Ain’t Childhood Grand

                                  By CJStevens

    We have many enemies tonight, the wind is one of them. It grabs at our clothes and rips away thin strands of hair. It uses the sand, twigs and tiny pebbles as projectiles to hamper our escape.  I think if we could only get back to camp, we’d be safe. The mobile lab is there and the bob truck. If I can get to either of them, I can radio for help. I must keep my brothers safe. I don’t know if my parents are still alive, we haven’t seen or heard from them in four days. Not since they went to explore the Caverna de Gargolas.


      My parents are archeologists and we, my two brothers and I, go with them on every dig. About 4 months ago, my parents heard of a mysterious city deep inside a remote cavern. Through extensive research they found out that Cooper Canyon in Chihuahua Mexico, was the mostly likely site of the city. It was a very isolated and desolate place. Few people ever venture there, because it is mostly inaccessible. However, the ones who managed to penetrate the canyon and return, say it is a godforsaken place. There are many rumors and legends about the city, but my parents won’t allow us to hear of them.

      We arrived at the basecamp a week ago but already my parents are moving us to a new site, closer to the cavern. So, we packed our gear and loaded it into the bob truck, they also brought along the mobile lab and several members of their archeological team, half the members stayed at the main camp and the others went with us.

 After a 2 hour drive, we arrived at the new site and it took another hour to take all the gear and supplies down into the gorge and up to the mouth of the cavern. By the time we set up all the tents and equipment, it was midday.  After lunch my parents informed everyone; they were going down into the pit. They had found it on their previous excursion. The pit was about 250 feet into the cavern and they had determined it was about 100 feet down. They believed that another cavern was at the bottom and wanted to explore it right away. So, with climbing gear in hand and two of their assistants they left us in the capable hands of our nanny, Lupe’.


We had expected our parents to return before dark, but they hadn’t. Lupe’ assured us that our parents would return in the morning, but I was still worried. 


During the night I heard a commotion, thinking it was my parents I unzipped the door of our tent. I couldn’t wrap my head around what I saw, there were several creatures moving through the camp, they were knocking over tables and ripping apart the tents. I heard a cry and saw one of the things with Lupe’, it had thrown her over its shoulder and was carrying her away. Several of our team lay on the ground, I could only assumed that they were dead.


I knew it was only a matter of seconds before they got to our tent, so I quietly crept to my sleeping brothers. Tommy woke easily and I put my finger to his lips before he could speak and motioned to the noise outside.


“We are not alone!” I whispered urgently.


Then I went to Jimmy, he was the youngest and a heavy sleeper. I shook him several times, as the noise outside was getting louder and closer. Finally, he woke and I covered his mouth to keep him from crying out. I pointed at their shoes and went to the back of the tent. Once they were ready, I slit the back wall of the tent with my trusted Swiss army knife and we fled into the desert, under the cover of darkness.


We searched for the ladder, that would take us out of the gorge. The ladder went up some 20 feet to a rope bridge from there we could cross to the trail that would take us to the plateau, where the temporary camp and other members of our parents’ team where at.


We heard crashing behind us; the creatures must have realized we were missing. I caught a shiny glimpse out of the corner of my eye, it was the ladder! I hurriedly pushed my brothers up the ladder. A loud shriek boomed in the night, it was like nothing I had ever heard before. Jimmy froze, trembling afraid to keep climbing. I urgently tried to coax him up, but he wouldn’t budge, until he actually saw the creatures rushing to the ladder.


“Go, Go!” I screamed, no longer trying to be quiet. What was the point they had found us.


“Gargoyles! Those are Gargoyles!” Tommy screamed from the bridge.


The creatures reached the bottom of the ladder just as we got to the bridge. I pushed Jimmy up to Tommy and climbed up. The creatures had already started climbing by the time I took out my knife and started cutting the ropes that held the ladder up. The creatures were coming fast, I sawed furiously.


“Hurry Cathy, Hurry!” Tommy cried, the creatures were now halfway up and the bridge we were on was starting to sway from the weight.


“It’s not sharp enough!” I cried.


Suddenly the rope snapped, the bridge bounced dangerously, and I was thrown against the side, I grabbed Tommy to keep him from going over. Jimmy was laying on his belly holding on for dear life.


We watched as the ladder’s other rope gave way and all the creatures fell back into the gorge. It didn’t kill them, it only made them madder. They shrieked and jumped trying to reach us. We weren’t high enough for my comfort, so we made it across the bridge to the trail. I looked back to see if they were following but they were still in the gorge, obviously the walls of the gorge were to steep for them to climb and with the ladder broken now, I prayed they would be stuck in the gorge. 


“What did you call them Tommy?” I asked as we walked along the trail.


“Gargoyles, I saw a picture of them in Dad’s journal. That’s what they were looking for, their city, the City of Gargoyles.


I thought about the creatures we had seen, their skin had looked like granite, gray and course. They had horns and spiky protrusions along their backs, their teeth were enormous hanging over their chins. And even though I’d seen stunted wings on their backs, they obviously couldn’t fly.


“Come on, we need to get to the lab and help, remember we aren’t alone in this.”


Tommy leads the way down the trail, we can still hear shrieking, it’s an unearthly sound and it sends shivers down our spines.


 The trail to the top of the plateau is steep and treacherous. The wind is ferociously whipping at us. Thankfully, the moon is full and remarkably bright tonight. But the trail is still scary. I hold Jimmy by the arm as he struggles up.


At last, we’ve reached the plateau, but I can hear things being destroyed and people screaming. How did the Gargoyles beat us here? We hide behind a mesquite tree and watch as the creatures tip over the mobile lab.


“What are we going to do Cathy?” Tommy whispers.


I scan the surroundings, not knowing what to do until I see the Bob truck. It’s the vehicle my parents use to pull the lab around. It was sitting about 30 yards from the creatures, but only about 20 feet from us.


“We are going to get to the Bob truck.” I tell my brothers.


“But it’s kept locked Cathy!” Tommy told me.


“I know but the key is kept under the fender, and they’re far enough away and if we are quiet, we should be able to get to the truck, get the key and get inside before they see us.”


“But Cathy, they flipped over the lab.” Jimmy cried.


“The lab is a lot lighter than the truck, on the count of three, we run as fast and quietly as possible. Tommy you’re the fastest so you get the key and open the truck. We’ll be right behind you.” Tommy nods and I take Jimmys hand. 1, 2, 3……

   We all take off running, almost instantly we hear the horrible shrieking again, the creatures all stop what they are doing and turn toward us. I slow a little as I see one of the creatures in the air. I thought they couldn’t fly! Why is this one flying, my mind cries out. This creature is larger than the others and has a wingspan that is probably 15 feet across and it’s flying right at us.


Jimmy squeezes my hand in terror, as we pick up speed. Tommy already has the door open, when we get there mere seconds before the creature lands in the bed of the truck. Another lands in front of the truck. They are enormous, their wings blot out all of the surroundings. They slam their fists onto the gas tank, that sits in the bed. They rip it from its fastening and hurl it out into the desert. 

Screaming, I drag my brothers to the floorboard and watch as one of the creatures starts peeling the roof off.  Saliva drips down on us. I know we are doomed. I hug my brothers close, telling them how much I love them as I wait for death…..


“Kids! It’s time for lunch.” We jump up from the floorboard of the truck at the sound of Grandpa’s voice.

      “Ahhhhhhhh,” we all 3 scream in fright, when the dogs leap onto the roof of the truck in a barking frenzy. 


“You blasted dogs! Get off that truck right now!” Grandpa yells, as we climb out of the truck.


The dogs bounce happily around us, barking and grabbing at our clothes. They are not yet ready to end our game.  Laughing I pet their heads, these dogs are the best gargoyles ever….

August 05, 2023 23:40

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


David Sweet
13:06 Aug 12, 2023

Fun story!


16:37 Aug 12, 2023

Thank you


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in Reedsy Studio. 100% free.