Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 4.6

Posted by harmony0stars on June 7, 2009

Glory waited several minutes after Cadfael left her before attempting to open her window. Whether it was painted shut or the paint had simply fused after decades of disuse, when it finally gave, the window opened with a tremendous CRACK of popping paint. Her breath caught in her throat and she glanced nervously at the door, but no one burst in to find out what the noise was. She forced it open another few inches before deciding the gap was wide enough.

A gust of moisture laden air entered the room, carrying with it the scent of wet earth and trees. It was a welcome reminder that outside of the house which smelled of dust and age, the world was still green and alive, albeit somewhat soggy. She gauged the time at about 6 pm, though the heavy cloud cover made it seem much later. Picking up the mug, she dashed the contents out the open window where the rain would wash away any evidence that she had not drunk it up like a good little victim.

Setting the cup on the vanity, Glory blew out the candle and lay down on the bed. Her own clothes were still a sodden mess, so she kept on the gown she’d been given. She didn’t have long to wait. Only a few minutes later, maybe a half hour, someone knocked softly on the door. The light of a candle made her eyelids red as someone walked to where she lay and leaned over her. Satisfied that she was asleep, the person picked up the mug and left the room as quietly as they had entered.

Several more minutes passed before she crawled out of bed and found her bag in the dark. Rummaging through the odds and ends of her magic kit, her fingers wrapped around the slim cylinder of her flashlight. She’d laboriously wrapped it in purple yarn and then sewn protective and empowering symbols and charms into it. If nothing else, she hoped it would never go out at an inopportune moment.

Slinging her backpack over her should, she carefully opening the door of her room and peered out, but there was no one to be seen. Glory turned on her flashlight and slowly made her way through the darkness. The numerous decorative columns and alcoves slowed her progress. Every jumping shadow made her think she had been found out, and in fact, if the place was as riddled with secret passages as she suspected, anyone could be watching her progress.

She had only gotten halfway to the stairs when she heard the sound of an argument from one of the rooms. Cadfael’s angry voice was easily discernable, though the voice of whoever he was arguing with was barely audible. Glory turned off her flashlight and crept up to the door, pressing her ear against it.

“…And hopefully we won’t get any more like little Dilys. I understand why she’s so miserable, but she should be glad. At least she’s not stuck in the Otherworld any more. It would be nice if she showed a little bit of gratitude instead of stirring up the others against me.” She heard Cadfael announce in a whiny tone.

A voice, barely more than a whisper replied, “Please, Cadie. Stop this. You’ve already brought so many over. He‘s bound to notice.”

“Our esteemed ancestor hasn’t noticed yet. Besides, I doubt you’ll have such arguments when it’s your turn, sister dearest,” he sneered. “You’d come through the door, same as any of the family simply because you‘re able.”

“It’s not right!” rasped the other voice before breaking down into ragged coughing. Glory winced at the sound of the coughing. Whoever Cadfael was talking to was very sick.

The sound slowly subsided into ragged breathing. “She‘ll sleep till dawn, and she’ll decide then if she wants to go through the door, just like the rest.” The woman sobbed and said something Glory couldn’t make out. “Get some rest Carys,” he answered wearily. “Once you’ve passed on, you’ll be happy enough to come back when the opportunity comes to you.”

Glory quickly got up and stepped behind a column, flattening herself against the wall. Luckily, Cadfael did not even turn in her direction as he exited his sister’s room. For a moment she was torn between following him or entering the room. She’d heard no other voices aside from Cadfael’s and the woman’s, but that didn’t mean she was the room‘s only occupant.

Finally as Cadfael’s light faded from the hall, Glory stood and tried the door. It was not locked, and she cautiously pushed it open a crack. She could just see a bed piled high with ragged quilts with the form of someone barely visible beneath them. No one else seemed to be in the room, so Glory pushed the door open further. Stepping into the room, she gently closed it behind her.

A thick pillar candle sat in a bowl on small table. Its flame guttered in a pool of liquid wax. In an hour or so it would probably go out. Sidling up to the bed, Glory was startled by the age of the occupant. This was Cadfael’s sister? Her face was a mass of wrinkles. Her hands looked like twigs wrapped in soft parchment. The light of the candle was the only thing that put color into her withered form. A thin braid as white as snow lay sprawled on the pillow beside her head. Cadfael’s sister looked more like his great, great grandmother.

Glory cleared her throat as quietly as possible, wanting to alert the woman to her presence without startling her too much. Carys opened her eyes, blearily blinking up at her guest. She gasped, her eyes widening, as she realized Glory was not one of her family.

“Get away. Hide until morning and leave on the ferry!” She wheezed, struggling to sit up under the weight of the blankets.

“It’s alright.” Glory said reassuringly, putting her hands on the woman’s shoulders to stop her from rising and expending energy she obviously had in short supply. It was like holding down a piece of paper in a light breeze. Carys didn’t have the strength to fight Glory, and she lay back with an exhausted sigh almost at once.

“It’s not. It’s not,” Carys whispered almost to herself, tears at the corners of her eyes.

“I know things aren’t right here. I’m here to help, but you have to tell me what’s going on. I can’t get any answers out of Dilys.”

“Poor, sweet Dilly,” she whispered.

“Ma’am. I need you to help me to help you.” Glory sat on the edge of the bed.

The woman fixed her eyes on Glory with sudden determination. “You mustn’t look at the knot. In the morning, when they come for you,” she wheezed. She reached out and grabbed Glory’s arm, straining to convince her of the danger.

“Yes, I know… It‘s some kind of glamour, right?” Carys blinked, gaping at Glory as if seeing her for the first time. She frowned at the tattoos visible on her throat, hands, and arms, not sure of what to make of them. Glory smile indulgently. “I have some experience with magic,” she explained.

“I wanted my family back so very much,” Carys stated by way of explanation. “The ferry capsized, and I lost everyone.”

to Book 4, page 7

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 4.6”

  1. here2read said

    This would be an AWESOME television show. You really should make screen play from it, and try to market it.

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