“He is not home,” said a male voice.
Walter looked around, but saw nothing. The Psychai tugged on his sleeve to get his attention and hid behind him. He turned to see what she wanted and almost fell backwards in fright.
“Don’t be afraid,” it said. “We won’t hurt you.” Two large figures loomed over Walter.
“We normally don’t eat children,” said the other. “Unless you bring harm.”
“I—I bring no harm,” was all Walter could say.
“Of course you don’t. You came to see Archibal,” said one of them.
“Who are you?” Walter said.
“We are gargoyles,” said the first one. “I am Amias. This is Agi.” He gestured toward the bigger gargoyle. They were enormous as large as boulders, but Agi was broader. They were friendly indeed, though their visage was ferocious to see.
“Are you the one I see up on the ledge?” Walter said.
“That is me,” Amias said. “We live up there, high up on the manor.”
“Are you the gargoyles, Archibal told me about?”
“That is right, Walter,” said Amias.
“You know my name?” Walter said.
“Of course we do, Archibal told us about you,” said Amias.
“We’ve watched you from above,” said Agi.
“Where is Archibal,” Walter said.
“He hasn’t been home in a while,” said Amias. “He left before the rains came. Cadi went with him.”
“Where did they go?”
“Archibal will tell you when he returns,” said Amias. “For now, no one is allowed in the manor. He bolted it shut. No one can go in and no one can get out. The magic protects the inside, but we are always here.”
“We never leave,” Agi said. “Well, we sometimes like to stretch our wings.”
“I see you brought along a friend with you,” Amias glanced at the Psychai, timidly hiding behind Walter.
“I—I was in the woods,” Walter said. “She was trapped by some branches when something came after us–”
“This is the time of the month when you see things,” said Amias. “Horrible things.”
“The woods are no place for you this time of night. What were you doing there?” said Agi.
“I was—I was following a light in the mountains.”
“The light! You can see the light?” Agi said. “Not many can see those lights or even get close to it.
Walter nodded. “I can hear it too!”
“I dissuade you from chasing the light,” said Amias. “Nothing good comes from chasing it. You need to ignore what you see and hear.”
“I also saw something flying in the skies,” Walter said.
“That was probably the other gargoyles,” blushed Agi. “This is the only time when we don’t have to hide. We can roam free in the skies and not fear that people will see us. They think we are dragons.”
“The witching hours is what they call this time of year,” said Amias. “The light glows, scaring the animals away, but it brings something else. These figures that live in the darkness. We sometimes can see them from a distance. We think that’s what scares the animals. Archibal should return soon. In the mean time you need to go home. It would be safer there.”
“Oh, Amias,” whispered Agi. “What about the Psychai? She can’t stay here.”
“No, she can’t. Not until Archibal comes back,” Amias said. “It’s too late for her to leave. The others have already left.” Walter glanced at the Psychai. She looked heartbroken, scared and cold. He realized the stampede of animals he saw that one night was the night they were escaping for safety and she had been left behind.
“She can come with me. That is if she wants to?” Walter said
The Psychai smiled and nodded.
“You better go home now,” said Amias.
Walter nodded, the Psychai took hold of him. He pulled out the ring and went home. He arrived in his room, by then, the rain was coming down. He made a bed for her in one of his dresser’s drawer. Grabbed a blanket and tucked it in. She quickly snuggled in and fell asleep. Walter yawned feeling tired himself. He changed into his pajamas, dove in bed and fell asleep to the soothing sound of rain outside.