Behlem witnessed the exchange from his vantage point above them. The poor Squonk had to be scared to death. He contemplated swooping down and saving it from the female before it turned itself into a mass of bubbles and tears, but instead decided it did not need his help after it grunted and held its ground. Apparently, this Squonk had learned to manage its fear of other beings and of being seen by them. However, humans still had never learned how to listen to the many creatures of this world like the Gargoyles had. It was a shame, he mused.
He had been silently gliding through the upper branches of the trees, trying not to attract any attention to himself. Unlike years past when the Gargoyles and humans lived in harmony, most of them now feared his race, mostly the females and the children. Never mind the fact that Gargoyles were their protectors by choice rather than obligation, something he would rather forget.
No, he would stay right where he was and keep an eye on her from a distance and until she got beyond the borders of the park. He might not like the humans, but he was not a rogue. Besides, she was really quite pretty, and he had no other plans besides the obligations of his clan, which, he was not too keen on attending. Not tonight anyway! And never for the expectations forced on him from his brother and his soon-to-be life mate.
Katharine exhaled a sigh of relief when the Squonk finally was tired of its antics and scurried into a nearby hole. His wart-blemished skin hung heavily from his twisted body as he disappeared. The image was repulsive and she wondered how such a creature had ever been allowed to evolve.
As she wiped a bead of perspiration from her brow, she continued down the gravel path toward the opposite end of the park. A quick look at her watch told her that she had ten more minutes left before she’d have to give her boss another excuse for being late. The idea of groveling again made her angry, especially when she had to do it in front of a bald-headed, mealy-mouthed idiot who considered all women his inferior. Even still, it was her job, and she was not up to asking her mother for help paying her rent. At least not this month! So she would run in the hopes of catching the next subway before it left for Times Square.
As she rounded the last corner, she slowed her pace. She only had a few more steps to go and she would be across the street and down the stairs leading to the subway. And all would have been well, until she was grabbed by the roots of her hair and pulled painfully backward into the slimy arms of a mugger, and the prickly thorns of a bush.
“Gimme-yer purse!” he slurred against her ear.
Katharine yanked her arm until it was free of his grip. His breath smelled of alcohol and rotten meat. It almost made her stomach lurch.
“I’ll do no such thing.” She seethed angrily and then opened her mouth to scream. However, his filthy hand prevented her from doing so when it clamped tightly down over her lips. Squirming, she tried to free herself.
“Yer money or yer life, bitch! Whata-ya value more?” He lightly bit the lobe of her ear and then licked her cheek. “Hmm, sweet! Maybe I’ll jest take you right here instead.”
Katharine nearly passed out from the weight and the filth of his palm on her face. She could hardly breathe. However, she did have one last vice, and it took a lot of strength, but somehow she managed. Without stopping to consider the ramifications, she opened her mouth as wide as she could and clamped her teeth down into the fleshy part of his palm. As his blood poured onto her chin, and she felt the warmth of it on her tongue she could not help but smile When he yelped and yanked his hand away, she twisted her body against him and laughed. “You see, trash is trash! So why don’t you go and find yourself a dumpster to crawl into before the police get here and drag your ass off to jail.”
She knew it was a mistake the moment she said it. Nevertheless, even as she felt her body slamming against the trunk of the tree she could not help but languish triumphantly in her success. Her friend’s had taught her well. Never allow a man to gain the upper hand, and never, ever, let one call you a bitch. As she slid slowly to the ground, she studied the face of the maniac one more time. She would remember him, and if she lived past the night, she would bring him to justice.
However, it was not his face that made the last impression on her brain before darkness came. As she fought for consciousness, she watched the body of the rancid fool fly past her like a Raggedy Ann doll being flung from a child’s arms. The sight of it brought her deep satisfaction, until her eyes made contact with her savior and the reality of her situation began to ring clearly in her mind. Pain had enveloped her entire body, but she wasn’t ready to give up her fight, not yet.
He was tall, and dark like a devil with leathery wings instead of the white down belonging to those of an angel. His talons fanned out in anger as he approached her. She should have been afraid, but she wasn’t. Instead, she wondered what he would feel like. His blue eyes bore into her like daggers piercing her flesh and he had long swaths of pitch-black hair that lay on his bare shoulders.
He was what all women would dream about if they were looking for a fantasy filled with Chippendales. He had the body of a human man, yet he was muscle bound like the king of Sparta. Although he had the ears of a bat, his face was completely human. He was handsome and if she could describe him any better than she already had, she would have to call him her savior!
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