Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 2, Part 2.3

Posted by harmony0stars on September 28, 2008

“Wondered when you’d come ’round. Got an envelope for you.” She started shuffling back down the hall without another word. Glory followed after, hugging her pack to her stomach. The old woman opened a door at the end of the hall and fished around on a table that must have been just inside the door before stepping back out. She eyed Glory curiously, before shoving the envelope into her hands. ‘For Glory’ was the only thing written on it. “If you hadn’t come today, I was goin’ t’ open it. He didn’t pay his rent for two months. Just disappeared. Didn’t even tell me he was gone or going. I could of rented the apartment out t’ someone else for two months. I ain’t no snoop, but I figure it’s been sitting for least two months waitin’ on you. When I went in, there was rotten food in the fridge, maggots! Ugh, what a smell! I changed the locks, sold the stuff I could. Rest, I threw away. Lot of broken furniture, big nasty stain on the rug. Had to replace it. He probably owed someone money or got a girl pregnant, had to leave town. This was in ‘is mailbox when I went t’ make sure t’was empty.” She looked Glory up and down, gauging whether she was homeless by her wardrobe. “If there were money in there, it’d be mine, but I held it up to t’ light so’s I know it’s just writin’. Not even a check. You don’t want to see the ‘partment, I don’t want you loitering in t’ halls.” She sniffed as if she could possibly smell an odor over her own miasma of cigarette smoke. Not even waiting for Glory to open the envelope, she turned back into the apartment and closed the door in her face.

Glory stared a the door and then at the letter in appall. Without waiting to see what was inside, she shoved it in her pocket and rushed through the hall, back to daylight. The heavy door slammed behind her as she stepped into the light and took a deep breath of autumnal air. She shivered, though she wasn’t cold, and walked quickly away. So many people seemed to enjoy wallowing in the misery of others, Glory had ceased to be surprised. That didn’t make it easier to endure. The more she interacted with people, the more she wished she could be a tree or wild cat, far, far away from people and their emotional vampirism.

She walked, hunched over with her arms wrapped around herself. Where was Aaron? Had he left immediately after giving her the sword… without bothering to clean up the broken furniture or the food in the fridge? That seemed irresponsible even for Aaron, and surely if he had intended to leave, he would have told her so as she left. Tears welled up in her eyes. If something had happened to him, it was another death on her head. First her mother, now Aaron, and it was her fault. There was no way of knowing what else Lori had done or would do before Glory found her. The thought weighed heavily on her heart. If she had only taken steps to stop her sooner…. It was her fault Lori now had her book, a tool that could raise her viciousness to a whole new level. Glory might as well have killed their mother herself, and the fate of anyone else who was harmed by her sister was also her responsibility.

As she walked, her hand occasionally strayed to the pocket with the letter, but she didn’t want to read it in public. She didn’t want people to see her if she cried. Just because the envelope had been in his mailbox, didn’t mean Aaron had put it there. Anyone could have put it there after getting rid of him. It could just be her sister gloating about the whole thing or offering a trade, and here the letter had sat for months in that nasty old woman’s apartment. If that were the case, he was long dead. Finally she stopped thinking about anything and just walked. It was her only defense against hysterics. She slipped into a most soothing state of oblivion as her feet continued to carry her through the city.

The sky was beginning its vivacious descent into darkness as she arrived back at the park. If someone had asked, she could not have told them where she had been that day. She felt weary to the bone, but not tired, never tired, despite the cold and her long circuitous trek through the city. There were still a few people about in the park, heavily bundled and hurrying to get home before darkness and the temperature fell. She felt under dressed in her sweatshirt and jeans, but no one looked at her askance. Something about being homeless made people’s eyes slip right over her. As she wandered into the wilder margins where she had hidden her few meager possessions, somewhere a dog yelped. Stepping through the underbrush, she noted that the leaf litter in the shade was already covered in dew and would probably frost tonight.

Something was rushing through the underbrush, getting closer. Leaves crunched under its feet and the huff, huff of its breathe grew louder the closer it came. Glory paused and strained her eyes in the gloom beneath the trees. It was already very dark, though most of the trees were bare. It sounded like whatever was running through the trees was right on top of her though. Unsure of whether to run or hide, she stepped around the tree and right into the path of a huge, shaggy dog. Both of them were bowled over by the impact. Close on its heels came two men in black military dress, rifles in their hands.

“What the heck do you think you’re doing to my dog?” Glory queried in an irritable tone, climbing to her feet. She stepped over the cowering animal to confront the men.

“Lady, that ain’t your dog,” replied the man in the lead.

“You may be right, but I’m pretty sure no one’s going to care about that if they see a bunch of men carrying rifles in this very public park.” She nodded toward a break in the trees just as a huddled couple walked past. They didn’t look, but there was no reason to believe they would not if Glory chose to cry out. “Maybe I should scream?” she asked even as the men began to back off, disappearing into the deepening darkness.

“Yeah, I thought not,” she muttered, turning toward the dog. It better resembled a wolf than a dog, and it had certainly seen better days. Its matted fur barely concealed its wasted form. It whined fearfully at her as she crouched and held her hand out, but made no move to sniff her or run. “Well, I guess you better come with me… or not.” She shrugged. “Your choice, puppy. Probably safer for the night at least.”

It struggled to its feet as she turned away and stood looking into the darkness where the men had disappeared, its nose twitching. Then it staggered after her. She threw her blanket over it as it settled into a pile of leaves nearby. It flinched, but hardly seemed to have the energy to do more than that. “Sorry I don’t have any food for you.” She sat down in the knobby roots of an ancient sycamore not too far away from where the wolf lay, but far enough away that it wouldn’t feel crowded. By all appearances, it was already asleep. That was good. It looked like it needed it.

Protective sigils ringed her camp, carved into the trunks of nearby trees. It was one of the first things she’d done, not that it would keep anything away specifically. More like if something came along, it was more likely to keep moving without really noticing her. If it did take notice to her, she’d know about it long before she could see it in the darkness. So far, all it had alerted her to was a slightly deranged homeless man who’d probably intended theft. It seemed in addition to the protective sigils, an “invisibility” tattoo didn’t hurt either. He’d looked right at her, shuffled around the little stand of trees at length, and finally gave up after about an hour. It was getting too cold to wander around in the dark park trying to mug homeless girls.

She had not built a fire since taking up residence in the wild copse of sycamore trees and didn’t intend to unless she proved susceptible to frostbite. The gnarled roots of the largest tree formed a natural bowl which she opted to use as her bed. She didn’t really believe that frostbite would be an issue. So far the elements had done more to her clothes than her health and she doubted that would change. Glory supposed she should be grateful, but she found her immunity to the cold as disturbing as her lack of hunger.

to Book 2, part 2, page 4

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7 Responses to “Tattoo Book 2, Part 2.3”

  1. faith said

    I came across your webnovel as I was blog hopping and sure did I stop! I was hooked and finished until here. Can’t wait to read the next one. I wonder what happened to Aaron.

  2. harmony0stars said

    Thanks! I’m glad you’re enjoying the story.

    I’m not going to give anything away though. You’re just going to have to wait and see! 😉

  3. Alderin said

    She … didn’t read the letter yet? *ANGST*

    Those sigils and symbols she uses makes ME want her notebook, if only for the protective aspects.

    Oh goodie! Glory has a new pet werepuppy! Talk about having a trick! hehe

    Great stuff! Can’t wait for more.

    *HUGS*

  4. harmony0stars said

    At some point I do want to start posting some of the symbols she uses. I actually have several diagrams of the symbols on her body. I just have to find the time. I mean, I haven’t even posted my version of New York (Sybar City) like I said I would.

  5. Miladysa said

    Another great chapter 😀

  6. goregirl said

    A thoroughly enjoyable read…Can’t wait to meet Lori!

    • I’m glad you’re enjoying it. Unfortunately, Lori is sneaky. Glory just got her first somewhat solid lead on her sister, and we’re in Chapter 8. Apparently, she’s not as stupid as Glory thought, or at least not as shortsighted. I know what Lori’s up to, but Glory hasn’t a clue. Believe me, it’s Killing me not to already be at that point in the story!

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