Deep within the darkness, one could hear the sickening cracking and crunching of what sounded like an animal chewing on bones. Low growls and grunts, mingled with the sound that got louder the deeper one went into this darkness. Closer to the source, the cave most certainly was a den of some beast. Strong and powerful to be able to such with a bone. Yet, from the faintest of beams of moonlight that shined in through the cracks in the ceiling a figure was illuminated. A beast though it was, it was unlike anything most had even seen before. At least in the flesh and not that of stone.
Large black leathery wings tucked close to the well-muscled back, as the beast hunched over the carcass of the slain deer. Fresh was the meat, steam rising from the innards quickly cooling as the night continued to march on. Minute by minute, the creature gorged itself until its hunger was satiated. Stepping away, the almost human like face looked up to the light, closing its golden eyes and spreading its wings. As if to drink in the rays of the moonlight, the way a bird may greet the morning rays of the sun. The form reminiscent of a female human, though with far more muscular build, digitigrade legs, and a long thick tail. Completely hairless save for the raven locks atop her head.
There was much to be done, however, and so with renewed energy and vigor the beast rushed from the cave and jumped into the sky. Power wings, though they were, struggled to get the lift needed to heave its bulk into the air. In experienced perhaps? Or lacking the strength that came with use, a soul would have to be brave enough to ask. As she flew, her mind wandered to the plans for the evening remembering the friend she had made over the past moon. A human with an enchanting smile and kind eyes. This human made her feel wanted; a feeling that had been lost when most of her kind had been hunted to the point of extinction. She could even be the last, for the rooftops seemed void of life. That was where they had met, on the rooftops of the city. The human, harassed and attacked by those that had tricked her onto the rooftop. The intent malevolent, it was clear for anyone to see.
But at the top of the city, who would see? Who would know?
That is where they met. A black angle of the night, her wings tucked into her form she dives down to stop the assault before it happened. The human would be assailant is left unconscious and the woman is whisked away in the arms of her savior to the safety of the rooftop she called home. An old clock tower left to fall into disrepair, the female beast set down her new guest and perched on the wall edge gazing at her with golden eyes filled with curiosity.
“Wh-what are you?”
“I am Lana,” the creature replied easily shocking the woman.
“Yo-You’re not human…”
“I am Lana…a gargoyle,” tone very matter of fact as she hopped down and approached the woman sniffing the air. “You are human? Scared of me?”
“N-n-no..” trying to put on a brave face.
“Lana can smell fear, do not lie to Lana,” backing the woman up against the wall, a clawed hand reaching up making the woman flinch and tense. Only to relax when Lana touched her bruised cheek with far more care than she thought something that strong could do. Feeling her cheeks heat from the as she blushed from the gentle contact.
“Sorry, Lana,” clearing her throat. “I’m Sara. Thanks…for saving me…”
“Man was going to hurt Sara,” her name almost purred out. “Lana does not trust men, they lie. Will Sara lie to Lana too?”
“N-no,” caught off guard by the question and feeling as if she was on trial already even though she had not done anything.
“Good, Lana will keep you safe from men that hurt you and you will be Lana’s friend,” turning away to get something and after a moment bringing back a bit of cloth with a sweet-smelling liquid on it. “For hurt face, will make it better.”
As Sara held the cloth to her face, she realized she was in the presence of something that was amazing to behold. And their odd relationship only progressed as time went on, each night Lana would come to Sara’s home and take her back to her clock . Telling her of her life as this creature of myth and legend. When she started to fall for her, Sara could not even begin to tell anyone. Though thinking back to the moments when Lana would just know Sara was upset and pull her into her arms. Holding her against her surprising warm form and get enveloped by her wings. In those moments she would feel safe and protected a feeling she had never realized she craved so desperately.
Which is why this night would hurt so much for them both.
Landing on the edge of the roof, Lana looked for Sara but didn’t find her where she usually waited. The light ticking of her claws on the concrete as she walked, golden eyes scanning the area and it wasn’t until the air shifted and the unfamiliar hostile scent reached her.
Lights suddenly lit of the area, blinding the creature of the night. Heavy booted steps rushing towards her and the sensation of something heavy being thrown over her nearly bringing her down. Through the light and chaos, there was Sara standing there, hand over her mouth as if shocked by what she was witnessing.
“Sara…you promised Lana…” the captured creature hissed in emotional anguish thinking her beloved friend had told. That was the only thing Lana ever asked and made her swear to keep, was her existence.
As the men gathered closer, preparing to haul Lana away she howled her betrayal into the night and with a burst of strength threw the net from her form. Running to the edge and diving over her wings unfurling to catch the wind and take her up into the night. Tears of lost and anger streaming down her face as she flew far from the place where friendship was a lie.
What happens to a gargoyle who has a broken heart?
Months later, Sara searching for her friend now that the hunters had moved on, convinced she had left, came to a park. An empty pedestal sat in the middle of an abandoned and forgotten garden. There she waited until nearly dawn, thinking the tips from the forums had been wrong and she was getting ready to leave. The flutter of air through leather could be heard and she froze in place. A large dark shadow passing overhead landed roughly, lacking the familiar grace from before.
The figure had climbed onto the stone pedestal and turned; the sight caused Sara to gasp. Gone was the graceful and elegant form of her friend, replaced it was a thing more akin to a monster. Nearly all the human characteristics and features were gone, in their stead the more beast features that the legends told. Thick and bulky, the light of her golden eyes dimmed to barely a glow. And in their depths, there was no recognition, staring almost blanking at the human that had uttered what would have been its name.
“Lana…its me, Sara…” stepping closer and seeing that her skin lost the luster of warmth and life, replaced by something colder and seeming harder. There as even moss in some patches of her body.
“Lana…please…I’m sorry…I didn’t mean…” but the creature didn’t wait for her to finish, instead it hunkered down to one knee, its wings working a couple of times before flaring out behind it. “Lana…” fear and concern in Sara’s voice as she watched the twilight of the night give way to the warmth of dawn. And as the rays of the light washed over it, her body stiffened. When it began to make sense, when she began to understand she rushed to the front of her friend, “Lana! Don’t…please!” tears running down her face, gazing up feeling the warmth of the sun touching her and casting the figure before her in a shadow.
It was as the final rays of sun crested the hills that the light within the eyes of the gargoyle dimmed and went out. Leaving a sobbing Sara at the foot of what others would think to be nothing but an old statue.