Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 3.6

Posted by harmony0stars on February 15, 2009

A warm front had moved in overnight, causing a flash meltdown of residual snow from the last storm. The result was a thick, clammy mist which hugged the streets and remaining patches of grainy ice like a bloodhound on a scent. It was difficult to see to the sidewalk, let alone down the street.

Glory could just make out the shape of the car where it was parked, but could no longer see if there was anyone inside. They decided that she would go out and confront the men in their car, and after a few minutes Gozala and Mike would slip out the still open door in an attempt to get to their car. If there was anyone watching from the neighboring houses, it was unlikely that they would be able to see much of what was going on, if anything. Hopefully Gozala and Mike would be able to get away while their nearest pursuers were distracted.

Glory stepped down the stairs lightly, making a beeline for the car. The occupants didn’t seem to notice her until she was nearly on top of them, and then there was a flurry of activity. Not that they made any attempt to start the car, but someone was definitely searching for something as she approached the passenger side door. For a moment she was worried they might have guns, but as she got closer and could see more easily through the fog, she saw the passenger pull out a star-shaped item and hold it shield-like as he cringed behind it.

Leaning down, she rapped on the window with her knuckle to get his attention. She was dismayed to see that only the passenger was in the car and hoped that the driver wasn’t any place where he might screw up the plan. Several seconds went by before the man opened his eyes and looked at her warily. She raised her eyebrows and wiggled her fingers in a friendly, if ironic, wave, as if to say, “you’re acting like a loon, friend.” He bit his lip but seemed disinclined to roll the window down.

He looked young enough to be a student rather than a professor, but she’d never been a good judge of age. His clothing and his hair was disheveled, and he needed a shave badly. He looked like someone she might have met when she was still living in the park. She wondered how long he’d been living out of a car.

Now that she was close enough to see into the car’s interior, Glory examined the ceramic or stone star he clutched with interest. After a moment, she turned, pulling the collar of her shirt down to expose her left shoulder and the elder sign tattooed onto the back of her arm. There were some differences in design, since obviously his trinket was in bas-relief… actually, it looked something like a fossilized starfish but with curious raised designs woven into the surface. After a few seconds of staring at her tattoo, he slowly rolled the window down, at least enough that they wouldn’t have to shout at each other.

“Hey.” Glory said with feigned friendliness. “That’s a pretty interesting artifact you’ve got there. Any way you could let me examine it?”

He gulped but seemed disinclined to open the window further or reply. “Okay then… so you’ve been out here all night. That must have been pretty boring. Where’s your friend?”

“I’m alone!” he bleated anxiously.

“Really? Do you often drive from the passenger side of the car?”

He looked over at the steering wheel as if he had only just now noticed that he was riding shotgun. Guiltily he turned back to her, his eyes darted about as he looked for his companion in the fog.

“So anything you want to disclose or should I just call the cops now?” She pulled out her cell phone and flipped it open. “This is a relatively respectable neighborhood for a city this size, and I’m sure my neighbors wouldn’t be pleased to know someone’s been out here all night ‘casing the joint.’ It’s practically my civic duty to call the authorities.” She hoped that Gozala and Mike were making their way to the car, but so far she hadn’t heard anything.

“You don’t know what you’re dealing with!” he asserted, his eyes round with fear.

“So why don’t you tell me. I’m sure the cops will be curious too.”

“She’s… not human. It’s just a ruse. You can’t expect a tattoo to keep one of them in check.”

“Well, it is slightly more than a tattoo, but whatever. Why don’t you tell me what you think she is. Hmmm?”

He bit his lip without answering.

“You don’t even know, do you? I mean, did you even talk to her? Or did you just let your xenophobia decide she was a monster?”

“You don’t know anything,” he muttered angrily.

“Oh, I know about monsters. Humans can be monsters too.”

“She’s controlling your mind!” he countered vehemently.

Glory raised an eyebrow at this. She had defenses against psychic attack written into her skin, as well as tattoos to increase any latent ability she might have. Confidence was also an essential part of any magical workings, and she had the utmost confidence in her charms. If there was one thing she had faith in, it was her own research.

She heard the click of a car door and hoped Mike and Gozala had finally exited the house. A moment later, she heard the muffled sound of a car engine turning over. Without trying to sound anxious, she said, “So, let’s say I believe you. How do you counter her mind control then? ”

He held up the star stone helpfully.

“Yeah, okay, but you won’t even let me touch it, so I still think the police would be interested in knowing why you kidnapped a little girl and experimented on her for close to a month. That’s really not something people like to hear about, or well it is because they’re nosy buggers, but I’m pretty sure that that’s the kind of scandal that gets universities closed down.”

He muttered something. Then without warning, he opened the car door and practically shoved the stone into Glory’s hands. She cradled it gently, running her fingers over its glossy, waxy surface and slowly raising it to eye level. Holding it, she was almost certain it was some kind of fossil, despite the fact that it looked manufactured. She turned it over, but it was completely smooth without the tubicular grooves that one would normally find on the underside of a starfish. So it had to be stone or ceramic, but it didn’t feel like stone or ceramic. Glory couldn’t shake the feeling that it might move at any moment. The fact that it was still warm and slightly moist from the hands of the madman in the car didn’t help matters.

“Gil! What the hell?!” An older man in rumpled, slept in clothes had stopped a few feet away, carrying a cardboard tray of coffee and a Krispy Kremes bag. So here was the missing driver. Glory was revealed that he wasn’t on a more nefarious mission.

to Book 3, page 7


7 Responses to “Tattoo Book 3.6”

  1. Miladysa said

    I wish this was a book and I could read it all in one sitting!

    “nosy buggers” Are you British by any chance?

    • harmony0stars said

      hah… no, I only wish. Such a lovely accent. 😉 No, I’m pure American mutt. lol I’m glad you’re enjoying my work. 😀

  2. Richard said

    I can not read page 5.5 the link given ‘’ gives an error note. Thanks for your help. Richard

  3. LordCainn said

    i have to say that i agree with Miladysa i wish this was a finished book

  4. Wendy said

    I am glad that I found this so long after you wrote it because it means that I don’t have to wait. I’m sure you must be published by now as this is better than others I have read that are published ebooks. I’m pretty sure that Amazon or Smashwords would jump at the chance to publish this.

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