The Bakat

January 26, 2008
By Sam Campbell, Speedwell, TN

The girl stood in the center of the circular park, her black hair fluttering with the autumn breeze that sent the vibrant colored leaves floating to the ground.
People walked in different directions all around her, though they were so wrapped up in their own lives they didn't notice; she was invisible to them. It was as if she didn't exist.
She took a deep breath, trying to control the excitement she felt as she began walking briskly to the far end of the park. Her high-heels clicked rhythmically on the cobblestone pathway, and she smiled a small, tight smile to herself as her destination came into sight.
The trees were almost bare, but some were still shedding their leaves, giving the girl the strange sensation that she was in the midst of a multicolored waterfall.
She came to a stop and crossed her arms across her chest. She had searched the world three times over for this--it had taken most of her life--and now she had finally found it.
She stared at the gargoyle in awe, admirering the strange perfection of its hard, cold stone body. Her eyes danced all across it, taking in each tiny little detail.
It was perched upon a marble pedestal, and was in the form of a sitting cat with its left paw outstreched, claws extracted. The cat's mouth was open and the sharp, deadly fangs gave the gargoyle a mysterious air of danger. Finally her eyes fel,l on what appeared to be bat wings protruding out of its back, outstreched, as if the gargoyle would take flight at any given moment.
The girl's body stiffened as she sensed a person watching her, approaching her, and then beside her.
"Quite an odd gargoyle, isn't it?" the man asked.
The girl's eyes narrowed in anger, "And what do you know about this gargoyle?"
Even though her eyes never strayed from the gargoyle, she knew that the man shrugged as he spoke--she could sense it.
"Nothing really, it's just that I've never seen a gargoyle shaped as a cat."
"You've no idea how important this gargoyle is, yet here you stand, insulting it."
"I never insulted the thing!" the man was watching her now, not the statue.
"Odd is an insult."
"Well, I apologize, maybe you could enlighten me?"
"Why should I?" the girl asked, her posture rigid.
"Maybe so I will know what a crime I committed when" He said.
The girl clenched her teeth, pursed her lips, and then--against her better judgement--started the story.
"Listen carefully, for I will never repeat this again, understand?" she didn't pause for him to answer, "It was two hundred years ago. This park was nothing but a circular clearing in the middle of a dense wood, and the city was just a small village. It was a foggy, dark night and a woman was running through the forest. She was closely followed by the men of the village baring torches and rope, and quickly gaining on her.
She had been found guilty of witchcraft.
When it had come time for her to face the gallows she ran into the woods, trying desperately to escape her dark fate. She came to a stop in teh clearing, and looked around desperately for something that would save her life. All that was there was a cat and a bat, nothing at all that would save a human.
Then again, she wasn't human.
She waited until her pursuers were close, and then the enchantress casted her spell, molding the cat and bat together in a blinding flash of light. It was the first and only Bakat that ever lived, or ever would live.
The villagers entered the clearing, and their torches sent a pool of light flooding onto the Bakat, invading its darkness. The beast growled, like a hungry lioness ready for the kill, and lunged towards the men who stood stunned at the sight.
The villagers stayed frozen in place until the Bakat had killed and devoured two of them, and then they went running back towards the village like the cowards they were.
The Bakat sat down and growled once more, her arm reaching out for the men who had escaped her. The enchantress, now free, muttered another incantation under her breath, and the Bakat was turned to stone instantly. The enchantress turned away and walked towards her new life, without another thought of the village, or the Bakat."
With the girl's story over, and nothing else to say, the two stood there momentarily, simply staring at the gargoyle.
"How do you know this?" the man managed to choke out.
For the first time, the girl looked away from teh gargoyle and up at him/
"Let's just say I'm sharing a bit of my family history." She winked.

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