Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 5, part 3.24

Posted by harmony0stars on April 9, 2010

Glory looked down at the girl who clung to the woman’s arm. “Are you Chelsea?”

“Yeah?” she replied uncertainly, staring at Glory with frightened eyes. She already had the beginnings of the Innsmouth look, and Glory wondered if she had any other abnormalities.

“I promised your mother I’d find you and get you home safe, but I can’t do that if you  don’t believe it’s possible. I can’t do it if you’ve given up.” Glory didn’t add, ‘like your friend,’ but she didn’t hold out much hope for someone so beaten, they didn’t even believe freedom was worth the attempt.

“I-?” She glanced at the woman, and a tear rolled down her cheek. “I want my mom. I want to go home,” she sobbed, bursting into tears.

“So do we,” growled the first woman from the other cage, her short brown and gray hair in a sloppy ponytail. All three now stood outside their cage. Glory hadn’t really noticed their clothes before, but now she saw the woman and the injured man were both wearing some kind of uniform. The other woman was wearing everyday clothes, probably collected somewhere in the surrounding countryside. Though she supported the injured man, it looked more like she’d just as soon use him as a human shield.

“Are you a cop?” Glory asked.

“No, coastguard. I’m Captain Hodgeson, and that’s Petty Officer Locke. That boat they’re using was our ship before they brought us in a couple days ago, the USCGC Hammerhead.” She didn’t say what had happened to the rest of her crew, and Glory didn’t ask.

“I’m Ann,” announced the civilian quietly as if she just wanted to be included in the conversation.

Glory winced, but covered her reaction as gracefully as she could. “Wow, they beat your ship to crap and back.” All the while though, she was thinking that if they did manage to get away, things had just gotten that much harder to keep quiet. She was pretty sure the Coast Guard answered directly to some US military office somewhere, which meant Innsmouth was probably about to get wiped off the face of the map as a “terrorist organization,” not that it appeared to be on many maps. At least she hadn’t mentioned Kingsport and hopefully Chelsea hadn’t said anything that would lead anyone back to her family, but if they all made it out of the bay in one piece, at the very least, Innsmouth could look forward to another raid. “If we can get to the other ship, could you get us out of the bay?”

The woman opened her mouth to respond, but Glory hushed her with a frantic gesture. Someone was coming down the stairs. She stepped back to stand behind the door and waited. Captain Hodgeson glared as the door opened, and Glory quickly stepped into the startled silence, tackling the man who stood in the doorway before he could make a sound and knocking him unconscious with one punch. She glanced up the hall to the sunlit stairs, but no one on deck seemed to have noticed anything yet.

It was only a matter of time before they realized something was up below deck however. “I can pilot any ship you‘ve got if it means getting out of this madhouse,” whispered the Captain huskily, dragging the man Glory had mistaken for captain through the door by his legs and tossing him into a cage. Glory saw a bare foot step down from the deck, and quickly backed up into the room, closing the door behind her.

Once again the door opened, and again she jumped on the person on the other side, bringing him down was a muffled grunt. It was fortunate that she stopped herself just shy of clocking him, dragging him into the room with something approaching relief instead.

“I’m a friend!” Chester yelped quietly, putting his hands up as Captain Hodgeson raised a hand to knock him down.

“Why the hell is he naked?” whined the petty officer. Now that he was on his feet, he was starting to look as though he might recover. Maybe it was just that his relative freedom had made him more optimistic about surviving.

“He’s a priest,” the ichthyoidal woman replied with shock and something like hope in her voice.

“Yeah, but why…? Oh god, you know what? Never mind,” Ann muttered, talking more to herself or some higher power than anyone in the room. “I don’t want to know. I really don’t. Just get me the hell out of this place. I just wanna go home. I’ll feed my mother’s stupid cats. I’ll never complain about cleaning the frikkin litter box again. Just get me the hell out of here.”

“What’s your name?” Chester asked the Innsmouthian woman.

“Lara,” she replied shyly. “I -I found the child. I wouldn’t let them take her, so they took me too.”

“Okay, okay… this isn’t love connection,” announced the Captain irritably, which made both Chester and Lara blush furiously and Glory roll her eyes.

“Right, right,” Chester said, shaking off his embarrassment. He nodded at the unconscious man lying on the floor of the cage. “They sent me down to help Marcus bring you up. Most of the priests are in the water already, but there’s two on deck and a man on the boat that brought us from the mainland. If we can knock the men into the water, we should be able to get to the other ship and away before they can muster any pursuit.”

“It’s as good a plan as any. I’ll go first,” the Captain replied, moving towards the door.

“No, I’ll do it,” Glory replied, swinging her cloak back around her shoulders. “They’ll never see me coming. You guys count to twenty and follow.”

“How are you doing that? And… how did you get those locks open anyway?” the petty officer asked as she put her hand on the door.

“I’m magic,” Glory replied with a grin and pulled her hood up.

to Book 5, part 3, page 25

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3 Responses to “Tattoo Book 5, part 3.24”

  1. Fiona said

    Did Glory wince because she was thinking about the implications of the Coast Guard, or was it something about Ann? …not quite clear….

  2. Alderin said

    “Coastguard, convenient and inconvenient at the same time”, much like police, in my experience.

    *HUGS*

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