The gargoyles of Gotham watch over the city, stone figures of fantastical shape leering and looming from buildings everywhere. Everyone has seen them. But not everyone knows that each of them have names, the names given to them by special people. Not everyone knows that each gargoyle holds a memory and a moment in their minds, a voice they hold on to forever.
Beaker is a hippogriff on the First Gotham Bank, his rearing horse's body giving way to an eagle's head, stone wings curving upward. His memory is of a girl in eggplant-purple who pretended to ride him to make a silent, dark-haired girl giggle. One night she came to him in different garb, brilliant green and red. He holds the words she said to him as she bowed with a flourish: Nice to meet you, I'm Robin! A handspring off his back and she fell into the night, her laughing words drifting back: I'm Robin!
Sapienta is an owl on the Gotham Cathedral. In her claws she clutches a scroll with Hebrew letters on it. She remembers a solemn boy in black clothing, a camera and binoculars around his neck, who sat next to her night after night, scanning the city, keeping a lookout of some sort. Every evening would start with him leaning against her and whispering, How's he doing tonight? He never left without saying to her, Keep an eye on him.
Old Scaly Bastard is a demon on the church near a graveyard. His claws grip the gutter as if he were just about to launch himself from the building, eternally frozen in the moment before flight. He remembers the boy who named him, his laugh and his scowl, the quick dash of his motions. For a time, the boy was gone. What Old Scaly Bastard saw happen in the graveyard below him one night no one else knows, and when he heard a heavy boot tread next to him months later, a rough kick to shake the snow from his back, and a voice: I'll make them all pay. All of them, his stone heart rejoiced.
The leering skeleton on top of the Gotham Courthouse has a name, but it's not one that can be written down. It is instead a certain posture of body, a certain glance of the eye, given to him by a silent masked figure. She gives it to him anew each time she comes to him to touch his empty eye sockets, his gaping teeth. If it could be translated into English, it would be something like "Always Remember." His memory of her is the time she came to him and, clearing her throat, said hoarsely, Pretty. Then she was gone into the night again.
Gloomy Gus is a human figure with an exaggerated weeping face, wringing his hands from the roof of a theater in the arts district. He remembers the first child to grace the roofs of Gotham, the acrobat's spring of his movements, the joy in his leap. But what he remembers most is that the boy always stopped on patrol to pat him on the head and to whisper, Cheer up, it's not that bad, before hastening on.
Kermit is a grinning frog with bulging eyes tucked into a corner where no one can see him, where no one could reach him without a grappling hook, some sculptor's personal joke. His memory is of a fire-haired girl who laughed when she came across him, a laugh of pure delight and surprise. She came by almost every night after that to scratch his head and plant a quick kiss on his snout. I don't think anyone knows you but me, she whispered to him once. You're my special secret. Only me. She stopped coming years ago, and Kermit doesn't know what happened to her. He waits for her in the cold Gotham rain, but she never comes back.
Quasimodo is a human figure with bat-wings, brooding out over Gotham. He is the first one to hold a memory, and his is of a young man in a cloak and cowl like shadows, stopping to crouch next to him in the fog on his first night patrolling. The man traced his webbed wings, his sad face. Sighing, he put an arm around the gargoyle's shoulders and looked out with him into the night, through the mist. Don't ever let me become a monster, he said softly, then added with a touch of humor, No offense, my friend.
The gargoyles of Gotham are made of unmoving stone, frozen forever. If they could, though, they would shake their marble wings and stretch their granite arms and lift voices like flint to the night sky of Gotham. They would sing to their protectors, their friends and guardians, a song of blessing and benediction. Be well. Be whole. Know thou art loved even as thou lovest.