"That was rather rude. You scared Carolyn."

Jay winced and picked at the guestroom’s bedspread, trying to ignore her grandmother’s evil look. "Sorry, but I heard one too many stupid crook stories from Jim and Blair. If stupidity wasn’t universal I’d swear they ran into the same idiots. And that’s not even touching those lab stories!"

"That was no reason to growl at her. And the eye thing was totally uncalled for."

The teenager blinked and looked up. Gram stood in the doorway, arms crossed and glare set on ‘Extreme Intimidation.’ Almost against her will Jay shrank back. "What eye thing?"

Gram snorted and finally came in, carefully settling down in the chair. "The gargoyle red eyes of fury deal."

"They don’t do that unless I’m a -"

"Yes, they do."

Even Jay knew better than to argue with that tone. She sighed and went back to picking at the bedspread. "Sorry."

"It’s your cousin you have to apologize to, not me."

Jay managed a faint, wry grin. "Is that the relationship? I swear I can’t figure it out."

"Well, close enough," Gram admitted. "She’s Linda’s cousin, but she lives nearby, and it’s Christmas. Time for family."

"Yeah, that’s the problem," Jay muttered.


The teen snorted. "Yeah, very good description." She sighed again. Thanks to her being attacked by a vampyre over a month previous, money was stretched too tight at home to let her take the plane ride home for the holidays. Rather than intrude on Jim and Blair for another holiday, she’d grabbed a ride with a friend down to San Francisco to visit the relatives: her grandmother, one of her mother’s brothers, his wife, and teenage son. And apparently Aunt Linda’s cousin, Carolyn. I wanna be home. Family, clan, Tate, the whole shebang. "I miss it all. You’d think that after two Solstice celebrations I’d know better, but I miss it."

"Mmm." Jay caught her grandmother with an absent, wry smile. "The clan makes themselves family, whether you like it or not."

"Heh. Oh yeah. How did you meet them, anyway?"

Gram looked over with a glare. "Are you trying to distract me?"

"No, not really. Just curious. And yes, I intend to apologize to Carolyn."


"Cross my heart. Story time? Pleeeeeease?"

Her grandmother gave an amused snort, but settled back into a more comfortable position. "Let’s see. It began.... Good lord, it must be forty years ago by now. I’d spent the weekend with your Great-Aunt Eleanor in Rhode Island, and was driving back when some drunken idiot came along on the wrong side of the road. He nearly crashed into me, but I swerved and went off into the brush and right into a tree...."

1957, evening

Thank God the children are still home with Edger, was Amy’s first coherent thought. Her second was goddamn that hurt. With a groan, she shoved away from the steering wheel, leaning all the way back to pause against the headrest. A sudden shriek of metal, accompanied by a breeze, informed her that the door was open. She was too stressed to actually put effort into looking.

"Miss?" an elderly, female voice asked, "are you alright?" There was a pause. "Well, all things considered."

She gave a faint laugh. "All things considered, I think so." When the person apparently cut her seatbelt, Amy finally opened her eyes. It took her a moment to focus on the ruddy, taloned hand taking the pulse in her wrist. She followed the hand up, attaching to a creature her stunned mind simply could not label. Leathery, wrinkled reddish skin, slightly tattered batlike wings split with a thumb-thick vane that descended halfway down the wings from two small claws at the apex. The thin, wrinkled face was friendly, though that was marred by fangs among the very white, very sharp looking teeth, and eyes overshadowed by a bone ridge arcing off into four points. The ears also came to a sharp point, much as she’d always fancied an elf’s would look like. "Oh dear," Amy finally managed.

The creature looked at her, one of the thick bone ridges raised like an eyebrow in curiosity. "What?"

"I believe I hit my head harder than I thought. I’m hallucinating."

A wide grin split the ruddy face, showing the fangs off even better. "Really. And what would you be hallucinating?"

"You probably wouldn’t believe me."

The grin turned sly and faintly mocking. "Let me take a guess anyway. Would it be that I’m not human? Wings, talons, tail?" The mentioned limb flicked into sight over the old woman’s shoulder.

"I... that’s impossible." It had to be impossible. The woman couldn’t know what she was hallucinating, that would take reading her mind. Or –

No. Couldn’t be. Could it? "You’re not human?"

"Never have, sincerely doubt I ever will be. Come on, let’s get you out of there."

Gargs belong to Buena Vista. I only claim the characters. Please don't sue, and please don't steal!

Let me out of here!!!! A.K.A. Home

I actually wanna go back. To see more bloopers.

Questions? Complaints? Flames? Send it all to Norcumi@backtick.net.