All three of them turned and stared. The gargoyles had suddenly stopped the attack. They stood stock still.
“She’s very good,” whispered Phlebotomous to Sir John.
The grey haired woman who had been seemingly holding back the horde looked puzzled and went up to a gargoyle. She flicked its nose experimentally and it flinched but didn’t move. She then tweaked another one’s nose, flicked a third’s ear and finally blew a raspberry in the face of a fourth. This one swore but didn’t move.
“I suspect this is something else,” said Sir John. “Madam. Madam…”
The woman came up to him and Phlebotomous and started talking French rapidly and excitedly. Her eyes flicked between the two of them and she seemed to be looking for something in their faces.
“Are you getting any of this,” said Sir John. “I think I heard something about the sea.”
From within the sack, Osvold started to speak French. The old lady looked perplexed and went over to the sack. She started to open it, but Osvold said something excitedly and she left it closed. She crouched down and talked to Osvold through the sack. She kept glancing at Phlebotomous and Sir John. Finally she walked over to Phlebotomous and hugged him tightly.
“Mon fils, mon fils,” she said happily.
“This is your mother?” said Sir John, sounding perplexed.
“I don’t think so,” said Phlebotomous. “My mother is shorter with blue eyes, around three hundred years older and dead.”
“Well… you know,” said Sir John, “people don’t always stay dead…”
“True,” said Phlebotomous. “But it’s rather tricky to put heads back on.”
Sir John decided not to pursue that line of enquiry. The sack containing Osvold hopped over to the woman smothering Phlebotomous and started to talk to her.
There was a sudden change in the gargoyle army. They all jumped back a few feet, then jumped up in the air. Then they crouched down for a while before standing up and holding out their arms. Then they turned around and hugged each other and finally the whole group turned away and headed towards Notre Dame.
“What in the world was that?” said Sir John. “Still… gift horses.”
Osvold spoke to the old woman again. She listened intently, laughed out loud and then went over to Sir John and held him tight. She looked into his face, winked and pinched his cheeks. Sir John looked horrified.
“Osvold, what did you say?” said Sir John. Phlebotomous leaned down as Osvold spoke.
“It seems Sir John that what passed previously was a misunderstanding. This is in fact your mother,” said Phlebotomous.
“I rather think not,” said Sir John looking down aghast at the woman. “My mother is from Surrey.”
The old woman stopped holding Sir John and looked serious. She drew a circle in the ground with her foot and closed her eyes. Expressions passed over her face as if she was asleep before her eyes opened again and she smiled broadly at Sir John.
Osvold tugged at Phlebotomous and the vampire leaned down.
“Oh,” said Phlebotomous. “My mistake. Not mother. Mother-in-law.”