The Shadow in the Corner
Tap, tap, tap. Tappity, tap, tap, tap.
The sound of the security guard banging his badge against the flashlight he was carrying was the only sound in the darkened museum. The sound carried around staircases, down the stone hallways, curling itself around the many paintings and artifacts the museum had on display. It resounded around the glass Chuhuly sculpture and shattered against the glass doors of the colonial wing, doors barring the sound from ever reaching the paintings done by Copley and the silver teapot made by Paul Revere.
When she heard the sound coming closer to her gallery, the Dancer winced.
Every night, when it was time for the guests to leave, she was left alone. Left alone to slide off her pedestal and walk around her palatial home - for you could not call this museum anything less than a palace. She would imagine she was a princess, gently gliding down the staircase of the Huntington entrance, or entering a large (couch interrupted) ballroom by going by the gallery of the masters. She would explore the world through the artifacts in the various cultural galleries, visiting mummies, Greek statues, and African masks.
But her explorations could not begin until that security guard had left. And, of course, this particular security guard wouldn't leave until he had checked on her one last time.
She wasn't quite sure why this was, but she didn't have time to ponder this. His tapping was growing closer and closer, practically in her gallery now.
Tap, tap, tappity, tap.
She pushed her face back into it's serene look. The wince would probably make him think she'd been stolen and replaced with an odd replica.
The tapping stopped. It wasn't in front of her. She didn't dare move.
"Clara, I told you to stay in the office."
Who was Clara?
"Daddy, it's dark in here! And you left me alone! I want to stay with the dancing statue!" The voice sounded like that of a young girl, maybe nine, and only a little bit frightened.
The Dancer heard a sigh coming from the man. "Well, this is my last stop anyway. Let's look at her together."
Two people walked around front. The Dancer didn't dare look down to get a good look at the girl, but as it turned out, she wouldn't have to. The security guard lifted his young daughter up high enough to see. The Dancer couldn't help but glance at the girl, who blinked back at her.
Then she blinked a few more times.
"Daddy... I think she's alive..."
"Don't be silly." The Dancer saw him smile at his daughter. "Anyway, time to go home, I think." He put Clara down.
"Time to go home," she repeated. Then, before she could turn to follow her father out of the gallery she whispered, "Good night, dancer."
The Dancer smiled.