The night was dark, rain pouring onto the Notre Dame de Paris with such force that Father Quentin was sure it would cause damage. He went so far as to go outside, onto the steps, to look at the gargoyles on the front wall.
“What are you doing out here, Father?” Deacon John asked, coming out onto the steps.
“I’m worried that this rain harming the building.”
“No,” John said with a laugh, “The Notre Dame has stood for a long time. It won’t come down because of rain. You might get sick, though. Come inside?”
“Alright,” Father Quentin said, giving one more look towards the heights of the building. The hour was late, and so he closed the doors behind him, he locked them.
The father’s habit was to remain in his office just off of the sanctuary after securing the doors. It was one of the few times he could look forward to quiet. Tonight, though, it seemed that this was not going to happen. The rain was making so much noise, it was nearly impossible for him to hear anything over it at all.
That’s why it was surprising when he heard someone hammering on the front doors.
The father hurried to the doors. He unbolted and opened them to find a young boy looking up at him. He looked uncommonly small for his age, his coat patched and worn.
“What are you doing out by yourself?” Father Quentin asked.
“Please, Father, a man is following me,” the boy said. He pointed out into the rain.
Father Quentin could barely make out the man, standing in the downpour in a black raincoat. There was something strange about him, almost as though there was a darkened film through which they were seeing him.
“Hey, that’s my son!” the man called, pointing towards the boy. “Get back here!”
“That is not my papa,” the boy said, his eyes wide as the rain fell over his face.
Father Quentin set a hand on the boy’s shoulder. “Sir, you seem to be frightening this boy.”
“That’s none of your damned business,” the man said.
“I am going to make it my business,” Father Quentin said, setting his hands the boy’s shoulders.
The man pulled a gun from his belt, and pointed it at the Father. “Let him go, now.”
“No,” Father Quentin said, pushing the boy behind him, “Get inside, son.”
The boy ran, screaming for someone, anyone to help.
Suddenly, something came out of the darkened sky, crashing into the man. Father Quentin heard a growling sound, and the scraping of stone on stone. The man with the gun was screaming underneath a huge, shadowy beast. The father ran inside, and shut the door behind him. He hurried to his office to call the authorities.
When the police arrived, Father Quentin went out to meet him. The man’s body was on the ground, underneath a stone gargoyle. “What a tragedy,” Father Quentin said. “This is such an old building.”
If you liked this, don’t forget to check out my short story collection, Days and Other Stories, available right here.