June 2022 Flash Challenge, Day 4

Photo by Donovan Reeves on Unsplash

“I think they are supposed to be guardians or something, right?” Kimberly says, peering upwards at the three buildings that make up the bulk of our burb’s central square.

Ken looks ready to speak again.

“Go ahead,” I say.

“While symbolically linked to defense, their original purpose was to divert water from rooftops and prevent expensive damage to masonry and mortar. That’s why their mouths are always wide open. That was where the water drained off the building, like drain spouts, you know?”

But we live just outside Tempe. We don’t have a lot to worry about rain in these parts.

“Yeah,” Ken says, sensing my thoughts in that weird way he has, “You’re right, Steve. In Helton, we only get about two inches of rain a year. When we’re lucky.”

The three of us fall silent. Occasionally we will look upward at the defensive drain spouts that weren’t here yesterday.

Gargoyles had come to Helton.

No one knows why or how, only that they were here now.

“Hey guys, I don’t mean to alarm you, but weren’t there only five this morning?” Kimberly says.

“Yep,” Ken and I say together.

“Look,” she says, extending one trembling arm upward and indicating the top of the Ace Hardware.

Three more stone gargoyles sat along the roof’s front edge, gazing down at Swanwick Street. Their black-green shoulder muscles frozen in time and stone, their eyes intent, unwavering, their purpose a mystery.

We quickly recount the mossy green statues, verifying the new total.

“Okay, so now we have eight new stone gargoyles, whereas just an hour ago, right before we stepped over to Max’s for apple fritters, there were only five? And there were none at all yesterday? Does that sum up the situation accurately?”

Kimberly and I nod.

Ken picks up his bookbag.

“Come on; we need to tell some adults. This isn’t a problem for eleven-year-olds.”

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