Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 5.19

Posted by harmony0stars on December 21, 2009

It couldn’t have been more than fifteen minutes before they were back, though it had seemed as if hours passed on their first trip down the dark passage. On the other hand, maybe it was the fact that Robert was jogging down the tunnel, visibly straining under the weight of the sledgehammer he carried while Gavin and Sam chased after him. Glory was relieved to see that he’d at least found his coat before looking for the sledgehammer.

“Professor Scott says to wait until he arrives before you go bashing anything with that sledgehammer!” Gavin shouted down the passageway.

“That’s ridiculous,” Glory called back as Robert reached her, and she took the hammer. Slipping her spray bottle into her backpack, she shouldered it before hefting the hammer to test its weight. “Professor Scott is several hours away! If I wait, it’ll be too late to do anything about the draug until tomorrow. Which means it will have another night to rampage through the neighborhood, killing who knows how many more people. It will be better to deal with this now while the draug is inactive than allow more innocents to die.”

Looking back and forth between Glory and Gavin, it seemed as if Sam agreed, but Gavin scowled obstinately reaching for the sledgehammer and trying to pull it from her hands. Glory put a hand on Robert’s shoulder as she twisted away from Gavin. Leaning forward, she whispered, “Keep him busy, okay?”

Robert looked utterly shocked by the request, but rose to the occasion. As he stepped forward, Gavin was brought up short in surprise. He glared at Robert incredulously as if he’d already dismissed the boy as a threat. Robert didn’t look very sure of himself either, but as Gavin reached out to shove him away, Robert kicked him in the shin as hard as he could.

Gavin yelped in astonishment and pain, hopping about on one leg before falling back against the wall of dirt. “Yeouch! Son of a…! You little…!” Gavin was incoherent with rage as he made a grab for Robert, but the boy danced out of his way. Robert glanced at Sam, uncertain what her reaction would be, but she stood as if paralyzed, gnawing on her lip.

Slipping back into the vault, Glory set the flashlight on the floor pointing approximately where the crack was widest. Though she would rather have had time to plan things out better, she planted her feet and let swing at the pooled light, the hammer’s head just barely clearing the low ceiling. She heard Gavin gasp and swear at the hollow boom that rang out like a bell. He stopped chasing Robert and tried to get past him again and into the small room. Glory heard a grunt and someone fell in the passage outside. Not knowing whether it was Robert or Gavin, she swung with all her strength at the cracked floor again. This time the boom was followed by a terrible grinding sound which would have chilled anyone’s blood.

Sam gave a shout of fright from the passage, and Glory heard her start running back up to the construction site. Dropping the sledgehammer, Glory only managed to take two steps toward the door before a tremendous krrrack echoed through the vault. The floor jumped, knocking Glory to her knees as part of it tipped inward, and the split in the stone turned into a fissure. She scrabbled for a handhold as she slid backwards into the gaping hole, following the flashlight and sledgehammer into the darkness.

*                     *                    *

Glory first became aware of a faint roaring as she regained her senses, like waves breaking on a far away shore. Dismissing it as the blood in her ears, she lay still for a few moments, uncertain even whether her eyes were open or closed. Moving slightly, she let out a tiny gasp. The pain was sharp for a moment before becoming distant as all her sensations were. She could tell that her injuries were severe, but forced her hand up, blinking a few times against her fingertips just to verify that her eyes were open before dropping her arm back to her side.

Though that seemed to expend what little energy she had, she forced herself to continue examining the darkness. Moving her head slowly, she strained to see something in the pitch black. It hurt to move her neck, but not as much as it had hurt moving her arm. Glory contented herself with the fact that at least her neck wasn’t broken. Whatever her injuries were, the sword seemed to be fixing them. Her pain slowly faded as she scanned the cavern and eventually she felt confident enough to move again. This time, there was only a vague twinge of discomfort in her back as she first tried moving her arms and then her legs. Slowly she rolled onto her side with a grunt as the pain reared its head again, though greatly reduced. She froze, sitting up only when the pain had again faded to nothing, looking up and around for some sign of light.

The rushing sound of waves remained even when she felt well enough to move, and she supposed that the Hudson must connect with the caverns somewhere, its tides causing the soft roar she heard. She slowly detected the faint drip-drip of water, but that was all. How long had she lain in the darkness, recovering from her fall? Had Robert and Gavin called down to her and then gone to look for help when she didn’t answer? She hoped they hadn’t fallen too, but it seemed from her memory that only the stone of the small chamber had been affected by her hammering. So they must have had the opportunity to get away.

Which meant she only had a limited amount of time to explore before Miskatonic sent more people into the caverns to look for whatever artifacts had peaked their interested in the first place. Perhaps it was her eyes playing tricks on her, but Glory thought she could see a faint glimmering of light in the distance. She hoped it was her flashlight, otherwise she’d be forced to let her sword out and she didn’t want to do that unless it was absolutely necessary.

to Book 5, page 20

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3 Responses to “Tattoo Book 5.19”

  1. here2read said

    oooh!

  2. Alderin said

    I wonder if the sword can eat a draug.

    • harmony0stars said

      Wonder no more! Or well, keep wondering, but your question will be answered Friday and mulled over Monday. heh 😉

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