Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 5, part 3.11

Posted by harmony0stars on March 10, 2010

Glory sighed with frustration. The sky was already beginning to lighten and she had accomplished nothing more than discovering Phoenix had more tricks up his sleeve. What other information had his former symbionts bestowed upon him in the course of their union? Though it seemed like she was asking for trouble, she hoped in the future he’d inform her right away if he knew something that would make her life easier, knowing full well that he could hear her thoughts and might take advantage of her lapse in judgment.

Shoveling the newspaper back into its bag, she shoved it into the drawer and went looking for her map collection. A map of Sybar City would obviously not be adequate since the girl had gone missing in Massachusetts. It would be best to start with a map of the United States and narrow things down from there, though hopefully she hadn‘t strayed too far from where she‘d eluded Scott‘s flunkies. She hoped Chelsea was at least still in the US, but if she wasn’t… well, Glory would cross that bridge when she came to it.

But how to focus the spell on Chelsea without having anything associated with her? It was too much to hope that Cindy would have anything of hers after so long, and it was too dangerous to visit their former home. Now that Cindy had gotten free, Scott‘s people would probably be watching it. If worse came to worse, Glory could take Cindy home to Innsmouth and hope something of Chelsea’s was there, but not before she tried finding the girl with the tools on hand.

Even if she had nothing of Chelsea’s, she had the girl’s mother and that might be enough to at least track her sympathetically. She considered using an egg instead of the cork, but only a rotten egg would float, so the connotation was far from good. Maybe a floating seed, like a coconut, though it was hardly a strong syllogism. On the other hand, her people being an aquatic species, maybe the coconut was the perfect choice as it floated from island to island to reseed itself. She would still need to somehow strengthen the connection, but a symbol for daughter eluded her… maybe a dandelion? They did after all reproduce asexually, so every dandelion was, in effect, a daughter. Though that was another stretch of logic. Maybe something to identify the spell with Chelsea specifically…?

“Hey!” she called out as she saw Robert stumble past in a sleep induced fog, his dirty blonde hair sticking up at odd angles. She really hoped he intended to take a shower before heading out to school.

“Huh?” He stopped and lurched back towards the library, still bleary-eyed with sleep. “When’d you get back?”

“A while ago,” she said with a smile. “Robert, we have to talk.”

“Oh gawd!” he bawled as the realization hit him like a ton of bricks. “You couldn’t get rid of it.”

“Robert, don’t be like that.”

“But it’s so… creepy,” he whined sullenly.

He is just a boy like you,” she said patiently. She understood that he’d had a nasty shock, but he was going to have to get used to strangeness. After all, she hadn’t had a normal day since her sister’s final psychotic snap. It wasn’t as if he had an option if he was going to continue to live with her.

“Psh, right…” he groaned.

“He is and when you see him again, you’ll be surprised by how human he looks. Ghouls are shapeshifters. But Edgar is also very young, which means he hasn’t had a lot of practice. He’s also been terribly abused.” She debated with herself a moment, but in the end decided not to mention Miskatonic or Professor Scott. “I want you to be nice to him. He’s your little brother now, and you have to look out for him and show him how things work.”

Robert rolled his eyes as Glory continued. “Whatever happened to him, he hasn’t spoken a word, but he understands everything you say. So don’t make up any nasty pet names for him or assume that he won’t understand if you make fun or him.” As he groaned again, she said, “Look, Robert, you’ve been in foster homes for a long time.”

He gave her a wary look before saying, “Yeah?”

“Think of what he’s gone through as a really bad foster home situation where they tortured him, maybe for years before I found him. He’s not stupid; he’s just not too sure of people after what he’s been through. Edgar needs you to be his big brother and show him that he’s safe here. He needs us to be his family.”

He looked uncomfortable as he stood in the doorway. “He’s not going to keep hiding under tables, is he?”

“Well, that’ll be one of the first things we try to change, okay?”

“Yeah, alright,” he said grudgingly, scratching his head.

“Do you have any tests coming up in the next few days?”

“Um, no?” he replied, clearly puzzled by the change of subject.

“When you go to school today, get Thursday’s and Friday’s homework. I’m trying to help Cindy find her daughter, so we may be making a road trip tomorrow. I can’t leave Edgar here unsupervised, and it wouldn’t be fair to leave you here alone, so I’m going to write a note for you to take to school with you today.”

“Really?” he asked, excited by the prospect of getting out of classes for two days, not to mention the fact that he‘d already missed Monday.

“Yes, but don’t forget to get your homework. I don’t want you shirking your school work. Remember what I said. If you don‘t keep up in school, I won‘t show you any more magic.”

“Okay! No problem.” He smiled as he left the room, much more awake than when he’d entered. Glory wondered how long his good mood would last once he realized he’d be cooped up in a car with Edgar for a couple days. With as much travel as she’d been doing the last few days and the rapid growth of her little family, maybe it was time to invest in a minivan or motor home.

Glory shook her head and rolled out the map setting the tray over it. She’d need some supplies before she could attempt to modify the spell. More than that, if she was going to take Edgar out of the house, she’d need some clothes. Robert was just a bit too tall for her to borrow any of his clothes.

to Book 5, part 3, page 12

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