Inktober 2022 #1

It was a lonely, solitary life. One they had not asked for. It had simply been given. Every day was spent as a lonely watchman. They did not mind. Not entirely. Though, they did not enjoy it either.

Until, one day, everything changed. There was clattering upon the slate roof tiles, the likes of which they had never heard before. They were used to the sounds the birds made, the squirrels, the occasional raccoons and opossums. This was none of those.

A small, pale form appeared beside them. It sighed heavily, placing it’s small chin in it’s equally small palm.

“This place is so far away,” the small, pale thing sighed, “how are any of my friends ever supposed to visit.”

They were not certain if they were meant to respond. So, they sat motionless, as always, in silence, as the small pale thing continued to lament about it’s loneliness. They felt a deep ache of sympathy for the small, pale thing. Perhaps they would be lonely together.

Over the years, the small, pale thing grew. And they learned that it was called a boy, and that the boy had a name, Henry. They became quite attached to the boy named Henry. He visited them every day. He told them that they were a thing called a gargoyle, a magical guardian made of stone. He also told them tales of his quest for things called friends, his struggle to find them, his joy once he did, and the crushing blow when they inevitably grew apart.

The gargoyle always sensed the deep river of sadness that ran through his Henry. The smallest of things could leave the boy in tatters. The gargoyle was never certain how to help, so he continued to listen, day after day.

One day, the gargoyle sensed the current of the river within Henry ran differently. It was rougher, sharper, violent. The words that spewed from Henry were of a tone that the gargoyle had never recalled hearing from him. His boy – who was not really a boy any longer – sounded angry, desperate, and full of despair.

“I do not think I can do this any more,” Henry said, stepping up to the ledge of the roof.

The gargoyle was alarmed. They had never heard Henry speak like this. They had never seen him standing so close to the edge of the slate-tiled roof. They had never heard this note of complete defeat in Henry’s voice before. They did not know what they were expected to do with all of this sudden information. It was not like the gargoyle could do anything. They had never been able to do anything other than listen and observe.

Henry flung his hands in disgust. “I do not know why I am even wasting my breath on you,” he said sharply, “you’re just a dumb hunk of rock. I just want it all to be over.”

The gargoyle’s thoughts moved faster than they ever had before. What had it been that Henry had said to him all those years ago? They were magical. The gargoyle had always been skeptical. They had never done anything magical before. Then again, they had never tried to be magical.

As Henry took the final step to the roof’s edge, the one where his foot would not find slate tile to land upon, the gargoyle tried to be magical.

With a grinding of stone, the guardian rose from their eternally crouched position. They reached out their long, heavy arm, wrapping it around Henry’s waist as his second foot left the roof.

Inktober 2022, Prompt #1: GARGOYLE

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