Alice heart gave a little skip of delight as she drove though the wrought iron gates of Summerbee Manor. It had been a long journey going from the glittering city, through the industrial lands and finally entering the far Northlands. Though traffic hadn’t been bad to be fair, then again most preferred to travel in the opposite direction away from the Northlands and most as fast as they could travel.
As she trundled down the long road which gave up tantalising views of the house and grounds with each twist and turn of direction, the thought once again occurred to her that Summerbee probably wasn’t the best name for such a house, yet it always felt like home. It would be so good to meet up with her sisters again too sup tea and catch up with all their gossip. Life was being good to her, the new endeavour in catering for the space liners was getting rave reviews but travelling from planet to planet left little time for close family gatherings or indeed socialising in general. As she finally turned into the drive, Humprey her grandfather’s old batman came out, alerted to her arrival via the chattering of the roof top gargoyles. They really were the supreme of watch guards
“Morn Miss. Alice, I’ll take the bags” Taking hold of the two small cases. “Travelling light I see”
Alice started to say she could manage but then seeing the look on Humprey’s face changed it to “Aye Humps, travelling gets you into the habit”
A rare smile spread across his face “not sure that’s a habit your sister Liberty ever acquired”
Returning the smile and raising it to a giggle, “Well Liberty likes to be prepared for every eventuality and occasion. Has she arrived yet?”
“No, we got a telegram to say she’d be arriving via airship later” Glancing at the rooftops he bellowed at the still chattering gargs. “It’s Alice you crazy muts” nodding in their direction “They are fretting because they saw Mercia leave earlier, she’ll be back in a couple of hours, a dragon pup’s been found in one of the new mine openings, she’s gone to rescue it.”
Knowing how little Mercia took notice of time as a tangible element Alice mentally noted that it may be quite late tonight before her oldest sister eventually made it home. “and Ivy have you heard…”
“No Miss” cutting Alice off midstream of sentence. “but then young Ivy’s often away with the wee folk in more ways than one, I’m sure she’ll turn up, but how or when is anyone’s guess. Mercia’s left you sumat to eat in the kitchen, if you’re hungry, though I’ll expect you’ll be wanting to be on your way out again soon”
Alice’s eyes twinkled, her grand tea party reunion with her sisters looked like it would have to wait a while longer but there was one fellow she knew would be about, “Where is he?”
“Out in the woods, he was so excited and grinning fit to burst when he heard you were on your way. I let him out to let off a bit of steam, he’s not above terrorising the young dragons you know when he’s feeling mischievous.” With that Humps turned and ambled off through the stout wooden doors.
Instead of following Alice turned and her walk slowly turned into a run, food could wait, old friends could not. Leaving home is always hard but even more so when you have to leave your beloved pets behind. Alice knew well the pain of loss and separation, first of her little white rabbit and then her best friend who without rhyme or reason suddenly gave up his profitable hat business and declaring himself sane (against all medical advice) and was last seen heading to the glittering city, with it was said, the intentions of joining the banking industry, a very sorry tale indeed. One dear devoted friend remained though, much as she wished she could take him traveling with her Alice know the kindest thing really was for him to remain here in the secure and secluded grounds of the manor.
As the wood grew narrower and darker Alice’s footsteps gradually slowed, not from fear, for what was there to fear? She glance into the dark branches she knew he would see her first. Then she saw the first flash, whether from the dazzling razor sharp teeth or the blade like claws was hard to tell. She held her arms wide open and in a second she was almost thrown back by the force of the furry lump now filling her arms and purring like a steam engine. Few people knew that Cheshire’s were one of the largest and most deadly breed of Gargoyles. They were also exceptionally loyal to those they loved.
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Pictures were sourced from Pinterest, sadly I could find any further credit for them, if anyone knows please let me know, thank you.