The room was quiet, as it always was. No one came here for the noise. It was meant to be quiet. Meant to be a place of refuge and safety. A place full of knowledge and understanding. A place highly under appreciated by nearly everyone who passed its doors. But for me it was all of the above. A place where I sought serenity from those who judged me. Judged me for my beliefs and judged me for how I expressed them. As far as I know there is still freedom of speech. Though apparently only if what you're saying is agreed upon by everyone surrounding you. In other words...bullshit.
Sitting in a corner of the upper level, partially wrapped in a blanket, I was surrounded by open books. Reading random paragraphs from all of them, I jotted down notes as I went along, pages already full from the hours I’d already spent here. My mind was fully engaged as I absorbed everything I read. My laptop also stood open, a stoned face staring back at me from my wallpaper as I read and wrote as swiftly as possible. I'd traveled from city to city; country to country. All the while absorbing as much knowledge as I could. Searching for what had become my passion. It had also become my curse. Enough was never enough. There was always more and I'd always take whatever steps necessary to get it. Perhaps passion is too small a word. Full blown obsession is probably more accurate. Yet I couldn't help myself. There was so much lore that had gone undisturbed for far too long. Too many eye accounts to go ignored. Most thought I was crazy. Some thought it enough to get me incarcerated for a short time. I had gotten a little, how should I put it, overzealous, with a fraud that made false claims. I had tracked her down over weeks only to find that she had lied about everything. What gave her away was what she said she saw it do. She was right about the living stone with wings and weapons. But she claimed she saw it kill a human. A full blown debate that broken out and I exposed her for her lies but I’d already gone too far. Rage had filled me and I may have acted impulsively. But I knew they weren't evil. They were protectors and they existed.
I'd made it my life's work to prove that Gargoyles existed and were guardians of our world. They were not simply decorations. They were more than anyone could imagine. They watched over us. It was my mission to prove their existence. Not only that they existed but that Demons were real as well. The gargoyles here to kill them in defense of our race. If even half of the witness accounts were accurate then why can't they be real? Why can't I believe in a higher power? God was watching over us and had sent beings of immense power to keep our world from falling into the hands of evil. I believed this with all of me and yet found few to none who shared my belief. Those who did were usually crazy, making me despair that I and I alone still carried out the will to find the truth. A truth that had been very well hidden.
Freezing half way through a witness’s statement, I stood, gathering my things, and moved into a nearby reading room. The privacy of the room suddenly seemed imperative to what my eyes were seeing. Something that seemed to be happening less and less as of late. Taking my phone, I snapped pictures of the whole encounter. Knowing that they had truly seen the demons from hell. Not only that but they remembered seeing something else that was almost indescribable.
"It was large and grey. It looked of stone. My eyes couldn't believe what they were seeing as an expansive wingspan was revealed. But as soon as it had come it was gone. Fire erupting out of nowhere before the alley grew quiet."
The account was detailed and allowed me to imagine it in my mind. Slamming the books shut, I replaced everything I’d removed before quickly leaving the London Library grounds. I was once again on the move. This was the breakthrough I had been waiting for. Rushing home, I burst through the door, startling my two roommates.
"Jesus!" Marty, a man of thirty exclaimed as he jumped. Smiling, I ruffled his semi-short sandy brown hair, grinning further as his blue eyes glared at me.
"What's the rush?" Alice's musical voice asked as I went straight up the spiral staircase and to my room.
"I'm leaving." I replied with a smile. "I found a lead and I'm following it."
"Right now?" She asked, her British accent the thickest of the three of us. Mine was only slight after spending so much time in Europe, having been raised American. Her tone clearly telling me she was already frustrated with me.
"Yes. I have to look into it." I told her as I leaned out the door, gripping the frame to keep myself steady.
"Melina." She frowned exasperatingly, reaching the top of the stairs.
"Don't say my name like that." I frowned back as I once again moved from sight.
She sighed at me, "How long will you be gone this time?"
"As long as it takes." I replied, stuffing clothes and everything else I might need into my oversized duffle bag. A souvenir from my brother. He had supported me even if he hadn't believed me.
Marty appeared next to his wife with a grin on his face. "Bring me back something fun." He told me only to be hit in the chest by his lovely wife.
"You're not helping." She frowned at him.
"What?" He said with a shrug, "You know we can't stop her. We've known her almost ten years now and this is what she does."
Alice looked worried and sad, her voice depressing, "And we also went almost two years not knowing where she was. I even had a missing persons report put on her. One of these days she's not going to come back."
Appearing from my room I shouldered my bag, "You worry too much."
"With good reason, Melina." She said standing.
"Have a baby and you'll worry less about me." I grinned at her.
"Yes!" Marty said pointing his figure at me. "I like where your mind is."
Laughing, I leaned forward and placed a kiss against Alice's cheek. "I promise to keep in touch this time. Keep my room for me."
"We'd never leave without you." She smiled sweetly.
"Keep William alive for me." I beamed at her as I started to push the door open.
"You and that bloody stupid fish." She muttered under her breath, shaking her head as she walked away from me.
Laughing again, I rushed down the hall, stairs, out the door and practically ran to my car. I felt as if I were on fire. This was the first lead I'd had in months and I was not going to let it disappear. Though I was slightly discouraged by the timeframe of the encounter. It was already a few months old. But I would find her and she would tell me what I wanted to know.
When I arrived, I couldn't help but feel as if I had entered some sort of alternate reality. Even with the sun out it seemed abnormally dark, giving the town a medieval feel that I found more enticing than anything. Shuffling round the papers in the passenger seat, I managed to find my tape recorder, readying it before I stepped out of the car. Slowly walking to the front door, I knocked only to have the house remain silent.
"Hello?" I called through the door.
Sighing, I turned to return to my car only to come face to face with a young woman. Jumping back, I quickly removed myself from her path.
"Sorry. I was about to leave." I smiled at her.
"Good." Was her only reply.
She had thin shoulder length brown hair, eyes that had such dark circles they almost appeared sunken. Her thin lips were turned down at the corners. She was clearly tense, every muscle showing on her slender body. Juggling two full grocery bags she fumbled with the lock on her door.
"I can help you." I told her as I reached for one of the bags.
"No!" She yelled, startling me again. "Sorry." She added softly. "I don't like being touched."
"If you hand me your keys I can at least unlock the door for you."
She eyed me, staring for so long that I was starting to feel awkward. Then she finally dropped the keys in my hand and took a step back. Opening the door, I held it as she stepped in, letting myself in after her. Her home looked as if she didn't leave often. There were stacks of newspapers and magazines. Medicine bottles sitting here and there as well as empty alcohol bottles. Something had happened to this poor woman and it wasn't anything good. Picking up a piece of paper, I beheld a triple cross, seeing many more strewn across the room. Frowning, my mind moving through what little I knew about it.
"I know why you're here." She stated with a small voice.
"And why is that?" I asked her gently, putting the paper down, not wanting to ask her about it just yet.
"You're here to ask me about what I saw." Remaining silent, I sat at the island in the kitchen, watching as she meticulously put her groceries away. "I'm afraid you're wasting your time."
"Why?" I asked.
"Because I can't tell you anything."
"Can't or won't?" I countered. She looked at me with fear in her eyes. "What do you think is going to happen?"
"They'll come for me."