Twelve Grinning Saints
At last, after years of research and practical archaeology, we have found a fragment of that infamous sculpture known as “The Twelve Grinning Saints”. In it, the Twelve stand shoulder to shoulder, life-sized, all wrapped head to toe in white linen, as if for the grave. Each is bound at the throat with a golden cord. Their actual faces cannot be seen through the sheets, but legend has it that wide, red mouths filled with sharp teeth appear from time to time, as if painted on their funereal vestments by a mischievous artist; twelve identical, leering, blasphemous grins.
I am comparing our piece to photos of the original in a catalog of antiquities- our fragment almost certainly holds the four leftmost Saints, as far as I am able to discern- when the grins appear. Both on the Saints in the book, and, when I look up in alarm, on the four standing silently across from me in the gallery.
These four are definitely not painted.