Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 5, part 3.2

Posted by harmony0stars on February 17, 2010

About midmorning, she pulled onto a ramp and drove through one of the more or less identical towns dotting the interstate.  With the increasing traffic, she couldn’t keep driving around half invisible, and both Cindy and the boy needed to eat. Whatever their diet had been at MU, it was barely enough to keep them alive. And while she assumed the ghoul could survive on very little, it could hardly be his optimal lifestyle.

Cindy jumped as Glory gently shook her awake. “Wh-what is it? Where are we?” she yelped, sitting up straight and looking around.

“We’re parked behind a thrift shop. I figure they’re the only clothing store that won’t really notice or care if you look a little worse for wear.” Cindy glanced down at herself as if noticing the tiny rips and dark smudges for the first time, not to mention the bruises on her arms and neck and the dark circles under her eyes. “I can’t go in like this,” Glory explained indicating her invisible torso, “but we’ll need new clothes if I’m going to stop for food any time soon.”

Swallowing, the woman took the money Glory offered and walked around the building. She was back a few minutes later with sweats. “I didn’t know what sizes to get,” Cindy said in a half sigh. “…I’ve lost so much weight, I don’t even know what size I am any more. To think, I was actually thinking of trying a new diet before…” A tear trickled from one of her eyes before she wiped it away with the back of her hand, sniffling. “The clerk probably thought I was a drug addict,” she announced dejectedly.

Glory patted her shoulder gently, but there really was nothing she could say. She considered making a joke about her weight, but nothing about the situation was that funny and would probably only make the woman feel worse. Discarding their old clothes, she lay the tarnkappe over the ghoul. He chirped with delight, his head hovering over his invisible body while his eyes darted here and there, probably getting a kick out of waving his invisible arms in the air.

Would eating help our situation any? she asked Phoenix as she pulled up to the first fast food place she saw, but his response was sour with disgust. Well that explains why I never have an appetite any more, she thought and wondered what he had against food.

Sugar water might be helpful, he finally conceded disdainfully, but we don’t need anything heavier. We use stored minerals when we’re injured, but otherwise the nutrients in food just accumulate… make us slow. It‘s a good thing I burn off anything harmful else Aaron would have poisoned himself with alcohol years before I came to you.

Glory winced at the reminder of her benefactor. How much of his situation had driven him to drink, she wondered? Then again, the alcohol couldn’t have had any effect on him to reinforce his consumption, so he’d probably picked up the habit long before Phoenix found him.

“Pick whatever you’d like,” she said to Cindy as they pulled up to the menu board. She reached out and tugged the hood down over the ghoul’s head. He giggled, for all the world like a toddler. It would have been completely endearing if she hadn’t seen him dismember a body only a few hours ago.

“Gods, I can smell the coffee from here,” Cindy replied, scanning the board with glistening eyes.

“Juice or milk would probably be better considering,” Glory said apologetically. “Coffee’s a diuretic, and you look pretty dehydrated already.”

Cindy sighed, but nodded, opting for an egg and sausage sandwich, home fries, and a large orange juice.

Can a ghoul eat sausage? she asked Phoenix, but he laughed in her head. If there’s meat in it, a ghoul will pretty much eat anything, he replied derisively.

“Can I take your order, please?” a hollow voice warbled weakly from the vicinity of the menu.

“An egg and sausage sandwich, home fries, and twenty, no thirty sausage patties,” she ordered as she checked her cash. “One orange juice, one apple juice, a small cup of water and a large cup of ice.”

For several minutes there was silence as whoever was on the other end processed their order. “Did… you say thirty sausage patties?”

“Yes, please,” Glory answered calmly.

There was another pause before the voice responded. “It’ll be a few minutes. We don’t have that many ready. I- have to charge you for the water and ice, for the cups.”

“That’s fine.”

“OK, that‘ll be $38.56. Please pull forward.”

The girl in the window gave her a weird look as she pulled forward and handed her two twenties. She was probably wondered how two women were going to eat thirty sausage patties. “Please pull ahead, and we’ll bring the patties out in a few minutes.” She stated, handing Glory their drinks and Cindy’s food along with the change.

Glory drank the apple juice within a few seconds. Without having any sense of taste or thirst, there was no reason to nurse it. For a moment she wondered if she could ask Phoenix to stop suppressing her sense of taste, but dropped the subject without bringing it up. If she didn’t need food, then restoring her ability to savor food would only make her pine after it.

She set the large cup of ice in the cup holder in the console and set the smaller cup of water on the floor for the ghoul boy. He growled softly, probably smelling the sausage on Cindy‘s egg sandwich. “You can drink the water as the ice melts if you get thirsty. I think it’ll be another two or three hours before we get to my house. We’re making good time, but we haven’t hit Jersey yet. Their highways are like a labyrinth without even the novelty of a minotaur or David Bowie.” Cindy choked on a laugh, the first since she’d been freed.

to Book 5, part 3, page 2

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 5, part 3.2”

  1. Fiona said

    I’d love to see a picture of the ghoul boy!

    • harmony0stars said

      He’s adorable, but right now, still in my head. Give him an appropriate name, and I’ll see about drawing a picture for you 😉

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