Nanoprep 2019 Day 1: Pasta
By Robin de Voh on 2019-10-04
The walls of the alley they were in were pulsating and colors flowed out of the cracks between the bricks into a cloud, no, a miasma, he corrected himself. He wiped the sweat from his forehead.
"Are you seeing this too?" he said to Greyson, who was bunched up against that same wall.
"Barry, I don't feel so good," he said, grabbing his knees even tighter.
"Me neither, buddy, but tell me what you're seeing, please. I need to know if it's just me or not."
"Man, I'm seeing all kinds of shit."
"What kind of shit? I'm seeing movement that shouldn't be there and colors that, well, they might be supposed to be there, but not like that, at least."
"Gargoyles, man. There's gargoyles."
Barry shifted towards his friend a little, worried.
"That's not good."
"I agree, man, it's not good at all. They're looking at me, too. I think they're talking amongst themselves, but the sound's all weird. Garbled. Not like human language or anything."
Barry squinted and tried to see beyond the colors. With effort he could see shapes moving beyond the miasma, which was by now clearing up a little.
"I think I see them, there's 4 of them?" Barry said, still squinting.
"No, man, there's only 3 of them."
Barry was able to focus and saw that indeed, there were only 3 of them. One of them was just bulkier than the other 2. They were, well, to him they looked like they had stone skin. Grey, mottled, weather-worn. Like they had just stepped off a cathedral's roof, into this shared fever dream.
Greyson was right. They were communicating, but Barry also couldn't make out anything resembling a language. But they were definitely looking at the both of them now, and they were getting more animated as time went on.
"Hey! You! Gargoyles!" he shouted. He could see Greyson curl up a little more, still terrified. "What's your deal?"
The gargoyles stopped moving and talking. They looked at each other and then back at them.
"You're not supposed to see us," the bulky one said, grimacing.
"Well, you're not supposed to be here," Barry said matter-of-factly.
"Yeah, go away!" Greyson shouted, though it came out muffled through his sweater's hood, with which he was covering his head.
The bulky gargoyle took a step towards them. Barry could see an aura forming around the gargoyle, black with swirls of red, moving ever so slightly whenever he managed to focus long enough.
"Gargoyles aren't real," he said eventually.
"Correct," the bulky gargoyle said. "Well, we're real, but not really alive, are we?"
He looked at the other two gargoyles, who nodded enthusiastically.
"Something went wrong for you guys today, didn't it?"
Barry looked at Greyson, who peeked back up to him through his arms.
"What do you mean?" Barry eventually said.
"You went home after work and met up together, right?"
"Yeah, sure, at Greyson's place," Barry said. "How do you know about that?"
"Doesn't matter. Just assume we know everything, okay?"
Barry paused for a bit, then nodded.
"You decided not to order in but make a pasta with what was in the fridge?"
Barry nodded again.
"If I'm not mistaken... A mushroom fettuccine?"
Barry nodded, while Greyson had dropped his guard a little, now also listening. The gargoyle's aura was now moving much more obviously, the red almost ablaze. Barry could see the miasma in the distance, thinning out further and further as it billowed out.
"Greyson," the gargoyle said, as he turned his stone-skinned head towards the cowering figure. "Did you have mushrooms in the fridge?"
Greyson looked up at Barry, as if to ask for permission, but Barry just shot him a look as if to say "Well? Did you?"
"I... I did."
"And how many types of mushrooms did you have in there?"
Greyson froze completely. Barry looked confused but then realized what had happened.
"Dude, no," Barry started.
"Oh shit," Greyson went.
"Did we eat all of them?"
"We did, man."
"That's way too many, isn't it?"
"You guys are in for a looooong high," the gargoyle laughed. "And we're with you all the way."
"I told you to label that stuff!" Barry shouted as he punched Greyson in the shoulder.
Greyson just sighed and dropped his head back into his arms.
"This is going to suck," he said weakly.