Set in Stone

I’ve been known to randomly launch into a writing frenzy on occasion. It’s not always good and it’s not always bad, but writing is always fun and I never know where my imagination might go.

***********

“I don’t care much for the looks of this one.”

“Why not? He looks good to me.”

“Oy! I just don’t!”

“Talkin’ ‘bout the new guy, aye?” Fergal peered through the moss hanging in his eyes. He rolled upsie down, hoping to knock some of it free. When it didn’t work, he simply allowed both eyes to swim around his rock face until they were upright again.

“I don’t like ‘im.” They were used to this. Corley never adapted to change well.

“You never like anybody,” Thatch grumbled.

“He’s sloppy.”

“So are you.”

“Oy!” Corley’s surface turned the slightest shade of red. He and Thatch were always at odds.

“Shut it! The both of ye. The boy might hear you.”  Julius was an old rock. He was older than Gather who finally decided to chime in.

“Of course he might. That’s because he CAN. Why else would,” Gather stopped and rumbled. The boy was coming over the hill.

Lester heard the voices, but had long since learned to tune out conversations of which he wasn’t a part. What he hadn’t realized yet was that there were no other people on the trail. His daily walk was one of the few things he still enjoyed in life. It was his time to clear his head from the noise of the day.

He shoved his hands in his pockets and continued forward. As he came down the hill, he took in a deep breath of cold autumn air. Suddenly, he tripped on a rock and tumbled off the path, rolling until he landed on his back.

“Oooouchh,” he moaned. Wiggling his fingers and toes, Lester felt assured that nothing was broken, but he laid there a moment more. It was just another stumble, literally, in his life right now.

“Move your bloody shoe off my face!”

Lester sat up quickly. He looked around and saw no one, so he checked to make sure his iPod wasn’t broken and playing tricks with his ears. No. It seemed to be okay. Maybe he hit his head and hadn’t realized that he was severely injured. He must be in shock.

“OY! I said move your bloody shoe off my face!” The voice was slightly muffled, but definitely audible and definitely talking to Lester.

“Who’s there?” His voice cracked ever so slightly.

“Ye might do a bit of good to introduce the lot of them to the boy, Gather.”

“Hello?!” Panic began to needle at Lester. He distinctly heard voices, but didn’t see a single person nearby. He couldn’t afford to go on medication, so hopefully this was simply a temporary delusion that would disappear if he willed it so.

Gather pushed some of his rock form out from under the fallen leaves and formed a very distinguished set of features on his rocky surface.

“Boy, my name is Gather. That is Julian, Corley, Fergal, Thatch, and that little one over there is Letta.” Gather formed a muscular arm and hand and gestured toward each of his companions. Letta, a shy little thing, rolled over from where she had tripped Lester and sidled up to Thatch.

Lester couldn’t move. He was definitely hallucinating. The place where his foot was still resting began to shake. As a craggy hand grabbed his foot and moved it off of another rocky face, Lester screamed and tried very hard not to wet himself.

“I told you to move your foot! I really, really don’t like ‘im. Are you SURE he’s of the House of Granum?” Corley threw Lester’s foot out of the way and formed a very un happy visage.

“Wait. How did you know my name?”

“Oy. Bollocks.”

Gather smiled and formed the rest of his body. He stretched out his stone wings and crinkled his toes into the dirt.

“I’m sure. Lester Granum, you’ve been known to us since the day you were born. We made a deal with your mother because she showed us a kindness. The deal was that we would not take you until after her passing. I was sorry to hear it.”

“Take me? What are you?”

“That horse is missin’ a shoe, aye?” Fergal and Thatch rumbled together. Lester could only guess they were laughing.

While he was trying to figure out how to stop the psychosis that he was obviously stumbling into, Letta had already rolled over to his hand where she promptly bit him.

“OUCH!”

“This won’t take long, boy. “ Gather summoned a deep hum. It was steady and rolled across the ground to Lester.

The others also began to hum. Lester felt the rumble deep within his stomach where it began to grow louder inside his body. His hand ached. When he looked down at the bite, the area around it was grey and rough. The patch was growing quickly up his forearm. Lester tried to move, but the rumbling held him there. His hands grew so heavy that he couldn’t lift his arms. Finally, the rumble shook his vision and he saw Gather and Julius approach each side of his body when he finally blacked out.

Lester was confused and everything was heavy and thick. He opened his eyes to what should have been the sky, but instead were a round of stone faces looking down on him.

“Take it slow my boy. This event only happens once every hundred years.”

“What happens,” his voice was graveled and strange.

“Why, the birth of a gargoyle, of course.”

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