What would the home of a gargoyle be like? A woman finds out.
| Lupin, a half Husky male, pulled Calico up the path between old cedar and red pine. The fallen needles blanketed the ground and made each step soft and silent. She knelt, then unleashed Lupin, trusting him to choose the path whenever it forked.
He picked a path never taken.
“Hey, boy! Where are you taking me?”
Lupin stopped, looked back, and wagged his tail.
“Adventure? Why not?”
The trail was on a gentle slope with sharp twists. They walked for two hours, she enjoying the sights of flowers and camouflage leaves, and he the scent of animals gone past. At the top of a ridge, light from the early morning sun penetrated the forest in a dim glow. Remnants of a fog rose here and there. The contrast of blue sky, autumn trees, fog, light, and shadow was beautiful, as if an artist were crafting a surreal scene from a dream.
Feeling a need to explore that forest, she stepped forward. Without further urging, Lupin surged ahead. A short time later, he dropped his snout to the ground, and weaved to and fro till he seemed satisfied at finding the right path. After half an hour of brisk stalking, Lupin abruptly stopped, barked twice, and waited for his master.
“Wow! Look at what you found.”
In front of her dog, Calico saw a house with a thatch moss coated roof. The walls were ivy clinging stone. If Lupin had not drawn her attention, she would have walked past so well did the house blend with the forest. Upon closer inspection, she realized it was the back of the house. Going around, she found the front was well kept with flowers rimming the walls, but what was impressive were the three pink marble steps leading to the door. Odd was the narrow stream of water flowing out from under the wall.
Wagging his tail, Lupin lapped up the water as Calico went up to a window. She took a deep breath at an astonishing sight. Near the window was a stone basin about two feet high. Water was bubbling out of the center. Below the rim was a gargoyle in the shape of a dragon which curved down to the floor. From its gaping mouth water flowed into a wide groove in the marble floor then out beneath the wall.
On the left was a fireplace with an ornate clock on the mantle. The design was of a cathedral with the face high upon it with Roman numerals. Both hands were just before IX. A winged gargoyle with a curved beak sat on top. At the base was a robed priest on his knees raising his head and spreading his arms with each swing of the pendulum.
Two wooden chairs, a small table, and a sofa was all the furniture. One chair was at the fireplace the other at the basin, and behind the table was the sofa. A large thick book was open on the table.
Stepping away from the window, she noticed the sky had darkened. With a crack of thunder, large drops of rain pelted down.
Running to the door, Calico shouted, “Is anyone home?”
The rain was now coming down in sheets. Calico opened the door. “Hello? May I stay till it stops raining?”
Lupin growled. A large black dog was curled on the floor in front of them. Above its bushy tail, golden eyes stared. It got up, wagged its tail, and waited for Lupin to make the next move which was a friendly sniff between the legs. It was reciprocated and they were friends.
Calico smiled and extended a hand which the guardian dog sniffed and licked. Going to the basin, she rinsed her hand in the water. It was surprisingly lukewarm. That made her realize that the marble floor was just as warm. Next, she noticed an odd smell similar to smoldering charcoal. She wondered if the house was somehow heated from below.
The storm was getting stronger. Bolts of lightning lit up the window. Oddly, the white marble floor glowed blue for a few seconds after each strike. Calico felt nervous and uncomfortable; she was uninvited, an intruder. She hoped the person living here would be as friendly as the dog.
The book on the table hooked her curiosity. Sitting down on the sofa, she looked at the open page. An ink drawing of gargoyles filled one page. She lifted the book to see the title, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Whoever lived here had something about gargoyles.
The chime of the clock calling the hour made her nearly drop the book. It was nine o’clock. She strangely felt a weight on her eyes. She laid down and fell into a deep sleep.
She woke. Lupin was barking.
“What is it, boy?”
She rubbed her eyes.
A black blur focused into a large black cat sitting on top of the sofa. The dog was nowhere. Sitting up, she looked at the clock. Both hands were near VIII. She looked at the window. It was daylight. Unwilling to believe she had slept nearly an entire day, she went to the clock. Nothing seemed wrong except she hadn’t noticed the smile on the gargoyle, and the eyes seemed filled with satisfaction at accomplishing a feat.
Calico felt Lupin’s paws on her leg. He was whining. An alarm sounded deep within her. She stepped back, turned, and ran out of the house.
It was a sunny morning with nothing left from the storm of the previous day. Had it all been a dream? She had to take another look into the house. Tiptoeing to the window she peered in. What she saw took away all hope.
The cat jumped off the sofa, as it hit the floor it became the dog. It went to the table and just before it sat down it became the gargoyle of the clock. The most lasting image was the movement of its beak as it read.
She stepped away as a fog rolled in and swallowed the house.
All this happened three months ago. She fears she’s pregnant.