His eyes scanned the city as he, Lucien, and Deryn flew high above. After a while, the buildings all started to look the same. Garrick began to wonder if he could find the girl’s apartment again. The wind picked up, blasting a current of air into his wings. A scent like honey crisp apples tickled his nose. He greedily took in the scent and recognized it as the girl’s. Garrick arched his back, flattened out his wings, and careened down toward a cluster of buildings. He turned sideways and dove between Lucien and Deryn who both yelled out in surprise. Deryn flipped him the bird and swore at the top of his lungs. Garrick just laughed and continued his descent.
Seconds later the apartment came into view. The windows were black this time. She must be asleep. Garrick looked over his shoulder as he circled around her apartment. His eyes locked on the old building across from hers—it would give him the perfect view into her dwelling. He tilted his wings and flicked his tail to adjust his direction. Garrick landed with a loud thud on the rickety old roof. His nails dug into the asphalt, which cracked and broke into pieces under his sudden weight.
He crouched low, behind the raised parapet on the rooftop, and peered over to the neighboring balcony. The curtain was drawn over the glass patio doors, obscuring his view into the living space. His eyes trailed over to the wide windows that led into the girl’s room. Garrick squeezed his eyes together, trying to make out any figure within, but he couldn’t see anything. He was so transfixed that he didn’t hear Deryn and Lucien land. They crept up to stand with him, one on each side. Deryn was to his left, while Lucien scooted up to his right.
“What are we looking at?” Deryn asked as he raised his head high over the edge to get a better look. Garrick growled low and grabbed him by the neck and forced him down. “No sudden moves—she might spot us.” Lucien looked at Garrick with a questionable smirk. Garrick flashed him a silencing glance then looked back to the darkened windows. Crap! How the hell are we going to figure this out if she is asleep?
Deryn slinked away as he tried to keep himself from drawing Garrick’s attention. Garrick was so focused on searching for signs of movement inside the apartment that he didn’t realize what Deryn was up to until it was too late.
A flash of copper zipped across to the balcony. What the hell! Deryn’s head suddenly popped up behind the handrailing of the girl’s balcony. Garrick was speechless with shock. Howww… stupid can that idiot be! Deryn stood against the glass doors and cupped his claws around his eyes to peer into the apartment. The entire time Garrick was screaming on the inside, wanting to jump across the street and strangle the moron.
“Deryn, what the hell are you doing…” Lucien hissed across the way.
Deryn turned his head. A big toothy grin was plastered across his face. “What do you think… I’m spying.” Garrick wanted to kill the little toad. His hackles raised and his tail twitched like a viper ready to strike.
Lucien looked over at Garrick and knew just by the way his tail moved what thoughts were running through Garrick’s mind. He shook his head with an eye roll then went back to keeping an eye out for movement. Deryn was putting on a show as he jumped up onto the railing of the balcony. He peered into the bedroom window. His body stretched several feet as he used his tail to balance. The whole thing reminded Garrick of a cat. Garrick prayed to every god in existence that a scream wouldn’t ring out. The last thing he needed was the girl seeing another gargoyle on the same night. He had already blown his cover once—he didn’t need Deryn making things worse back at headquarters.
“Hey, I don’t think anyone’s home,” Deryn yelled back at them. Garrick ducked and forced Lucien down with him. What the hell is he talking so loud for? He is supposed to spy, not alert the entire block. “Hey guys, you hear me? No one is home.”
Lucien shifted under Garrick’s grip, but didn’t try to break his hold. Garrick raised his head slowly and looked over at Deryn. The idiot was hanging by his claws upside down as he looked right at them.
“What do you mean no one’s home? She was here only an hour ago.”
Deryn turned his head down and looked into the window once more. “No one is in the bed or in the living room.”
Where the hell did she go? Garrick raised himself up over the brick wall that protected people from falling off. He looked over the edge to watch for pedestrians or oncoming cars. The coast was clear. Garrick climbed up onto the edge and dug his claws into the bricks. He crouched and flew in one mighty jump across the street onto the girl’s balcony. The bars almost gave out under his mighty form. Deryn looked at him with wide-eyed curiosity to see what he would do next.
Garrick bared his fangs in Deryn’s direction then approached the glass sliding doors. He checked to see if by any chance the girl had left the door unlocked. He pressed on the door, but it didn’t open. Smart girl, remembering to lock things up tight. Garrick grabbed the doorknob and used his brute strength to break the lock. The door slid open with a loud screech, making everyone flinch.
“Hey, what are you doing?” Deryn asked as he climbed back over to the railing.
Garrick smiled. “No one’s home right? Then they won’t mind if we drop in.”
Garrick stepped into the girl’s apartment hunched over on all fours. She lived like a clean freak from what he could tell as he made his way into the living room. There was a small recliner next to the balcony doors. His tail brushed against it as he entered. A small couch with a coffee table in front of it was up against the wall. It was flanked by two small end tables. Across from the couch was a basic television stand with a decent sized TV sitting on it. The walls were mostly bare except for a few family photos. His nose twitched at the sweet smell of honey crisp apples and vanilla. Her scent is different than before. Almost like she masks it under lotions or something.
Bang! Garrick turned abruptly as Deryn’s tail knocked over a floor lamp. The damn thing crashed into the wall. “Keep it down and watch your tail!” Deryn smirked as he righted the lamp back onto its base. Lucien stuck his head through the door at that precise moment. He shook his head and moved inside, doing his best not to knock things over too. The three of them together took up the entire living room between their tails and wings getting in the way. Garrick grumbled under his breath. Why do these humans have to live in such small spaces?
“Do you smell that?” Lucien asked as he sniffed the air around the armchair. “Smells like gunpowder.” Garrick watched Lucien continue his sniffing routine. “Ah ha!” He watched Lucien pull the small revolver from a holder the girl had been wearing earlier. It sat behind the chair on the floor. His hackles rose as he saw the gun in his friend’s hand. She doesn’t have anything to protect herself with. Deryn crawled behind Garrick and made his way over to the door. Shoes were scattered everywhere. “Looks like she left in a hurry.”
The more he looked around, the more uneasy Garrick became. He didn’t know why he felt a pull towards the girl. But something was off about how she’d left the place. His eyes locked on the open bedroom door. Garrick stepped forward and entered her room. Her scent hit him hard. It was strong, and it was everywhere. Her bed sheets had been tossed about and draped over the side of the bed onto the floor as if someone had struggled between them. A sense of panic filled his chest as he processed what he saw. She definitely left in a hurry.
“Do you smell that?” Lucien asked. Garrick glanced over his shoulder at his companion. Lucien stood in the doorway looking at the mess. “The metallic scent mixed with earth. It’s the renegade gargoyle’s scent. He must have been here.” Garrick sniffed the air and smelled it too, but it was faint like it had dissipated over time. Why the hell is his scent in her bedroom? There were so many questions running through his mind, Garrick couldn’t process everything.
“Crap! The sun is going to rise in ten minutes. We need to get back to the base,” Deryn stated. Garrick stood still as he looked over every detail of this girl’s life. He didn’t want to leave until he knew she was home safe. What if the gargoyle took her? What if she is hurt somewhere? Why the hell do I even care? She isn’t my responsibility—these buffoons are. Lucien grabbed Garrick’s arm and pulled him out of his thoughts. “We need to go. We can come back at sundown.”
He made his way back into the living room and took one final look around. Deryn led the way out onto the balcony and jumped into the air. He launched himself high enough to get altitude so he didn’t plummet to the ground. Lucien then jumped into the air, turned and looked at Garrick as his large wings brought him closer to the sky. Garrick trailed behind, making sure the door was closed nice and tight. He climbed up onto the railing and then leaped, allowing his wings to drive him higher into the air. The three gargoyles lined up in the sky and made their way back over to the north side of town. It didn’t take long to reach the rickety old building that they had chosen to hold themselves up in.
They made their way down into the depths of the building so that no one would find them in their vulnerable state. Deryn chatted away as they went, even though Garrick couldn’t process a word he said. All he could think about was the long-haired brunette beauty he’d seen for only a few moments earlier that night. I will see you again soon. I just know it.
Deryn slipped into a neighboring room and Lucien stepped into the living room they’d sat in earlier. He always had to stay with his equipment to make sure it was safe. Garrick was alone in the hallway. He walked to the end then went into one of the rooms with its door hanging off the hinges. He made his way over to a recliner and lowered his body down onto the small piece of furniture. Then he waited. Sunlight filtered into the room through the curtains, and then he felt his body begin to stiffen. Slowly, as the light grew stronger, his body turned to stone. By the time the light hit his foot he was no longer a living thing, just a stone statue waiting for the night to set him free once again.
Thank you for reading chapter 11 of my Vortex Series: Book 1. Want to keep on reading? Click here for Chapter 12: Part 1.
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Disclaimer: You are reading the first draft of this book. When the book is finished it will go through an extensive edit. It will also have a read through with my beta team. Then once completed ebook copies will get sent out to all members.