Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The Sanctity of Life
It was Tim, of course, looking – and sounding – exactly the same as he had thirty years ago. “You’re looking well,” I said. “Pilchards must agree with you, not to mention the lack of a speck impediment.”
“Is that what would have happened?” Tim rapped his helmet with stone knuckles. “A chip fell off one of the tower buttresses when I did some work on the roof in 1989. It just glanced off the helmet.”
“I glad to find you in good form, anyway,” I said.
“I mustn’t grumble,” he replied. “I’ve got a crack in me’ left shoulder and a bloom of lichen on me’ posterior but other than that I’ve survived well enough.”
“So who’s this?” asked Harold, staring at the stone cat. “You seem to know each other well enough.”
“This is Timburindermal,” I said. “He’s a gargoyle.”
“I can see what he is,” said Harold, icily. “What’s he doing here?”
“Looking after you, sir, if you don’t mind my saying it. You can call me Tim, by the way. Almost everyone does.”
“Everyone?” Harold looked around.
“Yes sir. Night folk. Denizens. You know the sort. I was commissioned to look after you, and I’ve spent the lest forty-odd years doing just that.”
“Then why haven’t I seen you before?”
“You have sir.” Tim turned and walked into the building. “If you’ll follow me, sir, we can have a sit and a chatsy.”
Harold and I hurried to follow him. He sprang off the floor and flew through a hole in the ceiling. I showed Harold where the stairs to the bell tower were. Once settled, he fixed the gargoyle with a steely gaze* and demanded to know where they had met before.
Tim strolled to the unglazed window. “There,” he said, pointing to the ground below. “I saved you from an assassin for the first time right in that spot down there. You were five years old.”
Harold frowned. “The first time?” he said. “How many times have you saved me then?”
Tim indicated a number of five-bar gates scratched into the wall. “Forty-seven,” he said.
*Harold has grey eyes. It they'd been blue or green it would have been a watery or a mouldy gaze which gives a different impression entirely.