Hammer And Shield
Story Conceived and Written by Constance "Eilonwy" Cochran
Outline by Kathy Pogge
Previously on Gargoyles...
Castaway: "The Quarrymen do not negotiate with the
likes of you, traitor.
You are less than nothing. You have willingly thrown in your lot against
your own kind."
* * *
Captain Chavez, already seated, rose as she stretched
an arm in Elisa's direction.
There was another young woman in her office.
"Sara Jasper, this is Detective Elisa Maza, your new partner."
* * *
Smiling apprehensively as she drove by Washington
Square Park, her mood faded when she saw the tell-tale Quarrymen
signs peppering a large crowd, boisterously yelling slogans she
was glad she couldn't hear. "Bigots," she muttered darkly
under her breath, momentarily forgetting Sara's presence. "You
don't agree with them?" Sara asked, looking at Elisa with mild
Broadway lunged around the corner of the building, wings flared as he
pounded along the sidewalk. A few steps behind him Lexington darted along
on all fours, moving more efficiently but covering less ground. At the
first breathing moment they would claw their way up a wall and be off
into the night sky, free. Except there wasn't a breathing moment.
"I think we're in trouble," Lexington panted, as a bright white
beam of light sliced across him, followed by the sound of many pounding
feet, growing nearer.
"Oh, yeah," Broadway gasped. He stopped, grabbed Lexington
under the arms, and lifted him onto a green dumpster next to a brick wall.
"Go!" he yelled. "Up the wall!"
Confused, Lexington hesitated, one hand poised against the brick wall,
his eyes on Broadway below. "But..."
Seven Quarrymen, each in the deep blue uniform complete with hood, hammers
in hand, rounded the corner, and the beam of a heavy duty flashlight flooded
fully over the two gargoyles.
"Jalapena!" Broadway turned, roaring, his eyes burning white.
Using his tail, he swiped the Quarryman unlucky enough to be in the lead
off his feet.
Lexington leapt from the dumpster to help, eyes also blazing. Soon he
found himself pinned in a corner between the dumpster, two Quarrymen,
and the wall. His much larger rookery brother went down under three more
hooded figures, then bucked them off with a bellow.
In the distance came the wail of a police siren. Lexington leapt for
one of the hooded figures. He knocked the man against the wall, rebounded,
and crouched, ready.
Then another light source, brighter, more intermittent than the flashlight,
danced in his eyes, leaving purple and crimson spots against his vision.
"A camera?" he wondered aloud, and involuntarily threw up his
arm across his eyes to shield them from the light. "Broadway, they're
taking pictures of us!" he shouted.
The large gargoyle went for the Quarryman holding the camera, but three
of his companions closed in, shielding the cameraman. A hammer sparked
into the night, and Broadway cried out in pain.
"Broadway!" Lexington looked for an opening, to get to his
rookery brother, but there was none. "Leave us alone!" He yelled
at the faceless figures. "Just leave us alone!"
There was no time to reach the safety of the sky. Lexington prepared
himself for the fight of his life.
Suddenly one of the Quarrymen turned with a warning shout, and three
squad cars pulled to a stop outside the alley, followed by two unmarked
ones. Doors opened and slammed, and a familiar voice yelled:
"Get the ones in the blue hoods first! On my lead!"
Several uniformed and plainclothes members of the NYPD tackled the Quarrymen.
One tried to run, but a detective pulled his gun. "Freeze!"
The Quarryman obeyed, slowing his steps and raising his hands in the air.
The one with the camera had vanished, as had the three standing over
the fallen Broadway.
Matt Bluestone, badge in one hand, semi-automatic in the other, shoved
past the melee to Broadway and Lexington.
"You two, get out of here, now. Before my task force gets bored
with busting hoods and gets interested in you guys." Hastily, the
tall red-haired detective helped Broadway to his feet.
The two gargoyles looked at him, staying in the shadows. Behind Matt,
members of the Gargoyle Task Force hustled Quarrymen into squad cars.
"Hey, Matt," Broadway began. "Uh..."
"Thanks!" Lexington said quickly. "Thanks a lot."
Then he pulled on Broadway's arm, and the two vanished down the far end
of the alley.
* * * * *
Matt watched the two go, then turned back to his Task Force. Allan and
O'Shea were holding an angrily struggling Quarryman.
"You don't have anything to charge us with!" he yelled. "I'll
have you brought up on charges of false arrest!"
"How about disturbing the peace?" Matt said calmly, pocketing
his badge. "That's good for a fine, maybe a few hours in a holding
cell, at least." He reached out and pulled off the man's hood, and
handed it to a nearby task force member. "Keep this as evidence."
The unmasked Quarryman, a tall, dark-skinned man in his early twenties,
looked somehow more vulnerable without the hood. "You fools,"
he said, as two detectives shoved him into the back of a squad car. "You
stupid fools! You have no idea what we're up against...you let them escape!"
"Book 'em," Matt said in satisfaction.
* * * * *
"He...WHAT?" Castaway rose from the mahogany desk, eyes bright
with rage above the civilized mustache.
A Quarrywoman, still in uniform but with hood discarded, stood before
him, holding an expensive camera in her gloved hand. The dark-haired woman
sighed. "Bluestone and his Task Force showed up, sir. They saved
the two gargoyles and arrested six of our people." The woman, short,
with her hair pulled back into a French braid, raised the camera and patted
it. "But I got the pictures."
Castaway fell back into his chair as if pushed. "Yes, yes,"
he said impatiently. His eyes, with a faraway look, went to the dark window
of the elegantly furnished office, to the stark outlines of the back garden
trees visible beyond the glass. "We would have had them, though,
this time. This time..."
"Sir?" the woman prompted, at the remote tone in his voice.
The blond man behind the desk jerked his head up. "What? Oh, Nancy,"
he smiled ingratiatingly. "'Sir'? How many times have I told you
to call me Jon." He steepled his fingers and rested his elbows on
the desktop. "Go, develop the film, use the darkroom upstairs. I
have something to take care of."
The woman nodded and left the room, shutting the door softly, respectfully,
The man behind the desk leaned back in his chair again, then ran his
hands through his blond hair, an expression of great frustration and agony
contorting his angular features. Then the moment passed. He reached for
the high-tech phone on the desk.
* * * * *
The red, revolving lights of the police vehicles cast an intermittent
scarlet hue over the awning and front of the small convenience store.
Curious crowds pressed against the blue wooden police barrier that cordoned
off the street. The light of the vehicles, the street lamps, and the police-issue
search lamps sent a stark glow upward against the surrounding night, turning
the block into a glowing chasm.
Officer Morgan, looking as haggard as he had ever looked in his decade
as a beat cop, closed his fingers tightly over the edge of the open squad
car door. On the other side of the car, an officer in plain clothes stared
at the windows of the store, a radio mouthpiece dangling tiredly from
his grasp. He absently picked up a paper cup, downed the last swallows
of coffee -- now lukewarm -- and crumpled the cup up angrily.
Within the store, the fluorescent lights were off, but human forms were
faintly visible in the dimness.
* * * * *
Somewhere in the shadows, the owners of the store, a young Korean couple,
huddled together on the floor next to the soup cans. The woman held a
towel to her husband's arm; the towel was stained with blood.
Several yards away a woman knelt on the linoleum, holding the hand of
the five-year-old girl who stood upright beside her, watching into the
Three teenage boys who had gone in for sodas and perhaps the illicit
cigarette crouched near the couple, dressed in sneakers, ripped jeans,
t-shirts, and jackets made of artificial leather or denim. One of them
had a spiky hair-cut and an earring in his left ear; his buddy had dark,
honey-colored skin and long, lanky black hair with a striking streak of
purple; the third, smaller than the other two, a blond, also wore an earring
and had a burning skull silk-screened onto the back of his denim jacket.
The boy with the spiky haircut had his hand on the small blond boy's shoulder,
whether to reassure himself or his smaller friend was uncertain.
There were three other men in the shadows as well. One of them moved,
and the cast of light from outside revealed the ski mask over his face
and glinted off the barrel of his gun. His partners crouched by the magazine
rack, peering around it with guns raised and cocked. The first man held
a walkie-talkie in one gloved hand.
* * * * *
Out on the street, two squad cars slowly backed down the street, turned,
and drove out of sight. The plainclothes detective raised the communication
device to his lips.
"All right," he said. "We're sending some of our men away.
We will try to comply with your demands. Do not hurt anyone." He
lowered the mouthpiece and looked across the hood of the car at Morgan.
The red light played eerily over the men's features.
"The kids," Morgan mouthed.
The detective nodded, then spoke into the device. "Listen, why don't
you let the little girl go? You'll still have plenty of hostages..."
"Forget it." The voice, harsh, tired, crackled back over the
comm device. "You call off all of your dogs and maybe we'll
talk. We want outta here safe, you hear me?"
"Yes. Just don't hurt anyone. If you can just --"
A faint beating rhythm behind the background hum of the city suddenly
grew much louder. A blazing beam of white light made the police officers
shield their eyes with their hands. Stray pieces of trash fluttered on
the wind created by the police issue helicopter as it hovered.
"No!" the detective yelled. "No, blast it!" He dove
for the police radio inside the car. "This is Detective Toman. Call
off that helicopter, now. There are hostages within, repeat, hostages
within." A voice crackled confirmation back. Toman straightened,
then slammed his palm flat on the hood of the squad car in frustration.
"Who on this green earth authorized a freaking helicopter?!"
None of the officers in earshot seemed to have an answer.
There was a woman's scream from within the store, a loud bang, and the
sound of shattering glass.
The officers, as if they had done this many, many times before that evening,
ducked down behind the protection of car doors or bullet-proof shields.
Several answering shots broke another window of the store.
"Hold your fire!" Toman yelled.
"Officer down, officer down."
The blaze of white light faded as the helicopter rose into the sky and
retreated to a safe distance.
"Someone's going to pay for that screw-up," another detective,
a woman, muttered, joining Toman and Morgan.
"And how, Bailey."
From inside the convenience store came the faint, frightened sound of
a crying child.
Toman grabbed up the comm device again. "Do not fire...hello? We
will not fire on you, do not shoot. Is anyone hurt?"
"You trying to double-cross us?" The tired, harsh voice spoke
furiously, with a ragged edge. The child's hitching sobs were audible
in the background.
"No, that was a mistake. I repeat, was anyone hurt?"
There was a long pause. Finally, the voice answered: "Nah. 'Cept
for the bullet hole the guy already had." There were faint, murmured
voices in the background. "The bleeding looks like it's stopped.
Tell her to shut up!" the voice ordered someone inside the store.
"Detective, we have to get those kids out of there," Morgan
said. "What if we offered them an exchange?"
"Morgan..." Toman began warningly.
"They let the little girl go, they can have me. Maybe then you can
talk them into letting those boys out, too."
"So they'll have four NYPD officers as hostages instead?" Toman
shook his head.
"At least let's get that child out." Morgan frowned in the
direction of the grocery store, at the shadowy forms barely visible through
"I don't know..." Bailey said slowly.
Toman rolled his eyes, then fixed them on Officer Morgan's face. "All
right, Officer," he said tiredly. "Go over and get yourself
fitted with a bullet-proof vest. Tell them no wire--too much of a risk."
The dark-skinned officer hesitated, as if about to say something else,
then moved off into the night and was momentarily swallowed by the beams
of the squad car headlights.
"The last thing we need right now is some hotshot hero." Bailey
folded her arms and leaned against the hood of the car, her voice wary
There was a moment of quiet, broken by the muttering over the police
radios and the street noise outside the police barriers. Toman looked
down into his empty cup as if he intensely longed for more coffee. Then
he slowly raised his head. "Oh, I don't know, Jen," he said
softly. "I think that might be exactly what we need."
* * * * *
The child clung to her mother, framed in the glass door, which had been
propped open with a box of cookies. Officer Morgan, hands held up above
his head, his gun removed and a bullet-proof vest under his blue policeman's
shirt, watched one yard from the door, almost sensing rather than actually
seeing that a gun was trained on him from within.
"Please, Brynne honey, you have to go," the mother said, her
voice steady but with an underlying tremble.
"No," the child said. There was no note of petulance in her
voice; she was simply stating an obvious fact.
"Come on, move it or lose the deal!" a voice said impatiently
The mother's fingers touched the girl's chestnut-brown hair as she knelt
in front of her daughter, the hem of her skirt falling around her ankles.
She took the child by the shoulders and looked at her hard. "Listen
to me. I need you to do this for Mommy. I'm asking you to be brave."
The girl looked back at her mother, who was at her eye level for once.
One small finger crept up and she fiddled with the hook on her denim overalls;
under the overalls she wore a blue turtleneck the color of heather. Then
she heaved a small sigh, turned, and started towards Detective Bailey,
who stood several yards behind Officer Morgan, kneeling on the ground,
In the doorway the woman let out a long breath and unsteadily got to
her feet, pushing her dark hair back from her face in the cold fall wind.
As the child moved past Morgan, before he could take his first steps
towards the door, she looked up at him suddenly. A wordless, questioning
"Your mother is going to be okay," Morgan said, in a flat,
quiet, calm voice. Business-like, as if he were speaking seriously to
Just as seriously, face thoughtful, the girl nodded once, then walked
past him. Detective Bailey caught the child up in her arms and hustled
Morgan stepped towards the woman in the doorway. A hand reached out,
grabbed him, and pulled him inside with such force that he went sprawling
to the linoleum. The door swung shut with a rattling bang behind him,
trapping himself and the woman inside.
After the strange play of light and blackness outside, the half-darkness
of the grocery seemed almost soothing. Morgan slowly picked himself up
as one of the gunmen began patting him down, looking for weapons or wires.
The man gave Morgan a thump on the chest. "Bulletproof vest. Huh."
Then, with a dismissive shove, he sent Morgan towards the huddled group
Morgan grabbed onto the shelves for balance, then looked at the three
boys, who were watching in silence. "You guys okay?" he asked
Slowly, the dark-skinned teenager with the purple-streaked hair nodded.
Turning, Morgan knelt by the Korean couple.
"How is he?"
"I'm all right," the man said, gesturing weakly. "I think
it only skimmed me." His forehead looked damp.
The woman took her husband's hand and held it, then looked at the police
officer. "Are they going to be able to help us?" she whispered,
eyes scared. "What are we going to do?"
"It'll be all right," Morgan said, realizing that phrase had
been used too many times this night--and that he wasn't very sure it would
"Okay, Detective, where's our transport out of here? Why do I still
see blue-and-whites everywhere?!" The man speaking into the walkie-talkie
sounded angry, impatient. Scared. One of his partners just watched the
group of hostages, his gun slack at his side but his finger ready on the
trigger, while the third gunman busied himself ripping open a bag of corn
"You know, if you give it up now you can still get a light sentencing."
Slowly, Morgan rose to his feet.
"Don't listen to him, Al," the man with the walkie-talkie snapped.
"Come on, Al," Morgan added softly. "You don't really
want to hurt these people. Let them go. You can keep me--I'm an officer
in the NYPD. That's gotta be a valuable hostage..."
"Shut up!" the other man yelled. He raised his weapon in one
hand. "It's a trick," he told his partner, walking towards Morgan.
The third man stopped crunching his first mouthful of chips, then slowly
put down the bag with a crinkling sound and moved closer, wary.
"No trick." In the shadows beside him, Morgan heard the boys
shift uneasily, then grow silent.
From the back storage room beyond the curtained doorway came another
rustling sound, like someone pulling on a leather jacket. The man with
the walkie-talkie jerked his head around, aiming his automatic.
To cover, Morgan pretended to adjust his bullet-proof vest under his
shirt. "Man, these things are uncomfortable," he muttered.
The three men turned their glances towards him warily. Morgan shrugged.
A cardboard box flew through the doorway, sending the curtain fluttering.
The box thumped to the floor, ripping open. Cans of creamed corn rolled
across the linoleum. A split second afterward, something else came through
the curtain, tearing it from its hooks, followed by two more somethings.
Three paralyzing battle screams ripped through the small store, echoed
by the startled yells of the captives and captors. Morgan stumbled back,
speechless--the room seemed suddenly to be filled by eyes that glowed
lantern-like, broad, leathery wings, and fangs and talons.
The first gunman chucked his walkie-talkie away. Gripping his gun with
both hands, he dodged down an aisle. One of the creatures darted after
him, too fast for Morgan to clearly make out more than the fact that it
was green, had black hair, and carried a long curved blade.
A six-foot, brick-colored creature with a mane of white hair, a beaked
face, a gracefully curving pair of horns, and a strange armor-harness
picked up one of the other men by the scruff of his shirt. The man let
out a high-pitched, terrified howl of fear, and dropped his bag of chips.
"Control yourself," the creature said, low, husky. The man
The third gunman cursed. He reached out with his now free hand and grabbed
at the spiky-haired boy as the three teenagers ran towards the shop door.
"Michael!" The blond kid stopped, aghast, as the gunman backed
up, gun to the spiky-haired boy's forehead.
"Easy," Morgan said, walking up to the pair with his hands
outstretched, as if to say see, I won't hurt you. "Easy.
Let the kid go."
"Back off," the man hissed, pressing the barrel of the gun
harder against the boy's head.
"I don't think you want to do that," a voice rumbled, low,
deep, out of the shadows behind the gunman.
Startled, the gunman turned his head and came face to face with a huge,
broad-shouldered, lavender being with a square shaped face and a regal
set of wings. The lavender creature reached out with one large, taloned
hand, grabbed the gun, and crushed it.
The gunman shoved the boy at his two friends, who caught him, then turned
to run, only to come face to face with the white-haired being with the
Morgan stared as the creature leapt, sending the man flying into a stack
of cereal boxes. The thing had moved with an unexpected balletic grace,
full of incredible power.
"Morgan, look out!" bellowed a voice that reminded Morgan vaguely
of his father's. Then two things happened almost simultaneously. Something
that felt like a minivan barreled into him and knocked him to the floor.
And a gunshot cracked in his ears.
Lying on the floor, Morgan saw the big purple creature's eyes glow white-hot.
Its tail shot out, catching the crook by the ankles. He had apparently
recovered from his faint and had tried to shoot Morgan. The man went down
and did not move again.
The large creature had his hand clutched around his arm; red blood oozed
out between the talons.
"Goliath!" The brick-colored one bounded over. "Are you
"The bullet did not embed itself," the other one answered briefly.
"A day's sleep will..."
They broke off and turned, remembering Morgan and the hostages. The mother
was staring blankly; the couple was on their feet, the man leaning on
the woman. The three boys gaped, and the youngest one's mouth moved a
silently articulated syllable: Wow.
Morgan abruptly remembered what he was supposed to be doing. "Okay,
all of you, out of here. Now."
The three adults needed no further urging. The boys moved more slowly,
reluctantly, towards the door, staring back over their shoulders. From
outside came the sound of running feet, of cops asking the captives questions.
The cavalry was on its way, but it was no longer needed.
Morgan made a quick count of the fallen gunmen. "Wait, where's the
The thud of a body hitting the floor interrupted him, and he turned (noticing
the two creatures doing the same) to see the third creature standing in
the mouth of the aisle, its foot resting atop the limp body of the first
gunman, dusting off its hands with a calm smile on its...on her face.
Now that he could see it clearly it was obviously female, wearing garb
that looked weirdly Japanese. Her sword, a katana, matched her garb.
A low chuckle made him look back at the red creature, which was watching
the green one. Its beaked face should have been hard to read, but the
expression seemed unmistakable -- one of barely contained pride.
The police officer looked down at the three unconscious gunmen, then
up at the lavender creature, which was watching him impassively. Goliath.
"You...saved my life," Morgan said, holding out his hand. "Thank
The three beings looked startled. The biggest one stared at the human's
outstretched hand, then, finally, reached out and grasped Morgan's lower
arm in a brief clasp.
"You'd better get out of here," Morgan said. The green female
nodded briskly and headed for the back room, the other two following her.
From outside came an excited young male voice: "Man, you shoulda
seen it! It was so cool!"
"What am I gonna tell them?" Morgan asked, more to himself
than to the winged figures.
The big one paused as the lankier brick one vanished into the shadows
of the back room. Something very like a smile was on his face. "Tell
them the truth." And then he was gone.
"Morgan! Morgan, what on earth happened here?" Toman plowed
into the store with about two dozen cops in his wake. He stopped and looked
"Detective!" A young officer came running in, pushing past
the others. "It's confirmed, sir -- we just spotted three gargoyles
gliding from the roof of the premises."
"Well, I'll be a..." The detective ran a hand down the lower
half of his face.
"Gargoyles," Morgan repeated softly. "Of course. But how...."
"You say something?" Toman asked him.
"Uh...no, nothing, Detective." How did he know my name?
Toman grinned wickedly, then clapped Morgan on the back and gestured
at the three unconscious crooks. "Gunning for a promotion, Officer
"Wilson!" Toman barked. "Call Bluestone and his task force.
Get them down here ASAP. Morgan, you'd better give a full statement to
Detective Bluestone. I don't think we'll get anything coherent out of
the hostages." The detective shook his head, then spotted something
behind the front counter. "Hey, is there any coffee left in that
* * * * *
The figure, its face and form blurred into darkness by the shadows, huddled
in the kiosk of a pay phone on a side street a block away from the aftermath
"Yeah...yeah, they're saying they saved their lives. Officer Morgan,
The voice on the other end of the line, British, sounded very put out.
"We can't let it stand that way. What's happening now?"
The shadow-figure's head turned. In the bright light outside the grocery
store, Matt Bluestone's tall form, clad in a beige trenchcoat, stood with
notepad in hand. He was listening intently as three teenage boys chattered
excitedly, gesturing at the store. One of the boys stepped back and held
his arms wide, while the other two boys nodded in agreement.
"He's talking to the kids that were in the store. I heard their
official statements earlier. Bluestone's report is going to make those
things come out like guardian angels."
The annoyed clicking sound of tongue against teeth came from the other
end of the line. "That's bad. Surely the Detective can see that the
boys were hostages, frightened, confused. All the hostages were; they've
obviously distorted things." The voice paused. The night wind kicked
up a handful of leaves and sent them dancing by the shadowy form at the
pay phones. "We're going to have to move sooner than I'd thought.
Something has to be done about Detective Bluestone and his gargoyle-loving
"What do you want me to do?" the figure asked dutifully.
"Watch him; you know his movements. Alert us as soon as you're sure
he'll be vulnerable."
In the brightness in front of the store, the boys wandered off with another
police officer, and Detective Bluestone turned and began to talk to Officer
* * * * *
Phones ringing. The smell of cheap coffee. Somewhere down the hall from
the squad room a man was yelling, protesting that he'd sue. Two beat cops
walked by, leading a grungy-looking street thief whose hands were cuffed
Elisa looked up from the stack of paperwork to her new partner, who was
seated at a desk pushed face to face with hers. Sara chewed her lower
lip, then let out a snort of exasperation and tossed the file onto the
"I take it you haven't found anything," Elisa said dryly.
The brown-haired young woman slapped her palm flat on the desk. "If
only we could use the computer database, we could search in one tenth
of the time. We're never going to catch him at this rate!"
Elisa smiled ruefully and leaned back in her chair. She picked up her
coffee mug, sniffed at it, and wrinkled her nose. Lukewarm. "I know,
Sara. But the database only goes back to 1986. If we're going to get a
lead on this case, we have to dig back farther."
"Yeah." Sara looked glum. She leaned her chin on her fisted
palm, elbow on the desk, and began doodling a fair imitation of a popular
"Hey, partner, tell you what. When shift gets off, we'll go to Roger's
Diner for breakfast, two heaping orders of Belgian waffles, fruit topping,
whipped cream, the works."
Sara stopped doodling and glanced up suddenly. "Oh...uh...that'd
be great, Elisa, but I -- I have something I have to--"
The other detective chuckled with a casual flap of her hand. "Hey,
don't worry about it. Some other time. But you've got to try their waffles."
"What?!" A voice cut across the room. "Hold on, Levin."
The cop covering the front desk put her hand over the mouthpiece of the
phone. "You guys aren't going to believe this!" She called to
the room at large.
"What is it, Ackerman?" someone called out. "This isn't
like that other call about the man in the bat costume, is it?"
"Just heard from Levin down at dispatch. During a hostage situation
in midtown, some gargoyles showed up...one of 'em got shot. Morgan says
the garg pushed him aside and took a bullet..."
Elisa gripped the edge of her desk hard. She didn't notice the concerned
look Sara shot across at her.
"No way, Levin's been readin' too many comic books," a detective
"--took a bullet for a cop?!"
"I don't believe it..."
Elisa shoved her chair back with a sharp scrape. She pushed through the
busy squad room, where gargoyles were suddenly the main topic of conversation.
Even the perps were getting in on it -- one handcuffed to a chair was
in a heated debate with his arresting officer over evolutionary origins.
"Ackerman!" Elisa gripped the edge of the front counter.
The dark-haired cop at the phones took off her glasses and turned to
the detective, surprised by the intensity in her voice.
"Which gargoyle was injured?"
Ackerman shrugged. "Not sure, Maza. I think they said something
about a big one...lavender, maybe?"
"How bad --" Elisa started to ask.
A hand came down lightly on Elisa's shoulder. "Elisa? Are you okay?"
"Sara." Elisa glanced at her partner, then up at Ackerman,
who was staring at her curiously. "I'm fine," she said, moving
back towards her desk.
Sara hurried to follow her. "Are you sure? You seem a little...upset."
Elisa brushed her long dark hair back from her face. "No...it's
just...Officer Morgan is an old family friend. I didn't know he was involved
in a hostage situation. Just glad he wasn't hurt."
Quickly, she moved towards her desk. Her hand reached out for the phone.
Then she pulled back, putting a hand to her face. "No, Maza, not
here...not now..." She whispered. Elisa slowly sat in her chair,
the buzz of the squad room flowing around her, while Sara frowned.
"They're beasts, Fay, I don't care what dispatch says. They should
be locked up in a zoo..."
"A zoo? Weren't you listening? He just saved a cop's life!"
"You know, I think that task force idea of the mayor's is nuts.
What we ought to do is --"
"They're helping us."
"They're a menace."
"I think they don't even exist. Maybe it's a conspiracy..."
"Ha! Now you sound like Bluestone..."
"Davison told me he and his partner would have been machine-gun
bait if it hadn't been for this thing with wings..."
The evolutionary discussion between the perp and the arresting officer
escalated into a shouting match. Most of the arguments in the room had
escalated in volume.
The sound of a police whistle sliced through the din. The arguments bubbled
down into silence.
"All right, you donut-heads, we're running a police precinct here,
not a debate club. Simmer down and listen up!"
Captain Chavez stood at the door to the squad room, one hand holding
the cross-bar of her crutch, the other lowering a whistle from her mouth.
Dressed in a knee-length red skirt, the sleeves of her blouse and matching
jacket shoved up to her elbows, she seemed unaware of, or unconcerned
about, the heavy knee brace on her leg. A pencil pusher in shirtsleeves
stood just behind her, staring, impressed. The expression in the police
captain's eyes was not amused.
"I don't like the way this place has become a rumor mill,"
she said. "The only version of what happened I'm interested in is
that of the officers who file the report, and the perps who give their
statements. Bluestone and his task force are handling the clean-up down
there. The rest of you should also be doing your jobs. So cut the chatter
and get back to work."
Elisa looked up. Sara stood by the chair, her face knit with evident
concern. Forcing a laugh that was part sigh, Elisa picked up a folder
and opened it. "Sara, really, I'm fine. Let's just get back to work,
okay?" She felt as if the smile had been fitted to her face with
The other woman smiled faintly, lightly touched her partner's shoulder,
then returned to her desk and bent her head over the paperwork.
Holding the folder loosely in her hands, hardly aware of its existence,
Elisa raised her eyes to the clock on the wall.
Dawn was a long way off.
"Maza! Jasper!" Captain Chavez turned away from two other officers
she had been giving instructions to. "You're both on riot duty for
the rest of the night. That hostage incident has the city in an uproar
-- there's a demonstration going on in front of the Empire State Building.
Get down there and make sure things don't get out of hand."
"Right, Captain!" Sara grabbed up her short green wool coat.
Elisa followed more slowly, pulling her red bomber jacket on over her
long-sleeved t-shirt and gun holster.
I think they said something about a big one...lavender, maybe?
It was going to be a long night.
* * * * *
The red Fairlane took the corner onto Fifth Avenue fast, but with its
siren and roof lights off. In the sharp autumn night, the surrounding
midtown streets, save those towards the Macy's area, stretched dark and
silent. A few lights pooled onto the sidewalk, glinting off the metal
grates protecting the store fronts. It was like a city deserted, except
for the traffic that rushed by, stirring up dead leaves and abandoned
scraps of paper and trash -- except for the crowd that had gathered under
the scaffolding outside the Empire State Building.
Elisa Maza pulled the Fairlane up to the curb, opened the door, and stepped
out, pulling the collar of her jacket up against the chill November air.
She slammed the car door behind her as Sara walked around the back of
the car and joined her at the curb.
"What's the situation?" Elisa flashed her badge at a beat-cop.
Behind her, Sara stood with her hands shoved into her coat pockets, her
eyes on the crowd.
The beat cop shrugged and took a sip from his paper coffee cup. "Rally
seems pretty quiet. They're not restless yet, seems under control."
It didn't look like a Quarrymen rally. People were holding up posterboards
with hastily scrawled messages: "Save the Streets," "No
Monsters in Our City"; or, from a smaller, huddled-together group:
"Interspecies Tolerance," "New York -- Melting Pot,"
or, simply, "Animal Rights."
Elisa shook her head, trying not to grit her teeth. As she did so, she
caught a glimpse of the Eyrie Building in the distance. It rose to the
north above the dark bulk of the other buildings, a tower of stone and
light. She was so close -- just a quick run uptown. Just to ask, just
to make sure...
In the crowd, the voices rose louder, and her train of thought snapped
back to reality. There would be no way to explain it to Sara if she suddenly
ran off for a quick errand now. And no private place to phone -- her partner
was already keeping a concerned, sharp eye on her. If Matt had been there,
it would have been different, but...
One of the demonstrators holding up a "No Monsters" sign shoved
a balding guy in a down vest and jeans who was holding up the sign reading
"Animal Rights." The crowd swayed in the disturbance.
The beat cops had already set up blue police barriers. Swiftly, Elisa
ducked under one and made her way up to two uniformed officers. "Separate
those two," she told them. "Then the rest might settle down."
Towards the corner of 34th, there was another ripple in the crowd, a
"Elisa!" Sara spoke urgently into her ear.
A man yelled angrily: "My wallet!"
Sara was already ducking under the barrier, pulling her gun. "There
The pickpocket was booking it across the nearly empty avenue, headed
diagonally for a dark side street lined with cheap tourist traps, closed
for the night.
"Sara, wait! Call this in," she ordered one of the beat cops.
Elisa darted after her partner. The uniformed officer pulled out his walkie-talkie
and spoke into it, jogging after Elisa.
The fleeing figure reached a dark side street. In pursuit, Elisa wondered
where Sara had vanished to. But there was no time to stop and call for
her. Pulling her gun, Elisa raced along the sidewalk after the man. He
wore black jeans, a maroon turtleneck, and a black leather jacket. His
hair was short, almost a buzz cut, spiky, and his build was bulky.
"Freeze, police!" Elisa yelled.
The mugger glanced back without breaking stride, his features vague in
the darkness. He looked her over and then kept running.
Cursing under her breath, Elisa put on a last burst of speed, grabbed
him by the back of the collar, and shoved him across the hood of a car.
The sedan's alarm went off, whooping ineffectually into the deserted streets.
"I said freeze," Elisa snarled, putting her gun to
"You just made a big mistake," the man said in a low voice,
slick, confident, almost purring. Elisa resisted the urge to twist his
arm painfully up behind his back.
As she pulled out her cuffs, she felt his ankle lock with hers. It was
so swift and brutal a move that she hadn't been ready for it. That was
all she needed -- a pickpocket with a black belt in karate. With a grunt,
she fell to the sidewalk. Her gun clattered to the pavement. Buzzcut went
for it, but Elisa kicked it away from both of them with her boot, under
the car. She rolled, and was on her feet in a crouch in a second, facing
"Not so brave without your weapon, are you, cupcake?" His hand
moved; and the faint glow of the overhead streetlight caught the blade
of a knife. He held it deftly, lightly in his hand, and began to circle
Clenching her fists, Elisa gathered her leg muscles to let loose a flying
barrel kick designed to send the knife flying and possibly sprain a wrist.
Before she could execute the move, there was the sound of a foot falling
on a car roof. Sara's outline appeared, crouched on the sedan. Then she
leaped, wrapping her arms around the guy's legs, bringing him hard to
the ground. The knife fell from his grasp.
Sara sat on the mugger with her knees digging into his back, reached
into his jacket pocket, and pulled out three wallets. She tossed them
to Elisa while Sara cuffed him.
"That's our guy," Elisa said, looking through the wallets.
"Unless Sam Frederick Charles here has three different legal names..."
"Yeah, that's right, I -- oof!!"
"You are under arrest," Sara began, her knee firmly planted
between his shoulder blades. Digging her badge out of her pocket, she
held it in front of the mugger's face. "You have the right to remain
silent. Should you give up this right, anything you say can and will be
used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney.
If you cannot afford one, the state will provide one for you. Do you understand
these rights as you have heard them?"
The man stared down at the sidewalk inches away from his chin, surly.
"Perhaps I need to repeat them?" She jabbed with her knee,
and the mugger grunted.
"Yeah, I understand."
"Good." The detective stood up and hauled the perpetrator to
his feet with what looked like little apparent effort, despite the fact
that Sara's height only reached a point slightly below his shoulders.
She turned to Elisa. "You okay?"
Putting away her gun, Elisa nodded. "Nice work, partner."
In the dim light, Sara grinned. "Let's get this piece of slime downtown."
* * * * *
A cold fall sunrise crawled slowly over the towers of Manhattan. The
light, weak yellow at first, intensified, blazing off the glass and metal
and turning to molten orange. The vibrant gold and red on the trees of
Central Park momentarily dimmed.
Matt Bluestone rubbed his hand over his face and yawned. "Man, what
a night..." he muttered, squinting in the early morning sunlight.
He walked past a newsstand, which was still locked up, empty.
The cars parked along the curbs looked sleepy, their metal cold, their
hoods covered with a thin coating of damp brown leaves. A blue four-door
sedan turned the corner behind Matt, pulled up level to the detective,
and stopped, double-parked. The back doors on both sides opened; the sound
made Matt turn.
"What the--" Four men in black suits and feature-hiding sunglasses
grabbed him by the arms and pulled him between the bumpers of two cars,
then shoved him sprawling into the back of the sedan.
"Hey!" Wedged uncomfortably on the floor, Matt kicked one of
the suit-clad men in the ribs, managed to get to a sitting position, and
socked another one in the jaw. The car began to move as Matt scrambled
for the still-open back door, where the street slid by, slowly but accelerating
fast. Then an arm reached out and slammed it shut before he could reach
it. Another pair of hands shoved him back ruthlessly against the opposite
side of the car. The impact drove the breath from his lungs, leaving him
Before Matt Bluestone could try to escape again, one of the men pulled
out a syringe that had evidently been prepared beforehand; Matt felt a
sharp, swift pinprick in his thigh. The dark suits blurred and seemed
to bleed together. The pain in his back and neck from where he'd hit the
door faded, and then he knew nothing more.
* * * * *
The rest of her shift had been a waking nightmare. Elisa knew Sara was
watching her closely.
At dawn, exhausted, her eyes haggard, Elisa emerged alone from the 23rd
precinct building into the glinting sunlight. It was a cold morning; the
sun's rays gleamed off the chrome of her red Fairlane.
She climbed into the driver's seat, then sat for a moment in the quiet
car, both hands on the steering wheel. Her eyes fixed almost blankly on
Then she started the car, pulled out of the parking lot, and picked up
the car phone.
"No, detective, Goliath didn't come back to the castle. He and Brooklyn
got separated after last night's...situation." Owen Burnett's dry
tones came through the ear piece over the roar of the motor.
Elisa kept one hand on the wheel and her eyes on the street, racing through
the waking city. Streets that had been utterly deserted an hour earlier
were coming to life; hot dog vendors setting up for their day's shift,
store owners raising protective grates, traffic cops changing shifts.
"Did Brooklyn say anything about the shooting? Did they look for
him?" She demanded.
"Of course," Owen answered, so calmly it made Elisa want to
hurl the receiver of the car phone out the window. "I was about to
add that Goliath called several hours ago. From your apartment. He said
that he would wait for you there."
Elisa hung up without saying goodbye, then yanked the wheel of the car
around, heading home.
* * * * *
The early morning November sun seemed cold on her face and shoulders.
Pushing one hand into the pocket of her coat, Sara Jasper reached up with
the other and rubbed at her eyes with her fingers. It had been a long
night -- it was time to go home and get some sleep. But she still had
one duty left to fulfill.
A jogger bounced past her, running with his dog, a small golden retriever.
The man nodded; she managed a tiny smile. The street was otherwise still,
the bleak sunlight glinting off the chrome on the cars parked at the curb.
Trees lined the sidewalks, not the scrawny saplings found on most Manhattan
side streets, but sturdy, older trees. Dead leaves broke under her feet.
At last she stopped, at a house not unlike the other houses on that street,
a brownstone townhouse. Unlike its neighbor, which sported a full flight
of steps, fancy wrought iron railings, and even a front garden, the facade
of the brownstone was simple, flat. It looked well-kept up, wealthy, respectable.
Sara stepped up to the gleaming door and raised the brass knocker. She
let it fall, letting out a single rap.
A small viewing window in the door opened.
"Password?" a voice asked in a bored fashion.
"Notre Dame," Sara said.
The door opened, and Sara stepped out of the cold morning, letting the
warmth of the foyer sweep around her.
"Sara, you're here at last," said a voice, British, every bit
as warm as the foyer. "We've been expecting you." Unlike the
minion guarding the door, who wore the regulation Quarrymen blue, Castaway
was dressed in an expensive brown suit, creases sharp.
He helped her off with her coat, then handed it to the minion who carried
it off. Taking her arm in a paternal fashion, he led Sara down the hallway.
Their shoes sounded loudly on the polished wood floor.
"I got here as soon as I could..." Sara began to explain. "My
"I understand." The blond man pulled out a key card and swiped
it on a terminal next to a door. A red light flickered, and the door opened.
She had been here before, in the suite of rooms and offices at the back
of the mansion. They passed an open door; the meeting room, where she
had first heard Castaway speak and had taken up her hammer and hood. Sara
hadn't been one hundred percent sure, at the time. In her mind, she could
still hear the others shouting, almost chanting, the sound of shattering
stone as Castaway destroyed the mock-up statue of the gargoyle.
"Sara?" Castaway said.
Shaking her head, she hurried to catch up with him.
"Where are we going?" she asked as they turned a corner, going
into a part of the house she hadn't been in before. "You still haven't
told me why--"
"You'll see," he said, with a faint, mysterious smile. "Your...assignment...
hasn't arrived yet, but it's due any minute." He flicked a quick
glance at his gold watch. "In the meantime, I have another project
for you. Go don your uniform; I'll wait here for you."
Giving Castaway a curious look, she went into the small changing room
and pulled on the dark blue coveralls that constituted the Quarrymen garb.
On the breast was their insignia, the hammer against the circle.
The changing room reminded her a little of the locker rooms at the station
house -- rows of tall lockers, a wooden bench running up the middle. Sunlight
streamed in through a small, high window, casting a square on the floor
and threading Sara's dark brown hair with wheat-like glints. As she started
to hang up her skirt, she paused, then reached into the pocket and removed
For a moment, standing in the sun beams, she fingered the metal shield,
the Quarryman hood hanging limp from her other hand. They were similar,
that metal shield and the hammer insignia -- badges, marks of honor, belonging...purpose.
When she emerged, still carrying the hood, Castaway was waiting. As they
continued down the hall, Sara stifled a yawn.
The angular-faced man made a sympathetic ticking noise with his tongue.
"We do ask a lot of you, don't we?" he said with a small sigh.
"After a long night on the streets, here you are. It's people like
you, Detective, who are willing to make such sacrifices, that will allow
our mission to succeed."
She waved her hand, uncomfortable with the praise. "It's not that
different. Murderers and thieves aren't the only monsters in this city."
"Indeed," Castaway said fervently, and opened another door.
It was a small, bare office with no windows. There was a dark mahogany
bookcase on one wall, and a modern desk with the latest in computers.
Castaway gestured at the papers and folders on the desk.
"Take a look in that box -- we were lucky to get some good photographs
of them. Study them, note down anything that strikes you, anything that
might be helpful. You have to know your enemy, Sara -- you've never come
face to face with one, have you? Well, I have." The darkness left
his voice and he turned for the door. "There's coffee in the pot
over there, help yourself. I'll go see if the delivery has arrived."
Left alone, Sara sat down and rested the blue hood on the desk next to
the folder full of photographs. Tilting her head to one side, she tentatively
touched several with her fingertips and drew them closer.
The pictures must have been taken while the Quarrymen were trying to
capture a gargoyle; no doubt one man with a camera while several others
covered his back. The photographer had used a flash; the white light cast
a lurid, stark glow over the creatures -- but was almost unnecessary.
Even with the flash, the white light burned out from their eyes.
A small green one with web-like wings, jaws open to reveal fangs, eyes
glowing, an angry white light. Another one, huge, pale blue with bat-like
wings and an ugly, square face. The wings were flared, and the muscle
power in the limbs looked terrifying.
She'd seen pictures before, of course, and the spots on the news. But
Castaway was right -- they were lucky to get these photographs.
The corner of the folder was covering one picture; Sara moved it aside
and picked up the photo. The large blue one was not in the shot. It showed
the small, brownish-green, web-winged gargoyle. He stood against a brick
wall, a dumpster beside him, illuminated in the split-second brilliance
of the camera flash bulb. The gargoyle had thrown his arm up across his
face in defense against the bright light, deadly talons curled into a
fist. In the shadow his arm cast, his face was visible, screwed up in
a squint, or a flinch. He didn't look threatening -- he looked...scared.
"Look what just arrived!" Castaway appeared in the office doorway.
He was wearing his blue uniform now, and a hood, but he was always identifiable
in that form by his voice and by the variation on his Quarryman mark.
Sara had never known what to make of it -- the regulation hammer and circle,
overshadowed, almost violated, by three slashes.
Castaway stepped aside as if with a flourish to make way for the group
of blue-clad figures behind him.
Four came into the office, hoods on, carrying a limp figure in their
arms. They heaved the figure to the floor with a thud, and stood over
him. Long-limbed, red-haired, the man would probably be more than ordinarily
tall when standing. He wore carefully pressed slacks and a dull-colored
Sara rose from the desk. The photographs slipped from her fingers, forgotten,
her eyes fixed on the man in the trenchcoat.
Castaway knelt by the fallen figure and put his gloved fingers to his
throat. "Strong and steady, good, we didn't over-do," he said.
Kneeling, Sara reached out her hand as if to touch the red-haired man,
then pulled back. Instead she turned, still crouching, to stare at the
leader of the Quarrymen. "Have you lost your mind? Do you know who
He held up a black-gloved hand. "You give me far too little credit.
Of course I know. Detective Matthew Bluestone, 23rd precinct, head of
the Gargoyle Task Force. That's why he's here." Castaway's voice
was muffled through the anonymous hood, behind those uncanny eye spaces.
"I know how you must feel. Being a police officer yourself, you have
a certain loyalty. But you are also loyal to the Quarrymen, are you not?"
Castaway put his hand on her shoulder, Matt Bluestone lying on the floor
Sara looked across at the hooded man, the fingers of her left hand working
almost convulsively in and out of a fist. "But...but this isn't what
I..." she said faintly.
"Put him in one of the basement cells," Castaway turned away
from her to two other Quarrymen. He turned back to Sara, then got to his
feet. "Follow them," he told her.
"He is your assignment. Guard Detective Bluestone. Make certain
he doesn't escape. I understand he's quite tricky." His grip tightened
on her shoulder, not brutally, but as if in reassurance. "I'm depending
As the two hooded men picked up the prisoner by his arms and legs, Sara
scrambled to her feet, out of their way. She watched as one of the blue-clad
figures went to the bookcase and pulled out what had appeared to be a
hefty, hard-cover reference book.
There was a click, and a machine-like hum. The entire bookshelf slid
one yard to the left, smoothly, with no more sound than a leaf falling
to the sidewalk. The two Quarrymen carried Matt Bluestone into the dark
space beyond the bookshelf. Sara raised her right hand and hugged it around
her upper left arm uncertainly.
Something crackled under her foot. Kneeling again, she picked up one
of the photographs in her gloved fingers. It was the snapshot of the big
blue gargoyle. Its wings were flared, its eyes blazing, talons curled
as the creature crouched in a ready-to-attack stance.
Sara Jasper turned and followed the group down the dim stairs behind
* * * * *
Elisa unlocked the apartment door and stepped inside. Cagney bounded
up to her and began twining about her ankles, asking for breakfast.
Daylight shafted in through the skylight, making a sun-lit pattern on
the rug. In the middle of the room, framed against the panes of the windows,
was Goliath's statue, wings cloaked. The golden sunlight seemed to brush
over him, giving the stone a luminous appearance. His expression when
he had turned to stone was calm, yet grim. Around his right bicep was
a white bandage. It had retained its cloth form when Goliath had changed,
and was stained with two small spots of scarlet.
"Goliath..." Elisa breathed the word like a prayer and stepped
down out of the entryway. The sunlight came warm on her face, and when
she put out her hand and touched Goliath's still shoulder, the stone was
The tautness of that long, surreal night evaporated, leaving her drained.
She slumped against the warm statue, feeling the roughness of the stone
beneath her fingers, against her cheek. Almost, with her ear against his
arm, she imagined she heard the thrumming of life beneath the stone shell,
his heart beating.
Exhaustion swept over her. She grabbed a blanket and a throw pillow from
the couch and curled up on the floor, her black hair falling across Goliath's
The sun slowly rose higher over the towers visible through the big windows.
Cagney curled up, purring, in the curve of his mistress' sleeping body,
forgiving her for forgetting breakfast. The seven feet of stone gargoyle
rose above them, its posture waiting rather than threatening -- yet somehow
it seemed to stand guard protectively as the woman slept.
* * * * *
Bright white light. At first he thought it was the sun.
"Wake up, Detective," a flat, rough, none-too-gentle voice
His eyes focused, and the brilliant light became an adjustable desk lamp,
black metal shade tilted back so the bulb shone full on his face. The
shadowy figure holding the lamp set it down on a folding table nearby.
There were other figures in the dank-smelling room as well, silhouettes,
the edges too smooth as if they were wearing cloaks. Matt blinked, trying
to make them out.
A hand reached out, grabbed a forelock of his red hair, and pulled his
head back. "He's awake, " another voice, younger, also male,
"Good," said the third figure, with a cultured British accent.
He stepped forward out of the shadows, revealing a broad-shouldered figure,
his face and body hidden beneath a blue hood with eye slits. "Detective,
I am sorry you had to be treated this way, but you understand we have
to do what is necessary."
Matt remained silent and tried to stay conscious through the throbbing
in his head. He became aware that his hands were tied behind the wooden
chair he sat in, and his feet were bound to the chair legs, effectively
immobilizing him. Beyond the illumination of the desk lamp, faint daylight
suffused the basement room, but not enough to disperse the shadows.
"I'm sure if you just cooperate..." Castaway continued.
"Shove it," Matt growled.
Sighing, the man shook his head. "All we want to do is ask you a
few questions. Answer them, and perhaps things will not have to become...unpleasant."
"As long as I tell you what you expect to hear?" Matt countered,
squinting against the light.
"You know all about them, don't you? Elisa Maza was your partner.
You know their weaknesses. You're close to them."
"Who?" Matt said.
"We don't have time for this, Bluestone," the man said. "You
know very well who."
He nodded at one of his companions, who stepped away into the shadows
and returned with a heavy object in his hand. It looked like an oversized
hammer, except the head was of gleaming, silver-colored metal, and there
was a power switch on the side of the handle. "Do you know what this
is?" He continued, taking the hammer-like object from his companion.
"A crackerjack toy," Matt said, deadpan.
"This is what will free humanity from the scourge. The demons."
Slowly, Matt raised his head to glare at Castaway. "From what I
hear, you aren't above using those weapons to hurt innocent people. Just
who do you think you're helping?"
"Listen, Detective Bluestone," the man said, his voice rising
somewhat. "I don't know what you think has been going on in this
city." The hooded figure's bland, Anglican tones suddenly deepened,
becoming more cadenced and rolling, and he gestured emphatically as he
spoke. "We're facin' a threat to human life as we know it! An' you,
a cop, are lettin' it happen!" He paused, then drew back slightly,
out of the light. "You will talk to us, Detective," he added,
his voice falling back into its clipped, soft tones again. "You have
no choice. You see, we don't really need you at all. In fact, it would
be better for the cause if you vanished completely."
"I'll just bet," Matt muttered.
The hooded figure chuckled politely. "Oh, you don't quite get it,
do you. Well, you don't need to."
There was a click and an electric thrum, as the hammer came to life.
"These are calibrated to shatter stone on contact," Castaway
said, studying the shaft of the hammer almost contemplatively. "However,
when used on other solid material, they can also cause considerable damage.
Despite your accusations, we've never tried them directly on human flesh,
One of the blue forms, the one hovering back, jerked forward one step,
Averting his head, Matt stared hard at the edge of the circle of light,
just making out a rough-mortared brick wall at the other end of the cellar
room. There were no windows, and the floor beneath his feet was dirt.
Matt focused hard on the bricks, and prepared to recite "Jabberwocky"
silently against the pain. That was something they had taught at Quantico.
The use of a mantra to remove your mind from your present situation --
the idea being to keep agents from blurting out secrets when tortured.
Matt had created his own version of the technique, involving the memorization
of several nonsensical poems. Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear always worked
The humming ceased. Matt turned, and with some surprise saw the hooded
figure setting the hammer down on the table. He might have been playing
with his prisoner, trying to wear him down mentally. Either that or...
Maybe he didn't really want to use that hammer on a human?
"All right," the figure said to one of the other two. "We'll
give him some time. But I believe our guest will need a little convincing
soon." He nodded to the others, and they began to leave the room.
At the door, Castaway turned back. "Have a pleasant day, Detective
Bluestone." He closed the door behind him, and Matt was alone.
* * * * *
Somewhere, water dripped, the steady, pointless sound nearly driving
him out of his mind. The hours had crept by with crushing slowness. Faint
daylight from an unknown source illuminated his surroundings with a pale,
In working at the bonds, he had only managed to loosen a few knots and
chafe his wrists. Castaway had made doubly sure his prisoner would not
He was extremely thirsty, and hungry.
"Could really go for a corned beef on rye about now..." he
muttered aloud. "Come on, Bluestone, are you really going to let
that fanatic keep you in this cage?"
He realized he was talking to himself, in the dark, in a cellar, and
had to suppress a sudden wild urge to laugh.
The door clicked, and opened, letting in the light. It struck Matt in
the face and he squinted at the sudden glare. Then the glare went away
as the door closed, and a woman in the hood and blue uniform stood looking
at him. "Well?" Matt said rudely. "What do you want?"
"I came ta see how y'all were doin'." The woman's build, beneath
the uniform, was slight but fit. She spoke in a soft southern accent.
"Oh, how kind," Matt said sarcastically.
The Quarrywoman glanced at him. "I know they drugged ya when they
brought y'all in. How d'ya feel?" the woman asked.
"I'll see what I can do. I'm s'posed to be guardin' y'all. I jist
wanted to make sure...I don't like what they done."
"Sure. I'll just bet. Look, the nicey-nice routine won't work either.
So bug off."
For a moment it looked as though she might say something else. Then,
abruptly, she turned towards the door, opening it, and slipped through,
shutting it behind her with a final-sounding click.
* * * * *
At the top of the stairs, the hooded woman emerged from behind the bookcase,
then leaned against it tiredly. She reached up and pulled off the hood,
shaking out her brown hair in relief. Sara Jasper rubbed at her eyes with
her fingers, as if stunned by the daylight in the room.
The door opened, and Sara straightened abruptly, putting on a stoic face.
Castaway entered, uniform on but with hood removed.
"Has he offered to talk to us yet?"
Sara shook her head.
"Pity," Castaway said, his eyes going distant. Then he focused
his attention sharply onto her. "Sara, you do look tired. Go up to
the guest quarters and take a nap for a few hours. It's likely nothing
of importance will be happening until this afternoon."
"Oh, no, I don't need..."
But Castaway was already leading her gently towards the door. She couldn't
protest without raising suspicions. With a final glance back at the bookcase,
Sara left the room.
* * * * *
The time passed slowly. Matt listened to the sound of his stomach grumbling,
and was glad he'd taken the last powdered donut before getting off shift.
He was making progress on the ropes.
An hour crept by, then another. They felt like years; Matt wondered,
idly, if this is what it would be like to be immortal. Or to be frozen
in stone. His foot was falling asleep; he stomped it on the cement floor.
The door opened, once again letting in the light.
"Ah, greetings, Detective Bluestone," Castaway said cheerfully.
He was clad in the blue uniform, accompanied by several other Quarrymen.
"I trust you haven't been too uncomfortable down here? It is a bit
"Tell the management the decor isn't much, but the view is stunning,"
Matt said sardonically.
Castaway chuckled. "Good to see you still have your sense of humor.
You're going to need it, collaborator." He turned to his cohorts.
"We don't have much time with him. I'd like to get as much information
as we can." Castaway stepped forward and addressed Matt. "How
many are there in New York City? Have you ever heard of any gargoyles
living anywhere else?"
The red-haired detective deliberately stared back at his captor, silent.
Castaway nodded to one of the other hooded figures stepped forward, pulled
back his fist, and struck Matt in the stomach, hard.
Matt doubled over in the chair, gasping for breath.
"We know they turn to stone by day," Castaway said in a rapid
litany. "Is there anything else you can tell us? Do they ever roost
anywhere but the Eyrie Building?"
The one with the fists of iron punched Matt again in the same place.
Now, it was beginning to hurt. Each breath ached. 'Twas brillig and
the slithy toves...
"Do you know them well? Do they attack on your command, the way
they do for the Maza woman?"
"No. I've never even seen them up close." Leaning forward against
the bonds, he raised his head to look at them.
"He's lying," Castaway said. Without warning, he gave Matt
a hard, back-handed slap across the jaw. "Obviously, you aren't in
a cooperative mood right now. We're going to have to convince him,"
Castaway said to one of the other hooded figures, who nodded. "Do
The hooded figure reached back and picked up the hammer again, then switched
"Keep in mind," Castaway told Matt, "you are so easily
replaceable. And this is just the beginning of the price you will pay,
The figure swung the hammer. A terrible clarity seemed to outline the
Quarryman in light, in the single frozen instant of realization before
The hammer struck Matt's side. A burning pain seared through the fabric
of his coat and shirt, through his ribs and lungs and heart, spreading
into every cell of his body.
He might have screamed. He wasn't sure.
The last thing he saw was the insignia of the Quarrymen, the hammer and
the circle, looming closer against an expanse of blue.
* * * * *
The glass wavered in and out of focus, then solidified. Matt realized
someone was holding it out to him, someone whose face and body was covered
in midnight blue. The figure beneath the uniform was female.
"Here, take small sips," she said.
Without thinking, Matt took a mouthful as she held the glass to his lips.
Then he leaned forward and spat the liquid onto the floor. The action
made him wince as a sharp, hot pang stabbed him in the side.
"It's just plain water, hon," the woman said, taking a step
away from him. Only her eyes were visible beyond the blue hood, but he
couldn't read their expression.
In reply, Matt snorted.
The woman stood holding the glass in her gloved hand, staring down at
him. "Look, ah shouldn't be helpin' ya at all. But I feel bad for...fer
what they did to y'all. So just drink." She held the glass to his
This time he risked a few swallows; it actually made him feel a little
The woman set the glass down on the floor, then knelt beside him. Her
fingers began to prod at his side, gently.
Matt closed his eyes and stifled another obvious wince. He heard the
young woman give a sharp intake of breath. When he opened his eyes, she
had gotten to her feet.
"I am sorry..." she said, softly. "I didn't think they
would hurt you."
Very deliberately, Matt stared at a spot just above her left shoulder,
as if she weren't there.
"Well? Aren't ya goin' to say anything? Cuss us all out? Yell? Somethin'...?"
"I wanna help you," she said, finally, softly.
"Help me?" he spat, furious. "Oh sure. You're being real
helpful, the drink of water, all that sympathy...what are you, plan B
since beating me and interrogating me didn't work?"
"It's not part of a plan!" Her voice rose a few decibels. "I
didn't know -- I never thought he'd use one of them hammers on a person..."
"But it's okay with you, of course, if he uses it on a gargoyle..."
Matt let out a short, bark of a laugh. "Of course it is."
"Ya don't unnerstand," she said, almost pleadingly, in the
southern lilt. "The methods may look harsh, but in the long run,
we're only protectin' the city."
"Castaway's organization is tearing this city apart from the inside
out. And maybe the gargoyles are the ones doing the protecting."
She took a step back from him, shaking her head, the shadows cast by
the desk light rippling over her coveralls and hood. "No. They hurt
people. I know."
"And what do you call kidnapping someone off the street, tranquilizing
them, beating them, and hitting them with a hammer?"
"So...okay, maybe he's not going about this the right way. Maybe
he's right about the gargoyles, but not the other stuff. I don't know!
I don't know anymore!" She turned and touched her fingers to her
hood. "All I know is, there are reasons why ah can't be part o' this
any more. And I'm going to help y'all get outta here."
"Forget it. I'd rather take my chances with Castaway. At least I
know where I stand, with him. By the way, your accent is as phony as his.
Aggh, I don't know why I'm even wasting my breath. You aren't worth it.
So just go back to your glorious leader."
It was hard to tell because of the hood, but she might have blinked,
startled. "Please, listen to me," she went on, moving closer
to him. "If ya just trust me..."
"I have no reason to trust you."
Her voice dropped and flattened suddenly. "What if I gave you one?"
The tones had a faint, sharp, not unpleasant trace that spoke of New
York City. The woman pulled off the blue hood. As she did so, Matt's eyes
narrowed, his head pulling back suspiciously. She removed the hood, revealing
dark brown hair that fell loose over her shoulders.
She looked right at Matt, watching his reaction.
Matt's eyes widened, and his body stiffened. "Sara?"
Sara gave him a small, bitter, regretful smile. "Surprised, detective?"
He watched her for a moment, jaw slightly slack. Then the startled look
in his eyes hardened. "You...two-faced, lying -- " His voice
rose. "Elisa trusted you! With her life, every night on the streets
-- " Leaning forward, Matt strained against his bonds. "You'll
pay for this, Jasper. You'd better hope I don't get out of here."
"Elisa!" Sara stared at him in what looked like genuine shock.
"Elisa was never in any danger. I like her; I'm her partner, I'd
die for her, that's what partners do. How could you think -- I didn't
even know they had this planned for you. All he told me was that he had
'a special assignment' for me." The blue hood dangled limply from
her fingers. "I thought I could persuade her. Maybe after Elisa got
to know me, maybe I could get her to see how harmful the gargoyles were.
That maybe she'd even come with me and become a Quarryman too...protecting
Matt sucked in a short breath. "You -- thought.... Okay." He
paused, jaw clenching for a moment. "I'm not even gonna begin to
try to explain to you why Elisa would cut off her own hand before she'd
betray them. That's not the point. How can you say something like that
now, when you know how Castaway does things?"
"Yes, but if Elisa came to Castaway and told him she had changed
"It's not like that, Sara. Obviously you don't know...that as much
as you think you're one of them, he hasn't told you much of anything.
Castaway wants Elisa dead. He had her kidnapped, taken at gunpoint from
her own apartment -- why do you think the department hustled her in a
new partner so fast? She's lucky to be alive now."
Sara looked sick. "He...." she whispered. Her chin came up.
"You're lying," she said coldly.
"What do you think is going to happen, when you deliver Elisa to
Castaway's doorstep like the good little traitor you are?" Matt said,
spacing his words out with merciless clarity.
She stared at him, unspeaking.
"Untie me," Matt told her. "Help me get out of here, and
I can stop Castaway."
"Not yet, he'll suspect...."
"What do you care? You can't possibly stay with...."
The sound of a heavy door opening and closing sounded from beyond the
cellar room door. Voices approached.
"They're coming back," Sara said, her voice in a brisk, business-like
mode. "We can't talk anymore now. I'll see what I can do." She
turned away from him, heading for the door.
"It's the hammer or the shield, Jasper," he said to her back,
low-voiced. "You can't carry both."
She stopped moving for a moment, giving no other sign that she had heard
him, then abruptly lifted the key card and swiped it through the reader
to open the door. The light from the corridor beyond spilled around her.
"He seems to be out cold," Matt heard Sara say loudly, in her
normal voice. "There's no point asking him questions now."
"How disappointing," Castaway said in cultured tones, sighing;
he could have just as easily been referring to impending rain on the day
of a cricket match.
Then the door, banged shut loudly behind Sara, cutting off the light.
Alone in the dim room, inhaling the stale air that smelled of wet dust
and old cement, Matt slumped in his bonds and closed his eyes.
* * * * *
Outside the Quarryman headquarters, the dignified, tree-lined street
was peaceful. Late-afternoon autumn sunlight struck the brown-colored
walls, brightening them. The sun itself hung low in the west, the pre-glow
of sunset just beginning.
Inside the main gathering room of the HQ, the hum of discussion filled
the air. Some Quarrymen sat on folding metal chairs, other stood in groups
around the gathering space.
After a moment, a door to the side of the room opened and a Quarryman
with Castaway's distinctive mark on the breast of his uniform stepped
up to the raised stage at the front of the room.
"My fellow Quarrymen," Castaway said. He raised his right hand;
in his fist he held a hammer. "The time has come once again to act."
An answering cheer went through the room, and several blue-hooded figures
raised their hammers.
"Even as a I speak to you, wheels are being put into motion that
will give us an ally in one of the most crucial positions to our cause.
Matt Bluestone, a gargoyle sympathizer, will very soon be head of the
Gargoyle Task Force no longer. The city will be in safer hands, thanks
to your efforts."
A murmur went around the room, and some cheering. "The sunset rally
will take place in a few short hours. And then the sympathizer Matt Bluestone
will be brought forward, and executed for his crimes against the human
race!" The man's voice rose to a crescendo, blending with the echoing
noise from the listeners, many of whom began pounding the floor in an
approximation of the sound of hammering.
No one noticed when one uniformed woman slowly moved towards the door
at the rear of the room, and quietly exited.
* * * * *
When the door opened this time, Matt raised his head tiredly. His side
hurt with a throbbing heat, and he felt strangely light-headed.
Sara Jasper, in uniform but without the hood, closed the door quickly
behind her, then moved swiftly to the back of Matt's chair and knelt.
He felt her pulling on the ropes, untangling the final knots on the cords
he hadn't been able to make headway on.
"We have to hurry," she said, voice low. "There isn't
"What's going on?" Matt asked. The ropes fell away, and Matt
pulled his aching arms forward and began to rub his chafed wrists.
From outside, through some small window of the cellar, came the distant
sound of a police siren.
"I called in a 10-16. That should keep Castaway and the others busy
while he changes out of uniform and tries to explain that there isn't
a drunken husband waving his gun around here. Come on. They're planning
to execute you at the rally this evening."
Sara pulled Matt to his feet. He staggered slightly, and Sara hooked
her right arm around him. "Sorry, almost forgot. Eat this and wait
here." She dug into a pocket and pushed something into his hand.
Then she stepped away from him, to the door, opened it a crack, and stepped
Matt looked at the thing she'd handed him. Wrapped in waxed paper, a
slightly squashed sandwich looked back at him. Corned beef on rye. His
throat closed without warning; he swallowed hard and stuffed the sandwich
into his coat pocket.
Sara's voice came from the hallway, talking to someone just outside the
door. The someone responded, and there was a pause, then a grunt and a
muffled thud as if something had hit the wall. After a moment Sara came
"Had to knock out the guard. He stayed at his post like a loyal
Quarryman," she added with an ironic note.
Together, they moved out into the cellar corridor. "Where are we
going?" Matt asked, as Sara grabbed the sleeve of his coat and led
him under an arch and along a grungy brick-lined tunnel.
"Out. Of. Here." Sara said shortly. The tunnel turned, until
they finally reached a flight of cement steps leading up to a cellar door.
The windows were so grimy it was impossible to see out.
Matt climbed stiffly up the stairs and tried the rusted knob. "It's
Joining him, Sara touched the doorknob. "Looks pretty worn through,
a good kick ought to do it. Together, on 'three.' One...two...three!"
The two detectives kicked the door in unison. The wood gave, the lock
broke, and the door flopped open into a tangled, weedy back garden. It
was almost sunset, and deep shadows intermingled with the weeds.
Matt took several careful steps into the garden, then stopped, realizing
Sara was not behind him. "Sara?" he said, turning.
She was still standing on the top step of the cellar exit, one hand on
the dusty doorjamb. "I can't go."
"What are you talking about? Come on." He reached his hand
out to her, but she pulled back.
"No, Matt, don't you get it? You know I'm a Quarryman now. And don't
tell me you won't discuss this with Elisa. I may have to leave the force,
Matt. A Quarryman can't be a cop," she added bitterly. "The
hammer or the shield, remember?"
"But that's behind you, you've changed your mind, right?"
"Only about Castaway's methods," Sara said shortly. "Not
"Sara, come on!"
"No. I have to decide what to do."
"But the guy you knocked out, he--"
"With any luck, he'll be too groggy to remember who hit him. I found
some things out, things I overheard. I think they have someone on the
inside, in the NYPD. I hope that helps. Now go, before they catch you
Standing among the shadowy tangle of weeds, Matt opened his mouth to
say something else. Then he took a look at Sara's determined face. Matt
turned and ran with the crash of undergrowth, then scaled the crumbling
brick wall at the far end of the garden.
* * * * *
Alone, Sara watched him go, then slowly turned and made her way back
into the depths of the basement.
To just vanish suddenly from Castaway's ranks would be to invite suspicion,
and possibly make herself a target of his retribution. He would view her
as a traitor; and Sara had seen enough of Castaway's retribution.
She wasn't sure if she could stay in the NYPD. It would be easy, so easy,
to tell Elisa and Matt that she had changed the way she felt, and just
go back to work as usual as Elisa's partner. But that would be a lie.
However, she was no longer a Quarrywoman.
Sara reached the room where Matt had been held captive. The guard was
sprawled outside the door, still out cold, his hammer lying a few inches
from his gloved hand.
There was only one way to make sure her word would be taken over his,
when he woke up, only one way to eventually leave Castaway without drawing
attention to herself.
She picked up the hammer, formulating the words in her mind; the crafty
Detective Bluestone, lying in wait as the guard and Sara opened the door
to a response to some fake plea for assistance...Sara switched on the
hammer, which sparked and hummed into life.
For a moment, she closed her eyes, bracing herself. Then she touched
the humming head to her thigh. A jolt like an electric shock ripped through
her, searing up her leg, followed by merciful darkness.
* * * * *
A roaring sound and the cracking of stone awoke her. Her pillow heaved.
Wondering where she was, Elisa sat up blearily and scrambled away across
Goliath twitched the last pieces of stone skin from his wings. Beyond
the windows behind him, the sun was a dying phoenix, gone except for a
fiery rose, burning brightest before it died, only to be born again in
an eternal cycle. Standing against the darkening sky and burning horizon,
Goliath looked down at her, a startled expression on his face.
"Elisa?" he said in his rumbling voice. His eyes took in the
blanket, and understanding replaced surprise. "You watched over me
all day, didn't you?"
She got to her feet, ran the two strides to Goliath, then leapt up and
wrapped her arms around his neck. "Goliath," she half-whispered.
"You're all right?"
His arms tightened around her. "Of course." Gently he set Elisa
on her feet, still holding her.
Held in the curve of Goliath's arms, Elisa reached up and untied the
bandage on his bicep. "The shooting got called in just before Sara
and I hit the streets. I didn't know if you were all right -- I couldn't
call --" The blood had dried to a dark brown, but the white cloth
fell away to reveal smooth, unbroken lavender skin. Elisa ran her fingers
over the spot, then let out a wry sigh of relief. "Of course, the
Goliath ran his talons through her black hair. Elisa leaned her head
against his chest and comforted herself with the steady rhythm of his
heartbeat. "It must have been...unpleasant...for you," he said,
his voice a rumble against her ear.
"Terrifying," she answered, voice muffled.
The gargoyle put his talon to her chin and gently tilted it back.
Two loud raps at the apartment door, insistent, interrupted them. Elisa
sighed again, this time in irritation. "Be right there!!" Detaching
herself from Goliath, she padded across the room in her stockinged feet
and opened the door.
Matt Bluestone stood in the hallway. His trenchcoat was rumpled and he
was covered in dust and the remnants of some kind of weed.
"We have to talk." Without waiting for a reply, he stepped
his gangling height past his partner and turned to face her in the foyer.
"I'm just fine, thanks, and how are you?" Elisa said dryly,
shutting the door.
Matt ignored the comment. "Oh, hi, Goliath," he said absently.
"Hello, Matt," Goliath said, eye ridges rising in curiosity.
Matt fixed his eyes on his partner's face; Elisa felt an unidentifiable,
sudden, almost physical sense of something terribly wrong.
"I had an interesting day off," he continued. "Perhaps
you'd like to hear about it."
"Sure, but -- mind if I fix us all some coffee first?" The
note of humor in her voice was forced as she tried to shake the new unease.
Elisa turned and headed back towards the light-filled living area.
Matt grabbed her arm. "No, Elisa. Listen."
Swallowing, she flicked her eyes to Goliath, who automatically stepped
forward beside her. "Bluestone," he said ominously, "something
Matt looked more than tired, Elisa realized, but haggard -- and there
was a deepening bruise along his jawline she hadn't noticed in the dimness
of the foyer.
"Matt, what is it?"
"Some of our Quarry buddies decided they wanted to invite me over
for an extended...discussion. I spent my day in a basement at Quarry central."
"What!?" Elisa exclaimed, at the same time Goliath roared,
Matt clapped his hands over his ears. "Take it easy, big guy."
"Are you hurt?" Elisa demanded.
"I'm fine. There's more. I really don't want to be the one to tell
you this. Neither one of us is any stranger to betrayal." He paused
a bit too long, and added flatly, "Sara Jasper is one of them. She
was assigned to guard me all day and make sure I didn't escape."
Elisa felt the blood roaring in her ears, and was only vaguely aware
of Goliath's comforting hand on her shoulder. All she could see was Sara's
grin in the darkness of the street. Nice work, partner.
"Are you sure about this?" Her voice was too quiet, tangled
in her throat.
He nodded. "At first she wore the hood, like they all did, and she
disguised her voice so I wouldn't know who she was. Oh, she's a good little
actress," he said with acid in his tone. "But then--" His
voice changed. "She helped me escape. She saved my life. Maybe she's
a cop before a Quarryman. Maybe she just thinks kidnapping is going too
far. Thing is, I think she believes -- or did believe -- that Castaway
is really doing good for the city. As if she equates being a Quarryman
with being a cop...or the two are connected in her mind..." Matt
wrapped his fingers around the back of a wooden chair as if the chair
could anchor him in a strong wind. Noting the expression on Elisa's face,
he added, "Hey, I'm really sorry."
"I know," she said softly. "Me too." Her breath was
a sigh, the kind just this side of a gust of rage. Elisa ran her hands
through her hair. "I can't believe she would...I mean, I knew how
she felt about gargoyles, but not that it went that far."
"Often those we trust most betray us," Goliath said softly.
"There's more," Matt continued. "Sara's not the only mole
Castaway has in the NYPD. She told me Castaway has someone in the department."
Elisa breathed a quiet curse.
"Yeah," Matt agreed heartily -- too heartily. His grip on the
chair tightened, his knuckles going white. He sank to his knees, and Elisa's
mind snapped away from whatever dark place it was brooding in.
"Bluestone!" Goliath exclaimed, as Elisa stepped towards Matt.
"I'm okay," Matt said, not sounding that way at all. His knees
buckled and he would have slipped to the floor if Goliath hadn't grabbed
"Put him on the couch," Elisa ordered. Goliath obeyed.
"Elisa, really -- stop, I'm fine --" Matt protested. "Stop
Her fingers, checking for broken bones, cracked ribs, or blood, had found
the tender spot on his side. Matt's face looked pale, and he sat back
heavily against the cushions.
"They did something to you." Elisa gritted her teeth. "Matt,
"Elisa --" he protested. Then his eye fell on Goliath, standing
behind Elisa. The gargoyle had his arms folded over his chest and he was
staring at Matt grimly.
He subsided, and gave no protest when Elisa tugged up his oxford shirt,
revealing the red, bruised, raw area around his lower left rib. A short,
sharp intake of breath hissed through Elisa's teeth. Goliath eyes flared
white hot for an instant, and a low growl rumbled from his throat.
As if embarrassed, Matt tugged down his shirt "Look, I know it looks
bad," he told them, "but it isn't really --"
"Did Castaway do that? What could possibly...the hammers,"
she said dully. "He hit you with one of their hammers, didn't he?"
"Please, can we just let it go?"
"Come on," she said shortly, pulling at his arm.
"Where are we going?"
"I hate hospitals. I'll be all right. Just give me a soft spot to
sleep for a while."
"Goliath," Elisa turned pleadingly to the gargoyle.
Matt looked up at Goliath and put out his hands in protest. "Goliath...buddy...
"Elisa, I cannot force the man to go where he does not want to."
An aggravated sound oddly like the one Angela made when she was irritated
rose from Elisa's throat. She turned and retrieved a blanket from a nearby
chair, pushed Matt into a reclined position, and covered him with the
"I can't believe you won't even go see a doctor! I swear, Matt,
sometimes you are so...!"
"Elisa?" Matt said, eyes closed.
Mutely she finished tucking the blanket around his shoulders, then followed
Goliath out of the room.
* * * * *
Two nights later
"I don't think she'll show."
"She'll be here."
"We'll see." Elisa lifted her hand to the tiny microphone clipped
to the inside of her jacket collar. "Goliath? Everything okay up
The leaves of one of the massive trees sheltering the statue of King
Jagiello of Poland rustled slightly. "I can hear you perfectly,"
Goliath's deep voice said over the ear piece. "And keep an eye on
everything as well. This might be a trap--"
"Maybe," Matt cut in. He too, was wired. "But I don't
A night breeze sprang up, rippling the waters of the newly renovated
pond beneath Belvedere Castle. The castle's outdoor lights cast shimmering
trails on the glassy surface of the water. Atop the small castle's single
turret, a weather vane spun rapidly in the autumn wind.
From the path that ran past the statue came soft steps. Instinctively,
the two detectives pulled back behind the statue's base and peered around.
Elisa's hand went to her gun.
Then Sara Jasper, solitary, huddled into her coat, approached the statue
"It's all right, she's alone," Goliath's voice informed the
Sara had stopped, her hands shoved deep into her pockets, the wind playing
her dark brown hair around her face. "Matt?"
"Right here," he said, stepping away from the statue. Elisa
followed, her hand falling away from her gun but her fingers hanging loose,
The rookie let out a breath of relief. Then she frowned. "I have
something to tell both of you. I've decided to leave the force for good.
And the Quarrymen."
"Hm," Matt said. "Well, before you do that, Jasper, we
might have a better idea."
"What do you mean?" she asked warily.
"If you'd like a chance to bring Castaway down, that is."
Sara's eyes narrowed slightly, and she took the final step up onto the
stone platform surrounding the statue. "Keep talking."
"Here's the deal," Elisa said flatly, a bit coldly, and Sara's
eyes went to her face. "You stay in the NYPD. You'll go back to being
partnered with Santiago. Meanwhile, you also stay in Castaway's organization.
Find out as much as you can about their plans. We'll give you a system
for arranging a meeting; it will be with either Matt or me. Probably with
"This is the break we've been waiting for," Matt added. "Thanks
to you, we know they have someone on the inside on our end; now we can
have someone inside on theirs."
The brown-haired woman folded her arms and looked up at Matt. "And
tell me something, Bluestone. Do you trust me? How do you know I won't
help set up a trap?" she added with a bitter note.
"We don't," Elisa said abruptly, before Matt could speak.
"What she means is, we think you don't want any other people to
get hurt. And they certainly will if Castaway isn't stopped."
An uncomfortable silence surrounded the three. A branch twitched in an
overhanging tree and Sara glanced up at it sharply, then turned back to
"This doesn't change how I feel. About gargoyles," she explained.
"I don't understand why you both defend them. But it seems we're
all concerned with keeping the people who live in this city safe. Which
puts us on the same side for now."
"Yes," Elisa said, shoulder-to-shoulder with Matt as the two
faced Sara. "For now."
* * * * *
The office was a center of activity. At the desk Castaway detailed instructions
to several of his people. The phone kept ringing, and two other Quarrymen,
in street clothes, were busy feeding files into a shredder.
Sara stood quietly in one corner, her chin lowered so that she could
watch the room through a concealing fall of hair. The fax machine at her
elbow squealed a "handshake" in response to an incoming fax,
then a sheet of white paper, printed at high speed, shot out into the
No one had noticed. Sara flicked her glance to the content of the fax,
and her eyes widened. With her eyes on Castaway, who was deeply engrossed
in a conversation, she moved so her back was to the fax machine. Then,
reaching behind her, she pulled the sheet of paper from the tray. Holding
it behind her, moved swiftly over to the small copy machine a few yards
away from the fax, placed the paper face-down on the glass, and hit "print,"
glancing over her shoulder.
It seemed to take forever for the copy to emerge. When it did, she took
the original from the glass with one hand, folding the copy at the same
time with the other. With one step she replaced the original on the tray
of the fax machine, then tucked the folded copy safely into her pocket.