Life is an interesting thing sometimes. One minute you live in Hawaii, a place of paradise the next you are on a plane to New York knocked out on sleeping medication because you have an intense fear of flying. Yeah life can be interesting like that. But it becomes even more interesting when you land on the ground and get introduced to the person who hired your guardian.
"Ms. Corwall." It was the famous man of the rich, David Xantos.
"Mr. Xantos. I didn't expect to see you so soon. I thought I would see you tomorrow after we had gotten settled into our new home."
"I thought I could give the two of you a lift to your new home."
"Do you do this for all your new employees?"
"Just those who are sure to put my company's name on the map for the history books."
"You flatter me far too much Mr. Xantos. I may be considered a genius but I find myself still an edger student to science."
"Modesty is a flattering look on you. I take it that this is your traveling companion Ilaria. Pleased to meet you." He put out his hand and I drunkenly put mine out.
"Is she alright?"
"She is still a little groggy from the flight and the sedatives I had to give her."
"She has a phobia when it comes to flying. She has passed out in the past when we have flown."
"I see. Well come along then best to gather your things and head to the car." Things to explain so far. Thing number one, Ms. Juniper Corwall is my guardian. Story goes like this; parents went missing years ago and put me under Juniper's care. A big time scientist in so many fields that it is funny. The reason she knows so much about different fields of study is for one reason. She felt it was her calling at the time. This time it is medicine. Mr. Xantos hired her to come up with new medicines for diseases and so she could also do a little freelance on robotics. Thing Number two to explain…come to think of it I think that is all I needed to explain.
They load up the car and drive off. I sleep through it and wake up feeling refreshed when arrived to our new apartment. It was huge and on top of the world. Even Juniper didn't expect it to be like this.
"Are we at the right address?" Juniper's eyes scan the entrance as she speaks.
"It says so on this lease agreement."
"How can we afford it?"
"Mr. Xantos pays rather well. Now go on and get your bedroom stuff in your new room, while I start on unpacking the office supplies."
"Is that a hint that the kitchen is not in use for dinner tonight?"
"How does pizza sound?"
"Can we go to a restraint to eat it at?"
"Why not, we should get use to this city early." She picked up the box and moved on to a room. While I went in search of my new bedroom. I found it in a slightly secluded area of the apartment or should I really be saying floor. I kid you not the apartment was the whole floor.
The room was cool. Still not as cool as the room I had in Hawaii. But it was hard to beat that house in general. The room had a fantastic view of the sea. And large to the floor windows that lead out to the porch where we had a hammock and barbecues with our neighbors. It was a great place. It was like living in paradise. I don't know how it's going to work out here.
The door opens to my new room and I find that I have quite a bit of work to do. It was defiantly bigger than what I had been expecting for a New York living space. I move the boxes into the room and take a look at the furniture that the moving men were so kind to move everything in. I did have to move the dresser closer to the closet, then move the bed to the other side of the room and then it came time for the unpacking. Sentimentality came up often as I put away the things I had brought from my old home. Especially when you look at photos from home all your friends that you left behind. I turn to take another look at this room. I move back the curtains to look out the window. Finding the window was actually a door. I look through its clear glass to a terrace garden. This definitely made me think that Mr. Xantos maybe expecting much from Juniper's work.
"Well it's getting late lets go pick up that pizza." Kida said from the doorframe she was leaning on.
"Yeah let's go."
*Fast Forward to Thursday*
Since I have been here in the alien planet things have changed in the household in such a short time. Juniper is constantly at work leaving me alone in the large apartment or penthouse or whatever other name they can attach to this place. It gets lonely here. I don't really have any friends and I can't go out because Juniper doesn't want me out of the apartment when she is gone. Normally I wouldn't go out at night. But it was just to get some Chinese food around the corner for dinner since I didn't feel that up to cooking. The door man Larry is cool. He won't tell Juniper about me leaving the apartment at night if I bring him back some wonton soup and eggroll.
It didn't take long to get to the restaurant and grab the food and start the trek home. I was walking down the street when I heard something hit against the garbage cans in an alley. I know I should have be smart and moved on staying out of the alley, but well…I went in. I couldn't see anything or anyone. Not that I could see that well in there in the first place. I put it as being just a random New York City sound. When I heard a trashcan being knocked over and a low growl of I hope is a Chihuahua and not a Doberman. I slowly turn and see glinting eyes hidden within the shadows. They were watching me intently and it was not any comfort. I attempted to move and it growled even more. I look around for something to distract it with when I remember that I have a plastic bag with dumplings! I slowly took one out and threw it towards the glinting eyes. It landed a bit farther than I had anticipated, but it did get its attention and brought it into the light. It wasn't a dog. It wasn't a freakish large cat either it was. It was. It was something! It had bluish skin, spikey ears and white eyes. It was also hurt. I could see it limping on its front paw there was blood flowing slowly but steadily down the cut. I felt bad for the creature. I threw it another dumpling that it gladly ate. I took out another one and held it out to him.
"Come on boy. Come get the dumpling." It slanted its eyes and showed its teeth.
"I'm not going to hurt you. I just want to help you." I stayed my ground and he stayed his for minute or two. He took one step forward and then another till he was right at the dumpling. He sniffed my hand and then he ate it. I let him sniff my hand again and he licked me. I returned his friendly gesture by patting his head. He became calm and now saw me as a friend not enemy.
"How would you like to come home with me and get that cut healed?" His response was a lick for my face.
"Good. Do you think you could walk for a short distance?"
"Good. Now how do we get you inside without anyone noticing?" I said as we walked to my building. I found the answer. I put a blanket I found nearby over the little guy to make sure that if he was caught by the cameras. He wasn't caught by the cameras.
"Now when the door opens go inside without stopping." He shook his head in understanding. I went in for the kill.
Heading to the elevator with him not stopping me immediately was easy. I pushed the elevator button and ding Larry noticed me.
"Girl I know that you are not going up to your apartment without giving me my soup and rolls first."
"Of course not. Just didn't want to have to wait for the elevator."
"I know what you mean that thing sure likes taking its time." I passed him the food and saw from the corner of my eye that he made it to the elevator door.
"Juniper hasn't come in yet right?"
"No she hasn't, you still in the clear on that field. What is it that she is doing that requires her to be working like this?"
"Saving the world one cure at a time."
"She better start looking after her own health. I see her come in when my shift ends."
"Trust me I'm working that angle on trying to get her to cut back her hours."
"You better catch it before it goes off." I pick up the plastic bag and get to the elevator.
"Enjoy your soup." I say before the doors closed. A quick look down to see if he made it on board and we pressed the button up.
No one used the elevator. Good thing for me. I wasn't sure if this place had a no pet's policy or not. I let him into the apartment and two steps in and he shakes the blanket off. I'll be sure to hide it or thrown out as soon as I get the chance.
"Don't make too much noise little guy. I don't want the neighbors calling us."
"Ruff!" I took a look at his cut and found that it wasn't too deep and then I called a vet nary hospital to see what I should do to treat it. He said to use peroxide and Neosporin to clean the wound and the bandage it up and to take him down to the animal hospital if his cut got any worse. I think the answer to that going well is a big fat no. I put on the peroxide and Neosporin. He didn't like the slight sting, but it was for his own good and I knew what would make him feel better.
"Come on let's see if I have anything for you besides fatting Chinese food." I open the fridge and find some left over steak that didn't have any sauce or anything that could be that bad for his health. I chopped it up and put it on a plate for him.
"Here you go. Hope you like steak." He did. I started eating my dinner and once I had the dumplings out he started begging for them. His eyes looked up so big and sad and his ears went back to create an innocent effect.
"I believe I have made you an addict to these. But one dumpling shouldn't hurt you too much. Remember you only getting one dumpling." His smile broke out with his tongue out and ready to taste the delicious morsel. I tossed it to him and he jumped up in the air for it catching it with delightful ease. If he had a tail it would be wagging.
"Was it good?"
"Good." I look to the clock. It was getting late. Gathering the leftovers and putting them away was done with a little fuss since someone wanted another dumpling. I really did make him an addict.
"Come on little guy. It's time for bed." We walk to my room. I went to the doors of the terrace garden to cover it with the curtain. Two seconds later he moved the curtain away and stared at me then out the door.
"Are you telling me something little guy?" Blank stare is my answer.
"Okay you can sleep outside as long as you don't start howling at the moon, okay?" He nods his head and let him out. I watch him walk around and sniff the plants and stone figures. It had me thinking to myself. If you get past the unusual appearance he was basically like any other pooch and I miss having a pet since we had to leave Rosebud back home with our neighbors. Maybe I could convince Juniper that we could keep him. And then pigs shall fly with glorious wings!
"Night little guy." I call to him. He gives a bark of good night and then I went to sleep. Morning came with a surprise. Juniper was up and at em in the terrace garden. Oh crud! Leaping lizards would envy me at the speed I leapt out of bed. I come through the door in a whirl which surprises Juniper enough to clutch her coffee cup. Since well, I don't normally slam the door when I go out to the garden.
"Got something to say Ilaria?"
"What makes you think I have got something to say?" Meek as my normal voice.
"Oh I don't know the weather, school a new addition in the garden." He eyebrow arches as mine fly up. She saw him!
"Are you mad?" She laughed.
"No. Why would I be mad?" Weird question.
"I mean it is just a statue for the terrace garden. That's nothing to be upset about."
"The gargoyle statue. Over there." She pointed towards the edge of the terrace where there was a statue that looked just like little guy. What the heck is going on? Does this happen when you give a strange creature Chinese food?
"I think you did a good job on picking it out." She said placing a hand on my shoulder.
"I did. Why do you think that?"
"Well it looks good in the garden and because of the legends around it…"
"According to legend gargoyles are protectors of the places and people who there that they roost."
"Is that right, now?"
"Yes. It is. I know you are not going to be happy with me, but I do have work tonight and the next night." I didn't say anything. "Aren't you going to say something?"
"I am upset that you have to work tonight." I said in a plain voice.
"Well that wasn't the reaction I was expecting. Are you alright?"
"You have to work tonight and you have had to for the past week. I get it. I just don't like it."
"I know. Sunday there will be no work okay? We will have a girl's day. We can go to a museum, walk in central park or do one of the clichés of visiting New York City."
"That sounds good, but I'm not feeling too good this morning."
"You're not?" Her eyebrow raises in question.
"Not really." She places her hand over my forehead.
"You do feel a little warm. Though I don't like the idea of leaving you alone in the apartment, if you aren't feeling up to it you can stay home from school."
"I think I will go back to bed." I went into my room shut the door and lay in bed pretending to sleep. Until I heard the familiar latches of the front door click the signal for being locked. I whirled out of bed and went to little guy's statuesque form and looked it over. Hoping for a hint that he was just standing still. But no the cool hard feeling of rock tells me that it was true. He was a rock.
"Oh little guy I am so sorry." The word 'legends' pops into my mind and I think internet! I could find something to help the rocky dog creature. I searched under gargoyles and found tons of pictures from churches and graveyards and banks. There wasn't a whole lot of information on the subject. What I did find out was that the legends began in France where they were used as ways to keep water from ruining the mortar inside a building. Legend has it that they were originally a demonic creature that was defeated and then served to protect the building and its inhabitants wherever it was mounted. I also found that there were many forms of gargoyles. Lions, goats, chimeras and dogs. That gives another clue, but there isn't a whole lot about the statues coming to life. Which leads to this train of thought. I am seeing things and these past few days alone just made me think something was alive when there wasn't anything there.
I stop looking for answers and make some breakfast, in other words finish off last night's left overs. I ate and then brushed my teeth and thought of something to do today. Since I didn't go to school today. I guess I could go and look around on my own. I went to the library. Seeing if there was anything else on gargoyles that I could find and other subjects. I found a few books. I applied for a library card and checked out the books. Came back home to find that it was nearly dusk. Time flies when you are stuck inside a library. When I get into the apartment I go out to the terrace garden to look upon little guy. It was already getting dark to the point that it was hard to see. In a few minutes it will be night. It was in those few minutes that surprise entered my mind.
When the night rolled in the sounds of crumbling stone and roars filled the air as the statue form of little guy become flesh and blood. He stopped his roars and did a little stretch before bounding over to me. Knocking me to the ground laughing at his constant licks.
"Okay! I get it good morning to you to!" He moved back a tiny bit so I could stand.
"Are you hungry?"
"How does some spaghetti?"
"Ruff! Ruff! Ruff!" he replied already heading inside. Making dinner was an experience with him. He moved around, slipping in and out of my legs as I went to gather ingredients. Then there were the attempts to leap on to the counter to steal the ground beef that to my luck he didn't get a hold of and of course that lead to constant begging. Ignoring that and dinner was ready. I poured him a bowl that mostly contained the sauce for him and made my bowl. I gave him a slice of bread to go with it too. Dinner was finished and clean up began. He did the cutest thing he put his bowl in the dishwasher.
"Good boy." He moves his head to say yeah I know before pattering over to the door.
"You need to go outside? Okay." I open the door and he trots off he went chasing the pigeons about on the terrace.
"Remember you can chase them, but don't hurt the little guys!" I think he listened to me, but I couldn't tell since he was all over the place. I kept the door open and went on to reading my library books in the living room. The clattering of his clawed feet got a little annoying to read to but not too bad. It was when his feet stopped moving that I got worried.
"Little guy." Not a peep. I put the book down and went to the terrace. It was dark and I knew the lights didn't work because well we just didn't get around to it. I grabbed a flashlight and went out. I didn't see anything not even a trace of little guy. But I had sinking feeling that someone was out there. A quick movement in the dark and the dying glow of my dying flashlight confirmed that if this was a horror movie I was about to be the victim. Oh great. I could just feel the cold calculating eyes watching me in the night. Bloodlust radiating from every pore of their body as they hide in wait just to slit my throat with a piece of cold unforgiving metal. Oh no! They must have gotten little guy that's why I can't hear him. Wrapped in guilt over the possible death of the creature I came to care for I didn't hear the footsteps of someone coming right behind me. I felt warm sticky breath breathe down on the nape of my neck.
"Hi there." (PUNCH!)
"Ah!" Whoever he was I obvious hit harder than I thought I would.
"Geez, what is your problem?"
"My problem? What is your problem? Sneaking up behind a girl and scaring her half to death!"
"What are you even doing up here? Better yet who are you? I bet the police would be interested in knowing that before they arrest you for trespassing and whatever else you were trying to do!"
"I was trying to get Bronx back!" I could see a vague outline move back in pain.
"Bronx? Who's Bronx?" Little guy nudged into me and I started patting his head.
"Him, He's Bronx." I could see the outline point to little guy. I guess that means the guy I just hit is Bronx's owner. Wait a minute. How did he know I have Bronx? I didn't tell anyone and Bronx was with me the whole time inside the apartment. And what was he doing on the terrace garden? Normally a person knocks on the front door and asks if you have their pet, but this guy was on a terrace that I don't even know how he got here.
"Who are you?"
"My name isn't important. I just came to get Bronx and leave."
"Then how can I know that you own him?"
"I don't own him he's my friend."
"Really? Bronx." He lifts his head. "Let's go inside." We both move and make it inside to the light, but the outline guy remained out of the light.
"Look just come into the light and tell me your name."
"You don't know what you are asking."
"Please don't be cryptic with me. Just come in so I can see who you are otherwise I will call the police on you."
"Alright. Just don't scream."
"I won't." Hesitance is seen in the way he stiffens his muscles before entry. He moves slowly into the light till I can see him fully. He was not human. He was something else. His skin was red like adobe brick. Hair had a white sheen to it and his wings were huge! That's right I said and I am certain that I am sane. He has wings. A beak like mouth and claws. I feel a little faint now.
"You happy now?" His comment caught me in time before I could faint and reminded me I still needed some answers.
"I would be if you told me your name." I said without stuttering like an idiot. This surprises him. I guess he did think that I was going to scream.
"It's Brooklyn." He said.
"Brooklyn." I said testing out the name. "Nice to meet you."
I put my hand out for him to shake. He looked at my hand surprised again. He takes it gently and we shake.
"So um please don't take offense at this, but what are you?"
"I'm a gargoyle."
"So Bronx really is a gargoyle. Why was he stone during the day?"
"That's how we rest. How we sleep."
"Seems like an interesting way to sleep." Bronx starts to gently scratch at my leg.
"What is it boy?" He moves his paw up that I had bandaged last night. "Oh, I almost forgot."
I leaned down and undid the bandages around his leg. Amazingly his wound was completely healed.
"Whoa. How did you do that?"
"How did he do what?"
"He had a cut on his leg yesterday when I found him. I cleaned it up, but it couldn't have healed that fast."
"Not if you are a gargoyle. One day of rest is enough for just about any injury we have to heal." Brooklyn said leaning over me.
"Cool." I said patting Bronx's head.
"I guess you have to take him and leave."
"Our clan misses him."
"A small group of us and that's all you're going to find out." He picked up Bronx like he weighed nothing and headed out the door. I followed I couldn't see him on the terrace, but I did see him glide past the lights it was breathtaking.
I woke up the next morning believing everything was a weird dream that came from reading all those gargoyle mythology books form yesterday. At least that was what I was telling myself. I knew it wasn't a dream. What happened was real and it made me sad. I took a strong liking to Bronx. It was nice to have someone here. Juniper I could tell was sleeping off her late work night and getting rest for the night ahead of her. She didn't wake till it was late afternoon.
"I'm off to work. Be good."
"I normally am."
"Ilaria. I promise we will do something tomorrow."
"Okay." I didn't turn around to look at her as I was making my lunch. She went out the door to her work and I went on to do what I normally did.
(Temporary Juniper POV)
My mind wasn't on work today. It kept drifting towards guilt and worry over Ilaria. It was starting to become well seen in the lab. So well seen that Mr. Xantos decided to talk about it.
"Ms. Corwall, is something the matter?"
"It's nothing Mr. Xanatos, just feeling a little spacey today."
"I don't think that's it. For the past couple nights you have been working diligently and with good ethic. Now well you seem out of it. Is the work becoming too strenuous for you to handle? Already do you need a vacation?"
"No sir. I do not need a vacation. It's not the workload that has me scatterbrained. I feel guilty over leaving Ilaria home alone for the first week we have moved here and I worry that she may be not taking this so well."
"Has she started to act out?"
"No. That's what has me worried most of all. She's acting so mature about the whole thing. From having to move from the home she has always known, leaving her beloved Rosebud in Hawaii and having to deal with me working all these late nights since we first came here. She's a teenager I was expecting her to lash out, not become so indifferent about the ordeal."
"You know most parents and guardians wish their teens didn't act out. You want her to."
"I just don't like the idea of her bottling up her emotions. When she should be able to express them."
"I guess I understand that. How do you think you can fix the situation?"
"I know I don't like the idea of her being left at home alone."
"Why not get her a pet?"
"It's too soon. She had to leave her beloved pet Rosebud with our good friends and neighbors in Hawaii."
"Hmm. Is that right. I think I may be able to help you with that."
(Back to Ilaria's POV)
Well it comes to be Sunday and luckily Juniper keeps her promise that we spend the day together. We decided to go to the movies and then go to Serendipity's for ice cream. It was fine, but there was something occupying her thoughts.
"Is there something you want to talk about?" I said before taking a bite of strawberry ice cream.
"Oh it's nothing." She said swirling around her vanilla ice cream.
"Juniper I know you better than that. When you swirl your ice cream around that you are dealing with something inside your head. What is it?"
"It's just work related things. The cancer cures are taking more of a back seat now. Mr. Xantos wants me to work mostly on his robotics. He seems to want so many instant transformations done in such a short amount of time."
"Told you the job had strings."
"I know you did." The silence creates an impulse for me to stroke my necklace. It was a memento of my mother's. She passed away when I was a baby. The necklace is really the only reminder of her that I have. It is a beautiful piece of jewelry. It is a Victorian era necklace with four triangular leaf bits on each side of the main center jewel. The center jewel is best described as iridescent. The way the jewel catches the light sparkles beautifully with its kaleidoscope of colors. The center jewel has a dangling jewel below it has a teardrop design. I love this necklace. The only time I ever take it off is when I sleep or when I am at the beach. Truthfully it is the only piece of jewelry I have that I wear. Unfortunately I was stroking the necklace so hard that the dangling jewel piece fell off.
"Oh no!" I nearly screamed as I swooped down to pick up the broken piece.
"Why don't we go see if there is a jeweler who can fix it?"
"Let's." We leave the restaurant and go in search of a jeweler's. It was dark now and we didn't think we would find anyone open to help us. We did find one and he said that it wasn't that serious a break and could be finished in a jiffy. So we deiced to wait and look around the store as he fixed it. He finished the necklace in about an hour. But the second I put the necklace on two guys in black masks.
"Everyone on the ground!"