I do not own Gargoyles, but I do own the OC. This partially follows the end of Liz Season, but I don't mention Liz at all, just the outcome of what she did and it is a very brief mention. So if you haven't read that story and would like to, here's the spoiler alert. This piece is really only introducing the OC and setting the scene for a later story which I will hopefully have finished by the end of May 2011. Do review and I would very much appreciate it if you read some of my other stories.
It was so dark, so very dark. Where was he? He did not know. The air around him was still, foul, heavy with the smell of decay. It made his stomach lurch violently. He could hear whispering, but none of it was clear. There was screaming from far away, bloodcurdling shrieks of agony. The ghosts touched him, grabbed him, pulling his clothes and hair. He fought with them, escaping and flying away only to find something more horrible than they.
It was a girl lying on a stone slab that looked like an altar of some sort. There were many lit candles around her, their sweet, oppressive fragrance adding to the stench. She could not have been very old. Her hair was long, coming to her hips, and unnaturally black. Her ears, though the normal size of a human's, were pointed. Not a stitch of fabric covered her gaunt form. Her face was drawn and wan, looking like a skull with the skin stretched tightly across the surface. Her mouth was parted slightly, lips chapped and bleeding. Her breath rattled audibly in her chest. There were dark rings around her eyes.
He could barely sense what magic she possessed. She was at death's door, almost too far gone to be helped. Letting out a cry of anguish, he tried to reach her. Just as his hand was a few inches from her, the candles around her flared up, engulfing her in flames.
Owen sat bolt upright in bed. He gasped for breath. "Just a dream," he told himself, wiping some sweat from his brow. "It was only a dream."
Gripping the sheets, Owen forced himself to calm. This was not the first time he had that particular nightmare, but this one was much more vivid than the previous one. The dreams felt so real, like he was actually there with her. On more than one occasion he had to run to the bathroom because the stench made him physically sick.
Feeling utterly filthy, Owen got out of bed and walked to the private bath located in his bedchamber. It was still too early in the morning to begin work, but Owen did not want to go back to sleep. If he saw her again, it would break his heart.
It's not a dream, Puck thought while the human guise showered. I know it's real. She's there, reaching out to me.
Getting out of the shower, Owen got dressed and quietly went to his office to get an early start on today's work.
It was midmorning. Xanatos had a business presentation with some associates. Owen was there to assist him. He was not needed at the moment, so he took a seat at the conference table.
She was there again, so weak and frail. Owen could swear all he needed to do was reach out and touch her. There was one difference about this vision: she was looking at him. Her eyes were pleading with him. "Help. . . me. . ." she breathed.
Owen ran out of the conference room. Charging into the nearest men's room, he barely made it to the toilet before emptying his stomach. He wretched and wretched, even when there was nothing left in it. When he finally stopped heaving, he wiped his mouth with a piece of toilet tissue and flushed the toilet.
"Owen?" Mr. Xanatos called. "Are you in here?"
"Yes, sir." Owen tried to sound as if nothing was wrong, but his voice sounded strained and raw.
Xanatos came around to where Owen kneeling by the toilet. "Owen." Xanatos put his hand on the majordomo's shoulder. "Owen, you're trembling!"
"I am all right, sir," Owen said, getting to his feet. He swayed slightly, feeling a bit lightheaded. He put his hand on the stall to steady himself.
"No, you're not," said Xanatos, taking Owen's arm. "You just threw up, you can barely stand." Xanatos paused while he felt the heat of Owen's skin through his sleeve. "And you're running a fever."
Owen straightened up, fixed his glasses, and said, "There is nothing wrong, Mr. Xanatos."
Xanatos sighed. "Maybe I've been working you too hard. Take the rest of the day off."
Owen was about to protest, but saw the look in his employer's eyes. "Thank you, sir."
Owen went upstairs to the castle. All was quiet. Fox and Alexander had gone shopping and wouldn't be back for some time. Returning to his room, Owen lay down on his bed.
If I close my eyes, I may see her, he thought. I may be able to find her. I have the rest of the day, after all.
Owen stood up, tucked his glasses into his pocket and spun around like a top.
Puck grinned. "Little girl in my mind's eye, / with my magic I do scry, / I have heard thy cries, / Reveal thy whereabouts so I may be at thy side!" Green magic focused into one of Puck's hands and he threw it at the mirror in the room.
The mirror revealed a dungeon littered with old bones. Rats scurried about the floor, searching for food. The girl was there! She was lying on the floor with a thick chain wrapped around her. It looked like someone had just thrown her there. The rats would come up to her and Puck could see her flinch as they bit her, eating her alive!
Puck's face went slack with horror. "No," he whispered. He gritted his teeth, blue eyes blazing green at the sight. "No!"
With another wave of his hand, Puck turned the mirror into a doorway and stepped through. The rats scattered at the elf's sudden arrival. Puck knelt beside the girl, running a hand over her cheek. She responded to his touch with a quiet moan of pain, a grimace crossing her face.
"Hush," Puck cooed. "I'm going to get you out of here."
Acute hearing picked up the sound of footsteps from outside the door. Puck acted quickly, scooping up the girl's limp body and dashing through the magic doorway. Looking over his shoulder, he saw the dungeon door open and someone let out a cry of anger upon noticing the girl was no longer there. The doorway closed, leaving Puck relieved and curious. The curiosity would have to be saved for later. Right now the girl needed medical attention. Puck took a blanket from the bed and wrapped her in it.
Xanatos concluded his meeting early after Owen's sudden outburst. He wanted to be sure there was nothing wrong with him. Xanatos had knocked on Owen's door, but received no answer. Thinking he went to the infirmary for something to settle his stomach, Xanatos went there. Instead of seeing Owen, he saw Puck standing next to one of the beds, whispering. On the floor beside the bed was a thick chain that was broken in two, a pair of bolt cutters laying next to it.
"Puck, what's going on?" Xanatos asked, walking over to the elf.
Puck turned to Xanatos, a peculiar look on his face. "Don't you have some paperwork you could be doing?" he snapped.
Oh, there was definitely something wrong. The normally merry elf never snapped unless he was under great stress. Xanatos looked beyond Puck and saw someone lying in the bed. With a start, Xanatos moved to the bed to see the girl Puck had rescued. The bed sheets had been tucked around her waist and her hair did an effective job covering her chest. Around her middle and arms was a line of red welts, courtesy of the iron chain.
"She looks fey," he said.
"She is," Puck confirmed. He let out a heavy sigh. "I thought I had reached her in time, but it seems I'm too late."
"This is what earlier was about, isn't it?" Xanatos asked.
Puck nodded. "I've been seeing her in my dreams for a few weeks now. I kept telling myself it was a nightmare and it wasn't real. I just hoped it would go away."
"But then you saw her while you were awake," Xanatos finished. Puck frowned. "The look in your eye before you ran out of the room. You looked as if you had seen a ghost."
Puck turned back to the still figure of the girl. He bit his lip. There had to be something he could do for her.
"What are you doing?" asked Xanatos, watching Puck scoot the girl to one side of the bed and climb in beside her.
"Hopefully saving her," replied Puck. "Her magic is almost nonexistent. If I can give her some of mine, it may save her."
Xanatos stared as Puck wrapped his arms her waist, pressing her to him. "You can do that?"
"Yes, but it's not going to be easy," Puck said. "I can't give it to her all at once. The process has to be gradual and it will take some time."
Puck took a deep breath and relaxed, closing his eyes. His body radiated a green glow which crept over to the girl. Xanatos took this as his cue to leave.
The process was lengthy. It would be well after sunset when Puck would leave the room to check on Alexander and inform Xanatos of the girl's condition. She was out of the red for the time being, but Puck needed to keep a close eye on her.
So what do you think so far? I take all reviews, so feel free to write something.