Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 5.16

Posted by harmony0stars on December 14, 2009

They were still a couple blocks from the river when she turned onto Tenth Avenue to begin looking for the construction site. It wasn’t too hard to miss though. As they passed Chelsea park, she could see that scaffolding and tarps had been erected along the entire left hand side of the street, allowing for pedestrian traffic but completely obscuring any view of the former building. Glory drove around the side of the site as she looked for an entrance.

Despite two other cars inside the fenced in lot, the site appeared deserted, the chain link gate hanging open and unsupervised. She called out, but got no response. On any other Sunday, Glory would have assumed no one was there, but Professor Scott had told her that since the tomb was opened and the killings began, there was always at least one person set to watch over the site. He’d also promised to tell his people she was coming. The place was as silent as the grave however, making her wonder if maybe they watched from the security of one of the neighboring buildings which loomed over the site.

They climbed out of the car, and Glory pulled out the salve she’d made, using it to draw protective runes on the car’s windows. Once the draug had been dealt with, she’d take the vehicle to the carwash. Handing one of the spray bottles to Robert, she said, “This thing is kind of like a vampire and kind of like a ghoul, but not anything like you would see in a movie. I don’t have much of a description aside from that it’s all black, but if anything happens, and I mean anything, you run back to the car and stay inside until I come for you.” She admonished Robert as he started to protest. “I’m grateful that you came back for me at Graymalkin Park, but I want you to be safe. If it corners you, shake that up and spray it.”

Robert looked at the spray bottle doubtfully. “You want me to… mist the monster? Just for the record, I think a supersoaker would work better.”

“One, if it turns out the potion is effective, a supersoaker would use it up too fast. Two, mist is more of a barrier and hangs in the air longer than a stream of water, provided there’s no breeze. And three, there’s no guarantee that it will have any affect on the draug at all. From the stories, the only way to deal with a draug is through physical violence. So if it comes after you, you run.”

“Yeah… okay,” he muttered grumpily. “Don’t have to treat me like I’m an idiot.”

Glory put her hand on his shoulder as they walked further into the site. “I’m not talking down to you, Robert. I’m just explaining why the spray bottle is better. If we do get the opportunity to test out the potion and it works, maybe we’ll see about modifying a supersoaker for the next time, okay?” She tucked the salve into her backpack and shouldered it before setting off for the entrance to the dig which gaped in the sunlight like a hungry mouth.

Whatever building had stood on the lot had been completely knocked down and carted away in preparation for whatever new building was going up in it’s place. Such was progress in the big city, out with the old, in with the new, even if old was a relative term. Though they were only a few blocks from the centuried tenements of Little Eire, the buildings around them could not have been older than ten or twenty years. Yet she’d seen several sale and lease signs and even a sign indicating another building slated for demolition along the street.

She assumed that once the site had been cleared of rubble, the construction crew had started digging to lay the foundation and create a basement. Scaffolding and blue tarpaulin obstructed the entrance to the actual dig site, gently slapping against the scaffolding every so often in an intermittent breeze. At least it was a bright and sunny day, dispelling any unease caused by the empty lot. As they passed under the tarps the sunlight dimmed to a blue glow, but it was still bright enough to see the ground which sloped downward. The further in they went, the steeper the decline became. At the same time, the walls on either side of their path grew until it seemed that they were walking into a tunnel.

To Glory, it didn’t look as if the tomb had been accidentally discovered. While admittedly she didn’t know a lot about construction, it seemed instead as if the crew had made a direct beeline for the draug‘s resting place, digging down into the earth more deeply and directly than any subterranean structure that she knew of would warrant.. The further they walked, the less light reached into the depths of the passage until they could barely see their hands in front of their faces. The smell of the rent earth was strong, like rotting vegetation or too much patchouli. An arctic coldness seemed to latch onto their bones the deeper they went. Robert was shivering and every now and then, she could hear his teeth begin to chatter as the cold got the better of him. Even Glory could feel a vague ache, though it didn’t make a difference to her physically. She did berate herself for not thinking of making Robert bring a coat though, and a flashlight would have been handy.

Between the darkness and the cold, Robert was practically walking on her heels by the time there was any sign that someone else was up ahead. Their fogged breath picked up the light before either one of them noticed any lessening of the pitch darkness around them. As they came closer to the sounds, Glory could discern that the walls on either side of the passage were many times higher than she was tall. The tomb had been buried deep, deeper than it was reasonable to assume anyone would have made an effort to dig centuries before, unless they‘d known the occupant was liable to come back and hoped to hide it well enough to deter any would-be grave robbers? It only reinforced her suspicion that the dig had been no accident. Surely if the passage they were following was meant to be the start of the new building’s foundations, it would have opened up more as they descended. Instead it was an unwavering tunnel into the darkness with only enough room for three or four people to walk abreast.

to Book 5, page 17

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