Ray let Shane through the second he heard the intercom buzz. Letting his finger drop from the button, he paced the space in front of the door and waited for his best friend to come up to the twelfth floor in the old lift. Ray rubbed his hands together and tried not to let his thoughts gush out of his mouth. His stomach withered and he felt like he had swallowed a live snake.
A tap, tap, tap, came from the door and Ray hurriedly unlocked it and threw it open. Shane’s massive bulk stood before him and Ray felt some relief at seeing the former heavier weight boxer before him.
‘You have to see this,’ Ray blurted and let him in.
Shane inched through the doorway, keeping his meaty hands by his side whilst his dark blue eyes flickered around the hallway. He was wearing black steel capped boots, dirty jeans and a scruffy t-shirt which his body bulged out of. Faded tattoos ran up both his arms and his heavy beaten up face looked concerned.
‘The bedroom,’ Ray added.
Shane cocked an eyebrow, ‘some whore you found?’
‘No, no,’ Ray shook his head quickly, ‘just look.’
He guided Shane to the bedroom door and swung it open. They both looked in and saw the devil gargoyle still on the bed. Shane walked in slowly, the floorboards creaking a little under him. Ray wringing his hands followed him like a guilty old dog until they were both stood by the edge of the bed.
‘What is it?’ Shane whispered having taken in the massive curved shape of the gargoyle’s naked buttocks.
‘A stone statue…I woke up next to it. I’ve no idea how it got here…what happened last night?’ Ray replied in a hushed voice.
‘You got pissed. That’s what happened. And somehow you must a taken this….’
‘How? It’s pure stone. It’s heavy.’
Shane shrugged his enormous shoulders and ran his fingers down his hairless chin.
‘Look, forget it,’ Ray snapped, ‘just help me to get rid of it.’
‘All right,’ Shane responded and moved around the bed.
‘We’ll lift it between us and get it outside. Find a place to dump it…maybe take it to that old graveyard. Did you bring your van?’ Ray added.
‘Yeah, o’ course. But look, this has to be worth something…’
Shane reached out a hand and touched the cold stone. It felt smooth under his fingers though he could feel flecks brushing off it. He looked at the deep set forever watching eyes and the mighty curling horns placed either side oblong ears. He felt himself oddly drawn to the statue. He wrapped his fingers around one of the legs and found that he couldn’t get his hand all the way around.
‘What?’ Ray mumbled back.
‘I mean, you’d have to find the right person…but I’ve seen these things. They can sell for hundreds o’ pounds. And this one…we could do it…I’d just need to find someone.’
‘Are you serious? No way, no way! We are dumping that shit right now. Come on, help me lift it,’ Ray yelled and went to grab the gargoyle.
Shane slapped as hands away and lent over the bed like a lion with a fresh kill.
‘Stay away!’ he roared.
Ray recoiled, his back hitting the wall as he clutched both his hands together, ‘what the fuck mate?’ he spit. ‘Are you crazy? Please, Shane, please!’
‘It’s all right. I’m good,’ Shane said and got backwards off the bed. The springs creaked loudly, the only other sound in the room beside from their laboured breathing.
Shane, hands out walked around to Ray and joined him against the wall.
‘I need a drink,’ he said.
‘Me too, but something stronger then coffee,’ Ray pointed out.
He walked out of the bedroom and into the kitchen, aware that Shane had followed him and closed the doors between them and the statue. Ray searched the fridge then the cupboards and came up with some cheap Russian vodka and Morgan’s rum. He placed them on the counter and found some tumbler glasses.
‘That all you got?’ Shane asked.
‘Yeah. Sorry,’ Ray answered.
‘No. I’ve not been shopping in a while. Pay cut ‘n’ all.’
‘Even more reason to sell that thing.’
Ray shook his head and poured some vodka into the glasses, ‘no. We need to dump it. I won’t be locked away because of stolen goods again.’
Shane rolled his eyes and grabbed a glass. The vodka sloshed around then was gone into his large mouth. He swallowed loudly and pulled a disgusted face.
Ray took a large gulp of his own, tasted fire and had to take another mouthful to try and chase it away. The heat flared through him. He finished off the vodka and went to pour himself another. He felt Shane’s hand pressing against his own as he reached for the bottle.
‘We can get drunk later,’ Shane rumbled. ‘Let’s move that thing.’
Ray nodded and they headed back to the bedroom, stomachs hot with vodka and fear.
Shane opened the door with his boot and strolled in like he owned the place.
‘You go around and push him off,’ Shane suggested, ‘I’ll take most of the weight.’
‘Sure, sure,’ Ray rushed and ran around the bed.
He knelt down and waited till Shane had got in a lowered position, before he tried to shove the statue off the bed. He felt cold, gritty stone bite into his skin and the weight of the thing was unmoveable. Ray gasped and really threw his back into it. He heard Shane grunting and felt a small tremble of movement.
‘How’d you lift this thing yourself?’ Shane growled.
‘No idea,’ Ray puffed back, ‘are you ready? I’m really going for it this time!’ Move you fucking piece of-’
The gargoyle slide off the bed and Shane barely caught it. Ray saw his friend’s face and arm muscles straining and sweat breaking on his forehead. Quickly, he swung off of the bed and took the other side, his hands almost laying on top of Shane’s. Together and speechlessly, they heaved the statue up and crab like walked to the bedroom door.
‘Fucking Hell,’ Shane gasped.
‘Go backwards, like a sofa,’ Ray suggested.
He tried to peer over the bulky stone body, but could only see Shane’s red folded wrinkle brow and more beads of sweat. Ray heard Shane’s feet rasping across the carpet and the tug of weight in his hands. He followed slowly behind, trying to get his hands to keep their grip. They made it out of the bedroom door and along the hallway.
‘I got to… I needed too…’ Shane’s voice came out of the heavy breathing.
‘We can’t…’ Ray responded then his eyes flicked to the door, ‘Oh, shit the door. Okay, Okay. Let’s put it down.’
‘We’ll never get it up again.’
‘I’ll think of something!’ Ray shouted.
‘Lower it then,’ Shane countered back,
Slowly, they lowered the gargoyle to the floor then collapsed along with it. Ray sprawled out, loving the coldness against his hot sweaty back. He put his arms up, stretching them and feeling achy pains running like rats under his skin. He shut his eyes and drew in the deepest breaths he had ever taken in. He could hear Shane doing the same on the other side of the statue and guessed they were having the same thoughts worming into their minds.
After a good few minutes, Ray pulled himself up and moved across the floor to check on Shane. The man looked asleep, but his eyes crept open as Ray hung over him.
‘I think we’re going to need more help,’ Shane’s dry voice muttered.
‘No one else can know,’ Ray replied in a low voice, ‘We can’t trust anyone. Look, let’s have some more vodka and get something to eat.’
Shane nodded and eased himself up.
Ray got to his feet and walked painfully into the kitchen, ‘I got some pot noodles, soup, left over curry,’ he called over his shoulder. ‘I’ll make us some coffee too.’
‘Sounds good to me,’ Shane answered back.
Ray made two pot noodles and two large mugs of coffee. They sat together on the sofa, watching mid-afternoon TV shows and staying silent. When they were done, Ray dumped everything in the kitchen then came back with the tumblers of vodka. This time he had filled them to the top. They tapped glasses and drink the acid like liquid in large gulps.
‘Okay,’ Ray said into his glass, ‘Here’s the plan. I’ll open the door and call the lift. Then we get the statue out of here and into there and then take it down and out of here.’
Ray placed his glass down, opened his door and walked out into the empty short corridor. He pressed the lift’s cracked plastic button and hurried back again. He took his place by the statue, thankful to see Shane standing on the other side.
‘On three, lift?’ Shane asked.
They bent down, keeping their backs straight and locked their hands against the gargoyle once more. They lifted, both feeling the weight like they hadn’t before and believing the stone had become glued to the floor. Somehow, they were able to balance it between them and carry the devil into the lift.
‘Oh God, there’s no space to put it down!’ Shane exclaimed.
‘It’s crushing my ribs,’ Ray almost screamed back. ‘Hit the button.’
With a swift movement, Shane hit the large ‘G’ labelled disc and the doors shut.
‘Can’t you just move it?’
‘Where too? There’s no space,’ Shane snapped back.
Ray shuffled his feet and tried to get the corner away from him, but he was wedged against the lift wall and the side of the statue. He shut his eyes and tried to stay calm. At last, he heard a warning ping and the doors sliding open.
To Be Continued…