Disclaimer: The story and plotline of "The Reckoning" are not mine. They belong to Buena Vista and the writer Michael Reaves. Jasmine belongs to The Walt Disney Company. Only the character, Lily, belongs to me. Now, on with the story.
It seemed like a typical evening. Three clan members were on a stake-out and three of us were patrolling the rest of the city. Those three were Broadway, Lexington, and me, Jasmine.
Patrol took a few hours and when we got back, Hudson and Bronx were the only ones there. Lexington went off to his computer, while Broadway and I watched television with Hudson. About an hour later, Brooklyn came in.
“Guys, Goliath wants us at the Labyrinth!” Brooklyn exclaimed.
“What’s the emergency, lad?” asked Hudson, turning the television off.
“We’ve captured Demona and we’re going to hold her prisoner in the mutates’ home,” was the reply.
“Then, let’s not keep Goliath waiting,” Broadway said. The five of us leaped into the air and headed for the Labyrinth.
When we got there, we saw Goliath and Angela with Talon, Maggie, and Claw. Goliath held Demona in his arms. He placed her in a cage and the door slammed shut once he exited it.
“Then it’s agreed,” said Talon as the door closed. “We will guard the prisoners during the day and you will stand watch at night.”
“Do you realize what you’re committing yourself to?” asked Elisa, whom we picked up on our way to the mutates’ home.
“There is no other way,” Goliath said. He looked at the rest of us. “We will each take turns in a nightly rotation.”
Elisa swatted at an offending mosquito just behind her neck.
“Sorry,” apologized Talon. “I’m afraid we have mosquitoes down here. And worse.” He gestured to a cage next to Demona’s. Instead of bars, it had glass in front of it. And behind the glass came Fang.
“Hey, hey! I resemble that remark,” Fang commented.
“Fang is serving time for trying to force his way into power down here,” explained Talon.
“Yeah, yeah, but I’m expecting the governor to commute my sentence any time now,” the mutate added.
Angela looked at Demona, who appeared to be sleeping.
“I’ll take the first watch,” she said.
“Perhaps it’s best if you…don’t,” Goliath said.
Angela turned around. “Am I a member of this clan or not?”
“Of course, but-“
“Take the first watch, lass,” Hudson interrupted. “Just remember. She may be your mother, but she is capable of anything.” The rest of us left the Labyrinth and returned home.
“Why didn’t you want Angela to take the first watch, Goliath?” Broadway inquired.
“I fear that Demona might try to bring Angela to her side.”
“Angela won’t do that. She knows better,” I said. Goliath nodded.
Three nights later, it was my turn to guard Demona. I arrived there a few minutes after sunset.
When Demona saw me, she snarled and hissed. I ignored her and took a seat in the chair in front of the cages. Fang called out to me a couple of times, but I paid no attention. A mosquito attacked once, but that was it.
Five Weeks Later.
Angela was on guard again. The clan was sharing interesting stories of their guarding Demona. I watched her three more times after the first time and each watch, Demona’s reactions got worse. The second and third time she just spat and rattled her bars. The last time, she threw a few harmless curse words at me. Every time I ignored them, though her actions hurt me a bit. After all, she was my mother too.
Two Months Later.
Goliath had left to guard the rogue gargoyle and the clan was relaxing for a change. I decided to venture down to the library. I went down, selected a book, and settled down to read. About fifteen minutes later, Brooklyn comes down in a flurry of excitement.
“Jasmine! Demona and Fang escaped with Thailog’s help.”
I looked up. Thailog? The clone? So, he was back from Paris, where Goliath saw him last. Brooklyn and I headed back to the tower and the clan followed Goliath to an amusement park. We landed on the Ferris Wheel, where Talon already stood.
“Nobody’s come or gone, so I scope the place out. There’s three ways in. A service entrance at the rear, an air vent on the roof, and the front door,” Talon reported.
“We will take them from all sides,” Goliath decided. “Hudson, you and Talon go in through the back, you four take the roof, Angela…come with me.” The eight of us spilt up.
The trio and I landed on the roof. Broadway tore the grating off the roof. The four of us jumped down the hole into the heart of the fun house. Brooklyn and Lexington went down one corridor, Broadway went down another, and I went down the last of the three corridors.
I wandered through the twisting maze, turning right or left. Suddenly, I came to a dead end.
I sighed. “Time to try another path.” I turned around…and right behind me was a female gargoyle with dark black skin, long, white hair, and uniform red eyes. I gasped. It was a clone…of me! The clone attacked. I ducked to the side and doublefisted her on the back. She landed on the ground, face first. The clone whipped her tail across the ground, and knocked me off my feet. I hit my head on the ground and blacked out.
I woke up with my head and claws in a stock. I opened my eyes and saw Brooklyn next to me, trapped the same way I was. Looking forward, I saw Demona, Fang, and Thailog with five gargoyle clones.
“Well, Goliath, what do you think of my new clan?” Demona gestured toward the clones. “That’s Brentwood, Hollywood, Malibu, Burbank, and Lily. I named them myself.”
“If you consider these poor creatures to be your clan, you’ve sunk even lower than I imagined,” retorted Goliath.
“Now, now. That’s your friends’ genetic make-up your insulting. Of course, they are a bit primitive. I’ve kept their programming simple. Obey Thailog. It’s all they really need to know. Then, there’s Lily. Her programming is different. She obeys me, but I added some of my own knowledge into her. She’s the perfect daughter, wouldn’t you say, Goliath? But enough about me, it’s time to get rid of all of you,” Thailog aimed his laser at Angela. “Starting with her.”
“No! She belongs to me,” Demona intervened.
“My dear,” Thailog said. “You’ve known she was your daughter since before we staged your capture and you’ve still been unable to turn her.”
“You knew the whole time!” cried Angela, angrily.
“I had to make you understand,” said Demona.
“I understand perfectly. All this was a charades staged to turn me against my father. To trap and destroy my clan. You are capable of anything. I hate you!” Angela said, eyes glowing red.
Demona recoiled in shock at Angela’s line, then, turned, and walked away.
“You see,” Thailog pointed his laser at Angela again. “You’re better off without her.” Angela closed her eyes to prepare herself for her red beam of death.
“NO!” cried Demona. She lunged at Thailog and pushed his gun upward with her own. The laser hit the ceiling.
The two lovers struggled and Thailog finally threw his companion to the ground. Fang got out of the way.
“You disappointed me, my dear. Fortunately, I prepared for such a development,” Thailog smiled. “Delilah.”
A hidden door slid open. From behind the door stepped a brown-skinned female gargoyle. She had white hair worn in an Elisa-like fashion. She also wore a similar jacket and top to Elisa’s. Her wings were brown on the inside and white on the back. “Yes, Master Thailog?” Delilah said. In Elisa’s voice!
“Look familiar, my ex-love,” Thailog asked, motioning the clone to come forward. She did so. “I combined your DNA with that of the human, Elisa Maza, to create, Delilah. She’s the perfect programmed companion. Obedient and lovely. She’ll do anything for me. Destroy them, Delilah.”
“As you command.” The clone grabbed Demona’s discarded laser, walked up to Angela and aimed it at her.
Suddenly, Demona called, “Goliath, save our daughter!” The shackles on Goliath and Angela’s wrists opened, and Goliath pushed Angela out of the way. The laser hit the space where Angela once was. Delilah aimed again, but Goliath knocked the laser out of her claws with his tail. The gun freed the rest of us.
Demona and Thailog went straight through a wall, leaving a huge hole in it. Goliath followed them, leaving the rest of us with our clones. Lily and I walked around in a circle. Then she lunged. I moved to the side and whipped her legs with my tail, but she jumped out of range and tackled me.
“We can’t beat these guys one on one,” called Lexington.
“Then, let’s use teamwork,” answered Brooklyn.
“Aye, but we’ll need some room to move,” said Hudson.
I pushed my clone off me and saw Broadway motion to me to follow him. I folded my wings and ran on all fours through the gaping hole. The clones followed us.
Once outside, I climbed up the building and took flight. As soon as I was with the clan, the clones headed for us. We scattered, each one of us had a clone behind us. Lily was right behind me. How was I going to lose her?
I dipped, dived, and did every acrobatic trick I could do, but Lily followed me, current for current. Then, I saw Broadway heading toward me, his fist held out in front of him. I got the message. Broadway and I drew closer and closer. At the last second, I pulled up, and Broadway’s fist connected with Lily’s face. She lost consciousness and fell to the ground.
Hudson, the trio, and I tied up the clones, who gained consciousness a few minutes later. Just in time to see Demona and Thailog fall of the roller coaster and into the fire.
“No Thailog?” Brentwood said.
“What now for us?” Hollywood piped in.
“Without Thailog, these guys don’t what to do or where to go,” Broadway noted.
“Yeah, but we just can’t bring them back to the clock tower, can we?” Lexington asked. “I mean, they kinda give me the creeps.”
“They can come live in the Labyrinth,” spoke up Talon. “With my clan.”
“You are master now?” inquired Burbank.
“Better than that,” answered Talon. “I’ll teach you all to think for yourselves. And use verbs.”
I saw Goliath with a sobbing Angela and wandered over.
“Is she really gone?” cried Angela.
“I…don’t know,” Goliath answered.
“The last thing I said to her was ‘I hate you’, but she sacrificed herself for me. How could it end this way?”
“She knew how you truly felt, and Demona’s love for you is the first goodness she has shown in a long, long time. For her, it might have been a new beginning. A new beginning for us all.”
As I looked at the burning fire, I thought I saw the dark shape of a gargoyle gliding away from the wreck. Then again, it was my imagination. Wasn’t it?
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Honesty and Deception