The Sculpture Garden

It was the neighbour who alerted us.

Mary was driving, so I took the call.

Mary glanced across at me after I’d signed off on the shout. ‘What does that mean?’

I shrugged. ‘It could be anything.’

‘Yes, that’s what worries me.’ The scar above her eye crinkled as she frowned.

‘Don’t worry,’ I said. ‘I’ll be there to back you up.’ I tapped her thigh.

‘You back me up. I was thinking you could go first.’

‘What about sexual equality and all that?’

‘Equality? If you don’t get your hand off my thigh, I’ll report you for harassment.’

I turned, shifting in the seat as my handcuffs dug into my side. ‘That isn’t what you said last night.’ I grinned at her.

Mary snorted. ‘In your dreams, Sam.’

My eyes opened wide. ‘My Dreams? How did you know? Have you been bugging my dreams?’

‘Yes. Yes, I have,’ she laughed as she turned into the street. ‘Now, I know why you keep staring at the police dogs with that look in your eye.’

‘I can’t help it if I’ve got a thing for bitches.’ I stroked her thigh. She slapped my hand away as we parked. She glanced in the rear-view mirror and tidied her hair, tugging down her stab vest and wriggling. ‘Come on now. ‘She opened her car door. ‘Be professional.’

I knocked on the neighbour’s door.

He turned up after a couple of minutes. He was late middle-aged, unshaven, wearing a dressing gown and possibly little else under it. I saw Mary crinkle her nose.

After the introductions and a few inane pleasantries, he turned back into his house. ‘It’s best if I show you,’ he said.

He didn’t speak again until we were in his back garden. He pointed over the fence into his neighbour’s garden.

‘A bit weird,’ Mary said after a moment or two. ‘But not as far as I know illegal, even if it is odd.’ She turned to me. ‘Would you have statues of your family in the back garden, Sam?’

I shook my head, staring at the statues: a man, a woman a boy and a girl, caught as if running from the house. The little girl, about five or so, even had her heel halfway through the patio doorway.

‘Thing is,’ the neighbour said. ‘They don’t look like statues to me. I’ve never seen sculptures like that.’

I turned to look at him. He didn’t look like someone who saw many sculptures at all.

He must have sensed I what I was thinking. ‘I used to be an art teacher,’ he said.

I climbed over the fence and held out my hand for Mary.

She made a point of not noticing my helping hand and clambered over the fence unassisted.

The ex-art teacher took a step back, closer to his back door, as we did the official police saunter over to the sculptures.

Mary turned to me, eyes wide and scar puckered. ‘He’s right, these are not sculptures. These are real people, turned to stone.’

I pressed the button on my radio to call it in, but I didn’t know what to say.


Published by David Hadley

A Bloke. Occasionally points at ducks.

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