This is an unedited flash fiction piece inspired by the Merriam-Webster Word of the Day to get the creative juices flowing. Hope this possibly provides you with some inspiration as well!
The clank of the iron hammer on the chisel echoes throughout the basement full of stone and cobwebs. Wings rest on wooden tables. Claws hang over the edge of shelves on the wall. Horns curl up in a pile on the floor. Dark eyes peer down on the stonemason hard at work.
A position such as the one that Adrien holds does not come to a man easily. After many generations of stonework, critical techniques passed along, a young boy can then begin his training. He is shown the different hammers possible to bring these creatures to life: wood, iron, metal. The young apprentice learns how different chisels create a plethora of personalities within each stone guardian. Now he is finally ready to create his first masterpiece. Whether this finished piece will protect ships as they pass through the galaxy gates throughout the universe solely depends on the weathered hands of their mentor.
Adrien continues to chisel away at the large block of stone. As it takes shape, there are many more guardians ready to be assembled. With hundreds of transport ships waiting for protection and only one stonemason left in the nearby galaxies (many like Adrien were wiped out with the churches), he is constantly chipping away at stone to stay on schedule.
By nightfall today’s sculpture must be complete and placed in the light speed mail portal to be attached to the appropriate ship my dawn the next day. Adrien constantly works on such a tight schedule. A slight waver in his chiseling speed or technique does not just mean a customer has to wait until the next day. An unfinished stone guardian will be the difference between life and death for a ship of thousands.
Planet emperors traveling to a galactic conference would be gone. Asteroid miners traveling to their next belt would be gone. Physicists on a galaxy-wide exploration would be gone. One could say that Adrien holds the lifeblood of the universe in his now weathered hands.
Chips of sharp stone flick across the room as filament piles up around the base of his current work. The head and body begin to take shape. Horns and claws protrude from an otherwise mediocre grey block. Time zones from across the universe tick away on the digital wall clock quicker than his hands can bring hammer to chisel. Over the years Adrien has learned to stay calm though. For a mistake would be disastrous for many beings.
The stonemason has had several close calls, but only what late delivery. That late delivery continues to keep him restless every night. Visions of women and children disappearing into deep space with a swift flash of light. Future planetary engineers and galactic police evaporated in an instant to become one with the universe again.
Adrien carefully carves out the eye sockets where the sensors will go. This is always the final and most delicate part of the process. With one last clink of the hammer, the next stone guardian of the universe stares back at him with dark, empty eyes.
He quickly places the sculpture in his mail portal as the warning alarm on his clock practically blasts the dust of the shelves. With a sigh of relief, his eyes have slammed shut for a quick night’s sleep before his had can eve hit the pillow. Another guardian enters the universe and another ship safely passes through the gates. It’s all in a good day’s work of the stonemason.
Enjoyed the science fiction of “Gargoyle”?