The dunes might have been exuding the dusk now. The sand that loomed above her to her left and stretched to the edge of the water on her right was losing its hold on its colour. As it began to turn as grey as the promenade the silhouettes that faced the sea grew blacker. Claire saw a torso that was sawn off by the waves, and a head that was unable to avoid the relentless onslaughts of water, but how many full-length figures were visible? She had the odd idea that there might be one too many, and not even facing the right way. When she gave in to the temptation to look, of course none of them was watching her. The sooner she was home the better. She would be before it was entirely dark.
Her feet had begun to ache with the roughness of the promenade or with walking faster. Fragments of gravel skittered away from her; some clattered down the sea wall to the beach, and she could have fancied they would rouse anything alive down there. She did her best to fend off the urge to turn around, to catch one of the silhouettes sneaking after her through the dimness. When had she played that childhood game of creeping up behind someone and freezing into immobility whenever they looked? As she searched for the memory she was overtaken by a sense that all the blank-eyed duplicates at her back had joined in the game and were advancing silently in unison. Of course none of them was moving – at least, almost none. The silhouette whose feet were shifting wakefully was just a statue, and the restlessness belonged to the windswept pool in which it stood.