Sunday, October 19, 2014

Short Story - Under His Wing Pt. 1

When I was younger, I loved to watch Disney's animated series, Gargoyles. 

I'll have to admit that I had a crush on Goliath, but as I was writing this blog, I went back to get some pictures, and wondered what I was thinking? I thought he was more human looking, but he's blue with giant bat wings, really funky feet, big ears, a huge tail, and spike things pointing out of various parts of his body. Plus, he doesn't even have nipples. Weird. That being said, I'm still fascinated by gargoyles, and apparently, I'm not the only one. I found a lot of romance books involving gargoyles. A much improved version, but still based on the mythical creatures. Here are two of my favorite covers. 

So in keeping with my Halloween theme this month, I wrote a short story based on my love of gargoyles. I'm terrible with titles, so until I can come up with something more cleaver, the working title is Under His Wing. Due to it's size, I split it into two parts. 

         Turning the key, Callie walked into the odd castle-like house that would be her home for the next few months. The owner wasn't happy about her refusing to sign a lease, but he shut up when she paid six months in advance. Callie probably should have been a little more careful with her dwindling inheritance, since she may not be able to stay for the full six months, but she couldn't worry about that now.
          The house was a local oddity, a castle right in the heart of mid west farm country. The stone structure stuck out like a green mohawk at a formal cocktail party. Nestled amidst the quaint farmhouses and red barns, the home was built by an eccentric man who did so with love. It was painstakingly recreated from his memories of the place he visited every summer as a child in "the old country." At least, that was the story the new owner told her. For all she new, he just made it up to peak her interest.
          David wouldn't expect her to stay in a place like this, one that drew so much attention. It might take him awhile to find her here; but, in all honesty, Callie was getting tired of hiding. At some point, her luck was going to run out. Hopefully, she wouldn't have to leave too soon. This place had good feel to it. The furniture was well worn and the air was a little thick, but that was easy enough to fix. She opened the windows in the kitchen before going back out to the rental car for the groceries she had purchased in the tiny mom and pop store in town. The woman behind the counter had been so nice. She happily introduced Callie to her son, who looked to be about the same age. He was attractive in his own way, and helped her put her groceries in the trunk. He made it obvious he'd be open to seeing her again, but Callie made it clear she was just passing through. The last man she had decided to take a chance on wound up dead. The police ruled it an accident, but she knew it was David. Since then, Callie made it a point not to get close to anyone.
          She put the groceries away, made a quick sandwich, and set up the coffee maker to turn on automatically in the morning before dragging her small suitcase upstairs. She had spied the balcony from the main road that doubled as the cover for the front porch. The owner said it was connected to the master bedroom, so Callie looked forward to being able to sit out there with a glass of wine and watch the sun set. It was too late for that tonight, but she would definitely have coffee out there in the morning.
          After unpacking her meager amount of clothing, she stuffed her "emergency bag" in the closet along with her aluminum baseball bat. She had put an identical one downstairs in the kitchen pantry next to the old mop and broom.
          Exhausted, Callie put sheets on the bed and couldn't wait to crawl under the covers. A shower would be nice, but she just didn't have the energy. Moving to the French doors that lead to the balcony, she decided to open them for the fresh air. Normally, she would never dream of sleeping without the house being locked down like a prison, but the lure of the night sky was just too appealing.
          Callie silently padded out onto the balcony on bare feet. Her oversized t-shirt blowing slightly in the cool breeze. Putting her hands on the rail, she took a deep breath and smiled.
          Turning to her left, she saw a small bistro table with two chairs. She imagined herself sitting there with her coffee and a good book. It really was a shame she wouldn't be able to stay. Callie turned to the right and screamed. The figure of a man at the other end of the balcony had taken her completely by surprise. She collapsed on the floor and crab crawled backwards until she slammed into the railing. Her heart was slamming in her chest and her whole body was on fire. How could he have found her so soon? Could she make it back inside to her bat before he caught her? Not likely. She would have to use the bistro chairs as weapons, or even take a chance on jumping over the balcony.
          Before she could decide her next move, Callie noticed the large man had wings. Wings? Taking a closer look, she also saw the figure had large bat ears and claws. Callie tried to calm her hammering heart and stop her urge to run. Standing on shaky legs, she made her way to the other side of the balcony to find a huge statue of a gargoyle.
          Callie laughed hysterically as the nervous energy coursed through her body. She hugged the large stone statue and said, "Boy, am I glad to see you. I thought you were my ex-husband, but he has devil horns instead of bat ears," she giggled.
          How she had missed this monstrosity from the road, she couldn't say. The imposing figure of the gargoyle took up a full third of the outside space. The moon cast frightening shadows across the face of creature, but it didn't bother her. Resting her head on the cool stone of his chest, Callie cursed herself for letting her guard down. If it had been David, she'd be dead or wished she were.
          Heading back into the master bedroom, she shut the doors behind her, turning the lock. The thought of fresh air had lost its appeal. Moonlight streaming through all the glass in the doors, reminded her that the lock was a joke, an illusion of security. Callie shook her head. There was no way he could find her this soon. She would have a few weeks at least, maybe even a few months. But for now, she was safe. Collapsing on the large, fluffy bed, the blast of adrenaline was wearing off, taking the last vestiges of her strength with it. Callie passed out as soon as her head hit the down filled pillow.

          The next morning, Callie groaned as the sunshine bored through her eyelids. It took her a few minutes to shake off the confusion and remember where she was. She was surprised to find she felt safe for the first time in a long time. Maybe it was the fact that the place looked like a castle that could be defended by medieval knights. She sighed. There were no gallant men in armor to protect her. She had to rely on herself.
          Swinging her legs over the side of the bed, Callie got up and walked out onto her balcony. Stretching in the sunshine, she could smell the coffee brewing from the kitchen below. Taking a deep breath filled with dark roast, Callie flopped into the bistro chair, feeling more peaceful than she had in the last five years. Maybe he wouldn't find her here. Maybe this time, she would be safe. She ran her hands through her own honey blonde hair. David would never expect her to look the way he remembered her. Over the last five years, Callie had changed her appearance so often, she forgot what it felt like to look in the mirror and actually see herself staring back.
          "Good morning," she flung over her shoulder to the gargoyle as she made her way back into her room and down to the kitchen for some coffee.
          Filling up her mug, she grabbed an apple and a some peanut butter before heading upstairs and back onto the balcony. She arranged her little feast on the bistro table and stole a glance and the stony statue to her right.
          "I don't know how you haven't fallen through this balcony. You look like you weigh a ton. No offense," she chuckled.
          Callie stood up and took her coffee cup with her for a closer look at it. As gargoyles go, he wasn't as scary looking as some of the ones she'd seen on her honeymoon in Rome. That was a lifetime ago, and she shook her head, trying to erase the memories and focus on her new gargoyle friend. He was definitely big. Actually, big was a bit of an understatement. She ran a hand over his massive chest and down his well defined biceps. His stone abs rippled down, disappearing behind a small garment of sorts. The gargoyle's chiseled thighs peeked out the other side of the stone cloth, tapering down to strong calves and feet with claws like an eagle. She sighed.
          "You know, you aren't half bad looking, well, except for the claws, bat ears and wings." Callie laughed and reached up to tweak his nose. "Since we're going to be roomies, I guess I should give you a name," she paused, tapping her finger on her bottom lip.
          "I know! I'll call you Roman! Rome is the first place I ever saw real gargoyles outside of books," she paused in thought. "Yes, I like it. Roman it is," she hugged the cold stone figure and smiled appreciatively until a white spot on his wing caught her attention. Leaning over, she saw that a bird had left its mark. "Gross."
          Callie walked back over to the bistro table and grabbed her napkin. Running into her bathroom, she turned on the tap and dampened it before returning to the statue. She scrubbed the gargoyle until every bit of the bird droppings were gone.
          "There," she stood back, admiring her work. "Now you look handsome. If you're going to be seen with me, you need to look good."
          She chuckled, cupping his face and running her thumb over his full lower lip.
          "You're the perfect companion, Roman. You look good, and you know when to keep your mouth shut."
          Callie spent the rest of the day getting the house in order. It wasn't too bad really. A little dusting and vacuuming and the place looked...happy. She sunk into the couch and tried to understand her strange attraction to the castle. The owner told her that the people of the town had made numerous attempts to have it torn down once the original owner died. He had no family, and the people said it was an eyesore that should be removed from their quaint little corner of heaven. Maybe she felt as out of place here as her new home seemed to be. They were both oddities just trying to survive.

Read Part 2 HERE

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