Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 2.3

Posted by harmony0stars on August 10, 2008

Glory started her rounds as soon as the sun came up. The families were scattered throughout the city, and the ten dollars the woman had given yesterday came in handy as she wandered from house to house. That all the children seemed to have been born within the city limits was as suspicious to Glory’s mind as the fact that they shared the same birthday. They had even been born in the same hospital which explained how they might have been targeted, but not why.

The families had no clues. They were much as she had expected. Mothers, fathers, siblings… one and all scared and shaken by their loss. Though it seemed cruel, she felt it was her duty to tell them what she knew, both of the circumstances of their children’s disappearances and of the police’s seeming disinterest in the case. Most of them were outraged.

Most of them.

The last child on her list had been living in a foster home before his disappearance. Before she could even knock on the door it was yanked open by a thin, sour-faced woman. She glared suspiciously at Glory before demanding to know who she was and what she wanted.

“I- my name is Glory. I’m here about the disappearance of Robert…”

“You don’t look like a social worker,” she said bluntly.

“I’m not. I…”

“Don’t look much like a cop either.”

“I’m not… I’m helping out some of the families who…”

“I don’t have time to worry about every foster kid that runs off.” She spat coldly.

Glory frowned. The woman’s attitude was both belligerent and defensive. “So… a lot of the kids you foster run away then?”

She regretted it as soon as she said it. If looks could kill, and according to her research they sometimes could, Glory would have been nothing but a cinder on the front step. She was glad she had several tattoos to deflect the evil eye as the woman slammed the door in her face.

“That could have gone better,” she muttered to no one in particular. She was sure this woman was not just indifferent though. She was somehow involved, and she would find out how. Not all of her tattoos were for defense. Some where to enhance any psychic ability she might have. Sooner or later she was going to have to trust her instincts, and her instincts were telling her that this woman had something to hide.

Glory waited at the door for a few seconds as if unsure what to do, then turned with a shrug and walked down the sidewalk. As soon as she was sure she was out of sight, she quickly darted around the house and looked for some way in. Some of her tattoos were supposed to bolster her intuition. Others were good for opening locked doors.

Or windows.

She pushed on a cellar window, and it opened at her touch. Had it been open all along and she’d just gotten lucky, or were her tattoos really that good? Glory had no way of knowing, but took it as provident either way. She wiggled her way inside, getting absolutely filthy in the process. Not that sleeping in the park was so hygienic.

Each time the steps creaked as she inched her way to the cellar door, she expected the door to fly open. But she could hear the woman shouting and hoped she was too enraged to pay attention to the house ‘settling.’ She stopped on the top step, her ear pressed to the door. It wasn’t hard to follow the one-sided phone conversation.

“I don’t care how much money you’ve already given me. I was ready to deal with the cops and social workers, but now I have some weird girl asking questions.” A pause then, “Well how should I know? She looked too young to be a social worker, too old to be a girlfriend. Look! Just tell your boss I want more money. Tell her! I know she can afford it.”

Glory sat at the top of the stairs, her heart sinking as she listened. People had always found a way to disappoint her, but outright cruelty, such self-serving malice… it made her sick. It reminded her so much of Lori. She wanted to open the door and shake the woman until she told her where the children were. But she knew that would never work.

People like this woman would never cooperate unless they had something to gain from it. Unfortunately, she had nothing to offer.

“Fine, fine!” The woman grunted. “I’ll be here. Just bring the money, and I’ll keep my mouth shut… you toadying little maggot,” she hissed. Glory assumed that the line was dead by the time she said the last, but considering the woman’s character, maybe not. She leaned against the door, miserable with the knowledge that she was helpless until she found out where the children were being kept. All she could do was sit and wait for the mystery gopher to show up with ‘more money’ and hope that she’d be able to follow him or her to the children.

Time passed with no more sounds from the house. Gradually Glory drowsed, entering an old and familiar dream. She’d had it so often in her life, it was more fantasy than dream though it always quickly unraveled at the end. Why she would choose to relive such a horrible ‘fantasy’ always eluded her, but it was the first thing to come to her mind whenever she closed her eyes.

She’d never seen her father’s face. She couldn’t even remember if he had ever been a part of her life. That had never stopped her from thinking about him, of fantasizing about a childhood where she was cherished and loved and her mother and sister never intruded. Funny though; in her dream, she always had that awful bob cut her mother had gifted her with on her sixth birthday to match Lori’s. The moment she thought of that haircut, the tone of the dream always changed. Why a haircut should make her father angry, she had no idea. There were never any words spoken, but his attitude was one of disappointment and shame.

And then he walked away.

She woke to the sound of someone crying and was dismayed to find it was herself. Or so she thought, but a whimper came from the other side of the door and then a short scream as something thudded into the wood. She was indecisive for only a moment. If she tried to help, she might lose her chance to help the children… The next instant though, she had turned the knob and thrust her weight against the door, only to find it blocked from the other side.

There was a surprised cry; one more blow thudded through the door frame. Then she heard someone run through the house and an outside door slam. She pushed against the door again. It slowly opened as the body slumped in front of it slouched to the side.

to Book 2, page 4


5 Responses to “Tattoo Book 2.3”

  1. Alderin said

    Body? A child’s body or the worthless, selfish, money-grubbing, cruel, self-serving (yet only real lead) foster parent’s body?

    Do you eat angst like Theron Gibbons? I hope mine tastes good. 😛

    Wonderful story, can’t wait for more, as usual. 🙂


  2. harmony0stars said

    lol My characters have so many issues their issues have issues. You’ll just have to wait until Sunday to see whose body she found.

    I hope your move went well BTW.

  3. Alderin said

    Not much of a move, just two loads of clothes (in the same carry-on, took it back empty) and a laptop. I don’t know which way to hope about this job going permanent. It is beautiful out here, and I love my job (and it’s been YEARS since I could say THAT), but the cost of living is through the roof and moving the family across the country is a major major ordeal.

    If it doesn’t go permanent, I might be able to find a similar position, or even a higher position, where my family is already living, and maybe I’ll love that job, too. So I don’t know.


  4. Miladysa said

    Something I noticed:

    “or we her t”

    *rushes on to the next part*

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