It was January. What trees saw fit to inhabit the the industrial estate were blackened from a heavy winter; branches raw and rotten from a cold and unforgiving season. They hung silently in the frozen air as, beyond the chain fence surrounding the compound, dark hulls of cargo ships slept uneasily in the rotting port waters.
He prized away her photograph with a butter knife, careful not to tear at her perfect image. It was lonely work and he needed some company; even the teenagers had enough sense to stay out of the cold. He slipped the yellow photograph into the breast pocket of his coat before reaching across the desk for his torch.
He called her Phillipa and she had called out to him; the only vision in that tattered book of stern Victorian nobility. She had deserved better than the company of those sour men and their twisted values. He patted his top pocket reassuredly as his thick boots scraped across the cracks of familiar concrete.
It was February and the weather had grown crueler. He huddled in the chair of his cold shed, enchanted by the photograph he had propped up against the spine of that old album.
She became more beautiful every day, he could swear it. Her smile had become wider and her cheeks glowed through the monochrome. He took her home and she watched over his dreams as he slept.
It was March and the chain fence beyond the shed rattled in the frozen air. His shock knocked the desk, spilling its contents across the floor. He swore, reached for his torch and stepped out into the cold.
On the floor of the shed, the photo album had fallen open. A dozen angry faces stared up from its yellow pages, their sour expressions distorted with rage and pain. Skinny arms and dirty fingernails reached out from their thin bodies towards the camera.
He was not the only man in love with Phillipa.