Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 5, part 3.6

Posted by harmony0stars on February 26, 2010

While Edgar and Cindy were resting, Glory ran up to her room to at least run a damp cloth over her face. Robert would be home soon. He’d probably be distressed enough when he met their guests without her looking almost as bad as she had when she’d crawled up from the draug’s lair. At least she wasn’t covered in blood this time, though it was bad enough that the ash of the Cinder-man still clung to her. It would be a long time before she felt comfortable with what she’d had to do.

Looking at herself in the mirror though, she cringed. Her hair was filthy and charred, knotted in spots and the rest scattered in all directions. Glory had managed to wipe most of the soot off her hands and face when she’d changed clothes in the car, but she still looked like she’d been through a war with a chimney. She didn’t like to think what the people in the drive thru had thought, but at the least they hadn‘t called the cops.

She stripped and jumped in the shower to scrub some of the dirt out of her scalp and put some conditioner in her hair. Even so, she was pretty sure that she’d have to cut the worst damage out. Would it grow back though, she suddenly wondered, to which Phoenix immediately replied, It’s dead, why bother. His response startled her so badly that she dropped the bottle and lost half the contents down the drain. She hadn’t expected him to say anything, or at the very least she’d expected a little privacy in the shower… which seemed to amuse Phoenix to no end. They shared a body. He couldn’t be anywhere else but with her no matter where she was or what she was doing.

This wasn’t exactly news, but it annoyed her nonetheless. Combing through the conditioner with her fingers, she rinsed it from her hair and quickly climbed out of the shower. Shouldn’t she be allowed some time to herself? She could at least breath a sigh of relief that he wasn’t influencing her from the sidelines any more.

I never did! he replied testily. Do you know how long it took me just to get your attention? Until you acknowledged me and brought me into your conscious mind, I was virtually helpless. The only time I could act was when you summoned me. If I could have got you to do what I wanted from the beginning, you wouldn’t even be aware of me now.

But… Glory tried to wrap her mind around his words. That would mean that I’m responsible…

Bingo! he said smugly. We’re merged on a cellular level. I can turn off those urges which are useless distraction, but I have nothing to do with your despondency. I’d have made you go out and find your sister by now if I’d had any control over the situation. It’s you who’s been sitting around waiting for her to come to you, allowing yourself to be distracted by other people‘s problems so you wouldn’t have to deal with her, feeling sorry for yourself. You’re remarkably observant of other people but you don’t have a clue about yourself. Trust me. It’s not like I’ve had much else to do aside from getting to know you. And I know your opinion of your sister is pretty low, but she would have to be a complete idiot to pick a fight on your home ground, even with your book. Considering how long she plotted to steal it, do you really think that sounds logical? She probably only sent that vampire after you to make you paranoid enough to go to ground. Face it, she’s got you pegged.

Glory ground her teeth as she snipped away the worst of her singed hair. She was not going to have what amounted to an argument with herself, even if Phoenix was a separate entity living in her mind. It had been convenient to assume that her emotional disconnect went hand in hand with the ‘distracting’ senses he’d shut down, but now… “I think I need a psychiatrist,” she muttered unhappily to herself. In admitting it though, she wondered if maybe she hadn’t been completely mad from the start. When an alien personality emerges to act as the voice of reason after a traumatic event…. well maybe she was locked up somewhere and everything so far had been complete delusion.

Make my hair grow, she ordered Phoenix as she stomped into her room to find some clean clothes.

It’s dead, he said angrily. I can’t even feel it. It’s a useless expenditure of energy.

We’ll get more attention with it looking like I had a fight with a weed whacker, she growled back. Make it grow, and I can get the worst of the damage chopped out by a professional.

Humans are so vain, he sniped as a frightened shout came from below.

“Darn it!” Glory bolted for the stairs, pulling her shirt over her head as she did so.

Robert was backing out of the kitchen as she hit the floor. Thankfully, Edgar was not following him. She didn’t like to think what the ghoul could do if he were scared or angry. He peered out from under the table, but decided he was more tired than curious and curled back up as he saw Glory.

Robert yelped as she put her hand on his shoulder. “What the… what the heck is that? Is that a monkey?”

“No, he’s a ghoul. We’re calling him Edgar.”

“We’re not keeping him, are we?” he asked in horror.

“No, don’t worry about it. I’m going to try to find him a home tonight.” Glory steered him away from the kitchen and towards the stairs.

“Can I go play my game?” he asked, resisting her guidance. She was already regretting buying it for him. She’d have to start checking up on his school work if his fixation continued.

“We have another guest in the living room. Why don’t you go up and start your homework. Dinner should be done in 15-20 minutes.”

“Not another ghoul?” He anxiously glanced towards the room, probably worried that it might harm his precious game.

“No…” Glory started to say as Cindy appeared in the doorway, rubbing her eyes with the heel of her hand. She was pale, but seemed to be a little better for her cry.

“Go ahead and play your game,“ she said with a sad smile at Robert, probably thinking of her own daughter. “I’ll go lie down for a while upstairs.”

to Book 5, part 3, page 7

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4 Responses to “Tattoo Book 5, part 3.6”

  1. Fiona said

    Interesting…I was wondering about Glory’s trauma…

    • harmony0stars said

      She’s kind of been stuck on the fourth stage of the the Kübler-Ross model of grief for a while now, hasn’t she? Glory’s used to keeping everything inside where it can be hidden from others. Phoenix isn’t going to let her get away with that now that he’s got a voice.

  2. Alderin said

    Brain stumbled on this one, though it may be technically correct: “before she felt comfortably with”
    maybe “comfortable” instead?

    Love the story, always wish there were more when I get to the end, and more comes pretty quick! Thanks!

    • Ugh! Why does my brain do that? I swear I have more trouble with E’s than any other letter, dropping them, using the wrong letter…

      Thanks for catching it! 🙂

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