Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6: Cat and Mouse

Posted by harmony0stars on April 26, 2010

The museum was quiet, so quiet she could hear the sigh of the air as it clicked on and off like a respirator attempting to breath life back into the stuffed, mummified, or otherwise deceased representatives of history. During the day the creepy wheeze was swallowed by the crowds, but at night it was probably the most appropriate sound for what amounted to a modern tomb. It had been a simple thing for Glory to come in as the place closed, to slip away to the restroom and don her tarnkappe. Waiting for someone to open the door again so she could slip back out into the museum without playing a ghost had been equally simple, if tedious.

For most of the week, Glory had brought Robert and Edgar to the museum under the pretense of getting Edgar used to people. If he’d been talking to her at all, Robert surely would have protested on the grounds that he had grown up in the city and knew the museum inside out. But as he still refused to open his mouth, it was just something he had to suffer through. By the end of the week however, he seemed ready to burst with frustration. Maybe if she annoyed him enough, he would finally get what had happened with Jacoby off his chest. She was frustrated as well. If she didn’t know how Jacoby had managed to capture her boys, how could she protect them from being abducted again in the future? When they’d arrived back at the mobile home, courtesy of Cindy‘s mother, there’d been no sign of forced entry. Had they been playing outside when Jacoby happened upon them? But how had he even known they were there? Glory would have noticed if someone was following her on the road. She’d hugged both boys fiercely once they were untied, but she hadn’t tried to question them until they were all safely alone. Unfortunately, neither begging nor bribery would get Robert to open his mouth, and of course Edgar wasn‘t talking.

Poor Edgar. On Monday, the hammering of the workmen had driven him to distraction. All day, he rocketed from one side of the house to the other, staring at the men through the windows like a spooked cat. By day’s end, the window that Jacoby had managed to get a bullet through was fixed. A second pane of bulletproof Plexiglas was added to all the windows on the front of the house and sides, which left the back for the following day. Her spells were adequate to keep enemies out, but apparently did not cover projectile weapons.

As soon as the hammering started again Tuesday morning, Edgar crawled under a table and let out a wail that brought her running. Though they’d be done with the windows before midday, building a garage in the back would take them through the end of the week. She could have taken Edgar to the park, but she didn’t think he was quite ready to socialize with other children. He’d mastered keeping his human shape in all the little details, even asleep, but she hadn’t yet caught Robert and Edgar roughhousing and was afraid he might hurt other children if he didn’t realize it was play. Until he started talking, she was leery of letting him socialize with any strangers unsupervised. Besides, the nearest park was liable to be just as loud as the house, and she’d have less control over him. She couldn‘t very well hold his hand the entire time; it would look suspicious.

The Sybar City Museum of History was nice and quiet during the day however, with the few people not at work sedately walking from display to display, and she was a card carrying member. It was the perfect place for Edgar to get used to humans. Edgar had a habit of trying to hide behind her whenever any group larger than three got too close, but by the end of the day she could at least let go of his hand long enough to buy him a hotdog from a street vendor.

When she brought him back Wednesday, it seemed the hotdog had cemented his trust in the museum as a safe place. He still peered suspiciously at anyone who came too close to them as they walked, but he also examined some of the more life-like displays with puzzled interest. Though he didn’t make any attempt to actually crawl into any of the dioramas as she half feared, he sniffed as if trying to determine if the manikins were alive or dead, and therefore fair game. Luckily, aside from a few mummies which were vacuum sealed under glass, only the animal displays could claim to have ever been alive, and they’d been mostly converted to sawdust decades ago… certainly nothing to interest a growing ghoul’s belly.

Glory brought both the boys back after dinner, and they walked through the museum for another hour before it closed. The way Robert dragged his feet, it was clear he felt he was being punished. But it was something they could do as a family, and so long as they were all together, she didn’t have to worry about someone snatching him when she wasn‘t looking. Besides Edgar obviously trusted the older boy and was at ease in his presence. At night when the crowds were thicker, Robert’s presence could only help keep the other boy calm.

Of course, visiting the museum served an ulterior purpose. Glory still had no idea what pattern the ghouls had found in their clippings. Most of the articles were so vague as to be almost useless and contacting the various museums for more details provided no clues. She wouldn’t put it past the ghouls to be familiar in someway with the contents of the museum or have some way of communicating with ghouls in other countries, but the curators were singularly unwilling to talk to her; not as if they had no time to spare for a long distance gawker, but as though they had actually been told not to speak about it. Otherwise contacting the museums had been a delight as she discovered she could speak various languages as well as read them. One curator had even been curious about her syntax, asking if she’d learned her French from an outdated book before giving her the same run around as his colleagues. Perhaps he’d meant it as an insult, but it was too much fun to fluently speak languages she hadn’t known a year ago to be bothered by any implied slight.

The newspapers where the stories ran were only slightly more helpful. There had been some details which they’d considered too mundane to include in their articles. For instance, though it was not given out what had been stolen to any of the papers, most of them knew the room or even the culture from which the theft had been made. A very few of the newspapers insisted nothing had been taken. Glory assumed the thief or thieves had discovered too late that the item they’d intended to steal was a replica. Finding out what things might have been taken from storage was next to impossible. The amount of information suppressed couldn’t just be for the sake of the murders. She set up her gmail account to collect any more information on the crimes and spent the daylight hours at the museum with Edgar.

to Book 6, page 2

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 6: Cat and Mouse”

  1. Fiona said

    Hmm…what’s up with Robert? I wish he would tell his story, I want to know too!
    I’m also wondering how the Kingsport and Innsmouth people will get on without any priests.

    • He will eventually breakdown and spill, no worries. I don’t want to say too much about why he’s keeping mum… so I won’t. 😛 😉

      Hopefully the people in Innsmouth will move on, maybe join the community in Kingsport. It certainly won’t be safe once Captain Hodgeson gets done giving her report. And we don’t really know that they’re without priests…

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