Chapter 6 - Secrets of A Beauty Most Sinister
The moon shone through the vault of the heavens, gleaming and glistening. A few clouds brushed by overhead, carried by cool winds on a warm night. Below there were the sounds of the street, but above were nocturnal wings.
Angela met Haven in Morningside Park, finding her swimming in the pool. “Swimming is your thing, huh?”
“It’s how I clear my head. I swam all the time back home.” Angela helped her out of the water, “So are you ready?”
“I don’t know why you still come. This is never going to work no matter how hard you try.” Haven stated but Angela wasn’t buying this act, “Then why did you meet me here? You can’t convince me that you don’t want to try when you’re being this cooperative.”
Haven hung and het out a sigh, her arms going limp. She really didn’t want to keep going through this every night but the alternative would get her nowhere. Angela led her through the trees and to the edge of a baseball field where she pushed Haven up to the back fence, “Climb this.”
She looked at her like she was losing her faculties but she gave Haven a reassuring smile. The loftiness of the fence was daunting but she fought to only focus on climbing since her feet didn’t exactly fit like tennis shoes would through the links. Haven looked over the side hesitantly. “You can do this.” Angela whispered. Haven swallowed hard and nodded, “I can do this. I can…Can’t! Definitely can’t!”
“You’re right at the top.” Angela yelled up to her. Haven was beginning to understand why Angela kept meeting her here at the baseball field. The fence hung over the Catcher’s Box, forcing her to look down to see where her hands and feet were going. So now she was at the top and it only took 6 nights but her heart was still racing and she could hardly stand it. Angela joined her up there so Haven popped her question, “So now what?”
“We sit here until you’re used to it. Want to talk about anything?” Haven tried to turn onto her back to talk but Angela was a strict coach and stared her down until she turned back on her stomach. She tried not to look straight down but her peripheral vision still caught the sight. Haven picked the first topic, “So how much of that night did you hear?”
Angela sighed; knowing what she was implying, “All of it. I won’t ask though. Not unless you want to share it.” Haven shook her head, “It’s been years since I’ve had an incident.”
“Is that why you were avoiding Kale?” Haven nodded, “How is he?” Angela sat up, “I haven’t seen him around since the night you left. But then I could be getting back in after he’s asleep.”
“Don’t get any ideas.” Her words drew Angela’s attention, “You may be making progress with all this but that’s one thing I can’t allow you to get involved in.” Angela nodded in agreement, “I understand. Ready to move on to the other exercises?”
In two more nights, Haven was getting used to climbing to the top so Angela went through how to use her wing to gain lift and speed, make turns, and land from greater altitudes. Haven tried again and again to glide properly, but she made poor turns and even worse landings. However this time, three curious teens followed Angela, “We wouldn’t be spying on them, exactly. We’d…just be making sure they’re safe.” Broadway explained.
“Yeah, the city can be a very dangerous place at night. They might need our help.” agreed Lexington. Brooklyn groaned, knowing that his brothers sadly weren’t That noble and that he wasn’t much better himself. The three landed quietly, taking their places into the shadow of the bushes. The first thing they saw was Haven hesitating to climb to the top of the back fence on the field and hesitate more when leaping off, following Angela’s instructions.
“Who knew she couldn’t glide very well.” Broadway announced. “Come to think of it,” Lexington added, “Has any of us actually seen her glide before?”
“But if she didn’t know how, why didn’t she tell Goliath when we went after Demona? We’re her friends, aren’t we? Why’d she keep it a secret?” Broadway asked. “Maybe we stuck our noses into something we shouldn’t.” Brooklyn inquired.
Lexington nodded in accordance, “I agree, not knowing how to glide as a gargoyle is pretty embarrassing.” Broadway tried to picture it for a while; a fish not knowing how to swim came to mind. “You’re right. I don’t think I’d tell anyone either. But how come Angie knows?”
“Angela’s a smart gargoyle.” Brooklyn interrupted, “She probably picked up on the things we didn’t.”
The practice went on for another hour before the girls decided to take a break. “This is hopeless.” Haven affirmed. Angela nodded in agreement. “You’re right. You haven’t climbed to impressive heights all on your own once and there’s been no improvement with your gliding at all.”
Haven furrowed her eye muscles, as sarcasm wasn’t a foreign concept to her. Angela snickered then frowned curiously, “I never asked how this happened to you…”
“And don’t. The last time I shared a story, an eavesdropper probed it and hasn’t let me off about it since.” Angela looked away, “I apologized…”
“You did,” Haven agreed, “And now Hudson knows…” Angela grabbed the back of her neck, “At least Brooklyn doesn’t know.”
Haven faced Angela’s remark with curiosity, “What does Brooklyn have to do with this?” The boys listened in closely to Angela, “Well, he likes you.” Broadway and Lexington looked back at Brooklyn. Brooklyn who had, up until this point, wanted to stay out of their business listened the closest. Thankfully, it was too dark in those bushes to tell that the natural hue of red in his cheeks suddenly got darker.
“I know.” she countered bluntly. This bit of info beguiled the trio. Angela urged her to continue, “So~…”
“So what? I don’t know how to feel about him. I think it’s cute how nervous he gets and I really appreciated the stunt he pulled with the roses and in the kitchen, but I can’t get involved.” she conveyed while hugging one leg close to herself.
“If I do develop feelings for him, I…” With that, Brooklyn hopes returned but they didn’t have a chance to get far. In that instant, a rustle came from the bushes and footsteps were fast approaching. Their attention was drawn to the sound. Suddenly, they saw Kale running just a short distance away. “Kale!” Haven called. Kale heard and stopped in his tracks. Haven and Angela rushed to him, “What are you doing here?”
They gave him a moment to catch his breath, “That lady in the red jacket found out who I was and chased after me. I’m not going back to dad until I find my mom!” he bellowed.
“It’s okay, Kale. I’m sure she just wanted to help. Calm down.” Angela comforted the boy gently until Haven took hold of her shoulder and led them into the darkness. She was on edge as she looked beyond them. “What is it?” Angela asked. Haven never averted her eyes, “Isn’t that the gargoyle we were chasing a week ago?”
They all looked to the direction she faced. It was Demona. She seemed especially suspicious as she hurried silently through the shrubbery, checking again and again to see if she was followed. “Kale, stay here.” Angela ordered. “But…” he tried to object but Haven back Angela up. “No but’s, stay where it’s safe.”
They left him hiding in the shadows of the shrubbery and quietly moved closer to investigate where Demona was going. She stopped over a large stone in the ground interrupting the flow of grass and chanted whatever Latin witchery was necessary to make it move. Behind it, an ancient staircase revealed itself to her. She took no time to descend down into the deep, dark tunnel below.
Kale slumped down against a tree, folding his arms and building up a sulking expression. The trio took note of all this; Brooklyn sending Broadway back to warn Goliath of what’s going on while he and Lexington followed after the girls.
In the darkness, Demona had lit a torch for light. Angela and Haven stayed well behind and followed that light as a beacon of her position. It was a fairly long tunnel so the boys were lost in the dark most of the way, as was Kale who decided to follow all of them anyway. At the end of the tunnel, Demona crossed upon a stone door. With her mystifying Latin words, the door opened unto her.
Inside was a room, empty of anything with the exception of an artifact worthy of the adorning alter that it rested upon. It was a dual-bladed dagger encased within a mauve crystal with the mark of an ancient seal. “The Fulgorite Dagger, finally. With this and the Crest of the Fallen together, I can destroy humanity at last. First I’ll have to break the seal.”
“She’s going to try to destroy the humans again.” Angela whispered. “Again?” Haven examined, “Is this a regular thing for her?”
“Yes. She has an undying hatred for humans.” Angela replied. Haven half chuckled, “Been there.” At that moment, they were interrupted. “She must be stopped.” Haven and Angela gasped loudly on sight of the sudden Brooklyn and Lexington in the dim light.
“What are you doing here?” Haven asked in an agitated whisper. Before they knew it, the torch light was brighter now as it grew closer. “Yes…” added the ‘demon’, “I was just wondering the same thing.”
The flame of the torch flickered and flailed, billowing in its entrancing motion until fate takes its breath away and it is snuffed out. Its light reached the alter of Fulgora and the empty walls around them. It reflected in the demon’s eyes, a beauty of the most sinister kind. Those eyes pierced a maturing fear into her fresh new victims.
Demona was justly named; A creature that thrives on the total obliteration of an entire race, no concern for the consequences if the balance of the world is corrupted even further than it already is, unburdened by the thought of the possible destruction her own great clan from the lack thereof. She, blinded by choice to another side of life by her own selfishness and pride. One could almost pity her, but still never forgive her. She was, after all, truly a demon.
Haven and Angela turned around to face Demona. “Now here’s a new face among familiar ones I could live without.” Brooklyn didn’t wait to hear another word from her. He sprung onto her. The others followed suit and the fray commenced. While Demona was distracted by Lexington, Brooklyn, and Angela, Haven went for crest she dropped and the item on the alter, feeling that was the best course of action. However, nothing could escape that ever wary eye of hers; in an instant, Demona had tossed her foes to different parts of the room and was approaching Haven.
“Whoever you are, it would be wise not to make an enemy of me.” she stated firmly. “I wasn’t aware we were allies.” Haven answered half-heartedly. Those eyes, those stunning eyes of hers were weakening Haven’s resolve. “We can be…that is if Goliath has not corrupted you too.” Haven looked confused but stayed on guard, “Corrupted how?”
A deep chuckle came from Demona, “Surely you too can see the humans for what they really are. Why do you defend them from me?” Demona’s words ran deeper for Haven than she knew. This reminisced of what she asked Brooklyn the first night. She recalled how even a saintly man was capable of cruelty. ‘She would destroy them…’ Haven thought, ‘I could be rid of them. Eva would have justice.’
“Don’t listen to her, Haven!” Brooklyn called. At that moment, she looked just beyond Demona. Before she had even realized it, Kale had come into her line of sight. “Give me the artifacts, Haven.” Demona demanded. Haven looked at Kale then the items, then back at Eva, and back to Demona, then the items again. “I…I…”
She was lost: on one hand, something she never dreamed could happen was within her grasp, directly within her abilities, but Eva would die, as would Monja Ivelisse. Demona was growing impatient. Brooklyn was worried she’d choose something she couldn’t take back. ‘Would Eva want to be avenged this way…?’
That revelation made her tightened her grip on the items, showing she wasn’t about to give them up. “Wrong move.”
Finally, in her frustration, Demona pounced on Haven to take the items back herself. She dropped the dagger and fought to keep Demona from grabbing it. It was quickly demonstrated that Demona’s strength exceeded her own but she fought hard. Nevertheless, Demona was not to be denied. She sank her fangs incredibly deep into Haven’s shoulder, stunning her long enough to give herself time to retrieve the items. She only recovered the dagger but was cut off from the crest by Kale.
“KALE DON”T!!!” Haven cried. Kale grabbed the crest and slid it over to Angela when he saw her charging him, but now he was at the mercy of Demona.
“I feel a sense of recent déjà vu, but since I can’t get you to listen to reason…” Demona held Kale’s neck in the crook of her elbow with the dagger ripping at his shirt, outstretching her other arm implying an exchange for the crest. Kale struggled against her but was no match for her inhuman strength. Is was like being choked by stone. Angela reluctantly knelt down to slide the crest to Demona. “Angela, no.” Lexington objected.
Brooklyn held him back from stopping her. If this exchange didn’t take place, Kale’s life would be forfeit. She’d kill him without a second thought. Angela passed the crest on to Demona, in hopes that they could stop Demona some other time. Once she had the crest, she put it around her neck with a menacing grin.
“Now give us the boy.” Angela ordered. Despite how much she wanted to, she understood she could not trust her own mother, and she was right not to. “When did I ever say I’d give him back?”
“What?” Angela watched as her smile grew ever larger. “This will save me the trouble of finding a sacrifice. I was going to use Goliath’s little pet but he will do.” With that, Demona stole away through the stone door and back down the dark tunnel.
“KALE!” Haven called. The gargoyles chased after her back into the darkness. Once she was out, Demona closed off the tunnel behind her, trapping them inside. “Shout to your heart’s content. Only the magic words will move that stone. You can rot in that tunnel.” and Demona was gone with Kale as her prisoner.
“No! She’s sealed us in.” Lexington pushed against the rock, the other’s helped. “It won’t budge. We’re trapped down here.” Angela evaluated. “You think Open Sesame will work?” said Brooklyn.
“This isn’t the time for jokes.” Haven bellowed. “She said the only way out was to speak the magic words.” Brooklyn reminded, “None of us speak Latin so Abra Cadabra and Please is better than nothing.”
They stopped pushing against the stone. “So I guess we wait until Broadway gets back with Goliath.” Brooklyn affirmed. Haven slumped against the wall. “I can’t believe I almost gave it to her; I almost gave her Kale.”
She felt utterly disgusted with herself. “If I ever get out, I’ll spend my last breath if that’s what it takes to get her back.” The others didn’t know what to say to that, but the boys didn’t realize what she said, only Angela who experienced this once before. So the silence endured for a good while until Angela asked something that had been bothering her.
“What were you guys doing here?” Angela interrogated. The boys got nervous, remembering that they followed them and saw everything. “How much did you hear?” Haven asked, knowing that to be the correct question. There was a short silence, but Brooklyn answered. “Everything.”
At that moment, they heard wings flapping. “This is the place…but there was an opening in the ground right around here…” It was Broadway and Goliath. “Broadway! We’re down here!” Lexington called back. “Lexington! Is that you?” Goliath called, “Are you alright?”
“We’re fine,” Lexington answered, “…but Demona took Kale and trapped us down here. The stone won’t budge.”
“Just hang on. We’ll get you out of there.” Goliath assured. Goliath and Broadway began pulling at the large stone while the others below pushed. Even together with Goliath’s insane strength, the stone refused to shift. “It’s no use. It’s stuck tight.” Broadway gasped from exhaustion after over exerting himself.
“We must think of something.” Goliath alleged. Just then, Haven noticed something and began pulling soil from the side of the tunnel. The others watched puzzled. “What are you doing?” Brooklyn asked.
“The walls are made of dirt. We may be able to dig our way out around the stone.” she pulled more and more dirt from the left wall, struggling with the thick, stubborn clay and paydirt, but pushing on. “But what if it causes a cave in?” Angela question.
“I’d deserve to be buried alive if I didn’t at least try to survive something like this.” The others understood her logic and followed suit. “Goliath, Broadway!” Brooklyn called, “Dig around the right side of the rock!”
Goilath and Broadway listened to Brooklyn and joined them in digging. A long time went by of burrowing a new exit. Dirt got in their eyes often but they brushed it off and kept going until they were finally free.
The gargoyles were tired and out of breath from all the digging. Haven ignored her fatigue and tried to take off to find Kale, but Goliath stopped her. “I know you are worried, but we are forced to wait until another night.”
“But…” Haven looked to the sky. It was certainly one of the more brilliant hours of night time. In several minutes, they’d be encased in stone, minutes nowhere near long enough to pursue a kidnapper and victim. It was hardly enough time to make it back to the castle, which was only a simple relief for Haven. The real problem lay in finding a place nearby that still kept them safe from Quarrymen.