Great Court Gargoyle

Charles stepped back to study the piece. His lips twitched as he leaned forward running his hand across the smooth stone. The wings were gossamer. Ah, the magic of sandstone. Wonderful interplay of colour, texture, light. He returned the fine rasp to its place in the leather pouch and retrieved his phone from his pocket.

‘The colonnade piece is ready,’ he tapped.

Dusty sandalwood air carried a sweet scent of promise, and echoes of incantation. They had witnessed the miracle. Wings swooped and soared, the stone’s soul unlocked.

Sally leant against a sandstone arch, the shadows long on the great court. She checked her phone again. Jake, where the hell are you? How hard is it to text? We’ll be so late.

‘Oh man, I’m in deep shit.’ Jake and Ethan made a rapid pace along the colonnade of the Forgan-Smith building. Moonlight bounced off the sandstone arches, turning them a cold silver. They reached the Law school entrance. ‘Fuck she’s gone.’

They caught their breath. ‘Jake wait, isn’t that her backpack?’ Jake looked out across the grass, well lit by the entrance lights. They walked over to the bag. It was Sally’s. Not placed, but flung. Books, iPad, and dogeared pages spewed onto the grass. Their eyes gazed the court, surprising well lit in the moon full night. No sign of Sally.

A loud thud made them turn. Two figures on the lawn. Sheer fabric did nothing to hide Sally’s nakedness. Her hands clutched a bouquet of white. A stoney arm was linked through hers, a grotesque figure, chiseled face, blank eyes. Were they wings behind him? Fine, barely there like Sally’s dress. Jake looked back at Sally, willing himself to look at her face. Her eyes alive but venomous.

‘Great costume Sal, but what are you doing with this dick?’ Jake laughed. Next moment he was wearing the bouquet.

A flap of wings. They all looked up glimpsing the silhouette of a flying fox pass across the moon.

He’d been watching this from a distance. Now was his moment. He swooped down off his sandstone perch.

The blue checked tape cordoned off a large section of the court. Sally was inconsolable. A blanket was draped around her, a police woman spoke to her quietly.

Sally gazed down at the picture of Jake’s face from its granite surround. She placed a posey of violets into the plastic holder and pushed its stake into the ground. The stone inscription told nothing of course about what happened that night, but there were no ashes to bury in this plot.

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