Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 5, Part 2.8

Posted by harmony0stars on January 13, 2010

All three of them looked up as the doorknob rattled and the door swung open. A tiny woman with short, curly red hair going to gray and a smattering of freckles across her nose regarded the injured man with wide eyes, her mouth a perfect little ‘oh’ of surprise.

“P-professor Murdock!” he gasped. “Run! There’s-”

Glory rushed the woman before Ehecatl could move. She definitely didn’t want someone else injured. The fewer people hurt in their prison break, the more the Scholars would have to rethink how they were treating supposedly subhuman beings. Ehecatl stood over the injured boy and spat into his face as Glory grabbed the professor.

“Hey!” she growled as the woman tried to bite the hand Glory put over her mouth and elbowed her in the ribs. Glory caught one of her arms, but the professor reached up and raked her cheek with her free hand. For such a little woman, trying to contain her was like wrestling a wildcat. “Stop it! We don’t want to hurt you!” she protested.

She finally ended up sitting on the woman to pin her arms. The professor continued to gnaw at her palm as Glory reached up with her other hand to pull the door shut. Leaning down, she said, “I know you think that hurts, but it doesn’t. I could keep my hand over your mouth until you chewed the flesh off, but I haven’t got the time. And my friend is even less patient than I am.” The woman stopped biting and regarded the empty space with wide eyes. “I’m going to take my hand away and let you up. Don’t scream. Don’t try to get away. You won’t be hurt.”

The woman remained silent as Glory removed her hand and then crawled off of her. Her mouth was smeared with Glory’s blood, and there was blood under her fingernails, but none of it was her own. Shakily the professor climbed to her feet and glanced around the room, her eyes settling on her injured colleague. Scanning the room as if unsure if her movement would be allowed, she slowly moved closer to the man, kneeling by his side.

“Serpent people,” she observed in a subdued voice as she turned the boy’s head to the light to study the glistening spit covering his face. She trembled as she sat down with her back to the wall and looked around the room with frightened eyes. “Th-thank you for your restraint.”

If she was going to assume they were both serpent people, Glory wasn’t going to argue. Professor Scott had mentioned a Professor Murdock, and Glory had no reason to believe there would be two working at Miskatonic. “You know why we’re here then.” Hopefully she was as sympathetic as Scott had suggested.

The woman swallowed thickly before answering. “I’m sorry. I can’t help you. All the cells are locked down until the morning. It’s a failsafe.”

Ehecatl muttered something darkly, picking up one of the chairs and hurling it across the room. The professor flinched, drawing her knees up so that it looked as if she was trying to disappear into the wall.

Oh sure, now they use a failsafe, Glory thought with disgust. “You mean no one works late? There’s no way to open the cells?” she demanded as calmly as possible.

The professor glanced in Glory’s direction, shaking her head. “If you open a cell before 8 am, an alarm goes off and the elevator freezes,” she answered honestly. Ehecatl suppressed a scream of frustration, making the woman jump as he spat what was certainly a curse.

“There are no other exits?” Glory asked incredulously. “How would you survive if one of your prisoners got loose and no one could come down to rescue you?”

Looking uneasy, she replied, “There are old tunnels that were here before the University was built. In the event of a lockdown, all personnel are meant to hide down there until we’re rescued.”

“And these tunnels go where?” Glory asked.

Professor Murdock shrugged uncomfortably. “We… haven’t explored them too deeply. People have gone missing… ” Ehecatl laughed derisively. Even Glory couldn’t quite fathom the logic of hiding in tunnels where people had gone missing as a means to avoid being killed by escaped monsters. “We don’t go beyond the entrance,” the professor explained defensively, but clearly they were not her favorite part of the failsafe either.

Glory glanced at the monitors and frowned. “What’s going on with the ghoul?” she demanded. It was cowering in a corner as water literally blasted it from the ceiling.

Craning her neck, the professor’s expression went from curious to wrathful. “Sean!” she growled her face turning red enough to obscure her freckles. Obviously Sean was a problem recruit, given to practical jokes and random acts of cruelty.

“Open the cells,” Glory demanded.

“A-all of them?” Professor Murdock whimpered turning her head to scan the empty air where Glory stood, her eyes round in fear. “They’re… not all intelligent creatures like yourselves. I-I sympathize, I really do… but they’d… tear us, and each other, apart.”

“The sentient races then.” Glory replied, beginning to lose patience.

Taking a shaky breath, the professor struggled to her feet and approached the controls. She stood shaking at the panel for several seconds as if weighing her options.

“Don’t think of betraying us,” Ehecatl growled stepping to her side and speaking directly into her ear. She flinched away, cringing as she shook her head.

“I-I won’t!” she stuttered fearfully.

“Ehecatl!” Glory hissed angrily. “Let her alone. She didn’t have to tell us about the alarm or the elevator or even the tunnels.” He muttered something angrily and kicked the other chair.

The professor jumped and then jerked fearfully as Glory put a hand on her shoulder. “I’ll protect you, but you have to open the cells now. He’s been looking for his family for a long time.”

“Th-the female…”

“Tanith,” Glory corrected.

“She attacked S- one of the men when he tried to… examine the child. Professor Scott had i-her- Tanith… ” Ehecatl moaned and hit the wall, making the woman jump again.

She was fairly certain Murdock had been about to say Sean and wasn’t surprised that Tanith had tried to protect her child from such a sadist. “Sooner or later, Professor Scott will get what’s coming to him,” Glory replied calmly, “as will Sean. But no harm will come to you if you do as we say.”

*                                        *                                          *

Contest!!!

Friday’s post will have a “mystery” monster. It’s a “real” mythological monster, but Glory will not know what it is. Do you? I’ve taken liberties with some of its details, but there are plenty of clues in the description and its activities. Extra clues will be posted in my twitter.

Guess what the monster is and you’ll have your choice of prizes…

  • Pick another “monster” to be found when the cells are opened. It could be any monster at all, mythical or made up, so long as it’s intelligent.
  • You could have yourself or someone else written into the next chapter. Your choice of being good or evil or somewhere in between.
  • Resolve a minor plot point. Can’t let you have Glory find Lori since that’d be the end of the story, but if you’ve had something itching at you that you want resolved, I’ll make sure it gets settled in the next chapter.

to Book 5, Part 2, page 9

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 5, Part 2.8”

  1. Fiona said

    good story!

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