All it took was a flash of her badge for Camille Washington to be let through the crime scene barrier and into the scene itself. She shivered as she crossed the threshold; something about this museum freaked her out.
As she pushed through the revolving doors, she immediately spotted a familiar face talking to the director of the museum a little way off. His neat black hair had been trimmed since she'd last seen him but there was no mistaking that face.
He caught sight of her as she approached and broke off his conversation to say, "Hey, Camille. Thanks for coming on such short notice."
"No problem, Derrick. I never have any plans on a Friday night."
Derrick Deluca scrutinised her. "I can never tell when you're kidding. Anyway, this is Fiona Widdicombe, the director of the museum. Mrs Widdicombe, this is Camille Washington, from the League of Magicians."
The woman next to him—who almost looked like she could be related to him—had a worried expression on her face but she gave Camille a slightly wan smile. "Thank you for coming, Miss Washington."
Camille smiled back. "It's no problem, really. Derrick said one of your staff witnessed something weird and unexplainable?"
Fiona nodded. "Yes, it was our apprentice nightguard, Scott Hamilton. He... He saw..." She paused, her lips pressed so tightly together that they almost disappeared. "Well, I'll let him tell you himself. He's just being questioned by the police right now so why don't I take you to the site?"
Camille nodded. "That would be great, thanks."
Fiona led Camille and Derrick down the hall to their right. On the way, Camille glanced up at Derrick and found him staring directly ahead of them. "So how's Claire?"
"Huh?" Derrick blinked, shot Camille a look, then turned away. "Oh, she's fine."
"Any morning sickness?" inquired Camille when Derrick didn't elaborate.
"Um… how far along is she now?"
Camille gave a tired sigh. "Okay, what's wrong? Do you hate me all of a sudden? Why are you being so sharp with me?"
Derrick finally made eye contact with her, albeit very briefly. "I'm sorry, Camille; I'm just not feeling great right now. Shasta was arrested yesterday."
Camille's eyebrows rose in shock. "What? What for?"
"Speeding," Derrick sighed. "She was going seventy in a forty zone."
"Oh, Jesus. Why?"
"I wish I knew. She refused to see me and when Claire went to talk to her, apparently she told her to fuck off. And I'm not allowed to investigate at all because Shasta's my daughter so there's a clear conflict of interest. One of my colleagues did tell me that there was evidence of someone else in the car with her but she won't tell anyone anything about that. I just wish she wasn't so careless with her life, Camille. It's like she doesn't care about anything, not even herself."
"Have you tried talking to her?" Camille asked. "Not after she was arrested; in general, I mean."
Derrick slowly shook his head. "I've tried but she doesn't give me anything. She goes to school like normal but she doesn't tell me anything about her day or her work, and she shuts herself in her room almost as soon as she gets home. When I knock on the door, she doesn't even reply. I'm just so worried about her."
"Does she go to counselling?"
"She does, yeah. She started going about two months ago but again, she doesn't mention anything to me about it so I have no idea whether she actually talks to her therapist or if she just sits there in silence for an hour. But as long as there's a glimmer of hope that it might actually be helping, I'll keep paying for it."
There were a hundred things Camille wished she could say to reassure him. But the truth was that she just didn't know how to help. She'd never had children herself and didn't have much experience with them, especially not teenagers. She didn't even have experience with a younger teenage sibling. How could she possibly help?
Thankfully, ahead of them, Fiona stopped in front of a doorway and beckoned them over. "Just through here."
Camille gratefully trotted ahead of Derrick and followed Fiona into the next room. She found herself facing a rather large stone statue of a muscled man with its arms raised above its head in a victory pose. The first thing that really struck Camille was the dimly glowing purple aura around it, but it was gone almost as soon as she lay eyes on it. With hindsight, that was her first clue.
"This is a statue of the Ancient Greek figure Atlas," Fiona explained. "According to the myths, as a punishment for fighting against the Olympians in the Titanomachy, Atlas was condemned to hold up the sky on his shoulders for eternity. This statue was donated to the museum four years ago when I was curator and I personally oversaw its installation in this room."
She unclipped a piece of paper from her clipboard and handed it to Camille. "This is a photo of what the statue used to look like."
"Used to…?" Camille frowned and turned her attention to the image in her hands. To her shock, the photo depicted the very same statue in a completely different pose. As Fiona had described, it looked as if this man was holding up the sky: the statue was on one knee, head bent, with his arms lifted only slightly to hold the burden of the sky.
Camille glanced up at the real statue, then back down at the picture. There was no doubt that it was the same statue, but how was it possible for it to have changed position like that?
Derrick peered at the photo over Camille's shoulder. "I'm starting to see what you mean. Is it possible for the culprit to have made an exact replica of this statue and replaced the real one with it in the night?"
Fiona shook her head. "Not at all possible. Both forms of this statue are too big to fit through any doorways."
"Then how did you get it in here in the first place?" Camille asked.
Fiona pointed skywards. Camille followed her finger and saw a large glass dome covering the room, through which the night sky was visible.
"We had to take the whole roof off," said Fiona. "With a giant crane. That's why we chose this room to display it in; there was nowhere else that had a way for us to get the statue in. All in all, the process took several hours. There's no way anyone had enough time to do that tonight. And I have a witness to prove it."
But Camille had already figured it out. "That man you mentioned earlier. Scott something?"
Fiona nodded. "Scott Hamilton, that's right. He's the apprentice nightguard here so he was doing the rounds at the time this happened."
"I'll go see if my colleagues have finished with him," said Derrick.