The photo session was dynamic, exciting, and in many ways more like a filming on a movie set. Josephine couldn’t help but feel empowered. There she was on a brilliantly detailed set, in a gorgeously heroic outfit, giving a pantomimed smack down to some phony masked villains. Josephine hadn’t had this much fun in a long, long time. All the while William sat in her chair and watched her work. He was perfectly still, perfectly quiet, his gaze always on her.
Alice stood beside the chair and from time to time, between shots, Josephine would see Alice petting William. The former model seemed calmer, less panicked. She almost seemed like a different woman, something that Josephine wasn’t entirely willing to give credit to the little dog.
It was a brilliantly productive shoot. Dozens of photos from a multitude of angles heights and directions in a matter of hours. The working day was almost over, they only had a few photos to take and yet Josephine hadn’t even broken a sweat.
The stout man prepped Josephine for the next shoot.
“Pretty Basic shot this time…” The stout man explained as two stage hands opened a pair of outer double doors on the side wall. A very small compact car shell was wheeled onto the set. William stood up on all four legs and glared at the car. “…we’re going to need you to crouch on top of that car. Our pose guide should help with the details as…” The little man grunted and shook his head. “…my back just won’t let me do it any more tonight!”
Some cast and crew members laughed. The set director had made quite the fool of himself modeling the poses for Josephine throughout the shoot.
“The Camera will be held down here…” the stout man gestured to the street right next to the car. “Aimed up at you for…dramatic effect.” The stout man addressed the crew. “ALRIGHT LET’S PREP THE SHOT PEOPLE!”
Two stage hands helped Josephine up on to the roof of the car. While the camera was maneuvered into position a crew member opened up a portfolio full of poses for women. The pose was very basic and Josephine assumed it right away. Everything was set, the camera was ready when William began to growl. He glared at the car and growled. Everyone on the set stopped what they were doing and stared at the dog. The growl was far deeper, far louder than anything that small should have been able to create. He took an aggressive posture, and bared his teeth. For a moment, just for a moment, Josephine thought that the dog was looking at her. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up.
There was someone behind her. Josephine turned around. In the window of set behind her she saw a man in a ski mask watching her. When their eyes met, the man ran. A man in black ran from the backdrop he stopped. There was a moment of awkward silence. The cast and crew stared at the masked man and the masked man stared back. William growled again, just as loud as he had before. Like a lion or a wild beast. The intruder squeaked like a mouse lightly trodden upon and ran out of the side double doors.
The intruder ended the session for the day. The police were called and their investigation ate into the rest of the working day. With William on guard Josephine quickly undressed and redressed in her dressing room. There was something in the air at the studio that she just did not trust. Something…dark. Sinister perhaps. At any rate she couldn’t wait to get home, and was very grateful for the little dogs company, she was even grateful that Alice was there.
The stout man approached theme as they hurried onto the limo.
“Just two more days of shooting now!” He added happily through the open limo window as he adjusted his shades. “Same time tomorrow! And tomorrow…” his smile broadened. “…that’s when things really get interesting!”
He hit the top of limo and off they went. William poked his head out of Josephine’s purse and growled at the open window. Once the theater was out of sight he stopped.
“Really strange man!” Alice observed aloud. “Kind of…creepy in a way.”
In truth Josephine could have easily said the same thing about Alice, several people at the agency already had, but instead she let it go. Besides Josephine agreed with her. He never introduced himself and never took off his heavily tinted sunglasses, not even indoors. Over the years she had met many weird characters. People so weird, so strange they might have been beyond Willie’s ability to imagine. Was…this…nameless set director really stranger scarier than all the others?
“Willie…” Josephine sighed. She pulled her cell phone from her purse. She dialed his number again, and again she was unable to connect. Why, she wondered, wouldn’t he answer? Could he be blocking her calls, she wondered. She had been a little harsh with him earlier that same morning. Something she wished that she hadn’t done. She really needed someone to talk to.