Impress Me

Chapter 8 - Delivered From Chains

The night echoed with a roar of disorder that was too loud even for ‘The City that Never Sleeps’. Cars honked and screeched to a stop as drivers were still too in shock to focus on the road. News reporters were all over the place trying to get answers for their late-night viewers. People were throwing a hurricane of chaos on NYPD since they didn’t have a good enough take on it. Sirens from emergency vehicles racing to fires that started during the ‘Blackout’ and people who were injured severely because of it. Babies crying, fights starting, small riots breaking out, Manhattan was chaos and the only thing matching the volume was the thunderous rain pouring over the city threatening to drown it.

The gargoyles searched in groups for young Kale Walken; Goliath and Angela searched the park, Lexington and Broadway scanned Midtown, and leaving Haven and Brooklyn to Uptown.

She was holding tight to Brooklyn who kept gliding up then down in the rain, struggling to fly steady for her but she was starting to get used to it. Now that she’d learned to keep her eyes open in the air, Haven’s eyes darted every which way, probing every inch she could. Brooklyn’s concern never had a chance to wane, as her calm demeanor was slowly growing more panicked, “We should try Harlem first since that’s where we first found him.”

“Yeah,” Haven nodded, “He might have gone back home if it’s nearby.” Broadway and Lexington only a few miles back, Brooklyn followed Haven as he pointed to the way out of the Commercial district. But before they could cross the threshold, Brooklyn and Haven were ensnared midair by a dual-weight, electrified cable, “AAAGGHH!!!”

Haven, not caught in it enough, slipped out of it when Brooklyn started to plummet. He and his wings were bound tightly as a jolt stunned him and sent him spiraling towards the streets below. There was little thought but she dived down, spread her wings, and charged for him. Any part of him within reach repeatedly escaped her hands as wind resistance built and pushed her from him. She curved her wings in to cut the wind finally bringing his foot to her grasp only yards from hitting a rooftop. Just as she was curving upright, another binding cord was flung in their direction.

“NAAGGHH!” It drew in her wings with a blinding shock and sent them crashing bumpily down onto the roof and into the brick chimney shoot. Brooklyn tried to gain consciousness long enough to see who it was walking towards them but the dark blur consumed his eyes. Soon, he couldn’t even feel the sting of each heavy raindrop as it slapped to his skin.

When light finally came back to his eyes, both he and Haven were imprisoned in a cage still bound by the cords. The place he was in was familiar enough: the charred remains of his clan’s sanctuary, now their prison, posted by Quarrymen. Every way out was within their reach to block off. The shock of the cords didn’t respond to his struggles so he broke loose with some ease. Examining the generator next to the cage, he tested the bars and received a small shock against his poke. Turning around, he found Haven was still out cold. He gazed just for a moment or two; so beautiful yet so delicate and confused. If only he could carry her burden for a while...

Satisfied with the momentary glimpse, he reached out to rouse her when she uttered a glimmer of hope well audible for him to hear, “Brooklyn…”

With a slight eagerness, he took her shoulders and lifted her to awaken, “Haven, Haven…”

She groggily awakened, “¿Brooklyn, Q-qué pássó? ¿Donde estamos?” Brooklyn ripped of the juice-less cord that bound her, “In English, please.”

Haven took a moment to regain her faculties and come out of wherever she was, “What happened, and where are we?” Brooklyn helped her until she could support herself on her arms, “Seems we were ambushed by Quarrymen.”

“What are Quarrymen?” Haven asked as she finally took a look around. Hooded men with high-tech hammers were guarding them in a strange building with peeling walls, glass shards from a massive clock that dwarfed them, and cinders everywhere blackening all they touched. Brooklyn answered her while she familiarized her surroundings, “Let’s just say they don’t like us. We’re in the clock tower above the old abandoned police headquarters.”

“¡Ah dios mío!” she gasped staring at all the debris on the floor, “What happened here?” Brooklyn looked over the rubble, reminiscing about the ghost of a former welcoming home, “Long story short, someone bombed this place to get rid of us.”

Now fully conscious, she reached for the bars to bend them before Brooklyn could stop her, “DON’T!”

High voltage was surging through Haven’s hands and arms, deflecting her grip and bouncing her off the other side before she found safety in the center. Brooklyn came closer to see the damage, “The bars are charged. You okay?”

Haven cringed at the numbing pain in her hands but was sure she’d be fine. When she realized how close she was to him she shifted away, “Yeah, I’m good.”

The question was tearing at him that he could hold it no longer, “So~, what were you dreaming about?”

“Huh?” Haven turned confused so Brooklyn elucidated, “You called my name comatose. What did you see?”

She looked at the cinders on the floor and remembered. Kale was running towards her, not Eva, Kale, happy and lively when a shadow in the shape of a person appeared before him. It tried to stab him with a fireplace poker but he moved out of the way. Haven tried running to him but never got any closer. She tried flying but her wings were paralyzed in stone-stasis. She was only able to watch as the main shade called on the other shadows to fly in and engulf Kale as he begged her to help him. An instant later he was lost to her

Brooklyn offered his hand behind her just as he was shot out of the air by a power gun. She tried to catch him but her grip never reached him as he fell into the darkness. She was all alone as the dark figure began to tower over her, a mahogany Rosario around its hands. Caught in his shadow, she couldn’t move. Just ahead, Brooklyn reappeared and ran towards her to help but was knocked down by the massive shadow’s swing. Another figure materialized in front of him seemingly a piece of the colossal shade. His gun aimed at Brooklyn, defenseless and in pain on the floor, Haven called out for him to stop but no sound came from her throat. He looked at her one last time to say ‘I love you’ but scarcely got out the ‘lo’ before a shot was sent into the heart he was saving for her.

She knew he saw her expression change to fear but she didn’t want to worry him further, “It’s nothing.”

“You sure?” Brooklyn probed but Haven stayed it, “I’m sure.” Brooklyn was not convinced but he left it. Haven thought about it for a while. She knew nightmares would be nightmares but why did she dream of something so painful, and why was Brooklyn there? She was certain of her feelings but somehow, somewhere, they changed and now she wasn’t so sure. Just thinking about it made her shudder and a single drop fell from an eye and fizzled against the cage floor, conducted slightly from the voltage coursing through the bars. Brooklyn noted this making it hard for him to stay quiet, “It’s not ‘nothing’. Come on, tell me what you saw.”

Haven pushed away, “No, I said it’s nothing.”

She wiped away her tears but just as Brooklyn was about to speak when three other Quarrymen walked in towards them, one with a familiar voice, “It would seem eve monsters can feel some semblance of love.” he noted switching his gaze from Brooklyn to Haven. Brooklyn recognized voice and the Scottish twang hinting at the side of his mouth, “That voice, you’re…”

The man removed his hood to reveal himself as Jon the Huntsman, “Pleasant seeing you too gargoyle. The cage suits you but I think your litt’l girlfriend here has the right idea of somber imprisonment.”

Haven looked away, still trying to pull herself together. Brooklyn stayed strong for both of them, “What are you planning to do with us?”

“Oh, it’s actually very simple really. I’m sure you can figure it on your oh’n.” Jon stated with a wide grin across his features. Brooklyn didn’t even have to think hard, “You’re using us as bait.” Jon grinned and the men snickered but Brooklyn felt his clan insulted, “Do you honestly think something that simple will work? Goliath is smarter than that.”

Brooklyn was bluffing and Jon knew he was, “Of course he is but he’s also just as sentimental. Soon I will have my revenge, so just sit tight and serve your purpose. I’m sure I’ve made you comfortable enough.”

“Why are you doing this?” He was about to leave when Haven’s question stopped him, “Don’t act like it isn’t obvious, wench. You gargoyles are a blemish on this Earth that I’d sooner see popped.”

“That’s not true, is it? I heard about you, about how you once defended us.” Haven looked on with vacant eyes, an emotionless expression with which Brooklyn was well familiarized but it did not reach Jon, “Until you monsters took Jason from me. He tried to warn me but I wouldn’t listen. You and all creatures like you deserve to be exterminated.”

“But we didn’t take him from you, did we?” Jon thought back to the memory he blocked off so well. His expression went from nervous to fearful and Brooklyn watched as Haven’s eye narrowed a little. He fought it off trying not to break down in front of his men. Haven had this faint triumphant look about her that irritated Jon and unnerved Brooklyn. He couldn’t imagine what she was doing by angering him further but she didn’t stop and her voice took a dark turn, “You shot him in your own delirium.”

“No!” Jon protested, “It was an accident!” Haven drew out his torment further, “Accident or not, you shot him, not us and you’re not man enough to accept that.”

“Silence!” Jon demanded but she refused, “Why? Did I strike a nerve or can you not block the truth anymore?”

Jon snatched the Quarrymen’s signature, high-voltage sledgehammer from one of his men and rushed at the fully charged cage, “SHUT UP!!!”

The owner of the hammer called an interjection, “STOP! The combined voltage will cause the generator to explode!” but words went unheard as Jon struck the confinement in his rage. Indeed an explosion occurred, one large enough to attract the other gargoyles and a few nearby law officials.

As the smoke cleared, everyone was lying on the ground winded. The cage was destroyed, freeing Haven and Brooklyn but they were blown back as well. Just as all were beginning to come to, Jon was standing before Haven, “Filthy demon. If you won’t silence yourself…” he took her throat into his grasp, “…then I’ll do it for you.”

Haven choked, struggling to regain control of her senses as the explosion threw them off, her current handicap preventing that. Brooklyn loose of his faculties, fought to move to her to help but he couldn’t move any faster. Running short on air, Haven, with her strength rapidly exhausting, vainly pulled on his arm to loosen his grip. Just when she was about to give in to the black, the rest of the clan arrived to help. Jon was knocked from her and she collapsed to the ground coughing vigorously. “You ok?”

Lexington helped her up, his hands soaked by the relentless rain. “That’s two times too many for being suffocated in one night.” Haven could feel the bruises forming on her neck. With the rest of the clan on the scene, the Quarrymen took no time to start the battle. It was quite the brawl and at first there seemed no dominant side. With the Quarrymen still half out of it, though their numbers somewhat dwarfed their opponents’, were outmatched.

As Haven tried to stand a Quarryman came at her, only to be knocked back by the protective Brooklyn, “You should learn to lean on me more. I come in handy from time to time.”

He smirked as he helped her up then joined the fray after. Haven went right for Jon and offered a hand to help him up. Jon didn’t bite pulling out his blaster and aiming it square at her face, “Stay back! Or I’ll…”

“Or you’ll what? Shoot me like you did your brother?” she bantered on. “Enough!” Jon bellowed, “I’ll hear no more of this!”

Jon fired but realized too late that his grip was too shaky and he missed just barely taking a few hairs with it. His adrenaline and blood rush from his ire kept him standing after the explosion but now the effects were running their course. Haven continued, “Aren’t you tired of lying to yourself?”

Haven’s took to a softer more empathetic tone and Jon, unable to bring up the offence was subjected to sit there and hear her words, “You shot your brother, but it’s not like he blames you. I know because…I made the same mistake and I have to live with that. The same goes for you. Denying the truth won’t help you and venting your frustrations on others is no better. Let it go.”

She offered her hand once more to him but they were interrupted by the sun. The fight had gone on so long that no one noticed the sun rising. Thus the gargoyles petrified for another night, it they’d last till midday. Jon stood and armed his blaster, “You want to be rid of the gargoyles?!”

The Quarrymen roared for a good stone busting over the sirens that were sounding off at the bottom of the tower. Jon pointed his gun at Haven, “Then let this she-devil be the first!”

A moment passed, then another, then a minute, then a few, why couldn’t he pull the trigger? His men shouted unsympathetic petitions like ‘shoot her’, ‘kill the demon’, ‘kill them all’. A police chopper hovered over them flashing its high beam onto them. Still he did nothing. Then at last he did something but it came as a shock to all who saw. Jon dropped his blaster then fell to his knees and the quiet tears began to fall. He had blamed himself so long and obsessed over it but he didn’t want to face the cold truth. Now that he could, he was finally free. As it was, he couldn’t consciously destroy the defenseless gargoyles, he couldn’t destroy the one who revealed to him the truth.

His men stared unbelieving; was he for real? One couldn’t wait any longer, “Are you kidding me right now?! If you can’t smash it, then we will!”

All Quarrymen were in accordance charging for the statues but Jon fended them off with the help of the police descending from the chopper. The high-tech hammers proved quite a challenge for the honest policemen and their simple guns until Xanatos came with his robo-clan. The matter was settled in a few minutes and only a few miraculously escaped arrest. Jon went quietly and took full responsibility for his crimes against the city and the gargoyles. Before Xanatos left with the statues, Jon asked a favor of him, “Tell the gargoyles ‘please forgive me’.”

Xanatos nodded and flew off, gone into the sunrise, awaiting another night of awakening.

The sun set on another day and brought life to the creatures of the night. The stone skin fell as they viciously stretched and took a roaring yawn. The rain still poured just as heavy if not heavier and the sting of it had not lessened one bit, but what was a few drops to stone-like skin. They looked about them and found themselves in the courtyard of Castle Wyvern. They were confused as to how they were still whole instead of in pieces. Xanatos was there to greet them, “Good evening."

Goliath was the first to speak, “I don’t understand. Why are we still…”

“Alive?” Xanatos interrupted, “It would seem the prey outsmarted the huntsman. The Quarrymen are behind bars now and Jon Castaway sends his apologies.”

They all looked at Haven, only Brooklyn and Angela understanding the depth of what she did, “That was all planned, wasn’t it?” Angela queried.

“The sun was a surprise.” Haven looked off, remembering that everything she told Jon was meant for her. Her intent was to say what she could to save herself and Brooklyn but she held a distinct misology for the words straight from her own mouth. She didn’t deserve to hear it. Haven needed that guilt to keep moving forward but hearing that made her realize she’s been stationary in that night ever since it happened. Brooklyn was impressed with her quick thinking, “Who told you about Jon?”

Haven came back from her thoughts but Angela answered for her, “I did, but I only told her that he was once on our side. She must have bluffed the rest.”

Haven started to walk towards the ledge, catching Goliath’s attention, “You seem anxious to look for the child.” She stopped but couldn’t meet his eyes, “He’s…in a way, precious to me…”

Haven’s face held this lonely tint but also a hue of relief. Brooklyn was about to her by her side to offer his back but Goliath called, “Then we will resume the search. Hudson, you come with me and Angela to check on Elisa. After, we will join the search. Brooklyn, you go with Broadway. And Lexington, go with Haven.”

Haven hesitantly nodded, looking at Brooklyn who was looking back with just as much nervousness. He would have protested but Goliath was already taking off, “I will contact Matt and ask him to take the park while we search downtown. The rest of you take a section of the city and stick together. This storm is getting worse.”

So Goliath was gone with Angela looking back at Haven with the same worry before taking off to keep up. Haven looked at Lexington who gave her an encouraging smile, “Don’t worry. I’ll help you.”

She didn’t feel any more comfortable about this as it was her understanding that when they were spying on her, they thought she only had problems gliding. Lexington started off giving her instructions as she watched Brooklyn get ready for takeoff. Broadway put his hand on Brooklyn’s shoulder, “Lex will know how to help. She’ll be fine.”

“It’s not that simple, I’m afraid.” Brooklyn and Broadway took off. Lexington prepped her but all she could see was just how high up she was. She could look down now but she was never this high before. Nevertheless, she spread her wings, followed Lexington’s example and soared over the clouds for the first time in her life.

The shower fell harder and the zephyrean night became one of icy blasts making it the worst possible night for gliding. But a child was out in it that needed their help so nothing would stop them. As the somber rain fell, it bode a new danger that was far out of the control of all.

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