Four Little Girls

by Tim Reynard

Disclaimer: Gargoyles are owned by Disney and Buena Vista. No profit
is being made from this, yadda, yadda, yadda.

        ~Handmaidens?  Attend to me.~         Luna, Phoebe, and Selene each appeared a full minute after the summons.           Oberon was less than pleased.  "You are late, daughters."         "Our apologies, Lord Oberon." said Luna swiftly.         "The wonders of the mortal realm fascinate us." stated Phoebe.         "We shall be more attentive for the rest of eternity, my Lord."  said Selene.           "No need for sarcasm." said Oberon in a low voice, glaring slightly.   "I have a task for you three."         They waited silently, feet barely grazing the floor.           "As you know, we are having a commemoration soon, to celebrate the Gathering's success.  Each of my Children have been given permission  to bring one mortal guest.  I bid thee to do the same."         Their mouths turned downward.         "My Lord, please reconsider." said Phoebe softly.         "Will you not do as I command?"  Oberon raised an eyebrow.         "We do not appear to mortals wantonly, My Lord." said Luna.  "You know the consequences as much as we do."         "Of course he does, he marked us well, centuries ago." snorted  Selene, darkened eyebrows bristling.         "It was necessary." Oberon said curtly.  "My command stands. You will find a mortal guest and bring it to Avalon for the celebration."         Three pairs of eyes met, then separated.         "As you wish." Luna said.         They disappeared, vanishing without the usual accompanying magical fanfare. *****           "Three o' clock." Nurse Caley said as she slid the door shut.   "It's that time again, Sara."         "No." came a small voice with just a hint of a whine.  "I don't want too."          "Sara, we have to do this, honey." sighed Nurse Caley.  "Please don't be difficult."         "No." said the little girl again.         "Tell you what. I'll get the head orderly to o.k. a V.C.R. in here for you, you can watch anything you want when your're done, okay?"         "No!" said Sara shrilly, shrinking back against the head of her hospital bed.          "Sara..." cajoled the nurse. "Sweetie, honey, we have to do this. If we don't, you'll be coughing up junk all night, and you won't be able to breathe.  If you swallow some you could choke. You don't want that, do you?"         "I don't want to do it!" pleaded the girl, near tears. "It hurts!"         "It'll be all over in just 20 minutes.  Please? I promise to make it hurt as little as possible."         Sara clutched her blanket tighter and rolled over reluctantly.         Nurse leaned over her back by the side of the bed and placed a wide cup in front of her head.  She raised  her right hand.  "Okay Sara, I'm going to start. I promise it won't hurt much, okay?"         "Kay," she said softly, gritting her teeth.         The nurse began hitting Sara's back with her closed fists, hard enough to break loose the mucus clogging her lungs.  "Cough, Sara!"         "Ow!  It-ow! Ow! It huuuuuuuuuurts..." she cried, trying to cough.  Tears came to her eyes, and she ended up blubbering into her  pillow, coughing occaisionally.         Nurse Caley hated this, but it had to be done, to break loose the crud inside of her lungs so it could be coughed out easier.           When it was finally finished, Sara immediately curled up in a ball, crying softly, trying to reach around herself and rub her aching back.         "I'm sorry, Sara." soothed the nurse, smoothing her hair. "You were very brave."         "Wan' my mommy..." said Sara in a quivering voice.  Nurse Caley hugged her in response.  She wanted Sara's mommy too.  As an toddler,  the little girl had been abandoned, found in the waiting room of a  clinic.   A basket left next to her contained some clothes, one-hundred  and forty-seven dollars, and a note saying to take care of her.  She had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The social worker assigned to her  had shook his head sadly and said he'd seen it all before.  She'd been in and out of hospitals and orphanages since birth.  When she'd said she  wanted her mommy, it was a plea for someone to take her home. She'd  seen other kids with families, she was old enough to know her situation was not normal.          The Nurse sighed and laid the exhausted girl down for a short nap, tucking the blanket under her chin.  She marked down the visit on her  chart, checked her I.V. and left.         Sara awoke an hour later, and sat up, wincing at the stiffness in her back.  She scratched idly at the needle-thingie in her hand, it made her arm feel all blown up.  She hated this place, the doctors all said it was to make her feel better, but all they ended up doing was poking needles into her and making her take nasty pills and hitting her back and she still couldn't breathe!  They said she was sick and then called whatever it was something she couldn't pronounce so she just called it The Cold.          Suddenly she coughed and coughed, like her lungs were going to leap out of her chest and walk away, like that monster did in that movie she wasn't supposed to watch.  She wheezed and tears came to her eyes.   Sara gasped into a bedpan, trying futily to bring it up, then collapsed  onto her side.  The Cold made her feel weak and tired all the time.   She coughed constantly, sometimes enough to bring up some yucky stuff.   She couldn't even run very much anymore, and she itched all the time.  She rubbed absently at reddened marks on her shoulder peeking out from  her pajama top.  They were all over her body.         She wanted to get out of here.  Her body shook silently.             "Hi!"          "Eeek!" Sara shrieked, sitting straight up, and rolling over. There was another girl in her room!  She paused before letting out another scream, she didn't look scary.  She was about her age, dressed in a dingy white hospital gown, with tiny flowers on it, just like her own.  She even had blonde hair, like Sara, only it was alot straighter.  The little girl smiled at her.  "Sorry, did I scare you?"         "You snuck up on me!" accused Sara.  But she wasn't really mad.           "Sorry." giggled the girl.  "My names Phoebe."           Sara laughed.  "Really? Like in that Friends show?"         "Yep." grinned the girl.  "What's your name?"         Sara curled her knees to her chest, self-conciousness rearing up.  "Sara." she said shyly, quietly.           "You have a pretty name." grinned the little girl, hopping up on  the bed.  " my sisters come in?  They're waiting outside. We were wandering around, and...uh...saw you crying. Can they come in?"         "Uh...sure, I guess." Sara said uneasily.         The little girl called behind her.  "It's okay! Come in!"         Sara was not prepared for the black-haired girl who streaked in like a nurse was after her for running in the halls, leaped up on the bed and began jumping up and down. "Hi!" she said loudly.   "What'cha....*bounce*...doing?"         "Selene, stop that, we'll get in trouble!" said the third little  girl, coming in silently, climbing up on the bed after her.  Sara stared.  She had never seen hair that white.  "Did you fall into some paint?" she asked very seriously.         The little girl laughed.  "No, silly, my hair's this color all the time.  I'm Luna."         Sara frowned. "What does that mean?"         The little girl frowned back in thought. "You know, I'm not sure.   Maybe I'll change it someday."         "I'll keep my name." Sara told her.  "Sara."         Luna finally grabbed Selene and held her down.  "No jumping!"         "You're such a goody-goody, Luna!" pouted the little black-haired girl, who promptly stuck her tongue out.          "So why're you here, Sara?" asked Phoebe.  The other two sat so the group formed a square.         Sara squirmed, looking down and twisting her bedsheets.  "I got a Cold."           "That's it?" Luna said, puzzled.         "It's a really bad Cold." Sara emphasized.         "I hate colds." said Selene, chewing on a bit of her black hair.  "They make you sick."          "The grownups say it's some special bad thing, and I'm going to have it the rest of my life." whispered Sara loudly, watching for their reaction, liking the attention.         Luna's mouth turned down.  "Sorry, Sara." she said, patting her back.         "How long you been here?" asked Phoebe.         "A few months, I think." sighed Sara.  "I used to go only a few times a month, but now I have to stay here.  I don't like it here."          The three girls all nodded.  "Won't your parents come and take you home someday?" said one girl.         The miserable girl shrank further, hugging herself.  "Mommy ran away. I think she got lost.  She's probably worried sick about me."          The three little girls were silent.         "And your daddy?" asked Luna quietly.         "I don't have a daddy." whispered Sara, near tears.           The little girls hugged Sara.  "We're sorry, Sara." Phoebe said. "We didn't mean to be mean."         "Kay." Sara said softly, wiping at her eyes.  She coughed suddenly, masking her face with a pillow she swiftly snatched up.  The little girls watched, concerned as it continued for 30 seconds.  They all looked grimly at the pillow after she took it away, which was flecked with red.         "Doesen't that hurt!?" asked Selene loudly.         "Let's talk about something else." said Luna, elbowing Selene.  "I like horses.  Do you like horses?"         Sara grinned, tears forgotten.  "Yeah!  One time the orphanage I was in had a field trip to a farm. They had cows and chickens and cats everywhere.  And horses! They smelled bad, but I got to feed them big carrots."         "Wow!" the girls looked at her, envious.  "Did you get to ride one?"         "No." huffed Sara.  "They took me home when I started coughing too much."         "Awwww, too bad." pouted Selene.  "At home we can ride all the  pegasi we want.  OW!" she cried as Luna elbowed her again.         "Where's your house?" asked Sara.         "An island." said Phoebe.           "Wow!" grinned Sara. "Like Hawaii? Are there palm trees and volcanos and stuff?"         "Yup!" grinned Luna.  "Our daddy's rich, he has all kinds of stuff there to play with."         "I wish I could go there." sighed Sara.  "I want to go to alot of places."  She scratched at her arms.  "But they won't let me leave."         The three little girls looked at each other.  "Sara," said Luna, laying a small hand on her arm.  "Wanna come play at our house?"         "Daddy's having a party there right now!" grinned Phoebe.         "It'd be so much fun!  Can you come? Can you? Huh?" pleaded Selene.         Sara blinked.  "But..." she looked at the door.  "The doctors..."         "They won't find out.  Come on, pleeeeeease?" smiled Luna.  "It'll  be fun! You can get out of this place!"         "I'm not sure...oh...mmmm....kay!" Sara said.         "Cool!" they all beamed.           They hopped off the bed and dragged her off as well.  "How will we stop them from seeing us?" said Sara worriedly as she looked at the door.         "We won't use the door, silly." grinned Phoebe mischievously.  "Ever see Star Trek?"         "A few times, yeah..."          "How does Kirk ask Scotty to get him off a planet?"         "He says, 'Beam me up, Sc-'"         All four vanished. *****         "-otty..."  Sara blinked her eyes.  Then she opened them.  "What... how did we get here?"         "Magic." laughed Selene.  "Silly."          "Are...are we on your island?"         "Yeah!" said Luna happily.  "But we have to hurry, the party's going to start soon!"         "How are we going to get to your house?" asked Sara.  They  were standing on the edge of a cliff, near a roaring river which plunged  for miles over it to the bottom.  Trees of every kind dotted the hills,  and creatures like something out of a storybook made her eyes open wide.         "Oh!" she nearly yelled as a tiny winged lady the size of her thumb zipped down in front of her nose, gave a tiny laugh, then zipped away, buzzing quietly.  "What was that?"         "Just a pixie." chuckled Selene.         "Is your daddy a magician?" puzzled Sara.           "You might say that." said Luna.  "Sara, can you whistle loudly?"         "Yeah!" beamed Sara.  She'd always liked doing it.  Putting two fingers into her mouth, she blew hard, and it left her mouth, high and piercing.         "Good job!" said Phoebe.  "Now we wait a few."         "Gee..." said Sara.  "I didn't even get out of breath!"         They waited a few minutes, then Luna tapped Sara's shoulder.  "Look!"         They all stared upward at the sky that was covered sporadically in clouds Sara swore were in the shape of monsters.  The sun shone brightly on her face, forcing her to squint. But then she saw them.          Sara gasped in wonder as the beautiful animals circled  lower and lower.  "Oh..." she said softly. "How beautiful!"          The flying horses alighted on the ground, white feathered  wings folding back.  The lead pegasus studied the mortal girl with a peculiar look on it's face, and then turned to the three little girls.   "Ah, the Fates..." he nodded. "You have summoned us?"         "Shhhh!" said Luna, stomping her foot.  "Sara called you!"         "Ah..." muttered the pegasus.  "Of course she did. Ahem..."          Sara thought it was the most wonderful thing in the world when this magnificant hor-no, pegasus turned to her.  "Such a loud whistle,  milady." the pegasus grinned, as only a pegasus can.  "What do you wish?"         "I...uh...can you really fly?"  Dummy! What did she think she had just seen them doing?         The pegasus tossed it's head.  "We can, child.  Where do you wish to go?"         Sara looked blank for a second, caught up in admiring the magnificent animal.  Phoebe beeped her belly-button.  "OH! I...the party!  We want to go the the party."         "You know, the one at Daddy's House?" said Selene, making motions with her head sideways.         The pegasus swallowed it's laughter.  "Of course, milady...Sara,  is it?  If you will allow me a moment to get down..."         Sara's mouth hung open and she somehow moved her muscles to clumsily mount the pegasus, sitting in front of it's massive wings.  She stroked it's soft mane.           "Okay, Sara." laughed Luna.  They had climbed on to their own flying steeds.  "Here we go!"            "Do I say giddyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap!" cried Sara as the ground suddenly fell away from beneath them.  They all dipped low so they got drenched  from the water vapor coming from the waterfall, then zoomed upward, so  high Sara thought she might touch the sun.  She laughed in delight, relishing in everything, the wind through her hair, the sun on  her back, the way the trees looked like toys, she refused to blink even though her eyes were tearing up.          "Wheeeeeeeeeee!"         The three little girls laughed with her as they flew on.         Finally, she saw the castle.         Castle?         "Is THAT your Daddy's house!" she yelled at Luna.         "Yeah!" came back the answer.         They finally circled lower over the castle once they reached it.   Sara looked down in awe. There were...things everywhere!  Big things, small things, medium-sized things, all different colors and shapes. There were other people there too, wandering around, looking either confused or absolutely delighted to be right where they were at this very moment.         She glanced fearfully at the ugly statues that lined every wall as they touched down in the courtyard.          "I bid thee farewell, Milady Sara." said the pegasus as she left. "I hope to carry you again soon!"         "Thank you." she giggled.  "It was fun!"         She waved bye to them all as they left again, swooping upward on wings of white.         Then she turned and saw the giant spider.         "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!"         "What?!" the spider whirled.  Seeing nothing, he turned back.  "It's not polite to scream at people!" he huffed.  He glanced at the three little girls.  "Didn't you warn her?"         "Oh hush, old spider." said Luna, scowling at it.  "Don't worry Sara." she said, standing near her.  "He won't hurt you. Nothing here will.  Daddy's got some weird relatives."         "Th-the-spider talks!" said Sara, astounded.         "Yeah, most things here do." chuckled Selene. "Just don't be scared, Sara. Lotsa weird stuff happens around here, okay?  Be brave."         "Kay." said Sara, still watching fearfully as the spider lumbered away.         They walked around, taking in all the sights.  A man with four wings was talking to a purple dragon.  Something she was sure that looked like the genie from 'Aladdin' was jabbering away about lamps or something with an orange tabby cat.  The cat didn't seem interested, instead it stared hungrily at a raven that sat above it in a tree, cawing loudly.         A glowing lady with sea-green hair stood in the shadows of a tree.  Sara was surprised to see a metal band covering her mouth.           She walked on, meandering through the palace, drinking in all the sights, the wonders.  It was straight out of a fairy tale.  She wondered if there was a moat monster.         "His name is George." said Selene.         "Huh? Sara was startled.         "Nothing, nothing." grinned Selene sheepisly, then glaring at Luna. "Don't you hit me!" she muttered.         They came to the topmost tower.  They passed several other people, who waved to her as they headed down the stairs.   Sara stood amongst the statues and looked outward.  Nothing but  rolling hills, forests, mountains, meadows, and sunny skies.  It was  truly paradise.  She really did NOT want to go back to the  funny-smelling hospital.  Speaking of which...          "Hey..." she said, turning to the three little girls.   "How come I haven't gotten tired?  Usually, I'd be coughing a bunch by now.   And I don't itch anymore!"         They gave her slight smiles.  "Magic." one said simply.         Weird. She decided not to press further, just accept it.   "Kay."         "Would you like to stay here, Sara?" asked Luna suddenly.         "Wh...what do you mean?"          "You could stay here, you know." said Phoebe seriously.  "You  would never have to go back to that hospital again."           "You could see us all the time." smiled Selene.  "You could see all the wonders of this island."         They suddenly sounded older to Sara's young ears.   Much older.  As in grandmother.         "You could fly the pegasi whenever you wanted."          But they weren't any older than she was!         "H-how?" she stammered.         They shook their heads.  "It does not matter how.   What matters is you.  Do you wish to stay?"          "I..." Sara looked beyond them to the beings on the ground, laughing and playing, the humans having fun, the flying creatures overhead.  She saw her pegasus and waved to him absently.  This place filled her with joy. With happiness.  With something undefinable.          She smiled at her three friends.  "Kay.  I'll stay."         Their smiles widened so much she thought their faces would  tear off and they all ran forward and hugged her.          "Thanks a bunch, Sara!" Luna grinned.         "Hooray for Sara!" crowed Phoebe.         "We're gonna have so much fun!" laughed Selene.           "Thanks you guys!" beamed Sara.         Suddenly, Luna cocked her head and her eyes got a faraway  look.  "Sara, we have to go see Daddy now, why don't you go fly on  the pegasus again, okay?"         "Yeah!"  Sara pursed her lips and whistled once again.  "Will you  play with me later?"          "Verily." they all said in unison.         "What?"         "Nevermind." they all chuckled.         A minute later, Sara was gone, laughing and holding on tight to  her very own flying horse.         "A most interesting guest, daughters." came a deep voice  behind the three little girls.         They shimmered and grew, until their true forms were revealed.         "She is much more than that to us, Lord." said Luna.  They  didn't turn around.          "Well, all the same, she will have to leave with the rest of  the guests when the celebration is concluded."         "My Lord." Phoebe turned.  The others followed.  "Let her stay."         "She has no ties to the human realm." said Luna, staring at Oberon.         "It is the only way she can survive to live a long life." ended  Phoebe quietly.         Oberon frowned. "What is a mere mortal's fate to me?  And for that matter, what is this mortal's fate to you? You three have never been the most kind of my Children when it comes to them."         "If that is so, then who made it come to pass?" retorted Selene. "Your spell sealed Sara's fate, as it does to all those who come into contact with us eventually."         "You put a curse on the Fates themselves, Lord." Phoebe said angrily.  "For nothing more than to cease our influence, a supposed  'threat' to your power!  Would you stop Anubis or Hades from collecting  evil souls?  That would make the mortal world a dark place indeed..."         "Once again, you remind me what I already know.  It was to curtail your meddling in the mortal world and you three know that as well as I do." said Oberon.  "You cannot very well appear to those you wish to influence  if they shall earn great misfortune for merely seeing your true natures."         "What you call meddling, we call Fate." said Luna quietly.  "My  Lord, you cannot know the suffering you have caused.  We agonize over whom to influence in a direction for the good of all.  Most often we choose not to appear, even when Fate dictates it so.  It is so very hard."         "Our immortal children have suffered so much, we weep at what we have done to them.  Yet it was for the good of the world.  We would have as little blood on our hands as possible." said Selene.  "And when you  are overthrown, we shall resume our right and proper roles."         "Ah, so that's what that little business with the Archmage was about." said Oberon, sounding bored.  "You three hoped he could stop me."           "Fortunately for them, your hex asserted itself." Luna said softly.         "And how unfortunate for you.  I ask again, what is this mortal to  you?"         "She was dying." Luna said simply.  "Curse or no curse, misfortune would have befallen her.         The Weird Sisters glanced up and smiled happily at the distant sight of Sara terrorizing the skies on her winged pegasus.         "Please, my Lord." they spoke in unision.  "Let her stay."         Oberon sighed.  "I suppose it couldn't hurt. She may be amusing, after all, she is mortal."            They each slumped imperceptably.  "Thank you, Lord Oberon." they said  softly.           "But you Three are in my debt as of this moment..." Oberon warned. "I expect no more of this argument to reach my ears."         "Yes, Lord Oberon."          He vanished.         "Hey you guuuuuuuuys!" a tiny voice came from overhead.  "I'm coming in!"         In an instant, they were transformed, childlike in form and nature.         "Sara!" squealed Luna as the pegasus landed.  "Wow! You flew really  good!"         "Thanks!" smiled Sara.  "Luna, Phoebe, Selene...I'd like you to meet Moonbeam!"         "Hi...Moonbeam!" they laughed.         The pegasus snorted.  "I'll have you know I was against this whole  name thing from the start!  Gargoyles have the right idea!"         "Silly." laughed Sara, throwing her arms around his neck.         "C'mon Sara, let's go riding again!" yelled Phoebe.         "Kay!  Wow, I really wish I'd met you guys a long time ago!"         "Must be Fate." giggled Luna. The other pegasi were summoned, and  four little girls took off into the skies of a magical island called Avalon.             The End