Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 5, part 2.16

Posted by harmony0stars on February 1, 2010

Even the ghoul boy seemed uneasy as they crawled over and through the crystal jungle, and Glory couldn’t help but think about the people who had gone missing. Dr Murdock had alluded to more than one entrance to the tunnels, so it was possible they had disappeared from a different area, but Glory couldn’t help but feel vulnerable as they climbed and slid over the sharp as glass mineral growths. The ghoul skillfully maneuvered through the crystal, pausing often to stay in the twilight on the verge of her light. It was obvious something was making him nervous, but despite his eons long memory, Phoenix had nothing to suggest.

Leaving Mrs Jacoby to make her own way over the slick mineral, Glory approached Ehecatl. His daughter tensed up as she neared, but he lay a comforting hand on her shoulder and said something in a lisping language. Climbing closer to Glory, he stopped to lean against a long spear of pearl-gray, striated stone. All of them but Mrs Jacoby were panting in the humidity, even Glory, which allowed the exhausted woman to finally keep pace with the others. The cinder-man however was having a very hard time, and Glory didn’t know what to do to help him. Many of the crystal shards were as sharp as any blade. With the deterioration of his flesh, the cinder-man would be lucky to make it through the jagged obstacle course with all his fingers, not that they were much more than immobile claws.

“The boy seems anxious,” Glory murmured, not wanting to raise her voice and worry everyone else. Ehecatl glanced at the ghoul who seemed as relieved as everyone else to take a short break. He perched on a broad facet, half-lit by the fire in Glory’s hand, but he kept glancing every now and then into the dark as if afraid of something there. “The first time I was ever underground was yesterday. I know next to nothing about caves.”

“And you just assume I do?” Ehecatl sneered, taking immediate offense.

“Look, I just said I don’t know anything about caverns. That was my confession… that I’m out of my element. How is that an assumption that you know more?” she protested in annoyance. “If you do, I’d be happy to hear it, but if you don’t, it’s not as if I expected some grand enlightenment by bringing it up.”

Ehecatl remained silent for several seconds before speaking. “I have never lived underground, but my ancestors have had various subterranean cities throughout ages. There are many dangers… and many dangerous things that live underground, some of them intelligent, most of them mindless predators. I couldn’t even guess what might be down here with us. We could ask him,” he said, nodding towards the ghoul, “but he hasn’t even said a word of ghoulish, let alone Nagini or human.”

“I’m worried he might be unhinged by what they did to him,” she admitted.

Ehecatl snorted derisively. “Ghouls aren’t considered sane by anyone’s standards,” he replied by way of explanation. “It’s hard to say what they know or even what they’ll do in any situation. When they do talk, it‘s in riddles. Human sorcerers have sought them out for millennia and not all of them have returned to tell the tale.”

“How is you daughter?” she asked softly, changing the subject. She glanced at the girl who sat almost gingerly against a blunt crystal with her eyes closed.

“She’ll… be better once we get out of here,” he sighed, clenching his fists. “I’ll take her to our people and then come back to deal with Scott.”

“People who commit acts of evil usually come to bad ends without someone hunting them down.”

“Yeah? Not a lot of your kind would consider what he’s doing wrong,” he replied with bitter humor, “and if you really believed what you just said, you wouldn’t have been looking for your sister when you ended up in that witch‘s abattoir.”

Glory bit her lip and looked away uncomfortably. “She’s my responsibility. Lori would never have become a problem if she hadn’t stolen my book from me.”

“Scott’s my responsibility then. If I had killed him twenty years ago, he never would have had the chance to threaten my family or any one else with this insanity,” he growled angrily. “I’ll kill him now though. I’ll make sure he can never come after Chusi.”

She wanted to ask what his history with Scott was but it wasn’t her place to pry. If he’d wanted her to know, he would have said. Glory opened her mouth to argue against his vendetta though. Chusi needed a father after all, and besides, making Scott a martyr to his followers would only make things worse.

Before she could open her mouth, Mrs Jacoby let out a cry of pain. Settling into a small crevice between two huge crystals, she clutched her hand as bright blood poured from the wound and spattered the opaque mineral around her. As quickly and as carefully as she could, Glory climbed over the slippery rock to the woman.

Glory supposed it had only been a matter of time before someone cut themselves on the sharp wet stone. Gritting her teeth in sympathy, she reached for the woman’s arm with her free hand. The cut was bleeding heavily, a slashed deeply across her palm with a more shallow second wound near her wrist. Mrs Jacoby’s clothes and the crystal surrounding her was already saturated with it.

Don’t do it, Phoenix whispered in a warning tone, but she ignored him, wrapping her hand around the woman’s wrist and willing the wound to close.

“Crap!” she shouted as the light in her hand dimmed and died altogether. She felt Phoenix shift sullenly in her mind.

to Book 5, part 2, page 17

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 5, part 2.16”

  1. here2read said

    What does Phoenix know, that Glory should have asked… now he is gone and with him, THE LIGHT…

    guess now would not be the time to make spooky sounds.. hehehehe

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