Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 5, part 3.4

Posted by harmony0stars on February 22, 2010

Glory knocked on the bathroom door, but when there was no answer, she stepped inside. Whoever had owned the place before her had decided that the bigger and flashier the better, installing massive Olympic sized tubs in each of the full baths. At least she hoped it was the former owner. She didn’t like to think Aaron had had such poor taste.

Of all the silly expenditures, the decadence of the bathrooms seemed the most unreal to Glory, but she’d grown up fighting her mother and sister for access to an ancient tub with crumbling grout and the overpowering scent of mold whenever there was enough moisture in the air to fog up the mirror. Even if Phoenix hadn’t deadened her senses to the point of apathy, she’d have been happy enough with a clean sink so long as she didn’t have to share it with anyone. Point of fact, Glory had yet to use the porcelain nightmare in her own bathroom, opting to use the shower unit whenever she felt particularly grimy. It wasn’t like she sweated all that often, so she didn’t have to worry about body odor.

This was actually the smallest of the full bathrooms, lacking its own separate shower stall. Instead, it had a large array of detachable fixtures set into the rim of the basin. Glory would not have been surprised if someone had told her that the bathtub was custom made. She’d certainly never seen anything quite like it. It wasn’t the largest bathtub she’d ever seen; that one was in her room. But it did take up one whole side of the room.

Someone had gone to great lengths to make it look like the whole thing had been chiseled from granite before adding enough doodads to completely spoil the effect. Which was a shame… before they’d messed it up with various knobs and buttons, jets, and even lights and heating sensors set into the bottom to keep the water a continuous temperature, it had probably been very aesthetically pleasing.

Not seeing Cindy anywhere, Glory rushed over to the basin. After all, it was probably large enough to drown at least three people with room for more. One exhausted woman of moderate size would be no match for the luxurious deathtrap. The water was still running, but the tub was nearly full, and Cindy had slid to the bottom, curling up into a little ball. She actually looked quite comfortable for a dead woman, though she was terribly emaciated.

Cindy couldn’t have been under long, and Glory was just about to pull her out and give her CPR when she opened her eyes. She looked about as startled as Glory felt. As she quickly sat up, Glory saw two great flaps of skin close over gills positioned under her rib cage. Without meeting Glory‘s eyes, she reached over and turned off the faucet.

“I, um, brought you some towels and a change of clothes,” Glory announced with embarrassment, picking them up from where she’d dropped them on the floor in her panic.

“Thanks…” Cindy replied, though it was more like a belch as she spit out the water that remained in her lungs. “I’m sorry if I scared you. I- thought you knew.”

“Not the specific, no. I just figured if Scott had you down there, there must be something about you he didn’t consider normal.” Glory set the towels on one of the steps leading to the tub and the clothes on the edge of the sink. “I think being able to breath under water would be kind of cool. Sorry I disturbed you. Come down whenever you’re hungry.”

Her phone was vibrating on the counter like a deranged insect when she went back into the kitchen. The ghoul sat on the floor in front of it with wide eyes, either terrified or wondering if it was edible. Glory snatched it up before he got any ideas.

“Hello? Oh, Hart… I didn’t expect you to call so soon,” she said as she stooped to retrieve the plate that the ghoul had left under the table. Two frozen steaks gone in less than a half hour, and she was reasonably sure that the boy would eat another two if she put them in front of him. Glory had to wonder about his metabolism. Did he somehow store protein the way a camel stored water?

It was a good thing she was already placing the dish in the sink as she dropped it with a loud clatter. She heard the boy skitter back under the table anxiously. “Yes, I’m still here,” she replied in as calm a voice as she could muster. “I understand you can’t do anything about him. It wasn’t an official investigation; no paperwork means no crime. Don’t worry about it. At least I know Jacoby wasn’t acting… No, no, look I have my way of finding things out and you have yours. I just stopped digging when I pegged Jacoby. I know he fired the gun, even if someone else gave him the bullets.” She paused as Hart hastened to persuade her not to take the law into her own hands, but she reassured him, however grimly. “No, don’t worry. I’m not going to do anything to him. He’s already digging his own grave with people scarier than me.” She paused again as he started to ask before changing his mind. Glory understood. Hart was a cop, and his first instinct was to uphold the law, but he was also a shapeshifter. He’d already put his career at risk by unofficially examining a crime scene. He didn’t need to put his life at risk by getting tangled up with people who’d just as soon dissect him as look at him. “Thank you for looking into it. I won‘t bother you again if I can help it.” He was silent a moment as if weighing his duty over his conscience before reassuring her that he was always available if she needed his help. “Thank you… that means a lot to me. And don’t worry. I’d rather have justice than revenge.”

Glory closed the phone and stuffed it in her pocket, turning at a sound from the doorway. Cindy fidgeted and smiled uncertainly. The clothes Glory had left for her hung from her frame making her look anorexic, but they were the smallest she had. “I decided my stomach was more important than more sleep. You… I… overheard part of your call. Did my husband…?”

to Book 5, part 3, page 5

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4 Responses to “Tattoo Book 5, part 3.4”

  1. here2read said

    oooooooooh good cliff hanger!

  2. Fiona said

    Too bad Glory doesn’t appreciate the bathtub. I sure would!

    • harmony0stars said

      heh, yeah Glory’s a bit of a prude. She blames Phoenix for a lot of stuff, but now we’ve discovered he doesn’t have that much influence on her… at least not as much as he’s had on other hosts. So mostly it’s the physical affects of his presence playing on hangups she already had. Anything that smacks of decadence, she’s going to deny on general principal, just because it reminds her of something Lori would enjoy. (I’d go for that bathtub too! lol)

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