Edmund leapt away from the beast, only to trip over a pile of metal pails that lay behind him. The crash echoed through the room as Edmund fell, sending clouds of dust scattering. Frantically, he tried to scrabble away from the advancing demon before it grabbed him and bit off his legs.
Edmund heard the loud clanking of glass and a sharp pain washed over him as his head hit the wooden cabinet. With a heart-tightened realization that he had nowhere else to run, he clutched at the cabinet and squeezed his eyes shut so he didn’t have to see the thing open its mouth.
After the end didn’t come, he peeked just to see if the monster was deciding which end to eat first. He clamped his eye shut when he saw the thing leering at him, and then opened it again when he realized that it was not moving.
It was almost half again as tall as he was, but he could tell it was crouched to spring. It’s mouth was broad, like a frog’s, with large fangs that jutted out from its lower lip. It had long twisting horns that circled its face, framing two jet-black eyes that stared at Edmund with fierce and irrepressible hate. It had no nose or ears, but it had two long scaly arms that dragged on the ground like an ape.
Carefully, Edmund stood, keeping his eye on the massive beast in case it was simply waiting for him to relax before pouncing on him. After a few minutes the thing still hadn’t moved, and Edmund noticed that it’s large claws were gripping a long stone sign, upon which were carved the words ‘Memento Mori.’ Edmund stepped closer until he was positive that the thing was a statue.
Slowly, his heartbeat began to return to normal. He almost felt ashamed, but somehow he couldn’t manage it. The gargoyle was exquisitely carved, a perfect image of a creature from Edmund’s worst nightmares. He had a hard time thinking of anyone who wouldn’t be terrified of it. He didn’t recognize the words on the sign, and he promised himself he would look them up as soon as he could.
As he stared at the statue, Edmund heard something rattle on the ground behind him. Spinning about, he peered deep into the detritus that covered the room. He listened again only to hear a small sound near the stack of paintings. Edmund walked over to the stack and pulled them aside, searching for the origin of the sound. There was nothing.
The sound came again, this time to Edmund’s left. He turned, and saw the last plume of a bit of dust falling onto a pile of thin bags that looked to be filled with sand. Edmund looked up to the room’s rafters. They were nearly pitch black, completely shadowed by the conical roof. Was there something moving up there? Edmund couldn’t tell in the gloom.