Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 2, Part 2.10

Posted by harmony0stars on November 16, 2008

Glory noted the razor wire around the top of the fence as they marched her through the gate and pitied Toby all the more. All her life she had been alone and defenseless, but most of that had been because she chose not to defend herself, and she knew that now. She’d put a fence around herself and let others poke her with sharp sticks through its weave. Becoming aggressive would have made her too much like her sister in her mind and so she chose to be passive, to take what was dished out, all the while trying to let it slide off her back like water off a duck. She’d gotten angry so often, with herself as well as the people in her life who were supposed to love her, that it had all just turned to dust in her heart. She’d stopped caring about herself. Now here was someone else who had been just as helpless in his situation, and there’d been no one to help him either, but he hadn’t let that stop him from trying to get away, trying to get home. Now here he was going back to help others.

It burned her up with rage. Who were these men to treat others so badly? Who were they to think that they were better just because they were “normal?” She was coming more and more to realize that there was no such thing as normal, and there was no excuse for beating on someone because they were different. Everyone was different in the end, and the only animals she could see here were the men with the guns… men who’d just as soon turn on “their own kind” as they would those who were “different.”

She stumbled as the man behind her jabbed her in the back again with his gun, pushing her toward the open door of the complex. She felt Toby tense up, but before he could give away the game, she pinched him and felt him go limp again. They couldn’t afford a slip up now, or at least not until they were actually inside.

The men crowded into the doorway behind her, shoving her roughly. There was a room beyond the door, though not very large, just slightly larger than a mud room attached to a long hall that ended with another hall in the distance. She began to bend as she stepped into the room, as if Toby’s weight were finally getting to her. She didn’t want to just drop him on the floor from her shoulder, but she didn’t want to set him down too gingerly either and raise questions about why she would be so careful with someone she was trying to sell out.

“Hey!” said one of the men suddenly as he leaned in perhaps to snatch Toby up. “What is… Is that pizza sauce?” he asked incredulously. In the stronger light of the building, the ‘blood’ was obviously more orange than red.

“Right. Guess that tears it.” Glory announced to no one in particular as Toby ‘came alive’ in her arms, jumping at the nearest man and turning into a wolf even before he hit. Of course, clothes were not made for such contortions, and they were shredded within the first ten seconds. She winced at the unintentional pun. Though most of the men focused on Toby, reaching for their weapons if they did not already have them out, some of them did turn towards her as if expecting her to transform as well. “Sorry guys. I’m just me. I don’t do any tricks… or well I do have one.”

Glory flung her right arm wide as if she were on a game show gesturing toward a brand new car. As she did, she half closed her hand and the flaming sword extended suddenly like a glowing extension of her arm. Their eyes tracked the sword, dumbfounded. They didn’t even bother trying to aim their guns as they watched her swing the sword back like the conductor of a marching band. She knew she had no skill with the thing, so it was a good that they were so mesmerized by the light.

She swung at the man closest to her and the sword passed through his torso without resistance. It was in fact just like waving around a pretend sword that everyone could see. Even in her hands, it was completely weightless. Still, the man she lashed out at went down like a ton of bricks. There was no mark on him, and his clothes were not even cut from the passage of the sword, but he reacted just as if he had been hit by the real thing. He gave one twitch and then lay there staring up at the ceiling sightlessly. She swung at a second man with similar results. No injuries, but he was just as dead when he hit the floor. The third man brought his arm up instinctively to block her and shrieked as the sword passed through it. Screaming, he clutched the limb with his good hand while the other one dangled limply from his wrist.

The fourth man and the one who had been behind her, prodding her with his gun all the way to the building, brought his rifle up but did not have the forethought to pull the trigger. Instead, he used it as a shield and miraculously, the sword hit it and rebounded. Perhaps it’s the density of the metal, she mused even as he seemed to regain his senses enough to actually aim the gun at her. Of course, they were pretty close and her sword gave her a longer reach. He might have been better off trying to club her with his weapon. She lashed out with her leg, kicking him in the shin before swinging the sword at his head. He went down wordlessly and she stepped over him to take down the man who was kneeling on the floor still clutching his useless arm. On second thought though, she drew the sword back into herself and clobbered him with her fist instead. It wasn’t a terribly good hit, but it shut him up and laid him out on the floor with his fellows all the same. She wasn’t sure why she did it aside from a feeling that they might need him later. Maybe it was just that she didn’t want to kill a person in cold blood. He may have deserved it, but he wasn’t hurting anyone as he sat on the floor screaming his head off over his arm.

There was a lot of blood on the floor where Toby had taken down his attackers, but she’d be willing to bet none of it was his. She tried not to look too closely at the mess. Not one shot had been fired inside the building, though she thought she’d heard some outside. There was only silence now. Glory knelt next to the unconscious guard. Pulling his belt from his pants, she pulled his arms behind him and cinched it tightly around his wrists.

She heard the sound of claws clicking against the floor and turned to see an odd assortment of animals, three wolves, a bear, a cougar, what may have been a coyote… or maybe a dingo, and what she was pretty sure was a very large wolverine. Toby was obviously one of the wolves as he was smaller than the other two, but beyond that, she wouldn’t have been able to say who was who even if she’d known all of the men before their transformation. She suspected the cougar was Hart though. It was just a hunch, but he seemed to be in the lead. One of his legs was covered in drying gore, and the way he held it off the ground, it must be injured to some degree. Wouldn’t a cop put himself before the ‘civilians’ to take the brunt of anything that came at them? At least, she supposed if she were a cop, that’s how she’d do it. She did hope that the two missing members of their little pack were just waiting in the woods and watching to make sure no one came at them from behind.

Glory approached the group cautiously, unsure of what they could understand and how much they could communicate in these forms. “I can heal you, I think, if you’ll let me.” She offered, holding her hand out. The cougar gave her an odd look, and certainly if he’d been in human form he’d probably have questioned her sanity, but it seemed in this form, at the very least, they couldn’t talk. He just gave an odd kind of roll of his head, half curious, half what she assumed was the feline equivalent of a shrug.

Kneeling by his side, she laid her hands on the injured leg, willing him to be whole as she had once willed a woman to live. She felt the same odd surge like an electrical shock going through her. For a moment, she felt wobbly before returning to ‘normal,’ whatever that was, and she stood up. The cougar made a sound like a grunt as he tested his leg out. If he’d been wearing a more human form, he might have told her not to bother. It would heal in a matter of hours or he’d be dead and it wouldn’t matter, but it was good to feel whole again and ready to face whatever they might meet in the bowels of this slaughterhouse.

The wolverine sniffed at the bound guard and snarled. The man gave a frightened whimper, having regained consciousness at some point. “Don’t!” she yelled, “we may need him.”

They might not be able to speak in their animal forms, but they could make themselves understood just fine. Spitting, the wolverine turned its back on the man and waddled toward the hall. The cougar, Hart, she was sure of it now, padded over to the bound man. His sniff was greeted with more crying.

“Oh stop it.” she snapped, already tired of his sniveling. What did he want after all? He should be grateful he was alive considering the company he kept. She stepped back to his side, carefully avoiding the bodies and the blood, and pulled him to his feet from behind.

He was mumbling to himself between whimpers. She could just make it out. “I can’t feel my arm. What did you do to my arm?” was repeated every so often. He sounded more dazed than in pain and certainly less afraid of the shapeshifters than he was of her, probably because she was an unknown. They’d been keeping and killing the shapeshifters for months.

“Be good and do as I say, and I may fix it for you.” she said, gently stearing him after the others. Hart had already returned to the forefront of the pack, leading them as they cautiously crept down the hall.

to Book 2, part 2, page 11

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 2, Part 2.10”

  1. Miladysa said

    😀 Love the way this is going!

    The ‘pop ups’ I mentioned earlier are snapshots? I can’t seem to switch them off – I have tried. I’m not sure what their point is but they are annoying LOL

    • harmony0stars said

      Well, since you’re not the first person to complain about the popups, I got rid of them. Well, I think I got them all at any rate. No more popups. Honestly, I’m just a big nerd. I figured other nerdly people would appreciate the links and that it emphasized Glory’s nerdiness too. Ah well….

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