absolutely still. So did the others.
‘Oh,’ she cried in relief. ‘They’re not live people. They’re only stones.’
‘Be quiet,’ Mark hissed at her. ‘I told you. I don’t know if THEY can hear as well as see.’
‘See? How can stones see?’
‘Look! Don’t talk, look.’
Marianne looked again. It was difficult to see much of any one of the stones because of the bars and the fence hindering her view. But as she concentrated on one of the humped squat figures with all her attention, she saw suddenly a movement. A dark oval patch, which she’d taken to be a hole, disappeared, as a pale eyelid dropped slowly for a moment and then was raised again. And in the dark oval, the ball of an eye swivelled slowly towards the house and remained there, staring with a fixed unwinking gaze straight, it appeared, at Marianne herself.
She shrank away from the window and turned to Mark.
‘One of them looked right at me!’ she said.
‘I can never tell whether THEY really see me, or just pretend to,’ Mark said, in a low voice.
‘It’s horrible!’ Marianne said. She shivered suddenly. ‘Mark, I’m frightened!’ Do they do that all the time? Don’t they ever shut their eyes? Go to sleep?’
‘I don’t know what happens at night,’ Mark said. ‘I can’t see them in the dark, but I have a horrible sort of feeling that they can see me.’
‘Do they ever move?’
‘Only their eyes. At least, I’ve never seen anything else move. And the same ones always seem to be in the same place every time I look out.’
‘I’m frightened,’ Marianne said again. ‘I don’t like it, Mark.’
(gif is by Bill Domonkos. text is from Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr.)