"The Scent of Rotting Roses," by Frank Wu, for the book Greetings from Lake Wu, illustrating the story by Jay Lake. Published by Wheatland Press.

Some of the illos for this book depict scenes from the stories; some are really "inspired" by the stories.  This one is a little of both.  Here we see the Vizier dropping a rose - a highly valued commodity in this story - from a high window.  The rose falls onto the street and people walk around it, like it's a dead body.  And that's pretty much all the description Jay gives.  Which scant description, of course, is an excuse for the Artiste to go nuts with the illo. 

I thought it would be fun if gargoyles grabbed at the rose as it fell from the window.  (Yes, I know, technically they're grotesques because gargoyles have water pipes in their mouths and grotesques don't.  But, well, don't get technical with me unless you want me to get technical with you back, ok?) 

Some of the gargoyles have designs inspired by my love for paleontology and biology.  The one in the lower right is a Hallucigenia from the Burgess Shale.  A mysterious creature from the Cambrian explosion unlike any alive today.  It has seven (!) pairs of spines and legs.  This is the one that so perplexed early paleontologists that they drew it upside-down.  Above it is a water bear, a weird creature about a millimeter long.  It can be seen in marsh water under the microscope, slowly lumbering up a stalk of moss on eight stubby little legs.  It's so weird it gets its own phylum (Tardigrada).  The fish gargoyles around the rose window are Bothriolepis.  This is a kind of placoderm (armored fish), and it was possibly the most common and successful fish in the late Devonian, the age of fish, 360 million years ago. 

The gargoyles aren't in Jay's story.  But because they're made of stone, they don't catch the rose.  So neither do they change the plot. So, um, yeah, they could have been in the story, right?  In the alternative version of this story in my parallel universe, the gargoyles are in the text.