Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 5.4

Posted by harmony0stars on November 16, 2009

“You have really crappy taste in snacks,” Robert announced around a mouth full of cracker crumbs. Her cabinets weren’t exactly stocked with teenage boys in mind. She’d selected food more on the likelihood that it would keep for several months than that she’d be visited by a growing bottomless pit.

“To be honest, I don’t eat much,” she paused uncertain. “Look, Robert… I’m not the safest person to be around. You’d be better off with your foster parents.”

“Says you!” he spat incredulously. “Those people are a-holes. Their son locked me out of the house last night and then the police want to wonder why I keep running away and didn‘t go to school? Besides, you freaking got shot like half an hour ago and you’re like, pfft, nothing. I figure if I‘m safe anywhere, it‘s with you.”

“As flattering as that is, if that shooter had missed me and hit you instead…”

“Yeah, but you totally healed me when that… Thing tried to eat me,” he announced, a note of hero worship entering his voice. “I bet you could have done it again if you had to.”

“That’s not the point,” she replied uncomfortably. Glory really didn‘t want to get into the fact that the thing that allowed her to heal was some kind of parasite that used her as a sheath and which could just as easily suck the life out of people as restore it. “There are people who wouldn’t think twice about hurting you if they couldn’t get to me.”

“Look, it’s okay. I’m not afraid,” he replied before adding stubbornly, “And if you try to make me leave, I’ll just sleep in the alley behind your place. I figure if I’m going to be homeless, that’s probably the safest place in Sybar City. But hey, your choice.”

“You are a brat,” Glory growled in exasperation. Robert merely crammed another apple buttered cracker in his mouth and watched her with an air of expectation.

“Alright, fine,“ she declared finally, and he grinned, “but there are rules and consequences. No more skipping school, and I expect you to do your homework and actually study for tests. I’ll help you if you need it, but school is important if you want to get a good job some day.” He rolled his eyes in exasperation. He‘d probably had this talk before. “And Officer Hart told me about some of your extracurricular activities. Don’t embarrass me by making me pick you up from the police station. I’ll give you an allowance, so there’s no need for stealing.”

“I don’t steal! That was…”

“You don’t need to explain,” she broke in with a wave of her hand and a slight smile. Glory laid a hand on his shoulder. “Look Robert, I don’t care what you did before, or whether you even did it or not. But if you’re going to live here, I want you to act with a little bit of dignity and forethought.” He made a face. “If you can’t imagine me doing something, then chances are I wouldn’t approve of you doing it. So just don’t do it whether you‘ve done it in the past or not.”

“Okay,” he mumbled looking down before quickly glancing back up and asking anxiously, “Do you… think the cops’ll come back now that they know I’m here?”

“Don’t worry about that. I’ll have my lawyer look into transferring custody from your foster to parents over to me.“ She thought for a moment before adding, “But keep your eyes and ears open at all times when you‘re outside. I want to know if you even think someone’s watching you or following you, even if you don’t have any proof. I’m going to have to work on some protective charms for you too, but I don’t want you to take them for granted.”

“Cooooooool!” he all but drooled at the thought of more magic enacted on his behalf.

“Just so you know, there are spells all over this house to keep my enemies out, but you saw how well that worked with the shooter,” Glory admonished. “No spell is going to keep you safe or prevent something bad from happening to you if you’re careless or arrogant. Got it?”

When he nodded, she added, “Just keep in mind… if something ever happens to me, or you can’t find me, you go straight to officer Hart. He‘ll get you somewhere safe.” Robert nodded again, swallowing what was either a lump in his throat or a wad of crackers. She was definitely going to need to get to a store for a better quality of snack food, and regular food for that matter.

As much as Glory wanted to call for a rental car and leave immediately for Miskatonic, she first had to call someone to repair her window and her lawyer about Robert. She took the boy upstairs and showed him her room, then told him he could pick any of the empty rooms he wanted for his bedroom. His eyes got very wide before he raced off to explore the rest of the building and choose what was probably the first room he’d ever had all to himself.

Realizing suddenly that though Hart and Walsh had taken two of the bullets, the third was still lodged in the outer wall, Glory cautiously opened the window and stuck her head out. She’d probably be anxious around doors and windows for a while given the shock of being shot when she had felt herself safely at home, but it appeared that, for now, her shooter had been scared off by the arrival of the police. It took her a few minutes to locate the bullet hole and several more to pry the slug out with a pair of tweezers without falling out the window and breaking her silly neck.

She gingerly carried the slug up to the library and set it down in a small sample dish from one of the drawers. Her biggest concern was contamination, but so long as no one touched the bullet directly, it should retain its connection to the unknown shooter. Considering for a second what information she hoped to get from the little piece of scrap metal, she began rooting through her drawers for supplies. It wasn’t that she mistrusted Robert, but she didn’t want to go disappearing on him so soon after warning him about the possibility that she might disappear at some point. Way to make the boy paranoid! she chided herself. Otherwise, she would have gone into her secret room for better equipment. As it was, she wasn’t quite ready to let him into her inner sanctum. At the very least, he’d probably start referring to it as her “Batcave,” and she wasn’t quite comfortable with superhero references considering how culpable she felt about everything Lori had done and might still do with her work.

to Book 5, page 5

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 5.4”

  1. here2read said

    I like the thought of Glory having someone and it looks like Robert neeeded someone to want him. With their past, at least her strange way of life will not be a surprise or issue.

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