Chapter 23

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Chapter 23:

         “Um, hi,” Sebastian started, trying to cover the entrance he’d just walked through with his jacket.

            He walked around slowly to the other side of the gargoyle, happy when its eyes followed him. Sebastian gauged the length of the creature’s front legs and stayed out of reach. How was he supposed to keep a stone figure’s attention?

            The beak started to turn back to its post. “So, lovely weather huh?” Sebastian asked, bringing the eyes back to his.

            The gargoyle cawed, sounding like a dying crow, and Sebastian hid his wince. It moved from its perch and stalked closer. He backed up slowly, trying to pull it far enough away from the door. He could see the tiny crack that Sorcha and Elizabeth were watching out of.

            “Don’t see many gargoyles around here. At least not the real ones,” he tried joking.

            The thing started to circle him, moving quietly under its heavy weight. Gargoyles were not conversationalists, just great. Sebastian continued backing away slowly, pulling the creature in with random questions or comments. He could have said the moon was blue for all he knew. His only focus was on the eyes of the beast and keeping them in his direction.

            He watched as Sorcha and Elizabeth slipped quietly out and down to the next alley. His work was done, but now he had no idea how to end the conversation. The only good news was that the gargoyle hadn’t attacked him yet. Oh it looked like it wanted to, but he was still in one piece. That meant the gargoyle didn’t have an order to attack on exit, only entrance. His plan was working.

            Sebastian winced as he was pulled in tight against the cool stone chest of the beast. He shouldn’t have been celebrating yet. Stars danced in front of his eyes as the paw at his back pulled him in tighter. Cold breath danced across his skin as the beak swung from first one side to the other of his face and neck.

            He was sent flying backward by the surprise shove of the thing. It was shaking its head and pawing at its beak and Sebastian grinned. The impact of his body into the brick wall knocked the grin loose, but it wasn’t long before his leg healed and he was up and running. Ignoring the cries of the gargoyle, he raced for the alley he’d watched the ladies run down.

            Sebastian’s arms pinwheeled to stop himself from running right into the flame. Oh joy, a gargoyle that breathed flame like a dragon. He spared one longing glance up to the Heavens before dancing back. For whatever reason, he was not supposed to go down that alley. He frowned and hoped Sorcha was okay and smart enough to stay out of sight.

            “Look, big boy, neither one of us really wants this fight…”

            He backed down the small alley until his feet hit the brick of the sidewalk. The gargoyle stopped stalking him and went back to its spot by the wall. Sebastian breathed a sigh of relief and started climbing up the building in front of him. If he couldn’t just walk up to the alley, he’d have to go over to get to it. He only hoped no one was watching that way in.

            Sebastian laid low when he reached the roof. If he could have crawled across the thing using only his fingernails and toe nails, he’d have done it in a heartbeat. He said a quick prayer before inching his way over the roof. He used every possible thing as a cover until he was certain there weren’t any more gargoyles guarding the alley.

            He made it safely across and was looking down on the alley in question when he realized the gargoyle was looking up. It snorted and pawed at its pedestal but stayed put. Finally, Sebastian realized the problem and smacked himself. The gargoyle wasn’t worried about the damn alley. It just didn’t like him so close to the entrance it guarded. From the roof of the building, he realized the entrance to the alley was directly across from the entrance to the vampire hideout. Probably not a coincidence, but he doubted the gargoyle was guarding the alley or someone would have reported it by now.

            Sebastian made his way carefully down the backside of the same building, dropping the last several feet down onto the cobblestones of the alley. He cursed as his ankle rolled under him, popping as it slid out and then again as it healed itself. He limped down the alley until he regained all the feeling in it.    

            “What the hell took you so long?” Sorcha asked, rushing forward to grab him and pull him over to where Elizabeth hid.

            “Yeah. You try getting away from an annoyed gargoyle,” Sebastian growled and began leading them away.

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