Together We Stand – Episode 23

Gwendolyn saw their visitors out, then locked the door behind them.

“We’ve still things to do here. I’ve the automobile outside. I’ll take you home when you are ready.”

“Thank you,” Tanni said gratefully. It was going to be late when she got home as it was.

She made her way into the darkroom in the basement, working as swiftly as she could, printing the photographs in the basement below.

From what she could see, they appeared to have come out successfully, but there would not be enough light until the morning to see if the focus was sharp.

At last they were done, and she made her way back to the studio.

As she reached halfway, a shadow darkened the doorway.

“Mrs Humphries?” she called. There was no reply. “I’m finished here, if you wish to go home.”

The shadow moved, flickering along the wall in the lamplight. She heard the sound of footsteps coming towards her, but there still was no answer.

“Edith?” she called. “Edith, is that you?”

In the distance, she heard the jangle of the doorbell, and the calls of the last of the volunteers making their home, followed by the brisk tap of Mrs Humphries’s boots making their way towards her.

“I’m on my way to join you, Mrs Humphries,” Tanni called as loudly as she could.

The shadow vanished. She shot up as fast as she could, arriving breathless at the top of the stairs just as Mrs Humphries appeared at the door into the tearoom.

The studio was empty. Tanni blinked. There was no other way out but to pass Gwendolyn.

She pulled herself together. She was tired and letting her imagination run away with her. Maybe it had been one of the volunteers coming to have a try of the costumes without realising she was still there.

Whoever it was, they had gone.

“You look exhausted,” Gwendolyn said, looking at her anxiously.

“It’s just the chemicals,” Tanni murmured, following her into the bright lights of the tearooms. “They always give me a slight headache if I’m there too long.”

“Definitely time to get you home,” Gwendolyn said firmly.

As they left, Tanni turned back towards the studio. It was dark and silent. The camera and the stage with the backdrop were ready and waiting for customers the next morning.

She shivered slightly. It felt like a deserted theatre, full of ghosts.

She shook herself and followed Gwendolyn into the streets of Llandudno.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.