"Terrace, you've started dinner. How sweet of you," his mother, Lara, commented as she entered the kitchen. Terrace sighed softly. Lately, his mother has been sort of withdrawn from reality. Something was wrong, but he didn't want to pry.
So, he would try to figure out what was wrong. One reason could be because his father died when he was a baby. He had seen pictures of his father fourteen years ago and it surprised him how much he looked like his dad.
His mother's withdrawal, however, started about a month ago. And he had been figuring for about three weeks. Maybe now, was the time to ask. Perhaps during dinner. While he cooked, he heard his mother setting the table. He could hear plates, glasses, and silverware clinking together as they were placed on the table. At long last the food was placed on the table and Terrace and Lara sat down for supper. After a few minutes, Terrace cleared his throat. "Mom? Is something wrong?"
"No, Terrace. Everything's fine."
"You seem withdrawn, Mom. Is it about Dad?"
"That was years ago."
Terrace said quietly, "Dad's not really dead is he?"
Lara's fork clattered onto her plate. "What makes you say that?"
"The look in your eyes."
"You're right. Your dad is not dead. He's alive and well."
"Where is he?"
"I can't tell you."
Feeling that this conversation wouldn't go any further, Terraced got up, took his plate, utensils, and glass to the sink. Turning around, he headed for the front door.
"Where are you going?" Lara asked.
"To meet my friends."
"You've been meeting your friends almost every night for five months now."
"And you see them in school every day."
"Don't you want to know about your father?"
Whirling around, Terrace gaped at his mom. "You're-you're going to tell me about dad?"
"Yes. Will you stay?"
"Sure. Just let me tell Clara that I'm staying home tonight."
Terrace stuck his head out the front door where Clara was waiting. "Hey, Clara. Tell the clan that I won't be there for family reasons."
"Is your mom sick?"
"No, she's going to tell me where my dad is." Terrace closed the door quickly.
Clara, confused, said, "Your dad?" Shrugging, she walked off the porch and headed for the clan's home.
"Alright, Mom. Where's dad?" Terrace asked, while toying with the pendent around his neck. It was round like the moon. One side showed Clara, Sonya, Charlie, and him. The other side showed the clan. Terrace was careful not to reveal this particular side of the pendent. However, his toying with it caused this side to show and his mother caught sight of it!
"Terrace, what's this?" She held the pendent with clan's picture a little closer so she could see it.
Terrace began to sweat. "Uh...it's uh..."
"Gargoyles. A clan of gargoyles."
"You know about gargoyles?!"
"I know because...because...your father is a gargoyle."
"What! How can that be?"
"Let me explain. I was in Zaire on a hiking excursion. While I was climbing up a cliff, I slipped and fell off the cliff. Luckily I had a metal anchor in place. However, the anchor started to come out of it's place. I tried to reach it before it came loose, but I couldn't. Out the anchor came and I fell toward the jungle.
"Suddenly, I felt something grab me and stop my fall. I looked up and saw your father. Naturally, I fainted and when I came to, I was surrounded by a whole clan of gargoyles. I screamed in pure terror and your father, Baroq, calmed me down by saying not to be afraid. I stopped screaming and became calmer. Introductions were passed around and I became friends with the clan."
"That doesn't explain how he's my father."
"I was just getting to that. You see, I found Baroq very attractive for a gargoyle. White hair, dark blue skin, and small horns on the top of his forehead. Ironically, he found me attractive. We loved each other but knew it was hopeless because we were so different. Anyway, one day, after being with the clan for two or three months, I woke up from a nap and saw a handsome man looking at me. I found out that a fay did Baroq and me a favor by making him human for a day. I think you can imagine what happened."
"Sure. You got pregnant with me. So, dad's in Zaire?"
"Yes. I haven't seen him since I left."
"Mom, I just realized that the gargoyles I met are from Zaire, too. Did you see them when you were there?"
"Yes. As a matter of fact, I did see them." She pointed at each gargoyle in the picture as she named them. "Anya, Arana, Tara, Michelle, Miranda, Jerrica, and Katz."
"That's right. Actually, mom I've been meeting with the clan almost every night."
"I suspected something like that, but I wasn't sure if that was true. I didn't think you knew of gargoyles."
"It's true, mom."
"Why don't you go see them for a while? Maybe you can tell them what I told you."
"Great!" Terrace grabbed a light jacket, ran out the door and headed for the hills.
Meanwhile, Vasta was planning to carry out her plan to end humanity in Algiers. She overheard the humans mention how a human-hating gargoyle in Manhattan attempted to end humanity worldwide with a carrier virus. Vasta was amazed at how this "Demona" had carefully planned this goal only to be stopped by other gargoyles. Not to mention that her plan had a few glitches that were not mentioned by the humans.
Vasta's plot was the same, but on a smaller scale. She would eliminate humanity one place at a time. Algiers was first. Even if a human left Algiers, they would still have the disease and would infect the nearest human they came in contact with. Eventually, the disease would spread all around the world. Once the humans were gone, she would again attempt to led the clan like she had three months ago. The epidemic spell would infect only humans, which was perfect. Vasta laughed. The humans would start dying before the year was over.
"Baroq?" Anya thought for a moment. "Yes, I remember him. You say your mom met him?"
"What's your mother's name?" Jerrica asked.
"Lara. Of course! Lara. I remember meeting a human by that name. But, why are you asking about Baroq?"
"Because mom told me that Baroq is my father."
Terrace explained how this happened. The clan accepted the idea, yet they found it hard to believe. As did Clara, Sonya, and Charlie.
Anya stood there, shock and some other emotion was on her face. Terrace wondered. Was it pity?
"Anya is something wrong?"
The gargoyle's face was now grim. "You say Baroq is your father?"
"Yes. Why? Is something wrong with him?"
"No, nothing's wrong with him. It's just that...well Baroq is also Vasta's father."
"What! You mean Vasta's my sister!" Terrace couldn't believe it. How could he be related to someone like Vasta?
"I'm afraid it's true, Terrace. I'm sorry."
"No, you're not to blame Anya. There's no one to blame for this."
"You're right. No one's to blame for you and Vasta being related."
"I wish I knew more about my family, though."
"I can tell you all you what to know," a male voice spoke up. Everyone turned toward the voice which was at the front of the cave. There stood a dark blue gargoyle with hair the color of milk. Terrace recognized this gargoyle from the description his mother had told him.
"Dad!" Terrace exclaimed. He ran toward the gargoyle and embraced him. He felt two wings cover him and two arms wrap around as he, too was embraced.
"My son," Baroq rumbled. Unfurling his wings and releasing the teenager, he looked at him. "What is your name, anyway?"
"Terrace. Can you really tell me more about our family?"
Baroq laughed. "Straight to the point. I like seeing that in my children." Sitting down on the floor, he patted the spot next to him and Terrace obliged.
"Let's start with you, Terrace. You're a very special young man. To have parents of two different species. But there's more to it than that."
"What is it?"
"Lara didn't tell you?"
"No, just that a fay made you human for a day."
"Well, that fay told me that the child Lara would have, would have a special ability. And that ability is to turn into a gargoyle at night."
Terrace gaped. "R-really?"
"Cool." There was no other word Terrace could think of to describe this unusual turn of events. "But, how?"
"I believe you have to concentrate."
Terrace closed his eyes and thought hard about being a gargoyle. Gliding on the wind currents, climbing cliffs with his own claws. Opening his eyes, he looked down at his hands and saw five human fingers. Confused, he looked at his father, who was also confused.
"What happened? I concentrated just as you suggested."
"Maybe it takes something else to bring it out."
"Like a full moon?" Jerrica suggested.
'Great,' Terrace thought. 'I have to wait for a full moon before I can be a gargoyle.' This thought was soon pushed away as an idea occurred to him.
"Dad, would you like to see Mom? I'm sure she would like to see you."
"That's a wonderful idea Terrace. Let's go." The two of them walked out to the cave entrance. Baroq scooped up his son and glided both of them toward the city.
Lara was doing a painting that she started a month ago. The photograph she was doing it from was lying next to her. She would glance at it from time to time to get the painting's details perfect. Adding some more paint to the wings, she smiled.
"Hi, mom," Terrace's voice called from the front hall.
"In here dear," Lara called back.
Footsteps approached the living room where Lara was painting. Setting her paintbrush down on the palette, she turned around to greet her son. A gasp escaped her lips.
Standing next to her son was a gargoyle that meant so much to her. A gargoyle that gave her Terrace. "Baroq," she managed to whisper.
"Hello Lara." Baroq stepped closer to the human. Lara threw her arms around the male's neck. A smile came to her face.
"Baroq. I thought I'd never see you again. What are you doing here?"
"Why, I was looking for the members of my clan that was banished. And I found my son and wife while I was at it."
The woman blushed. "Baroqqqq," she teased.
Terrace hated to interrupt this moment, but he had to before his parents went too far. "Ahem."
"Oh, Terrace." Lara blushed even harder.
"Mom, why didn't you tell me that I have a special ability?"
A blank stare crossed his mother's face. "Special ability?"
"You don't know?"
"No. I thought you were a normal teenager."
"Dad said that I can turn into a gargoyle at night."
"Well, not yet. But hopefully, soon."
"Don't worry Lara. From what I've been told, Terrace can change into a gargoyle and back to human at will."
"When will you go back to Zaire, Dad?"
"You see, my leader found out about my affair with your mother and I was banished."
"It took fourteen years for him to find out?"
"I was very good at hiding it. But, I remembered overhearing Anya two years ago that she and her clan were going to live in Algiers and I also remembered that your mother lives here, too. So, I just took flight and headed here."
"So you'll be living with Anya and the others?"
Vasta smiled and chuckled to herself. "This spell is perfect. No full moon needed. No special items to protect gargoyles from the spell. All I need is a human victim to carry the virus within him. Or her." Vasta began to think about how she was going to induce the virus into the human. Well, there was the seize and hold method which works best if the person is in a secluded place where no one would see her.
"Maybe I should capture one of those teenagers the clan befriended. It would be easy to grab one on their way to the cave. Then I'll come back here, tie my victim up and cast the spell before any questions fly." She looked out the window and saw the sky beginning to lighten. "But it will have to wait until tonight or tomorrow night." The sun peeked over the horizon and flesh crackled into dull, gray stone.
"Terrace, your father is handsome. For a gargoyle." Clara ran her hand across Baroq's stone face gently. The four teenagers decided to spend their Saturday with the clan. Terrace, Baroq, and Lara spent most of Friday night catching up on the years. At half an hour before dawn, father and son decided to head back to the clan's home and tell them that Baroq would be joining the clan. Of course, Anya was only too happy to accept him.
"I know what you mean Clara," Terrace answered, gazing at his father's frozen face. Looking at him made him wish that he could be a gargoyle at night and not have to wait for something to bring it out.
The stone surrounding her made her push harder against it. She soon burst free of it and let out a yowl as she stretched her limbs. Her first thought was the virus spell. Tonight she would be taking the first step towards the end of humanity. She just needed her victim and everything else was downhill from there. Approaching a window, Vasta unfurled her wings and glided into the sky.
Lara gazed at the finished painting. After Terrace and Baroq left, she decided to get some sleep. Several hours later, she woke up and found the will to work on the painting. She worked diligently through the afternoon and into the evening. Now, it was finished. Once it had dried, she would frame it and hang it in her bedroom.
"Since I'm finished and have no other painting to do, I think I'll take a walk," the woman said to herself. Grabbing a light jacket out of the closet, she put it on, opened the door and walked outside, pulling the door closed behind her.
There was no sign of the kids. Where could they be? It was possible that they were already at that cave. Cursing the fay that spellbound her from going near the cave, Vasta decided to go to an alternative and just grab some hapless human off the street. If anyone saw her, it wouldn't matter. They would be dead in a couple of days or weeks, depending if they were the victim's friends or friends of the victim's friends.
Gliding over the streets, Vasta spotted a lone human woman walking down an apparently deserted street. Swooping down, she headed for her victim. The woman stopped walking, sensing she wasn't alone. Turning around, she looked up and saw Vasta heading for her. Turning back around, she started to run, but Vasta was too quick for her. The evil gargoyle picked up the human female and began to carry her back to her house. However, the entire incident was seen by a member of the Algeria clan. And he was going for help.
"She did what!" Terrace's voice echoed off the cave walls.
"I followed her to her home. It's not too far from here."
"Let's go!" Anya declared. The whole clan headed for the enemy's home with Charlie, Sonya, Clara, and Terrace in the arms of Tara, Arana, Michelle, and Baroq.
The human struggled in her arms. But it's useless to struggle in a gargoyle's grip. Vasta dragged Lara into her home and tied her up so she couldn't escape.
Then she began to search the table, looking for the virus spell, knowing it was somewhere around there.
"Why are you doing this?" the woman asked. She seemed rather calm for someone who was captured by a gargoyle.
"You'll find out when I'm done with you." Vasta located the spell and began to look it over again, double-checking to make sure everything was ready. Yes, everything she needed was here. Now, she could begin.
Just as Vasta opened her mouth to say the first word, the door flew off it's hinges and hit the floor with a resounding crash. On the other side was the Algeria clan and its' four human friends.
"Hold it right there, Vasta," Anya ordered.
"You're not my leader anymore," Vasta hissed. "I take orders from no one. You can't stop me." With that, the evil gargoyle approached the bound woman on the floor.
"Leave my mother alone!" Terrace yelled as he leaped at Vasta and tackled her. The impact of the tackle sent them rolling across the room. Terrace, so focused on keeping Vasta away from his mom, didn't notice that he had become a gargoyle.
Vasta's back was on the floor. She looked at her assailant, confused. A human boy tackled her and rolled across the floor with her and when she looked again, a gargoyle was keeping her pinned to the floor. What was going on here?
The clan gaped at Terrace's attack and his transformation to a gargoyle. They got over their shock quickly and as Baroq freed Lara, Anya approached the floor where Vasta had been. Picking up the parchment from the floor, she read it to herself silently. Her eyes widened when she realized what the spell was designed to do.
Heading over to Terrace and Vasta, she said, "Vasta, you will never again end humanity by magic." And with that, Anya crumpled and tore the spell into tiny bits. The virus spell was no more.
Vasta, on the other hand, had found some leverage to push the strange gargoyle off her. Bringing her legs up, she gave a mighty shove and forced her attacker back toward the clan. Getting up, she turned to escape when a very familiar voice stopped her.
"Vasta. I'm disappointed in you."
Whirling around, Vasta whispered loudly, "F-father?" Her eyes darted over the clan and coming to rest on the dark blue gargoyle standing near the human she had captured.
"I am ashamed to have someone like you for a daughter," Baroq continued. He took a step forward.
Not wanting to hear anything more, Vasta glided out the nearest window and disappeared into the night. Vasta vowed that she would somehow, somewhere be able to end humanity without Anya's interference.
Terrace, who had gotten over the shove Vasta gave him earlier, got to his feet, and went over to Lara. "Mom, are you alright?"
"Yes. I'm just fine, dear."
"Terrace...do you know what happened?" Charlie asked.
"Yeah. I tackled my own sister. And helped save the world."
"No, that's not what I meant. Look at your hands."
Terrace glanced down, wondering why Charlie sounded amazed. His eyes widened with surprise. His hands were the same color as the ocean and hand four talons on each one.
"How...how did it happen?"
"It must have been your love for your mother. You wanted to protect her and that's what brought it out."
Grinning, Terrace said, "How about we get out of here?"
"Good idea. Let's go home," Anya answered. The eight true gargoyles glided away from the house with four of them carrying the humans. Terrace looked uncertainly at the open air and whether he could do it or not. Deciding that his friends would help him if something went wrong, he opened his wings and jumped into the sky. The plentiful thermals caught his wings and he followed the clan.
'This is so cool,' he thought doing a barrel roll in mid-flight. 'But I can't wait to concentrate on being human when dawn comes."
It really hadn't been a bad night. He helped the clan save all the humans of the world and unlocked the powers of his special ability. Not a bad night at all.
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