The Triangle People

by Shane Migliavacca


The Triangle People


Sarah Hoffman was nervous. Sitting at a table outside the cafe. She felt exposed. Sarah hated open places. She’d picked a table with a clear view of the entrance and parking lot. Better to see everyone's comings and goings. Not to mention she’d seen them again. Just out of the corner of her eye. They were a figment of her fragile mind no doubt. Brief flashes of people watching her.

Your messed up kid.

Sarah picked up the folder on the table. Inside was a stack of of glossy photos. She flipped through them again. Her hands were trembling. They were all crap. Damn. What was wrong with her? She used to have a good eye for setting up a shot, but these were all framed bad. Beginner’s shit. Not something you’d see from a pro.

Let’s face it. You’ve lost the passion.

Sarah loved photography. Setting up shots. Making every one of them a work of art. A painting. She was an artist. All she’d need was the next assignment to keep her going. And now, what had changed?

You saw that man die.

He hadn’t just died.

He died in your arms.

Sarah had be covering a flower expo of all things. Should have been cake. She’d done it for an easy paycheck. Except for the man with a gun. He opened fire on the crowd. Ten wounded. Four dead. Including the shooter. He’d been there to kill his ex-wife. She’d only been wounded.

One of the dead: Tom Hillston. He’d been in front of Sarah when the shooting started. Had he not been standing there…

She took a deep breath. The image of his face as he died. It was always there. Just below the surface. Ready to come out at a moment’s notice. The sadness, emptiness in his eyes. Sarah could still taste the blood on her lips. His blood.

There were times at night, sleepless nights where she prayed they could switch places. She should have died that day. Not Tom Hillston, father of three.

Posttraumatic stress disorder they call it. Well she certainly had it. And her work was suffering for it. Missed appointments, outbursts and shitty work. That’s why this assignment had been so important. A job for a clothes catalog. A chance to get the ball rolling again on her career. 

She was waiting for her contact at the catalog. The cafe was busy with the afternoon lunch crowd. Far too many people her for Sarah to feel comfortable. Waiting for the editor of the catalog to show. They’d had a date for noon. It was already quarter to one. Sarah had the urge to just fucking leave. The photos were shit anyway. Whether she ditched or stayed the editor would be pissed. A few more minutes she told herself, then she’d leave. Piss on this whole rotten thing.

A red corvette pulled into the lot. Music playing loudly playing within for a few seconds before the car shuts off. Was that Rick Astley? It could only be Irene Dellanger. An old friend and the person responsible for getting her this job. Sarah hadn’t realized she’d be meeting Irene. This would be doubly hard. Showing her the disappointing shoot, after Irene had gone out of her way to get Sarah the job.

Some of the patrons shot Irene dirty looks as she strode over. No doubt they weren’t fans of her choice of music. Before Irene could reach her a waitress cut her off.

“Can I help you ma’am?” The hapless young waitress asked.

Irene simply pointed to Sarah. “I’m with her kid. Would you be a sport and bring me a glass of wine.” The waitress left, tail between her legs. Irene gave Sarah a weary smile. “There’s my girl!” She sat languidly in the chair across from her. “Lay ‘em on me.”

Sarah held the folder tight. Her heart beat fast in her chest. “Well…” She wanted to tell her not to bother, that the photos were all garbage. But her courage went out the door as Irene smiled at her, waiting with her hand outreached. No, instead Sarah hand them to her defeated. She was weak.

Irene took the folder, rifling through it a couple times without comment. Sarah tried to read her friend’s face. Was that disappointment? Or just tiredness? It was hard to say. Finally, after a few agonizing minutes Irene handed it back. Before either of them commented, the poor waitress from before brought that glass of wine.

Sarah worked up her nerve to say something. “Listen, I’m sorry that they’re so poor. The photos. I can do them again-”

Irene put a hand up, cutting her off. She took a large sip of wine, setting the glass back down and slopping droplets of wine on the white tablecloth.

“Hahaha! Good one Sarah.”

Sarah looked at her puzzled. “What?”

“Is this like one of our collage pranks? Or is today April first?”

“Uh, neither?”

“Then you have a weirder sense of humor then I thought. They’re fantastic!”

Fantastic? Was Irene still smoking pot? That’s the only explanation. No, no, she was being nice. That’s it. She could tell how messed up Sarah was feeling.

“Y-You like them?” Sarah stammered. “I didn’t think they came out all that great.”

“Love ‘em!” She took another sip of wine. “In fact I think I will give you the location shoot too.”

“What? Really?” Sarah asked, maybe Irene was the one pulling a prank.

“Yeah.” She answered, a little annoyed. “I’m not joking. You killed the studio shoot. Let’s see what you can do with a location. I’ve already got it picked out. You’ll love it.”

They’d had a pretty good lunch afterwards. Dropping all the business talk and just talking about old times. It was the first time in so long she felt good. Felt human and not like a lump of scar tissue.

As Sarah was walking back to the car, she stopped and waved to Irene as she pulled out, music again loudly coming from the car’s speakers. It was in fact Rick Astley.

Over the din of Rick’s voice and the car engine, Irene hollered to her. “It was fun home slice. Catch you tomorrow!” With that she sped off, breaking god knows how many traffic laws.

Sarah couldn’t help herself, she smiled. Perhaps it was the turning point she’d hoped for. A second chance.


Irene might have thought she’d love the location, but Sarah had other feelings about it. It was horrible. An old abandoned building at the center of the city. It had served as the City Hall back in the 70’s. But a scandal of some sort had led to it falling into disuse. In fact most of this area of the city had been vacated. Blocks and blocks of old, abandoned buildings. Some hundreds of years old. It wasn’t too hard to tell her models: Allie and Paige were less than thrilled by their surroundings as well.

Paige, a pale, leggy redhead looked up at the old city hall. “Really?”  

Sarah nodded. “That’s what she told me.”

Allie, a pretty blonde with long curly hair cracked her knuckles. “I’m feeling it. Let’s get shooting.”

They headed into the building the rest of the crew for the shoot. Sarah was surprised that the front door wasn’t locked or boarded up. Maybe Irene had arranged something. Wouldn’t surprise her at all. Irene always got her way. Inside it was pretty much as Sarah expected. A mess. The floor was littered with trash. The walls covered in graffiti. She had to admit to herself though, there was plenty of interesting places to shoot here. Some great photo opportunities.

The next couple of hours went real well. Sarah felt her confidence coming back. Paige was taking a break, sitting on an old desk. She stretched a long leg, rubbing it. She watched Sarah as she was taking some photos of Allie. Clicking away with an old style camera.

“You now, they have digital ones now.” Paige said, a little sarcasm in her voice.

Sarah watched Allie take a new pose. “I’m a little old fashioned I guess.”

After another hour of shooting they finished up. The crew was packing up their equipment as the girls and make-up guy took a break. Sarah decided that she wanted some photos of the place. It was too good a location to pass up. There was plenty of good shots she could get. She was feeling it, that thrill again, after so long. Perhaps that was why it didn’t bother her walking down the hallway alone. That and the fact that after the shooting she preferred solitude. Sarah had a hard time trusting people, even those she knew. After all, that woman had been married at one time to the man that tried to kill her. You never knew who might snap and try to kill you.

Among the graffiti was people’s names, crude drawings of sex organs and various obscene words, one thing kept popping up.

The Triangle People are coming.

Sarah counted at least five times so far she found it written on a wall or door. Was it the name of a gang? She walked further down the hall, clicking photos of the graffiti. She found a couch further down the hall. Resting against a wall. Spray painted across the cushions was the word ASS. She chuckled before taking a picture of it. Whoever did it had some skill. A letter on each cushion.

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

Sarah looked up from the couch. She glanced back the way she’d come. Was there somebody coming? Maybe one of the crew come to fetch her. But the hall was empty. She turned and looked further down the other end of the hall where it turned a corner.

“Hello?” Sarah called out, tightening her grip on the camera. If one of them was playing a prank on her, she’d let them have it. “Guys, don’t even.” 

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

The sound was coming closer. It sounded like heavy boots, none of the others were wearing boots, were they?

“C’mon guys. Not funny!” She felt the sweat on her palms, making the camera slippery in her hands. Her hands trembled. 

There was a shadow on the far wall at the end of the hall. Was it the shadow of a person? Sarah wanted to run, but her legs turned to concrete.

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

She could back out the vague shape of a person in the shadow, they were just around the corner, coming this way. It was them, the ones she’d seen. The ones that watched her.

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

Sarah caught the briefest glimpse of a man, before everything went white in a flash. Her shaking hands hitting the flash. She was momentarily blinded. The camera clicked away, taking photo after photo. When her eyesight returned she was alone. Sarah turned, her legs working again, hurrying back to the others. They hadn’t even noticed she’d left. They were all there. None of them acted like they’d just come back or were pulling a prank on her. She didn’t say a word about it. They didn’t need to know how crazy she was. Who was that she’d run into in the hall? Sarah looked down at her camera, clutched tightly in her sweaty hands.


Sarah was developing the film in her darkroom. The apartment she rented was a two bedroom affair, since she lived alone Sarah converted it into a darkroom. She nibbled on her supper, a BLT grinder as she worked. The film was all she could think about on the way home. This was it. Sarah took a sip of her coke. Watching the photo the whole time.

The first one she’d taken was of the figure’s lower half. Black pants and matching boots. 

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

She could still hear the sound. It sent a shiver down her spine.

The next photo was a blurry mess. Was that a hand? The third photo; that was the one that Sarah had wished she’d never seen. The man? If that was in fact a man in the photo, had a face that appeared to be carved from coal. Jet black, with large yellow eyes. Wearing a suit. On one lapel was a strange triangle pin.

Sarah felt dread claw at her stomach. Those yellow eyes, stared off the photo and right through her.

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

This time the sound wasn’t a memory, it was in the other room. Walking across the hardwood floor.

Sarah grabbed a large pair of scissors she kept on the table. Fear gripped her heart as she opened the door. “Go away.” She said, pleading. The door opened with a low creak. There was nobody out there. Sarah made a quick survey of her apartment. It was empty. It was just in her mind she thought, relieved.

Then she saw it, sprawled across the living room wall, written in black paint.

The Triangle People are coming.


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