Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 1, Part 2.2

Posted by harmony0stars on June 22, 2008

Aaron was right of course. Aside him, she didn‘t have a friend in the world. Whatever the police might think, Aaron had not been her first choice in terms of living arrangements. The first person she had turned to was Mrs McIntyre. Even as Aaron had pulled her from her burning home, the fire trucks could be heard in the distance. After all was said and done between emergency medical personnel and the questions of the police, it had been nearly thirty-six hours before she was free to seek a place to stay. Aaron had waited for her and offered his home, but she had insisted that Mrs McIntyre would take her in. Mrs McIntyre was practically a second mother to her.

Of course, by the time they arrived at Mrs McIntyre’s home, the story was all over the news, including speculation on Glory’s miraculous survival. They made it sound like she was a suspect with the full support from the police who “refused to give details,” but insisted that they had no “other” suspects in the case. They also made it sound as if maybe Glory had done something with Lori’s body as well, that they simply hadn‘t found it in the rubble yet. Mrs McIntyre wasn’t at home when they got there, but she arrived shortly thereafter… in a police car. After spending four hours at the police station herself, having been brought in for questioning as the last person who had seen Glory the previous night, she made it quite clear that Glory was not welcome in her home or at her place of business.

It had been difficult for Glory to keep herself from crying. Everything seemed to swim in front of her eyes as the only person in the world she trusted pretty much repudiated her in font of the police. In all the years she’d worked for Mrs McIntyre, she’d always assumed that they were as much friends as employer and employee. She finally closed her eyes, just trying to focus on breathing. When someone put an arm around her and began to lead her away, she didn’t bother to open her eyes to see who had taken charge of her. Glory must have fallen asleep though… when she finally came back to herself, Aaron was opening the car door. She was pretty sure he would have carried her up to his apartment if she hadn’t gotten up of her own volition and stepped away from his outstretched hand.
It seemed so unreal how swiftly her life had fallen apart.

She walked through town, and it felt good to be moving. Sitting alone in his apartment only gave her time to dwell on her numerous shortcomings. She should have destroyed the book years ago, but its existence gave her purpose… it gave her an identity of her own, separate from her family. She was a scholar. It might not be a choice that was much respected in the world, but she didn’t care. It was enough that it fulfilled her and uplifted her in a way that interaction with others did not. On some deep visceral level, it also gave her a kind of malicious glee to have something her sister wanted. It made her happy to know that of all the things Lori seemed to get just by pouting, she couldn’t get Glory’s book.

From a young age, they’d both had an interest in the supernatural, but while Glory spent her time in study, Lori went looking for cheap thrills in haunted houses. As she got older, she’d get excited over the details of grisly murders in the news and go out of her way to visit such sites. She hooked up with guys who claimed to be Wiccans and when that didn’t satisfy her, she went after the Satanists or the self-styled vampires. Glory had stopped paying attention to the crowd Lori hung with years ago, but if there was one thing the sisters had in common, it was their attention to detail. Glory may have stopped paying attention to Lori’s habits, but Lori was by nature a social being. She was well aware of Glory’s routine.

They were fifteen when Lori started badgering Glory to let her look at her book. By then, Glory was well aware of her sister’s lifestyle and cruelty not only to herself, but others. She refused, and their mother for once, did not immediately try to force Glory to comply. At the time, her “book” was little more than a notebook which her mother probably considered to be something like a diary. If nothing else, she respected her daughter’s privacy and would not let her other daughter infringe upon that. As the years had gone by and the book had grown, Lori’s requests had tapered off, but she had never stopped trying to get a look at it. On several occasions, Glory had found her sister rummaging through her things when she came home from school and later, from work. It was never really an issue until the book became too unwieldy to carry around any more. By that time, some of the things Glory had put together were definitely not for her sister’s capricious nature. She’d had to find places to hide it where Lori would not look. Glory had no illusions as to what kinds of rituals her sister would look for if she ever managed to look in the book for more than a few seconds.

She felt sick. The doctor who sewed up her cuts had warned that the smoke inhalation might cause nausea, but she rather suspected it was guilt. One of the last entries to her book had been a speculative essay on golems, possession, and the possibility of returning a body to life once the original soul was gone. It was obviously something her sister had put to good use with their mother. Her stomach cramped up as she thought of the symbols carved into her mother’s forehead.

As she walked, Glory had been unaware of where exactly her feet were taking her. Now she looked up and noticed what part of town she was in. She had been there only weeks before. It was not a good part of the city by most people’s standards, full of immigrants who congregated in cheap tenements along an old canal that stank like an open sewer. They spoke together in low tones in their own languages, indifferent to the scorn outsiders showed them for their strange customs and beliefs. Glory had only one interest and that was knowledge. She scorned no one.

She continued walking until she came to the tattoo parlor where she had bounced some of her theories off the old man who owned the place. She would not have been surprised if someone had told her that he was 60, 80 or 100. Glory had not even been able to place his culture when she first met him. Though he spoke perfect, unaccented English, he looked to be Maori or some other Islander by his facial tattoos. At the same time, he wore robes which were distinctly oriental, if a bit worn and frayed at the cuffs. At first he had been abrupt and impatient with her inquiries. Along his walls and in binders were the pictures of tattoos you’d expect to see in any tattoo parlor. He told her to look through the books until she found what she wanted done. It had taken her the better part of an hour to explain her interest in tattoos was scholarly, that she was more interested in the mystical origins of tattoos than getting “inked” herself. Even once he’d grudgingly accepted her explanation, it had taken her weeks to win him over to the point that he was comfortable talking to her. He was so used to the arrogance of young people looking for a “cool tat,” that he had long ago ceased to care about his clients and their reasons. They kept him fed by their patronage, but they came because he was the best, not because they respected the art or the history behind it.

As she pushed open the door, Glory wondered if he had a TV or read the newspapers… if he would reject her as Mrs. McIntyre had.

to Book1, part 2, page 3

2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 1, Part 2.2”

  1. Alderin said

    A mystical tattoo for the mystical scholar?
    An old tutor for shelter?
    An inky place to hide?

    And what does she have against Aaron, besides the fact that everything about him is a bit too convenient and a little suspicious?

    Good stuff Candace. Can’t wait for more.


  2. harmony0stars said


    Everything about Aaron *is* too convenient and suspicious, but I’ll say no more.

    Glory’s just misanthropic in general; she’s got no *specific* objections to Aaron. 😉

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