The sky was black with night. Tiny white stars filled it's vastness. Far below the sky, lanterns illuminated the marketplace of Algiers, Algeria. A light April breeze filled the butterfly-like wings of Anya, the gargoyle clan leader who lived in Algiers. She was doing a routine check on the humans of the city. The wind blew through her chestnut brown hair which she brushed back with one olive green talon. Satisfied that everything was peaceful, she headed back to her clan, which lived in the nearby hills.
As she landed at the entrance to the clan's partially concealed cave, she heard playful growls and giggling floating from inside. Walking inside, she saw her second-in-command Arana play fighting with her biological sister Tara. Vasta, another member, was supervising them. The two combatants were biological in the way they looked. Both had blue skin, and the same age (sixteen), but Arana has black hair and stands at six and a half feet tall. Tara has blond hair, and a height of six feet, seven inches.
Arana and Tara tumbled over each other, ending with Arana pinning Tara to the floor. Both of Tara's arms, as well as legs, and tail were pinned. Her back pinned her wings. Anya picked Arana as her second-in-command due to the fact that she was the most skilled fighter, next to her.
"Ha, I win again!" Arana gloated gleefully.
"Okay, you've proven your point. You know the clan’s fighting techniques better than me. Now let me up," her sister surrendered.
Arana did so and looked up at the entrance. Seeing Anya there, Arana flashed a smile in her direction.
"Hi Anya. Back from patrol so soon?"
"Yes, I am. The night is so peaceful that even the city is peaceful."
"Just because everything seems peaceful, doesn't mean the city is," a snide voice remarked.
That was Vasta. She was always the one to contradict the leader. With her white hair and red-orange skin, she often stood out from the other members.
"I think," the leader said, looking at Vasta. "that we should have a clan discussion about the humans." Anya's choice of topic sparked an interest among all the members, even their brown-skinned doggoyle, Katz.
The females gathered in a loose circle near the center of the cave. The members of Anya's clan besides the ones mentioned also included Michelle, Jerrica, and Miranda.(to know what these members look like go to Clan Descriptions).
"Well first of all," Anya began. "Maybe Vasta had a point about the city not being peaceful just because the night is. Actually, when I think about it, there seemed to be a kind of buzz about the humans, but I couldn't figure it out."
"Maybe there is some kind of big festival coming up and everyone is excited about it," Arana suggested.
Anya nodded. "Possibly. Maybe we should talk about what signs are necessary to declare the city peaceful and that it doesn't need patrolling for the night."
"I think that if nature is calm, then its children are, too," Michelle said. She was the only member who believed that everyone shared nature's moods. The other members nicknamed her "Nature Gargoyle"
"That's not usually the case," Miranda told her. Miranda always has a realistic point of view to everything.
Anya nodded, "She's right. A few people sometimes, take on a criminal mood." Anya, being the leader, tries to share all the members' point of views.
"I think that if all the city lights are out, then the night is peaceful," Jerrica piped in. The kite-winged gargoyle was starting to develop an interest in human technology.
Tara raised an eyeridge. "Criminals don't need lights to commit crimes. If they do, they would use flashlights." It was obvious that the clan couldn't agree on the right sign or signs. Everyone had their own opinion.
"If I know humans, I say they're evil and dangerous!" Vasta countered loudly. Everyone looked at her. Anya cleared her throat. "Would you care to explain that Vasta?"
"My outburst or my suggestion?" Vasta asked, jokingly. Nobody laughed at her subtle joke.
"Your suggestion, of course."
"Indeed I would. Humans fear what is different from them. And whatever is different from them, they want to destroy it. So, humans will want to kill us if they discover us. I say, we kill them first before they do find us. And asleep as stone statues, no less."
"Not all humans are like that. Besides, no one knows we live here. Furthermore, we can't kill every human in the world," Anya argued.
"Sure we can, we kill all the human women and girls, then they can't reproduce," Vasta shot back.
"Gargoyles don't kill anyone. We protect. That is our nature."
"But we have to defend ourselves as well. What kind of leader are you?"
"A sensible, reasonable one. I follow the ways of a gargoyle and apply it to what is right for the clan."
"Then I think we need a new leader...Me!"
"But Anya was chosen because she's the oldest," Arana protested.
"That's true," Vasta began. "But I'm best qualified for the role. I'M OVERTHROWING YOU, ANYA!"
"We'll see about that!" Anya exclaimed.
The two gargoyles stood in the center of the circle, facing each other. The others looked on from the sidelines.
Eyes flashing crimson red, Vasta lunged at Anya. Anya quickly leaped to the side and her attacker landed on the ground. She got up immediately, whipped her tail across the ground and knocked Anya down. She then landed on her, pinning her arms, legs, tail, and lower wings set to the floor. But, Vasta made a mistake. Anya's upper wing set was not pinned as securely as the rest of her. Using her upper wing set, she nudged one of her arms free and struck Vasta's right cheek. Vasta growled in pain, easing her grip. That gave Anya leverage to push Vasta off her and pin her instead. The entire fight took about two point five seconds.
Bruised and scraped from the rocks on the cave floor, Anya growled to Vasta, "For attempting treason, you are hereby banished from the clan. Go now. And never return.”
Anya released Vasta, who was grabbed by Michelle and Miranda and led to the cave entrance. Then, she was sent on her way.
As she glided away from the cave, Vasta vowed, with glowing eyes, "I will overthrow you Anya. That's a promise."
Dawn came and went. Four teenagers, just starting the weekend, gathered in the town square with a blanket, cantina, a picnic basket, sunglasses, and suntan lotion. One of them, Sonya, considered herself the leader because she was the oldest and tallest. Charlie, Terrace, and Clara were her friends. All four of them, were dark-skinned people.
Sonya, Clara, Terrace, and Charlie started hiking in the nearby hills late morning, had a light lunch, then continued hiking all afternoon. With sunset an hour and a half away, the four of them had just decided to head back when the sky grew dark with black clouds. A storm was coming.
"Get the blanket open. We can use it to keep the rain off us," Clara suggested. Terrace did so and the four of them got under it just as a torrent of rain came down. Looking around, Sonya saw a partially concealed cave to their left. Pointing it out to the others, they ran towards it, keeping the blanket on top them. It didn't matter, though. The blanket was soaked, so they were getting a little wet themselves.
The cave was large and spacious like a one story house and very warm. Charlie and Terrace built a fire near the entrance, but far enough away from the rain. None of them thought about someone living here, since it was a fact that no one would be living all by themselves. Any humans, anyway. The four teens sat in a circle around the fire, drying out and talking.
"Have you seen that special report from Manhattan?" asked Clara.
"You mean about those gargoyles?" Terrace grinned. "Yeah. Did you?"
"Yes. So did Charlie and Sonya."
"Wouldn't it be cool if we met a group of gargoyles here in Africa?" Sonya said.
"Like where, Sonya?" Charlie inquired sarcastically.
"Like say here for example." Sonya indicated the cave. "It's the perfect place for gargoyles to hang out in."
"What are the chances, though?" Terrace commented.
"Yeah, you're probably right."
"Clara and I are going to hunt for more wood," Charlie informed his friends. Clara and Charlie searched the area near their friends, but couldn't find any. They decided to search in the back, where they were sure to find plenty of wood. And they were right. The ground of the cave had scatterings of wood all about it. Clara gathered some in one area, while Charlie gathered more some ways in front of her. After five minutes, Charlie heard a gasp and the sound of wood hitting the ground.
"Clara?" he asked, turning around. Clara's face was a shade paler with wide eyes and an open mouth. "What's the matter?"
"Charlie, there...there are stone gargoyles here."
"Where?" he asked anxiously.
"Here. Next to me."
Looking in Clara's direction, he saw seven stone gargoyle just where she said they would be.
"Wow," he breathed, gently touching one of the statues. "Seven of them. Right here in Algiers."
"And they're all females. Let's go tell the others," Clara said, excited. Charlie and Clara ran back to the front, panting and out of breath.
"Why were you running?" Sonya demanded.
"And where's the extra wood?" Terrace asked.
"We...found seven...stone gargoyles," Clara panted.
"Yeah...all females," Charlie added.
Sonya leaped to her feet. "Let's go see them wake up!" She looked at Clara, "Lead the way."
The four humans walked to the back of the cave and found the gargoyles. Terrace and Sonya ran their fingers gently over the curves of the statues' wings and tails while the other two watched the sky start to grow dark with night.
"They're going to wake up. We better step back," Charlie advised. They did so and watched as the stone started to crack and break away from the statues. Soon, there stood seven flesh and blood gargoyles.
Anya burst from her stone sleep and saw four humans before her. The others also saw them and gathered behind their leader. The clan wasn't sure whether to be friendly with them or fight with them.
"What are you doing here?' Anya asked.
"We were getting out of the rain," a tall female said.
"Well, it stopped, so run along and forget that you saw us."
"We want to be your friends," one of the boys said. (Terrace)
Anya's demeanor softened. "Really?"
"Sorry about my actions before. We weren't sure whether to trust you or not."
"We've been hoping that there would be a clan of gargoyles here ever since we saw a television report on a gargoyle clan in Manhattan in New York, USA."
"There are gargoyles in New York?" Arana asked astonished. More gargoyles. They weren't the only one of two clans in the world.
"Yes. By the way, I'm Sonya and these are my friends Charlie, Clara, and Terrace."
"I'm Anya. This is my second-in-command Arana, her sister Tara, and my other clan members. Michelle, Miranda, Jerrica, and Katz."
"Maybe you could help us with a problem," Tara said.
"What is it?" Terrace asked.
"Can you tell us what makes the city peaceful when we go to protect the city?”
"Sure," Charlie replied. "The city's peaceful when the streets are empty of people."
The gargoyles looked at each other with looks ranging from embarrassment (Michelle and Jerrica) to solemn (Anya).
For the rest of the night, the humans told the clan everything they needed to know when they go to protect the city. About how to suspect that an unarmed criminal might actually be armed, and how to slip into places unnoticed if they wanted to stop break-ins.
At dawn, the clan turned to stone and the four friends gathered their equipment and headed for Algiers, the city that had gargoyle protection.
Reality and Fiction.
Day of Humanity.
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