Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 2, Part 2.8

Posted by harmony0stars on November 2, 2008

“Little Eire…? That’s not too far from here. But why would you want to go there?” Some considered Little Eire to be the worst part of Sybar City, though there were other neighborhoods competing for the title. Back in the day when the Irish mob and the Italian mafia were competing for control of Sybar City’s underworld, there’d been a lot of gang wars from Little Eire right down to the tip of the peninsula. Once Midtown got respectable though, situated right between the two warring crime clans, things quieted down. There were rumors that both sides had been paid off. Though while the Irish settlers got the land, Little Italia got the money and spread through the city. Little Italia was a good place to go for food, but the Mafia wasn’t physically located there any more. The Irish mob had never really moved beyond its own borders.

Though the residents had mostly tried to clean up any overt criminal activity in the last twenty or so years, Little Eire still wasn’t the safest part of town. While it might be bigger than Little Italia, the residents were much more numerous and poor. Safe enough to travel in during the day. Not so much after dark. There were more murders in Little Eire after dark than in any other part of Sybar City.

“My dad said I should go to Little Eire. There’s a bar there for shifters… called Conall’s.”

“Cute name,” Glory replied, and Toby gave her a blank look. “Conall. It’s Gaelic. It means ‘strong wolf.'”

“Oh,” he said, flushing in embarrassment. Perhaps he felt it was something he should have known. Given the secretive nature of their existence, there were probably a whole system of codes by which the werewolves would identify each other when they needed help. Or maybe she’d just committed a social faux pas, bringing up his wolfish nature.

They continued their trek through the trees. Glory opted not to seek out one of the public paths, but to continue straight through to the other side of the park and follow Eighth Avenue into Little Eire. It’d be another hour though before they reached the street and at least that long again before they came to Little Eire. She hoped they’d reach their destination before nightfall for a variety of reasons, not least of which was Toby’s hunters. However they were tracking him, she didn’t want to spend too long in one spot or travel too openly in the deserted streets after dark.

Two canals hedged Little Eire in on both sides. They were still partially open to the air, paved over only once they reached Midtown. It was assumed they continued on underground right through to the neighborhood surrounding Graymalkin park and the East River, though no one had seen them in decades. The canals in Little Eire were often used as easy trash disposal. Rumors of “mole people” in the sewers probably added to the amount of offal tossed into the canals. No one wanted to irritate the area’s mythical subterranean dwellers, though they didn’t seem to worry about offending their neighbors’ noses with the stink of the canal. Their attitude was, ‘everyone else throws trash in the canals, so why should we stop?’ It was sad really because the canals could be lovely when they were properly taken care of. The canal that ran through Chinatown was actually very quaint, with several well-kept bridges in the Oriental style. They even hung paper lanterns from the bottom of the bridges when the weather was warmer.

Glory paused by a wild apple tree midway through their forest ramble, long enough for Toby to gather a few for the road. He didn’t object. The way he had polished off the bag of food the Moukoulises had given them led her to believe he was probably still hungry, even if he wasn’t complaining about it. About a half hour and an arm load of apples later, they reached Eighth Avenue and turned south. Dusk was still hours away, but the day was overcast and darkening. She wouldn’t have been surprised if there were snow flurries later.

It turned out that Conall’s Bar was very nearly at the center of Little Eire. The fact that the little side street alley where it was located between Ninth and Tenth Avenue was called Conally gave testament to the fact that the bar had probably been there a long, long time, even though it was situated in the basement of a grand old building in a genteel state of decay. There was no sign identifying it as a bar, only a plaque on the door reading ‘Conall’s.’ Glory could well imagine it as a speakeasy during the Prohibition. It was well kept though, the stairs were completely free of litter as she hopped down the steps and rapped on the door.

“Whadayawant?” demanded a huge man in biker’s leathers in an almost indecipherable drawl. He took a big sniff, and Glory doubted it was because she was homeless. “Private club,” he added almost as an after thought, as if he realized no one could understand his sloshed together words.

Toby pushed past Glory. “My dad sent us,” He announce as he stared the big guy down. It was almost funny to watch, as Toby was half the man’s size. The man took one short sniff and stepped aside to let Toby pass. Glory followed him in, though she did consider walking away. It wasn’t as if Toby would need her help much now that she’d gotten him back to his people. On the other hand, she’d promised to help, and there were still men hunting him and experimenting on his kind as if they were animals. Regardless of whether they could change into animals, Glory didn’t feel that was adequate reason to treat them like that’s all that they were.

The inside of the bar was a lot quieter than she would have expected. The quiet murmur of voices had ceased when they entered, and there was no music to mask its sudden cessation. Everyone in the room was looking at them. Months ago, it might have been enough to give Glory an anxiety attack to be the center of so much attention. Now she just stood where she was and waited. Toby seemed like a good kid, and if he said his people weren’t man-eating monsters, she was willing to trust him on that point.

As Toby approached the group gathered near the center of the room, an older man stepped away from the table and threw his arms around the boy. “Uncle Richard!” Toby cried in delight.

“Well, look what the cat dragged in. Toby… you’ve smelled better.” Richard said with a laugh. Everyone’s a critic, or maybe it was more than her dirty old clothes that offended their noses. Toby had, after all, been locked in what amounted to a cage for several weeks. “I was so relieved when your father called and told me you were on your way to us.”

“Uncle, this is Glory!” Toby said, leading his uncle to the door where Glory still stood. “She saved me from the soldiers.”

“Actually, I just made them see how badly things could go for them if they decided to press the issue.” Glory replied, slightly embarrassed. It wasn’t like she’d fought a giant furry toad creature or something.

“Still, there aren’t a lot of people who’d do what you did.” said Richard, taking her hand in his. “I got the story from my brother. And I’m sure there’s a lot Toby didn’t get to tell him.”

“Yeah, um… about that. Toby insists that there’s no way those guys could have followed him through the city, which leads me to believe they put some kind of tracking device on him… or in him, as the case may be. It’s probably not too safe to stay in one spot too long.”

to Book 2, part 2, page 9


5 Responses to “Tattoo Book 2, Part 2.8”

  1. Alderin said

    β€œPrivate club,”

    Morphs living in a world of small-nosed, scent-blind humans, all carrying an unrevokable “membership card” that no human can stumble across. Very well crafted. πŸ™‚


  2. Darkthorn said

    Excellent, as always. Keep writing πŸ™‚

  3. harmony0stars said

    Thanks πŸ™‚ Only a few more entries until the end of this chapter.

    Alderin, since you mentioned you’d like to see Glory’s tattoos in a previous comment, once this chapter concludes, I’ll be posting a short interlude depicting and explaining some of them in detail. The interlude will initially be posted just like the chapter entries here before moving to its permanent home in the index. Just a warning though. I’m am adequate artist, but I’m not great (at least IMO). So they won’t be anything spectacular.

    Of course, if anyone out there reading is interested, I wouldn’t object to some fan art (hint hint). πŸ˜‰

  4. Alderin said

    As tempting as creating fan art is for me, my attempts at graphical art are best described as utilitarian. Given enough time, I might be able to accomplish something worthwhile, but you’ll likely have retired by then. lol


  5. Miladysa said

    Fantastic πŸ˜€

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