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Aline had been lying awake for hours. Eventually, she grew tired of staring into the darkness and listening to the sound of her mother weeping in the next room. She sat up and looked gravely at the little gargoyle on her dresser.

“Something’s wrong,” she whispered.

The gargoyle slowly drew its thumb out of its mouth, sighed and turned to regard her.

“We should do something,” she said in a more urgent tone.

The gargoyle shrugged and stretched its wings. Aline took the gesture as agreement, and pulled a bag out from under her bed.

“I’ve got everything we’ll need, ” she said, rummaging through the contents to perform a double check, “I’ve even packed an extra thick jumper, in case it’s cold.”

She looked up to see the gargoyle standing on her desk looking rather pointedly down at the pen and paper at its feet. She stared at it blankly for a moment, then slapped her head and rushed over.

“Dear Mum,” she said slowly, trying to write neatly, “I have gone to get your Book back. Don’t worry, I took a thick jumper. Love, Aline.”

The gargoyle turned to Aline with a rather pained expression, but she wasn’t paying attention any more. Instead, she had dived head and shoulders into a pile of clothes at the foot of her bed. Just when it seemed she must have suffocated under the weight, she emerged clutching a T-shirt, combat trousers, and a pair of sturdy boots.

She dressed quickly, slung the bag over one shoulder, picked up the gargoyle and plonked it on the other shoulder.

“OK. Let’s go.”

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: I have wound up a little pressed for time today, so here’s something I wrote quite a long time ago, a beginning that I’ve been planning to give a “rest-of-the-story” to for far too long. Maybe putting it here will push it along a bit in my head, who knows?)

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