Malachi awoke. Faint rays of light were filtering through the mouth of the cave. His sleep had been restless. He had been awakened several times during the night by strong grey pulses in his sword. Now they were growing stronger again.
He quietly crept forward to where Brego stood on guard duty. “Can I go down here to relieve myself?” Asked Malachi. He couldn’t resist exploring a little. He was just too curious.
“Only if I come with you,” replied Brego. His tone indicated they should remain as silent as possible. “Remember, we are in grave danger here. I’ve spotted gargoyles in the air less than a mile away.”
“Malachi and I are going to scout within 200 yards,” said Brego as he woke Duman.
They climbed over the boulders near the cave entrance and dropped down into the pine forest. These were beautiful long needled pines which hid the entrance to the cave. Scrapper, always eager, followed Malachi as he picked a path through the branches. The greyish pulses on Malachi’s sword were growing stronger with every step.
After meandering through pines for about three minutes, they came upon a large boulder which seemed to go all the way up as high as the treetops. The boulder was easy to climb and, well, you know how hard it is for a little boy to resist climbing a boulder. When he came out at the top, he was level with many of the treetops. As he began to look around, he saw Mount Marat to the west as it picked up the rays of the morning sun. As he looked back to the East to see the sunrise, he noticed some small black dots flying in the horizon.
Suddenly, many things happened at once. Malachi had climbed more quickly than Brego had anticipated. Brego yelled, “Malachi! Slow down! You’ll be spotted!”
Malachi waved to Brego, and was about to say, “I’m okay!” when he realized that he wasn’t. What had been black specks a few moments ago were now three hideous gargoyles speeding through the air toward him. He began to run back down the boulder, sword flailing above his head. But he was not fast enough. The gargoyles were at full speed.
Brego leapt toward Malachi thinking to roll him to the ground and shield him with his body, but one of the three gargoyles quickly scooped up Malachi in it’s talons. Brego leapt, attempting to grab a wing and prevent flight. But a second gargoyle hit Brego with its beak and pinned him to the boulder before its momentum carried it passed Brego. As Malachi rose into the air, he saw Duman standing at the cave entrance with his Longbow at full draw. But he did not shoot. “They don’t want to risk hitting me,” thought Malachi.
(Malachi being captured as drawn by Malachi at 6)
He had been caught from behind and so was facing downward, watching the trees recede below him. He realized that the other gargoyle had caught Scrapper.
Malachi’s head was spinning: “I’ve got to face it and kill it,” he thought to himself. With a quick squirm, he reversed his body in the talons, and he still had his sword arm free. The Ramfaya blade was a burning fire. Had Malachi known it, it was creating a grey fiery streak in the sky. The sword was showing his exact direction of travel to Duman and Brego. He was just about to strike at the gargoyle, when it spoke:
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” it said.
In a split second, Malachi realized that if he killed the gargoyle, he would surely die as well since they were probably a half-mile in the air. Then it came to him. He knew which gargoyle this was. It was one of the three from the side of the archway on the Adelphia Cathedral. Still in a fury, Malachi was sooo tempted to just swing that blade of fire and end it all. He was too angry to just give up or faint.
Malachi looked over his forhead to see where they were going. No doubt about it, upside down, he could see a black mountain off in the distance. He remembered the words that his Dad back on earth was always reminding him, “Malachi, think it through. Use your wits! Don’t just lash out in frustration!”
“Think!” he thought to himself. The dizzying height was beginning to make him faint. Then it came to him, what Ezra had said: “They’d rather be sunning on their gutter spouts.”
Malachi had also learned the wisdom of Miriam: “In their natural state, gargoyles love to hear singing from their perches on churches. When Chaozz possesses them, singing confuses them. I will teach you a few basic Psalms which you must learn to sing with me.”
“Are you Blig, Blag or Blog?” yelled Malachi over the wind.
That got his attention. “How did you know that, kid?” It asked.
“Because; you were one of the three gargoyles missing from the Adelphia Cathedral.”
“Yeah, well I’ve got you now!” it said, pretending not to be surprised.
“I bet you’d rather be sunning yourself on the Cathedral right now,” said Malachi. “When was the last time you had a nice bit of fresh water going through your gutter mouth?”
The gargoyle began to falter ever so slightly.
“Did you know Zlig, Zlag and Zlog are back on their sunny gutter spouts?” Malachi continued.
The frantic beat of the creature’s wings began to slow. “Yeah, well, we can’t get back in once the city barrier is up,” said the gargoyle. It flapped its wings in silence.
“…singing confuses them” Malachi began to sing the Psalm Miriam had taught them.
As if to interrupt the singing, it said, “Bet you can’t guess which one I am!” with a sneer.
“You’re Blog,” replied Malachi without hesitation.
“Ain’t tellin’,” it said.
“You know,” said Malachi out loud, “you really don’t have to be a slave of Chaozz the Black…”
With this, Malachi began humming the Psalm again and tried to act relaxed, putting his arms back behind his head.
“You shut up, kid!” said Blog. Wait till Chaozz gets a hold o’ you.”
“I bet you’d rather be Zlig or Zlag right now,” said Malachi as if he hadn’t heard what Blog was trying to say. “It’s a sunny day and there’s no better time to be a gutter spout! In fact,” he continued after humming the Psalm a little more, “I’ll bet the people are walking by admiring their wings right now as they go to say morning prayers. Zlog probably has that wonderful feeling of being admired and waving to them without waiving because he’s just blissfully…”
“You stop that!!” Blog couldn’t take it anymore. He squeezed his talons and said “There ain’t no way for me to get back.”
“King Titus would let you through if I convinced him,” said Malachi.
“Yes, yes I’m sure of it!”
“But Chaozz‘ll catch us,” said Blog.
“Not if you turn around now,” said Malachi. “You don’t have to be his slave. Anyway, I could stab you with my sword right now. I’d rather die than go to Chaozz.”
That did it. Blog’s resolve began to break. Seeing his advantage, Malachi knew what to do. He began again to SING the Psalm with all his heart! Blog couldn’t help remembering fondly his days sitting on the Cathedral.
“Change of plans, boyz,” said Blog. “Looks like we’ve nabbed a ticket back to our gutter spouts. This little one can get us back.”
With that, three sets of wings headed back for Adelphia…