Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 5.3

Posted by harmony0stars on November 13, 2009

“Hey! It’s okay,” Glory yelled, pushing Walsh aside. “Robert, it’s fine. They’re cops.”

“Y-yeah, I knew that,” he replied standing shakily, though he purposefully kept Glory between them and himself.

Hart’s eyes narrowed in recognition. “I know you. You’re that foster kid from the Ruggle’s case. You’re in a lot of trouble, young man.”

“What? Why? I didn’t do anything.” Robert whined petulantly.

“No? How many times have you run away from your foster parents this month?” Hart demanded. “And you’re officially truant.” He needlessly pointed at his watch. “School doesn’t let out for another hour at least.”

“Leave him alone,” Glory declared calmly. “I think getting shot at and scared half to death is punishment enough.”

“I’m surprised they even noticed I was gone,” Robert sneered over her shoulder. “Those people don’t care about me. It doesn’t matter where the system sends me, my foster parents are all just in it for the money. They treat me like crap or like I’m crazy because they don’t believe how I got my scar. Well, you can take me back, but I‘ll just run away again. I’d rather live on the streets than be treated like I’m someone’s dirty job.”

“That’s not our decision, Robert. Until you‘re eighteen, you‘re a ward of the state.”

“I said, leave him alone,” Glory repeated. “You’re not here in any official capacity. Right now he’s my guest, and I’ll decide if he has to leave.”

Hart looked annoyed and then suddenly glared at Robert.

“Robert, whatever you’re doing right now, stop it.” Glory ordered, stepping past Hart and Walsh and removing herself as Robert’s human shield. With a tiny squeak, he darted past them and into the hall. “Why don’t you go get something to eat? Kitchen’s right through there.”

“Thanks!” he chirped as he trotted down the dim corridor and escaped the long arm of the law.

“The other bullet’s over here in the stairs. It came in through the window,” she explained, pointing up to the hole. “I’m just glad the whole thing didn’t shatter.”

“That boy’s going to be trouble,” Hart announced quietly in case Robert was listening. “He has a record: stealing, suspected arson, truancy, running away from home.”

“Well, that won’t fly with me. I’m pretty sure he was going to ask to stay right before I got shot. If he still wants to stay, at the very least he’s not going to skip school.”

“That’s not funny,” Walsh opined, though he seemed more inclined to sniff and look around than add to the conversation.

“It wasn’t meant to be,” Glory replied. “Look, I know what goes on in foster care. I read the newspaper. I have to wonder how much of his extracurricular activities come from being unhappy about being treated like a burden. I may never have been in the system, but I know all about being neglected.”

Walsh grunted, but offered no rebuttal. While Hart surveyed the hole in the window, Walsh dug the second bullet out of the wood of the steps and gave it a good sniff. He scowled though, so it was unlikely he got anything from it beyond a nose full of gunpowder.

“Looks like the shooter was probably southwest of here,” Hart announced, turning away from the window. “Any empty apartments or houses over there?”

“I don’t know. I’ve been… out of town for a while,” Glory admitted.

“Well, we’ll take the bullets and see if they match anything. I know a guy in ballistics who owes me a favor.”

“You won’t get in trouble if someone finds out this has nothing to do with a case, will you? I don’t want to put your job in danger.”

Hart smiled. “Don’t worry about it, but thanks.”

“Thank you for coming out,” Glory responded. “I have some ideas who might have been taking a shot at me, but I could be wrong. If anything turns up, I’d appreciate if you could let me know right away.”

“Anything I should know about?” Hart asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Well, there was a professor from the Miskatonic University I met a couple months ago who was definitely not wound too tight. I was thinking of taking a trip down there to see what happened to him. If he went off the deep end after I saw him last, maybe they threw him out. If so, he might be blaming me. Maybe he decided to make his grievances known.”

“Are you sure you don’t want me to handle that?” Hart asked after a moment.

“No, this is a personal trip. I want to talk to MU’s administration anyway. Besides, this professor and his friends, not exactly the kind of people you should associate with given your heritage, if you catch my drift. They‘re a bit xenophobic. I haven‘t heard such racist BS since I caught a special on the KKK on the History Channel.”

Hart and Walsh exchanged glances. “Well, be careful all the same,” he admonished her. “You’re not a detective, so you don’t have any authority that they might respect.”

Glory smiled at that. “Don’t worry. I’m used to the lack of respect. If people started respecting me, I don’t know what I’d do with myself.” She paused, looking thoughtful. “I was thinking though… do you know anything about becoming a private detective? If you’re going to be sending weird cases to me like that missing girl, I should probably set myself up in some official capacity.”

Hart looked pained. “I can look into it,” he announced though he didn’t sound too enthusiastic. “Did you… find her?”

“Yeah, I did, and she’s safe at home now.” Glory replied without going into detail.

“Well, that’s good at least,” Hart said in relief, then added. “I’ll get back to you about the bullets if anything turns up. I’m pretty sure to become a detective, you just have to file for a license and pay a fee, but I’ll look into it for you.”

“Thanks,” Glory said with a smile, letting them out. After a moment, she went in search of Robert, but found him easily enough in the living room with a box of crackers and some apple butter.

to Book 5, page 4

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