Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 2.6

Posted by harmony0stars on August 31, 2008

Glory came to an abrupt stop at the edge of a small clearing. Somehow she’d gotten turned around in the dark. Little fingers and hands poked through the barred window of a small metal box, well small for over a dozen children. That window and a slot at the base of the door provided the only ventilation. In the summer, something like that would have been hellish. Even at this time of year with relatively cool temperatures, it must have been as bad as any concentration camp. Some of the children had been missing for weeks.

She fell to her knees by the door as the children spotted her and began begging for their freedom. A thick wooden bar was firmly wedged in place, and it took all her strength and leverage to force it up. The children crawled free of their prison, twelve in all. They stood together, most of them staring and hollow cheeked from their captivity.

“Do you think you can get everyone out of these woods and to the police?” She addressed one who seemed most aware. They’d probably been drugged to keep them quiet during the day. He looked to be the oldest, probably the missing foster child.

“They still have Nicky,” he said, his tone dull though his eyes were becoming more alert by the moment.

“Get out of here. I’ll worry about Nicky.” He nodded after a moment, he and the other older children gathering the younger ones together.

“If you… um, get stuck in the woods, turn your clothes inside out,” she whispered after them.

They didn’t even pause or look back as they stumbled into the trees. Maybe they didn’t hear her… or maybe they were just too traumatized to worry about how crazy she sounded.

Glory crept through the underbrush towards the bonfire as quietly as she could, cringing with every snapped twig. Between the darkness and the mist, the ground might well have been nothing more than wishful thinking and she’d never have known it. Still, she made it to the larger clearing without the old sorceress looking up. As Glory watched, the old woman as much drop as slammed the struggling child into the ground with as much force as she could muster, which thankfully was not much.

“About time you got back here, you worthless son of Yig.” Tacita hissed without looking around. Glory raised the branch to strike even as the woman plunged the dagger towards the stunned child. Glory choked on a scream, but Tacita only drew the blade across his palm, raising a thin line of blood. “Great Tsathoggua! Accept the first of tonight’s sacrifice!” She thrust the child away from her so that he lay sprawled in the dirt before the idol. There he whimpered as Glory stood frozen in shock.

Had the statue… moved? Was its loathsome grin… slightly wider?!

Shuddering, she tried not to look at the statue as she raised the tree branch higher to bludgeon the kneeling woman. Normally, she’d have had a big problem with hitting a little old lady with a tree branch, but she’d make an exception for a nasty old heiress who locked children in metal boxes. Before the branch could even pick up speed though, a long glistening tongue shot from the hairy toad god’s gaping mouth, wrapping around Glory’s only weapon and yanking it from her grasp.

Spinning around, Tacita made a sound, half growl and half scream of rage. “I do no know how you bested my servant, girl, but there will be time enough to punish him once I have dealt with you. You should have minded your own business.”

“I don’t suppose you’d believe me if I said I was just looking for my sister…?” Glory fell back as Tacita lunged at her with the sacrificial dagger. She only just managed to get her foot between them. The dagger came perilously close to her belly before she managed to thrust the lunatic away with her feet. The woman weighed hardly anything at all, but what she lacked in weight, she made up for with insane, wiry muscle.

“Honestly…” she panted. “This is just the kind of sick crap she’d get up to.” The witch landed on her butt in the dirt near the tree line and stared at Glory in surprise. She was obviously used to a lot more respect and/or fear. Glory was honestly surprised she’d managed to kick her so far. Teeth from her macabre necklace littered the ground around the stunned sorceress and slowly slipped from the broken twine. “So… have you?” Glory asked, raising an eyebrow, all the while inching closer to the knife that lay between them.

“Have I… what?” she all but growled, slowly coming to her senses. Glory had tried to maintain eye contact, but now Tacita looked away from Glory’s face and down toward her reaching hand.

“Seen my sister, you old hag!” Glory hissed as she dove for the blade. Her hand closed over the hilt even as the woman reached for it.

“What’re you going to do with the knife, girl? I’m a friggin sorceress!” she snarled.

“Dunno… what do you think someone in my position would do at this point?” Glory queried, not really waiting for an answer before leaping forward.

The knife met with no resistance. The witch was gone and the dagger shuddered in the earth where she had been only moments before. Glory stared at the hilt sticking up from the cold earth in shock. Too late, she heard the scuff of a foot behind her.

Hands encircled her throat, trying to squeeze the life out of her. She tried to pull the fingers away, but they might as well have been granite for all the good it did her. Tacita chuckled maniacally as she began to drag Glory back towards the center of the clearing and her living idol.

“Did you expect me to sit still, girl? To wait for the killing blow? This isn’t the first time I’ve had to deal with meddling busy-bodies like yourself! I’ll have to start a new necklace with your teeth.” The woman hissed, digging into Glory’s throat with her sharp, manicured nails. Apparently her tattoos had no effect on a human, even one who’d given up any right to be considered human. “Oh no! I’ve been around a few times.” She grunted with effort as she pulled Glory along, inch by painful inch. Glory didn’t make it easy for her and more than once she gained a few inches of her own, but Tacita was abnormally strong despite her withered frame. Why had she not been able to control a two year old infant? Perhaps now that she had summoned the essence of her god into the idol, she was stronger. No doubt she could have killed Glory outright if that had been her desire, but just as she had labored so long to hold the child still just to cut his hand, the end she had planned for Glory would not be so swift as simple strangulation.

Glory was certain the ground shook as something heavy struck the ground somewhere behind her, or was it only the thudding of her heart as she struggled to be free that made her think that something, something tremendous had begun to unwind itself from its rocky perch. The child’s cries had suddenly been cut short and a sickening slurping, crunching sound could be heard over Glory’s pounding heart. She gasped and kicked out as she fought for breath, her heels making long furrows in the dark earth. She could hear her blood in her head like a sea shell held to her ear, but the old woman’s fingers were like iron. There was no loosening them.

Even as her sight began to dim, Glory heard a horrendous CRACK! For a moment, she thought her neck had finally snapped, but and instant later, she was free and gasping in the dirt. What happened?

to Book 2, page 7


One Response to “Tattoo Book 2.6”

  1. Miladysa said

    I hope the toddler is safe!

    Something I noticed:

    “as much drop as slammed”

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