Adam Lucius Evans was born with a severe case of Hurler’s Syndrome, also known as gargoylism. It was the result of a scientist performing illegal experiments on his father. The genetic deformity was severe. Luke appeared to have been born half human, half something else. The child was raised in a loft room of an old historical church by Father Frederic Harris. Sister Elizabeth was his caretaker and teacher. Over the years Luke grew to become highly intelligent, physically strong, and determined to make a difference in his community, the river district of Chicago. He has the singing voice of an angel yet he must hide his face daily, you would not like what you’d see. Make no mistake; there is a deadly darkness within his countenance. Some will say he is a demon, others will declare him to be an angel. They will all come to know him as the gargoyle. Deep within the inner shadows of Friar Luke’s mind a vicious beast has evolved. It is mysterious, blood thirsty, and a very cunning creature. If Luke is to survive the dark streets of the river district then he must somehow embrace the beast within. Its enormous strength and blinding speed may be all that can keep Luke alive, or it could be his eternal damnation!
Father Harris entered his office and sat down. A moment later his secretary Margaret arrived and another woman was with her. “There’s someone here to see you vicar.” She stated nervously. “By all means send them in, please.” He replied as his curiosity peaked as to who it might be. He stood to his feet as a beautiful woman stepped into his office. Margaret quietly returned to her desk. “Frederic, it’s good to see you again.” The woman stated as she pushed the door closed behind her. “Lisa!” the vicar gasped as he recognized her. “Please, come in and have a seat. It’s been so long since I’ve seen you.” he responded to her sudden appearance. Lisa gave him a weak smile as she spoke “I was in town taking care of some business for my husband. I wanted to visit with you a moment before I left for the airport.” Father Harris smiled as he asked “I’m glad you did. I’m assuming your visit is in regards to Luke?” She nervously sat down as she began to reveal the purpose of her visit “Yes. I needed to speak with you sooner but I simply didn’t have the nerve. First of all I want to thank you for helping me and for handling Luke’s burial.” Father Harris lifted his hand and gently interrupted her “Luke survived Lisa, he’s very much alive.” Lisa’s face went pale as she nervously spoke with a noticeable tremble in her voice “Sister Monet at Saint Scholastica told me of Luke’s disfigurement. I’m amazed that he lived.” Father Harris smiled across his desk at her and said “Well, he has had a difficult time but he has grown into a fine young man. He’s brilliant, strong, and very compassionate. Would you like to meet him?” Lisa Evans looked away as she replied “No. I can’t.” The priest was quite surprised by her response so he inquired “Why Lisa, he’s our son?” Tears began to stream down her face as she looked back to the priest. “No, he’s not. That’s what I came to tell you. He wasn’t, he isn’t your son.” Father Harris sat back in shock. Over the years he had always thought Luke was the offspring of his sin. A child deformed because of his lustful desires. A penance he must pay. He quickly gathered his thoughts and asked “Then who is the father?” Lisa looked down at her purse which rested in her lap as she explained “A week before our last time making love I slipped out of the house. I went to a bar with some of my friends at High School. One of them had made fake I.D.’s for us. That night I had too much to drink and I stayed behind after they left. It was foolish of me but like I said, I had too much to drink. I wasn’t thinking clearly.” Father Harris leaned forward and placed his elbows on his desk and interlocked his fingers as he listened. Lisa continued “I was raped that night shortly after leaving O’Leary’s Bar and Grill. A man pulled me into an alley and forced himself on me. When he got up off of me I got a glimpse of his face. It wasn’t a man, it was a monster! At first I thought I was just seeing things because of the alcohol. When Sister Monet described Luke’s infirmities to me I knew then you weren’t the father. I just didn’t have the nerve to face you after that.” Tears flowed freely as she struggled to keep her voice down. Father Harris handed her a couple of tissues from his desk. “Anyway,” her voice trembled as she spoke “I apologize for not telling you sooner.” Father Harris unlocked his fingers and buried his face in his hands for a moment. “Please forgive me.” Lisa stated as she stood to leave. Father Harris looked up at her with tears in his eyes “His bloodline may not be mine Lisa but he is still my son. Over the years I have come to love him dearly and that will never change. I wish you would reconsider and meet him. He has the most beautiful singing voice you’ve ever heard.” Lisa turned away and headed for the door as she spoke “No, I don’t want to remember the horror of that night, not ever! He’s the spawn of a demon!” She paused at the door to wipe the tears from her face. “I need to go.” She said with a trembling voice. Lisa then opened the door and walked out. Father Harris stood as he called after her “Lisa, please!” She left without another word. She rushed by Margaret and a young monk, giving them a quick nod of her head as she quickly made her way out into the hallway. Luke and Margaret exchanged a look of concern as the sound of her high heels rapidly drifted into the distance. Margaret had no idea that Luke’s pointed ears were sensitive enough to have overheard the conversation that had just taken place in the vicar’s office. Luke gave Margaret a weak smile and said “I’m sure things will turn out okay for her. We must have faith.” Margaret smiled nervously, she knew who the woman was and had often suspected she was Luke’s mother. “Yes, I’m sure God will be with her.” Margaret stated as she made herself busy looking through a file cabinet. Luke quietly left and made his way to the catacombs beneath the ancient church. He had more work to do cataloging the artifacts that would someday be displayed in the church’s museum. A tear made its way down his cheek. He had ever so briefly met his mother and she wanted nothing to do with him. He had heard what she said and her words had cut deep. She had called him the spawn of a demon. According to what she told Father Harris, perhaps he was. The monstrous rage he had felt the night he rescued Cynthia still haunted his dreams. The beast within Luke stirred at the very edge of his mind. It was a ghostly dark figure that stayed hidden away in his subconscious.
That evening Luke stood on his small third level balcony as the sun began to set. Night fall would soon be upon the city and he would once more take to the sky. His thoughts were on Cynthia. It had been nearly two months since he had rescued her from Cecil and his henchmen. Now she was in North Carolina attending the prestigious School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. He had been surprised when she informed him that instead of music she was going to pursue a career in design. Her father needed help to revive his furniture industry and Cynthia was talented in many ways. Although she loved music her first love had always been art and design. Luke recalled the last email she had sent him and he knew by her words that she had found her own calling. The memory of her perfume and her golden hair brought a smile to his face. “Luke, it’ll be dark soon. May I prepare you something to eat?” Father Harris called up the stairs. Luke went back inside and opened the door to his room. He saw the vicar standing at the bottom of the stairs. “I’m fine Father but thank you.” he replied. The two smiled at one another then Father Harris said “Please be careful tonight and take your cell phone in case you need help.” Luke nodded and answered “I will. I promise.” Father Harris gave Luke a nod of his head and said “I will pray for your safety.” Luke then asked a question that caught the priest off guard. He wanted to hear the vicar confirm what he already knew “That was her this morning, my mother, wasn’t it?” Father Harris froze. He couldn’t find the words to explain. His days of lying were behind him yet the last thing he wanted to do was to crush Luke’s heart. The priest should have known that the young man’s sensitive ears could hear through doors. He bowed his head as he replied “Yes son, it was. However tragic as all this may be I want you to know I love you as if you were my own.” Luke slowly made his way down the stairs and embraced the vicar. Luke then whispered softly “The morning after I rescued Cynthia, do you recall what I said in my prayer? I said you were the only father I have even known and the only one that I shall ever desire.” Father Harris looked into Luke’s eyes and choked back his tears as he replied “I remember but if I was a good father I wouldn’t be letting you go out each night and risk your life to save this city.” Luke chuckled “I’m going out to protect the people we care about, the people of our community. Besides, I’m a grown man now and it’s my decision.” Father Harris smiled “Yes, you are now grown but that doesn’t stop me from worrying about you.” Luke patted the vicar on the shoulder and said “Don’t worry about me, pray for me.” Father Harris nodded then Luke started back up the stairway. Upon entering his room Luke picked up the newspaper from that morning. Staff reporter Jeffrey Hollister had written a story on him regarding his latest venture. An elderly couple had been in the process of being mugged when he arrived. The old man had been struck down and the woman was screaming franticly. That night he had knocked the mugger out and tied him to a lamp post. He had then instructed the woman to call the police to come get the criminal. Upon reviving the unconscious man and making sure the elderly fellow wasn’t seriously injured he flew away. He wasn’t sure how the reporter had found out about it unless he had an inside source at the police station. Luke liked the reporter’s column and always made a point to read it. He just wished the man would stop stalking him just to get a story. For his safety and the safety of those he loved it was vital that his identity remained anonymous. If the wrong person ever discovered who he was Saint Matthew’s Cathedral would become a house of blood instead of a house of prayer.