Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 5, part 3.15

Posted by harmony0stars on March 19, 2010

Just in case someone from Miskatonic was watching the house, Glory gave Cindy the tarnkappe before they headed out. Glory had returned her rented car and purchased a mobile home. There would be no time to modify it or stock it with spellcrafting paraphernalia, but at that moment, she needed it more for travel than defense. She still had the protective ointment and water from the beginning of the week. That would have to do in so far as defenses went, and that she would give to the boys if she needed to leave them alone for any length of time.

She’d also slated contractors to replace her window and another to build a garage large enough for the mobile home at the back of her property. In Sybar City, a mobile home was be a luxury indeed, but she didn’t like the idea of finding a parking garage close enough to make her purchase worthwhile. She would still rent a car whenever she was traveling alone or anywhere near Miskatonic, but with two boys and her propensity for being away from home so often, a car or even a minivan fell far short of her needs.

Hopefully she would be back before the men showed up on Monday to begin work. Glory didn’t like the idea of anyone near her house while she was away and the very act of inviting workmen there negated her protections if any of them should happen to also be working for her sister. Not to mention the fact that when they took down the wall in the back of her property, it would leave a huge hole in her wards until she incorporated some into the new building.

She trotted down to the vehicle to open the home’s door before returning to for their bags, giving Cindy ample time to slip inside undetected. Now an old hand at travel, Edgar examined the vehicle for only a few seconds before darting inside. He settled himself into the front seat, but kept shifting around to look through the nearest windows, eager for the journey to begin.

It was just after eight when they reached Kingsport. Cindy slept most of the way, waking only once they left the relatively straightforward highway for the stop and start of city driving. She had given Glory the general directions to her mother’s home while they were still at the house and only needed to point out a few landmarks to facilitate her return home. Clearly they had been expected. Even as Cindy climbed out of the car, her mother opened her door and Cindy rushed the few feet into her arms. After all the precautions they’d taken, Glory could only hope that no one was watching the house as Cindy left the tarnkappe in the car in her eagerness to get to her mother.

Cindy’s mother gave her daughter’s companions a suspicious glare as they piled out of the motor home, but the sight of two children made her relax at least a little. After all, if Glory planned something nefarious, she’d hardly put her own children in danger. Glory smiled at her, but the woman just gave her a measuring look before turning back to the house and leading her daughter inside.

It was a nice neighborhood, each house with its own small front yard and none of the buildings too close together. Not like Sybar City where, even in Glory’s neighborhood, the tendency was to build houses practically on top of one another. Cars lined the road, and Glory wondered how many of the people in the area were ichthyoidal. More importantly, how many would be willing to help Cindy get her daughter back?

Though Cindy left the door of the house open behind her, it was quite obvious from her mother’s attitude that they were not welcome. “Stay in the motor home guys,” she told Edgar and Robert. “You might as well start getting ready for bed.” Robert looked disgruntled to be left out of the action after the long ride, but he didn’t argue. Glory was actually quite impressed by how responsible and obedient he’d been since accepting his role as big brother. He actually put his arm around Edgar’s shoulder and turned him away from the door as Glory shut it. She was going to have to figure out something nice for him as a reward.

Inside the house was a dour group of men and women a little over half dozen in number, whose eyes bore into Glory like lamprey eels. Only one of the group, a priest from his robes, looked younger than Cindy, and most of them were quite a bit older than her mother. The young priest at least looked concerned, while his fellow clergymen, of which there were two, seemed more contemptuous and suspicious of Glory than worried over Chelsea’s abduction.

Without even bothering to introduce himself, the eldest of the priests snarled at Cindy. “Girl, bad enough you married an outsider when we warned you it would never last, but now you share our secrets with another one.”

“I didn’t!” she cried, looking very much like a chastised child despite her age.

“If she told me any secrets, I missed them,” Glory said coolly, looking the man in the eye. He returned her stare flatly. If contempt were fluid, she’d have been drowning in it.

“You are not welcome here,” the second priest said, his voice dripping with disdain. Many of those gathered nodded in agreement, glaring at Glory with hostility.

“I promised Cindy I’d help, and I will.”

“What makes you think we want your help?” demanded an elderly woman. Glory couldn’t be sure because they all had a similar cast to their features, but she imagined the woman looked enough like Cindy and her mother to be a grandmother or great aunt. The woman’s eyes bulged to an alarming degree and Glory couldn’t tell if she was that livid or if it was just the progression of the so-called Innsmouth look.

“That’s really for Cindy to decide,” she said mildly, but let Phoenix’s flame appear in her palm where it danced for a few seconds before she closed her fist. The second priest muttered ‘parlor trick‘ under his breath. She pretended as if she hadn’t heard him. “But I’ve been known to help nagas and other shapeshifters, one of my foster sons is a ghoul, and I freed Cindy and others from the bowels of the Miskatonic university simply because there was a child in danger, more than one as it turns out. So if you don’t intend to do anything about Chelsea, then I will, with or without your help.”

“Maybe… maybe you’ve helped enough,” Cindy’s mother piped up, her voice quivering with uncertainty as she looked from her folk to Glory and back. “Honestly, don’t think I’m ungrateful for what you’ve done for my family. None of us would expect such kindness from a stranger. I never thought I’d see my little Hyacinth again. But… but they’ll never return Chelsea. That’s just the way it is.” Cindy let out a little sob and buried her face in her hands as her mother tried to comfort her.

“And you’re just content to leave it that way?” Glory demanded.

“You’ll do more harm than good by meddling,” the elder priest replied imperiously though there was a hint of fatigue in his voice.

“What harm? What good?” she asked, looking around the room. “Cindy wants her daughter back, and she has a right to her. It seems more harm is being done by not returning Chelsea to her family.”

“This discussion is over,” he announced, struggling to get to his feet. The youngest priest stood and quickly helped his senior up, glancing at Glory anxiously. “Go to Innsmouth at your own peril.”

On by one, the group filed out of the house. All but the youngest priest gave her an ugly glare as they exited. He seemed unable to look her in the face and kept his eyes glued to the floor as he assisted his elder to the door. The old man walked with a peculiar sliding limp as if the bones of left leg bent the wrong way, a birth defect perhaps. Those that even looked Cindy’s way, did so with contempt as if bewildered by her misery. Shouldn’t she be happy that her daughter was at least alive and safe from the people who had abducted her? Cindy’s mother kept her own head down as she tried to sooth her daughter, avoiding the scornful gaze of her tribe.

“I’ll be parked in front of your place for the night, if that’s alright,” Glory told the older woman as they were left alone.

“What will you do?” she asked, though she seemed loathe to hear the answer.

“I haven’t decided yet,” Glory replied though it was a lie. At the very least, she was going to Innsmouth. What she did once she got there, that was the question.

to Book 5, part 3, page 16


2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 5, part 3.15”

  1. Fiona said

    Snotty bunch of fishfaces 😉

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