Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 1.4

Posted by harmony0stars on May 25, 2008

“Well, you wouldn’t be interested,” she explained dismissively. “It’s really very boring to most people, but I like to study history, especially folklore and mysticism. I like to research old spells and magical formulae. It’s fascinating, like a puzzle to solve. I mean, when I was little I was always doing jigsaw puzzles, but I stopped when they became too big for me to do on the dining room table. I started doing word and logic puzzles then. But I always loved history too, and it seemed like historians and anthropologists just sort of skimm over anything to do with magic or Pagan theology. So I kind of combined my love of puzzles with my love of mysticism.”

“So… you study witchcraft? You’re, um… Wicca?”

“What? No…” she frowned, looking away and chewing on her lower lip. “I don’t want to do any spells or anything. I just study it. I’m a scholar.”

“Why bother? I could see if you wanted to try magic, but you’re not accomplishing anything by just reading about it. Seems like a waste of effort.”

Glory smiled at that. “I don’t just read it. I collect it and try to understand it. All the symbols and formulae from all the different systems, all the little rituals and techniques, historical references and esoteric correspondences. It’s like a secret language. I put it together and try to work my way through the code, like solving a cryptogram. Sometimes I come up with completely new patterns that I think could probably work and do new things that ancient magi never thought of… stuff on par with modern technology. I even worked up a charm that I think could be used for teleportation.” She paused, forcing herself to calm down, stop waving her hands in the air like an over excited idiot. In a more subdued voice, she added, “But it’s just for fun. I like figuring out a secret no one else will ever know.”

“So you don’t plan on sharing what you learn, huh?” He seemed honestly intrigued, making Glory feel more at ease with opening up and discussing a topic she’d never had the courage to share with another.

“No…. not ever,” she replied solemnly. “Some of it, most of it, probably wouldn’t be safe…. if it worked, which I think it would…” she stopped and glanced at him. “You know, I wouldn’t blame you if you thought I was nuts. You wouldn’t be the first.”

“Nah, everybody has their interests. Besides, there’s lots of people who would take you seriously. I mean, there’s a whole movement of people who would probably love to see your notes.”

She shook her head. “Have you ever wondered if maybe Einstein should have chucked his plans for nuclear weapons or what kinds of experiments really went on during the Cold War? I’d hate to think any of my theories could lead to the magical equivalent of an atom bomb or something worse than cancer. I can’t help but think that letting other people see what I’ve figured out would be a horrible mistake. Some might think it was a joke, but you’re right. Others might take it serious enough to try some of it out and that could be very bad for a lot of people. No…” she trailed off in a sad little voice, thinking of her sister, “I just don’t think people are responsible enough to play with magic.”

He smiled as if she had said something of rare intelligence, but frowned in the next instant. “So if it’s such a dangerous subject, why don’t you just stop? What if someone finds your notes? I take it you carry them around in that backpack of yours?” He gestured at her ratty green backpack lying at her feet. It was never far from her side.

“I- I can’t stop. It’s the only thing that interests me. If I stopped, I wouldn’t have anything to distract me any more. I know I have an addictive personality…. I get fixated on things. I’m just afraid of what kind of person I’d become if I didn’t have my studies. I think about how my sister is and it frightens me. It may not be a safe addiction, but it’s healthier than drugs or… or sex.” She blurted, blushing. “As for my notes, I do carry some in my pack, but I keep a book hidden. So long as I move it every so often, it’s safe… from people.”

“Huh… Lori was right,” He murmured under his breath.

“What? What did you say?” She stood up abruptly, knocking her chair over as she snatched up her bag. “You’ve been talking to my sister?”

“I, er… well, yeah. She said you were really nice and interesting, but you don’t get out enough. She said she was worried about you. You’re obsessed with weird books, is how she put it.”

“I n-need to get home Right Now!” Glory stammered. She hurried out the bar and set off at a jog towards home, the wind whipping her hair into her face.

Aaron quickly followed, embarrassed and disturbed by her reaction to his slip up. “Look, you shouldn’t be insulted or whatever. She was just trying to do something nice for you.”

Trembling with rage, she turned to face him. “If you know my sister at all, when have you ever known her to do something for anyone?” She was on the verge of tears. “We may be twins, but we have nothing in common. Lori doesn’t do anything nice unless she gets something out of it.”

He looked back towards his car. “OK, well, you can get home faster if you let me drive you.” Glory hesitated a moment before nodding, very close to tears. She said nothing more to him as they drove, though he had plenty to say. He seemed to feel a need to explain himself, as if doing so would comfort her in some way. “I met her in a bar, you know. She’s… well, she’s not the kind of girl I usually go for. Too pushy and ah… well, too interested in having a good time. There’s no… substance to her. I mean, she’s fun, but kind of boring too after a while. A really nasty temper too… but you probably know that…” he trailed off, glancing at Glory out of the corner of his eye. “So when I told her I wasn’t interested, she kind of had a fit about it. But then about a week later, she came up to me out of the blue and told me about you. She said she wanted to give you a surprise party, but it was hard to get you out of the house because you are always in your room when you’re not at work. She also said that you two were complete opposites. That much was pretty obvious the first time I saw you in the bookstore. Which really was a relief by the way. When she told me about you, I thought maybe she was trying some kind of weird psycho role-play thing…” he trailed off as he turned down her street.

As he came to a stop in front of her house, she leaped from the car. The building was dark and silent as she burst through the front door. At the bottom of the stairs, she paused. It was a little past eleven thirty, but the house should not have been so quiet. Even if her mother had gone to bed, the TV should still be on. Her mother always fell asleep with it on, and Glory was certain her sister was home. Why else get her out of the house? But there was no sign of life.

to page 5

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