Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 5.17

Posted by harmony0stars on December 16, 2009

“I don’t care what Scott says,” muttered a male voice as they approached the light. “We don’t need this woman‘s help. Sorceress, witch, whatever she wants to call herself, we don‘t need the competition.”

Glory slowed her step as another, female, voice chastised the first. “Relax. She’s not here for artifacts. Scott says she’s some kind of monster hunter, that she even took on Tsathoggua.”

“Gah! You’re not supposed to say their names!” the first voice protested. “We have enough trouble with the thing down there without you calling up one of the Old Ones.”

“Yeah, yeah. It’s all a bit of superstitious mumbo jumbo if you ask me,” the woman retorted disgustedly. “There’s nothing that science can’t explain eventually. And a giant furry toad is either one of nature’s prehistoric experiments or a collective hallucination, even if a bunch of inbred idiots worship it.”

“I worry about you Sam,” her companion stated with exasperation. “You’re going to get yourself killed if you keep denying the power of the great Old Ones. A little skepticism is fine, but some things are impossible to rationalize away. I mean, how do you explain the draug?”

Glory coughed to announce her presence as the figures became visible at the true entrance to the tomb. Both jumped and turned in her direction, blinking into the darkness, perhaps wondering how long she’d been there or if she was the draug, sneaking up on them. A giant spotlight directed at the gaping hole in front of them couldn’t have been good for their night vision.

“H-hi!” the woman stuttered anxiously, coming forward to shake Glory’s hand. “You must be Glory. I’m Samantha and this is Gavin.”

Gavin looked Glory up and down before giving a little wave of his hand, obviously not impressed with what he saw. From his incredulous expression, he was even less impressed with Robert. “Not exactly the safest place to be bringing a kid,” he muttered sourly.

Robert hunched his shoulders, ducking behind Glory a little as they stepped into the light. “This is Robert,” Glory announced quietly, “my apprentice,” she added, though she had a feeling she might regret it later. Still, she felt him walk a little more confidently. “And I supposed the draug was inactive during the day or else I would have found you both above.”

“Yeah, it is,” Sam replied, giving Gavin an annoyed glare as he added resentfully, “The night crew gets to watch from a hotel that overlooks the site, but we get stuck down in here in the dark and cold. Lucky us.”

“Professor Scott didn’t tell me much about the draug, just that it had been abducting and killing people since the tomb was opened,” Glory said in a reasonable tone. Let them think I didn’t hear any of their conversation, she thought.

“Eating… It’s been eating people since the tomb was opened,” Gavin corrected, and Robert gulped noisily.

“But Professor Scott told me his nephew and others had been taken.” Glory replied.

“He told you that, huh?” Gavin sneered. “Well, Jake went down when the tomb was first opened and didn’t come back up, so I guess technically he was ‘taken.’”

“So the professor’s nephew was the first person in the tomb?” Glory asked with a frown. She let his emphasis on Jake’s disappearance slide. Maybe the professor knew more about the draug’s activities than Gavin and Sam and so knew of other missing people. She had a sinking feeling that Professor Scott was full of crap though.

“Yeah, does that mean something?” Sam queried.

Glory shrugged. “Probably nothing. It’s just interesting. And that was during the day or night?”

“The day of course,” Gavin replied as if she were an idiot. “Not that it matters what time of day it is down here, but it’d be pretty ridiculous to start examining a tomb as soon as the sun set.”

“It’s just curious that this thing only comes out at night, and you two are supposedly safe enough standing around in front of its tomb during the day, but Jake was taken while it was still daylight outside.”

Sam went white as a sheet. “Maybe we should go outside,” she whispered, beginning to shake.

Gavin gave the toppled stone door a contemptuous glare. “Don’t be stupid Sam. It was probably just hungry when Jake went in. It’s getting more than enough food now, that we don‘t have to worry about it during the day.”

Sam and Robert both looked ill. “Has anyone been in there since Jake disappeared?” Glory asked.

“Yeah, and there’s nothing in there. Lots of people have gone in and come out during the day,” Gavin replied, snatching up a flashlight from an open backpack on the floor, he tossed it to her. “Take a look if you want. The inside looks just like the door,” he explained, gesturing at the broken block of stone.

Glory approached, pausing to examine the door. The slab was several inches thick and had once covered one side of the entrance. It was neatly broken in two right down the center, and the pieces had fallen to either side of the hole. “Did anyone bother to translate this before it was broken?” Glory asked, gesturing at the runes which covered every inch of the stone’s surface.

“Yeah, I guess so,” Gavin answered indifferently. “We weren’t with the original team, but I assume they translated it or at least took pictures and rubbings.”

Glory scowled. So much for Professor Scott’s story about the construction people accidentally breaking into the tomb during their dig, though Gavin could always be assuming these things were done by the first crew to examine the tomb. It would have been nice if Professor Scott had given her the file to look over instead of pulling out random pictures. She had a feeling that there’d probably been more in the file than Scott had let on.

to Book 5, page 18

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