Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

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Tattoo Book 5, part 3.27

Posted by harmony0stars on April 16, 2010

With the weight of that one tentacle, the ship was starting to tilt, and Captain Hodgeson again struggled for her freedom as the priest on top of her shifted his weight with the ship. He rolled and then slid several feet across the deck. Glory worked her way across the ship to Ann who was nearest and dragged the woman to her feet. “Don’t look back, just get to the other ship. Go!” She shook the woman as she stood there with wild eyes, terrified beyond words, and then pushed her aft where the ships were beginning to tilt towards one another in an alarming fashion. If they didn’t get on the other ship soon, the two might collide and make escape impossible.

Lara and Chelsea we nearest after Ann. Glory collided with them as another tentacle hit the ship and slid off to the side. “Do you have gills like your mom?” Glory demanded, but Chelsea just gaped at her. Belatedly realizing she was still invisible, Glory pulled the hood from her head, making the child squeak in terror. “Yes, I know. I have a cloak of invisibility. Cool, huh?” Glory blurted so quickly the words blended together. “Can you breath under water, like your mother?”

“N-no,” she whimpered.

“OK,” Glory replied, not wasting time on things she couldn’t control. She turned to Lara. “Get her to the ship.”

Locke was sliding every time the ship’s tilt increased, and Glory reached him at the same time as Captain Hodgeson. They both slung his arms around their shoulders and struggled to cross the deck without losing their footing. With every tilt of the ship, it became more difficult to move without finding a handhold. “You’re more important. You go over first. I’ll throw him to you. The man in the boat is Chelsea‘s dad. Try to get him on board if you can, but he‘s nuts, so you know, watch out for the gun.”

The Captain stared her as if she’d like to argue, but the prison ship gave another lurch as the thing in the maelstrom began pulling rather than merely slapping the vessel with its tentacles. So far it had left the other ship alone, but they couldn’t be sure that would remain the case. The woman landed on the other deck with a grunt and came back to the side to catch her Petty Officer.

Chelsea and Lara struggled closer, eyeing the gap between the two ships. Bracing herself, Lara made Chelsea climb up on the rail and waiting for the other ship to drift a bit closer, she threw the child across with all her might. Chelsea barely grabbed hold of the railing as the two ships slid apart again, but the Captain pulled her onboard and stood waiting for the others.

Trusting Lara to get across on her own, Glory worked her way back down deck to where Ann cowered by the railing. The tilt of the ship was now such that Glory fell more than walked down the deck towards the terrified woman. Grabbing her by the arm, she slowly dragged the terrified woman up the railing to Lara. She also had not moved, staring instead at the foamy gray water between the two ships. She climbed up on the railing, but turned as a shriek rang out closer to the whirlpool that was slowly consuming the ship. Without looking towards the other ship, Lara smiled and jumped straight down into the water, eliciting a tiny cry from Chelsea who had been waiting by the railing of the coast guard ship. She clung to the railing as she stared into the foamy water and cried for Lara again and again.

Looking back at the clustered priests, Glory watched in amazement as one of the massive tentacles waved the minuscule form of Father Dag high in the air. There were maybe half the number of priests clinging to the railing, the rest either having been taken or fallen into the water below. They all gaped at their screaming leader as the massive appendage swung through the air like a child’s rattle before the massive tentacle was suddenly yanked straight down into the water with barely a splash.

Pushing and dragging the shell-shocked woman up the deck, Glory forced her to balance on the railing and when the ships lolled closer, she pushed her as hard as she could. Ann collided with the railing of the other ship and clung there for dear life, fighting all of Chelsea’s attempts to bring her fully on board. Waiting for a still moment, Glory quickly leapt across herself.

“Your dad’s in that boat that was shooting at us, and he has my boys with him. Make sure he knows you’re onboard and then tell the Captain to get this ship moving.” Turning away from the terrified child, Glory grabbed Ann’s arm and tried to heave her onto the ship, but the woman started screaming and then struggling against Glory’s hands. Before Glory could get a good hold of her, she suddenly let go of the railing and fell into the churning waters with a wail. Clenching her fists in helplessness, Glory pulled the hood of her cloak back up and ran after Chelsea. If Jacoby gave them any kind of trouble, she was going beat the crap out of the man, but if he saw her, he was liable to do anything.

The tiny boat rocked beside the larger ship, and Jacoby struggled to keep it from being sucked into the maelstrom only yards away. The boat’s tiny motor was certainly no match for the current that was pulling everything into Devil’s Reef.

As Chelsea screamed, “Dad!” he looked up and beatific smile lit his face, apparently he had forgotten his daughter was ‘tainted.’ “Dad! Throw me a rope!”

He cast about the ship for any sign of a rope before shaking his head and shrugging. The idiot had probably used his only rope to tie up Edgar and Robert. Glory looked about the deck of the Hammerhead and grabbed the first length of rope she saw. Tying it to a convenient bit of metal, she swung the other end around her head before letting it go, hoping Jacoby would be too busy trying to stay afloat to notice the rope was throwing itself. It fell short and she quickly pulled it in and threw again. This time it just barely fell across the prow of the little boat and almost into the water before the madman could scrabble after it. He tied it to the boat, laboriously winding it around the prow to bring himself closer.

“Dad! Stay in the boat,” Chelsea called as the fool attempted to pull himself into the larger ship. The water was much too rough and now that his tiny boat was tied to the larger ship, there was no fear of it being pulled into the whirlpool. Though the thing at its center had taken the High Priest under the water, it continued to pull at the prison ship and the remaining priests. She still had not seen whatever was attached to all the tentacles, and she didn’t want to. Whatever it was, it seemed pretty ticked off, and Glory was just glad it wasn’t bothering the Hammerhead… yet.

Chelsea screamed as the ship’s motor started and her father lost his handhold. He thrashed against the side of the boat as the waves threatened to pull him under. Grabbing a lifesaver, Glory threw it into the water nearby, and he latched onto it as if all the energy had been sucked out of him. For a moment he lay in the water with his arms wrapped around the lifesaver. There was no worry of losing him as a rope connected the lifesaver to the ship itself, but suddenly he cried out, kicking and thrashing at something in the water. He clung to the circle of Styrofoam for several more seconds before with a cry of absolute terror, he was dragged under. Whatever had pulled him under, neither it nor he surfaced, nor did anything attack the little boat. Glory could only hope it had been a rogue current and not one of the vengeful priests of Innsmouth.

“Daddy!” Chelsea screamed, collapsing against the railing in tears. With a jerk, the Hammerhead began to move dragging the tiny boat and empty lifesaver after it. Glory watched only long enough to be assured that whatever the tentacled thing was, it had no interest in the boat trailing the ship and sat down beside the girl, holding her until her sobs subsided.

* * *

The expression on Cindy’s face when she opened the door was well worth the trip to Innsmouth, even if Robert was giving Glory the silent treatment. She still had not gotten the story out of him as to how they’d ended up in the Professor’s keeping, and she wondered how long he was going to hold a grudge. Both boys were alive and conscious when Glory was finally able to bring them onboard, apparently they had just been tied so thoroughly they couldn’t move a muscle. Even after they were freed however, Robert refused to even look her in the eye, let alone talk.

Setting a course for the nearest naval base, Captain Hodgeson checked on her Petty Officer, but found his pupils unresponsive and didn’t hold out much hope that he’d recover even in a hospital. Glory didn’t even know basic first aid, so she took the Captain’s word for it. Though she would have liked to make healing him conditional on their silence, Glory couldn’t bring herself to be so mercenary. If the shock of seeing him open his eyes and act as if he’d never been wounded wasn’t enough to drive home what had happened, healing the knife wound in the Captain’s shoulder certainly was. Phoenix was not happy with the waste of his resources, but they seemed to be out of danger, so he couldn‘t complain too vehemently.

In the end, though both officers refused to keep silent about the ‘pirates’ in Innsmouth, they did agree not to mention anything to do with any other survivors beyond Ann. Her parents should at least know how their daughter had died. As Petty Officer Locke pointed out himself however, no one would believe a quarter of what they’d seen, and that last quarter was enough to have them forcibly retired. They would have to keep their story to its most mundane details if they wanted to keep their commission.

Captain Hodgeson put them ashore in their little boat as close to Kingsport as she could. It was nearly three in the morning, but the cab companies seldom declined a fare. Despite the driver’s suspicious looks, he dropped them off in Kingsport, no questions asked.

To say that Cindy and her mother were astonished to see Chelsea alive was an understatement. When they finally finished hugging her and crying and put Chelsea in her mother’s room and the boys in the other bedroom, Glory told the women everything- Father Dag’s attack on his brother and Father Chester’s heroics and how Jacoby’s intervention had probably saved everyone’s lives- which only caused Cindy to break down in tears again.

:::End Book 5:::

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6 Responses to “Tattoo Book 5, part 3.27”

  1. here2read said

    Jacoby’s action show that even crazy people have moments of such sanity. Or maybe [this coming from a daddy’s girl] a Fathers love over comes all 🙂

    • Kidnapping the boys would tend to indicate he’s still nuts, but it’s unlikely he’d blame his daughter for the “sins” of her mother. On the other hand, him being dead, we’ll never know what his motivations were or how he would have acted once he got his daughter back. Maybe it would have been enough to cement his frayed sanity… which I still think Scott had a hand in destroying.

      You may think it’s funny because I’m writing this story, but sometimes I leave things a mystery even to myself and let the characters tell me when I get there. I know the basic ending to Glory’s story, but Robert and Edgar? They just came in out of nowhere and took over her life! lol In so far as the story’s end goes, Glory’s life has been preordained, but all the little things that happen between now and then show she still kind of has free will, even for a fictional character. And sadly, so did Jacoby.

  2. Alderin said

    Nice end of a chapter. I still think she could have let Phoenix eat a little.

    “energy had be sucked out” – been?

    *HUGS*

  3. Folks might be interested to know that Captain Hodgeson is an homage in this very Lovecraftian chapter to William Hope Hodgson, a writer of weird sea-faring tales. He is credited with a great deal of influence over Lovecraft’s work and if you ever get to read any of it, there are some stories which almost directly correlate to Lovecraft’s own weird seas. Check out a collection of his work called Adrift on the Haunted Seas if you’re interested.

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