Tattoo Book 7 part 3.5
Posted by harmony0stars on September 10, 2011
The thing, the hound, paused in its writhing. It didn’t appear to have eyes, or ears for that matter, but it raised a lump which quickly sloughed away to something like a dog‘s skull, ridged and yet somehow still undefined. The monster turned its head in the direction of Mike and Trevor, somehow homing in on their location. Glory raised her head as its attack stopped and cursed silently when she saw its focus had changed to her cousins.
Mike dropped his shovel and pulled his gun, firing two shots before Trevor knocked his arm away. If they made contact with the hound, it didn’t show it. The thing opened its maw, the flesh stretching and pulling like taffy to reveal a dark wound of a mouth, blacker than a stormy night. It’s howl set her teeth on edge, echoing as if from miles away rather than mere inches from her face.
It gathered itself, its tentacles snapping into its body as if springloaded. As it pulled away from the ephemeral barrier that protected her, its remaining limbs gelled into new shapes. Now more than just its head resembled a hound. Had she not known better, Glory would have thought the thing actually had a skeleton.
The hound had no eyes, no ears… Its head was all snout, its body cadaverous. Rapidly graying flesh hung from the long limbs like those of a greyhound. The beast leapt towards her cousins, following the trajectory of the bullets Mike had fired. Lanky bones provided a framework for skin and flesh that looked as if it might drip from its limbs with each step. She could have counted its ribs if she had so chosen.
“No straight lines!” Trevor shouted as he broke from Mike’s side, circling around to the right.
Mike stood still only a second before he broke and ran in the opposite direction. Unfortunately his was more of a zigzag pattern and the hound seemed drawn to him. Jack came over the hill and froze in place as he watched the thing gaining on Mike.
“You!” Glory shouted at the hound and pelted after it. “Stay away from my family.”
Mike tripped and fell with a shout, rolling down the incline. Before it could take advantage, Glory jumped at the beast with a snarl. It yelped as she fell upon it with clawed fingers which quickly unraveled into tentacles. The hound tried to abandon the shape it had adopted and drip through her grasp, but the longer it stayed on their plane, the less fluidity it seemed to have.
Her shield protected her, just barely. At such close proximity, it was reduced to a thin film just millimeters from her skin.
She hardly noticed.
The hound’s howls became almost panicked as she wound her arms around and around it, wringing it and crushing it as she did so. She was too angry to worry about Mike and Trevor seeing what she could become and too intent upon subduing the beast to care about her own safety. No, she was not going to let one more of her mistakes bite someone else in the butt. If taking responsibility for her actions meant becoming a monster, so be it. As she crushed the thing, she instinctively shaped it into a ball. The thing became smaller and smaller in her grasp, and it was only when it had been reduced to the size of a basketball that she realized it was shrinking. She continued to knead and crush the beast until it shrank to the size of a pea and then suddenly, it was gone.
Glory froze, her mind befuddled by the disappearance of the hound. She stared at the long flattened sheets that her arms had become, hanging far past her feet, black and flat like cut up tires. She looked around her at the ground for any sign that the hound was still anywhere to be found. It was only when she comprehended that somehow she had managed to send the thing back where it had come from that she realized how she must look to her cousins.
She caught her breath and looked up and around. Mike stood at the bottom of the hill looking up and Trevor stood halfway up the hill between her and Jack. “Don’t look! Don’t look at me!” she cried, turning and tucking her arms into her waist, bending nearly double to hide them from view.
“Well… crap,” Mike muttered in a dumbfounded voice.
There was silence after that as Glory concentrated on making her hands take on their proper shape and size. The wind sweeping over the hill was the only sound. She glanced up as she heard the crunch of gravel, but the boys were heading to where the stone was buried. It wasn’t hard to find. The site was still marked with the thing’s bluish-green slime, though it was quickly evaporating.
Glory struggled to control her thudding heart and ragged breaths. This was by far her worst transformation so far, and her arms weren’t going back as quickly as she would have liked. It didn’t help that she was ashamed and worried about what her cousins might be thinking of her. They’d no doubt seen horrible things in their line of work, heck Trevor had seen the black shadow things in the corridor. Her arms might be more fleshy, but there was no escaping the similarity when her hands had first become tentacles.
Crouching down with her arms still tucked against her stomach, Glory cried for the first time in a while, consumed with self pity. She hardly knew Mike or Trevor, but somehow the thought that they’d be repelled by her now drove her to tears. They were her family, however far removed. She wanted their respect… She wanted to be someone they were proud to call family, not some freakish tentacled thing.
to Book 7, Part 3, page 6