Clarie ran out onto the front lawn. She knew the Gargoyle statue wouldn’t be there—bClaire ut still. She stared at the empty spot where it normally stood. It was still gone. She turned around, staring at the things around her like that would make a difference. But the gargoyle statue remained gone.
So, now, that made it official. Their grandmother had been right. The Gargoyle statue had shape-shifted.
She’d known her Grams was right, but it’s hard enough to imagine a real shape-shifter, she sniffed, more-or-less one who could shift back and forth from stone.
Even knowing magick, she still couldn’t get use the differences in what people considered to be real—and what she’d come to know as real.
How was all this possible? How could people live their lives oblivious to everything around them?
It’s true, Claire thought. All things were possible with magick. She’d always known that. She’d seen enough of the little things happening around her—to know. She’d seen, first hand, what her grandmother could do. She’d heard her say exactly that often enough. Hadn’t she learned what magick could do as a teen, when she’d studied with Grams?
Still, she could hardly believe magick could go this far—that magick could account for this. She believed in magick—she did—but this seemed beyond the realm of possibilities. She knew her Grams hadn’t lied—what her Grams said in the attic was real. She realized now, she got through to her. She just didn’t want to think about it, when her grandmother spoke of the Gargoyle, because it made her head hurt.
Like she’d deliberately not made the connection between the winged man—and that stone beast in the yard. Could he take that form too, in life? Like the one in the stone?
People often did that, didn’t they? When they saw something, they couldn’t explain away. They’d block it out, or make up an excuse for it, in their mind. Didn’t they do that, so they didn’t have to look too close? So, they didn’t have to acknowledge the world around them—often had more to it than met the eye.
Claire felt Morgan come up beside her. She eyed her sister, who stared at the empty place where the gargoyle statue once stood.
“I don’t suppose you’re going to tell me someone has stolen the statue….” Morgan said.
Claire shook her head, watching her sister’s face.
Morgan’s brows shot up, and her lips pressed together for a long breath of a moment. “Ummm. And I don’t suppose you’re going to tell me you had it moved,” she said.
Claire smiled and reached out to take her sister’s hands. “Nope.” She gazed up at her. “Besides, do you think I could have moved it, without a freaking crane…?” She grinned.
Morgan didn’t smile. In fact, she was quite serious. “So—now you want me to believe it moved on its own.”
It hadn’t been a question, and Claire couldn’t help but to chuckle at the teasing sarcasm in her sister’s voice, even if she hadn’t intended it.
Claire saw dawning realization come over her sister’s face.
“This is what Grams had meant by the Gargoyle shape-shifter,” Morgan said.
Claire nodded. What more could she say? She couldn’t add anything, other than what she’d witnessed thus-far. Morgan saw that too—and nothing prepared Morgan for such a thing.
Morgan shoved her hands into the back pockets of her jeans. “And this is who keeps coming to our rescue?” Morgan said.
Claire bit her lip. “Apparently,” Claire agreed.
Morgan released Claire’s hands, took a step towards the empty square spot, where no grass grew—hadn’t for more than a hundred year.
“On top of all the other stuff—we now have magickal creatures haunting us,” Morgan said.
Claire gave a laugh that sounded on the edge of nervous—even to her. “Well—if it makes you feel better—we know he’s not haunting us,” she said.
Morgan eyed her, a questioning glint shown in her dark green eyes.
“He’s what Grams said—is a guardian.” She glanced up at Morgan. “A Gargoyle, here, protecting us, chasing that shadow away from us.”
She watched Morgan. She knew that knowing that didn’t make them any less afraid of him.
Morgan sighed. “I guess I always kind of knew that. Like it explained why he never truly felt threatening—even when we were kids,” she said. “The shadow—the warlock—must have been the evil who scared us so bad. We just took it for granted it was the winged man.”
Alex came up beside Morgan. “Like I told Morgan before, he seemed upset that he’d frightened us the way he did that day.”
Claire’s gaze, which had been on her sister, now jerked over to him. “What do you mean?”
Alex put an arm around Morgan and pulled her close to him. “I mean I remember feeling his emotions—his sorrow at having frightened us he way he did.” He stood watching Claire for a long moment, but she could see his thoughts had turned inward—to that day long ago when they’d been children. “When I crawled into bed that night, I remember feeling awful—terrified for Morgan—and you. And bad for him.”
“Because of what you’d felt from him—that he hadn’t meant to alarm us?” Morgan said, leaning back so she could look up at him.
“And what do you feel from him now?” Claire asked.
“Sorrow,” Alex said. “I think he feels we’ve misunderstood who he is. I think he meant to show us something—but we only saw a beast.”
“Like Beauty and the Beast,” Claire teased.
Alex made a face at her. He clearly didn’t like being compared to that.
“I’m sorry,” Claire said laughing.
Alex scoffed at her apology, saying, “You sound sorry.”
Claire grinned at him, as Morgan smiled and spun around in his embrace to hug him, and soothe his ruffled feathers.
Still chuckling, Claire left them alone, so she could go head back to their guests to tell them goodnight—and so Morgan could work her own magick.