There are statues everywhere. Have you ever thought of that? Statues, everywhere.

Of course you haven't thought about it. They're statues. Inanimate. What of them? They're decoration, nothing more.

And that's just what they want you to think.

Oh, sorry, excuse that little foray into melodrama; it's not true, anyway. They don't have the brainpower to think about things like that. They don't have the brainpower to think about anything very much, except the hunger that's within each of them. That's what makes them so dangerous.

Have you ever thought of the amount of damage a statue could do if it wanted to hurt you? They're heavy things, and not just because they're made of stone or metal. They carry the weight of things you can't even imagine.

Think about it. For all that we sprang from it, we're not creatures of the Earth in the strictest sense; we crawl over the skin of it, but nothing more. We can't pierce the heart of it. But every statue fashioned of stone, or metal, or even plaster or glass or sand, has been within the bones of the world, and they carry the hunger to return. It consumes them. It's their only thought.

There are exceptions, of course. Wooden statues have no hunger, as they only come from trees, which have always grown on the surface. Nor do ice carvings, for as long as they last. Because of the lack of the hunger, these types tend to be rather more intelligent; my pal Oak, for example, a rather fine wooden statue of a woodchopper, is able to carry on a perfectly fluent conversation about the poetry of Homer. In fact, most of the time I think he's more intelligent than the average human by a fairly large margin. But, as a rule, statues are mind-numbingly stupid. They can talk, just about, but all that they can talk about is the hunger. It makes no difference if they happen to be human-shaped; they're still stupid, and very dangerous. They'll destroy whole cities in their quest to return to the earth.

All right, now I've put the wind up you I'll try and be a bit more reassuring. Your average common-or-garden statue such as you may see in the city centre is not very likely to suddenly come alive and start rampaging around in the manner of Godzilla. Statues have to be Awakened first, and no-one really knows how that happens, except that it's relatively rare and probably fairly complicated. Oak can't shed any light; all he knows is that one day he just woke up. It's dangerous when it does happen, but most of the time it doesn't.

My department was put together to corral and restrain rampant statues. We're small, highly trained, and although I do say so myself very much the elite…but we're hardly busy. Last month, we went out once, and that was only to detain a very small stone statue of a toad. The last really dangerous statue was last year, around January time. Most of the time we study the statues we catch. It's almost impossible to destroy an Awakened statue, and so we just keep them in high-security cells; they spend most of their time pacing back and forth and mumbling about their hunger. They're no trouble, and of course they don't need to be fed.

The rest of the time we spend playing cards. It's amazing how proficient you get at card games when there's nothing else to do.

Sometimes I wish something a bit more interesting would happen. It would definitely make a change from card games. But the way things are going these days I don't see that happening any time soon at all…

The End

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