Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 2, Part 2.4

Posted by harmony0stars on October 5, 2008

The sounds of increased traffic gave warning of dawn long before the sun’s rays wandered into the frost rimed copse. Glory uncurled from the hollow of the tree’s roots. Stretching, she climbed to her feet and stopped dead in her tracks. Where the wolf had lain the night before, a naked boy lay wrapped in the thin blanket. She supposed she shouldn’t be surprised after all the weird crap that she’d seen since meeting Aaron, but a werewolf… she sighed and snatched up her bag from the leaf litter. Pulling out her only change of clothes, she looked up again to see the boy was awake and watching her.

“Here.” She lightly tossed the clothes to him. “It looks like you need these more than me.”

He continued to stare at her a moment longer before reaching out one long, bony arm and drawing the clothes inside the blanket. She turned away and watched the trees for a few minutes. Glancing back, she saw he was dressed and standing with the blanket wadded up in his arms. It looked as though he’d like nothing better than to creep away into the shadows, but instead he stood trembling like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming car.

“Um, so… got a name?” Glory asked. She waited a few minutes, but he said nothing, just stared. He cringed slightly as she stepped closer but stood his ground.

“Oookay, I bet you’re probably hungry?” Carefully she took the blanket from his arms, folded it, and tucked it under a pile of leaves. “Well, come on… I don’t have any money, but I think I know someone who’ll feed you.” She set off at a brisk pace, every once in a while glancing back to see the boy trailing behind her through the park and into the city. He flinched whenever a car roared past them on the streets, but stayed within a few feet of her at all times. Stopping in front of an old Greek diner, Glory had her doubts about whether he’d follow her inside, but it wasn’t like she had too many alternatives.

The diner was run-down but well-loved, family owned and operated for three generations as the owner proudly announced whenever the subject came up and sometimes when it didn’t. She’d brought his little girl home and that was all that mattered to him. Though she should be happy to have saved the child, she couldn’t think of any of the children without thinking of the one who’d been eaten by that hideous toad god. Most of the families had been content to have their children back. They hadn’t bothered to seek her out. She really wouldn’t have known what to do if the family of little Nikki had come asking why she hadn’t saved their baby.

The Moukoulises had come to the park with food. They’d tried to give her money. They’d tried to make her come home with them and stay with them until she was “back on her feet.” Mary’s father had sworn she could come by any time for a free meal. She hadn’t yet taken him up on that offer, but she hoped he would extend the open invitation to her new companion.

It might not look like much from the outside, but inside the smells painted an entirely different picture. If she had still been in the habit of eating, her mouth would have been watering. She stepped into the warmth of the diner, holding the door open behind her. Just as she was about to let it go, the boy darted inside to stand furtively beside her.

The diner was crowded with many families in their Sunday best. Was it Sunday? She supposed it was. It was easy to lose track of the day when it didn’t matter any more. Glory glanced back at the boy as she avoided servers and heavy jackets hung from the coat hooks at the border of each stall. Had she made a mistake bringing him into the diner? His eyes were scrunched so tightly she wondered if he was following her by smell.

“Glory!” Arms enveloped her before she had time to register she was being embraced, or crushed rather, in a bear hug. Mr Moukoulis was a huge mountain of a man. He towered over most of his patrons and it amazed her that his exuberant displays never ended in broken plates… or bones. He was a very expressive talker, but he seemed to have a talent for not hitting things, or the people around him were just used to it by now.

“Orestes! You put her down this instant!” If Mr Moukoulis was large, his wife was a giant. She had a good foot on her husband but was somewhat more taciturn than her husband.

Glory’s feet were instantly returned to the floor. She blushed furiously as she tried to avoid the stares of the diner’s patrons. They weren’t hostile stares, but the last thing she wanted was attention. If Lori was looking for any targets, she didn’t want to bring her here. With a twinge, she remembered the envelope still in her pocket, but this was neither the time nor the place to read it.

While Mr Moukoulis was a hugger, his wife was a petter. She hurried out from behind the counter, wiping her hands on a dishtowel she threw over her shoulder. As soon as she was within arm’s reach, she let her hand graze Glory’s hair before coming to rest on her shoulder. She gently steered Glory towards one of the few empty seats at the counter.

“You are so thin! What will you eat? Whatever you want.”

“I… that is my friend is hungrier than I am… I wondered if….?” The boy seemed to shrink under their combined gaze.

“Oh! You poor boy! Sit, sit!” They swooped down on him like birds of prey, herding him towards the counter where he sat round-eyed and bewildered. In a matter of minutes, heaping plates were laid before them both. It was clear she was expected to eat and so she did. She didn’t want to give offense to the Moukoulises. The boy ate slowly at first, but quickly picked up speed. He began to wolf his food so quickly that Glory caught him gently by the wrist even as she moved all of the bacon, sausage, and ham from her plate to his with her other hand. He froze, though she had half expected him to bite her at the pace he’d been going.

“Slowly or you’ll be sick.” He took a deep breath and then let it out slowly. “Drink your milk too.” She added, and that won her the tiniest chuckle as he resumed eating, pausing only long enough to take a large gulp from his glass.

to Book 2, part 2, page 5

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One Response to “Tattoo Book 2, Part 2.4”

  1. Miladysa said

    I am really feeling the characters now – well done 😀

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