From Grey: Part III


Accipiter G. Goshawk

Here you will find the conclusion to the story that began in Part I and continued in Part II.

I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed telling it 😉

Much later, he regained consciousness.

He remembered the scene on the roof: his father holding him out over the drop, his claws around his throat. Only his mother’s coaxing had saved him.

However, the alternative she’d proposed had frozen his heart.

“Burn his eyes out. That way he will at least make a fitting statue for all eternity.”

The sentence was to be executed in two days; he had twenty-four hours, according to gargoyle law, to make his peace with the stone he was to become.

Already he could feel the fingers of his right hand moving freely. His last night on Earth was about to begin.

However, something was wrong. Only his fingers moved; nothing else. Had they already burned out his eyes? Was he dying?

He spent many hours wondering over the presence of his spirit in a partially stone-bound body, until finally, the rest of his limbs broke free. Shortly after, the small crust of stone snapped away from his eyes, giving him back his sight.

He quickly looked down at his right hand. An odd succession of emotions played across his face; puzzlement gave way to shock and finally to cautious joy.

Glancing around to make sure nobody was looking, he snuck up the tower steps and made his way in all haste to his Place. As he worked, he clutched his paint-stained hand by his side, pulling together the strands of a plan.

Daybreak had almost come, when at last all the gargoyles had scuttled back to their positions, a solemn air of gloom choking the air. Grock moved slowly and heavily back to his post, carefully exuding a sense of sadness and despair.

“Sleep, worm,” grated the cavernous voice behind him, “for tomorrow, we take your eyes.”

Light hit them and they were still.

Night soon came and as the creatures awoke and began moving about, a cry went up along the rooftop of the old cathedral.

“Grock is gone!”

Gone?! Goooonnnnneee?!” howled the great leader angrily, as he ripped a large chunk out of the stonework.

“How could he be gone? There is no way one of us could move in the light-hours! Search for him! Search everywhere!”

They looked for him all through the night, but nowhere could they find a trace of the lost criminal. They scoured the cathedral from her the apex to the lowest catacombs, amongst the murmurings of the dead and not-so-dead. Through the dreams of Paris and over its many rooftops, they searched but not a speck of gravel did they find.

When dawn neared, a rumor went round that he had leapt into the river in the early hours of twilight and had met his end in the murky waters.

So, they prepared for their rest, almost certain of his demise.

However, nothing had prepared them for the revenge of an Artist.

Later, the great gargoyle chieftain stirred from his slumber.

“Dusk again,” he thought.

He stretched in his spot and yawned a terrible yawn. It was truly a fear-inspiring bellow, but not nearly as frightening to the clan of gargoyles, as the next sound that echoed across the rooftop.

“Monster! Monster!”

The eyes of Grock’s sire snapped open. Something was wrong, terribly wrong! All the light, the noise, the screaming!

He blinked frantically. Below his perch, a rosy pink human figure came into focus; a small female no less! She was screaming for her parents and tears where streaming down her face, as she frantically backed up against the wall of the great cathedral.

There was no time! He couldn’t worry about impossible daylight mobility; he had to silence the pathetic lump of meat, before he was discovered!

He held himself high and spreading his wings, plunged with a bone-chilling screech.

Only to land flat on his face, as his feet refused to budge from the solid stone they were attached to.

In a panic now, the leader scrambled around his pedestal, trying desperately to come loose, lest he be caught and seen by more humans. In his frantic turning, he caught a glimpse of himself in the window and let loose a foul howl of shock.

He was painted from head to ankle in a variety of bright colors that swirled around him joyously and gave him the appearance of a particularly boisterous flower. He looked down the line and sure enough, every single gargoyle in the clan was similarly transformed. Some were decorated in brash color schemes, others in more sober tones, but all were polychrome and in some form of shock.

“Dear? What is it? Daddy is coming!”

As the door from below opened, the lord of gargoyles signaled hastily to his clan, in what he hoped where coherent gestures.

The worried father appeared a moment later and crouched down to listened to his daughter’s frantic story of how the stone monsters had come alive. He examined them closely for her and even went as far as giving them some hard knocks on the sides of their grotesque faces. In the end, he even pulled faces at them, amidst the laughter of his relieved daughter. Throughout this, the princes of the cathedral remained motionless.

They had much to worry about that day, as many visitors trooped up and around the cathedral, drawn to the curious new presentation of the gargoyles of Notre Dame. The authorities said it was a scandal, and spoke of an act of vandalism. Shortly after, the rooftops were sealed off, so that the gargoyles could be scrubbed down.

Thankfully for Grock, that was all he needed to get away.

As his father fought the impulse to attack a particularly annoying Italian tourist, a short figure covered from head to toe in overlarge clothes, was boarding a train to London. Thankfully, the ticket machine couldn’t have noticed that the figure seemed quite small for a human, and even that the shape beneath the overcoat seemed domed and a little grotesque.

As he painted another coat over his now permanently tinted skin, Grock smiled warmly. He didn’t grin, not even a little bit.-

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