Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6.12

Posted by harmony0stars on May 21, 2010

Glory wasn’t sure if letting Edgar run around like a wild animal was conducive to making him act more human, but he so obviously loved being out in the woods at night, and she enjoyed seeing him happy. He snuffled at trees and rolled in the dewy grass, chasing small animals she couldn’t see, though she didn’t think he caught any. She’d waited a few hours after it got dark before taking him back to the heavily wooded area where she’d first sought his people. There wasn’t much worry that he would stray. She never lost sight of him, and every few minutes, he came back to her on his own as if to reassure himself that she hadn’t deserted him.

The cat was still lounging on her bed when she brought Edgar home. At least he was mortal enough for food and water. The tuna was gone and the bowl of water was mostly empty. She refilled it and set it back on the tray beside him. He’d reoriented himself so he was facing the television and the entrance to her vault.

“Will you be staying long enough to require a litterbox, or are you capable of taking care of that on your own?” He gave her disgusted look, and she shrugged. “It’s a legitimate question. I‘d give you a room to yourself, but you seem to like mine.”

Ignoring him, she plopped into the chair beside the bed and opened her computer. Every time she glanced up, the cat seemed to be sleeping. Glory could see a sliver of his green eyes however and knew he was watching her. Maybe he thought if he acted like a normal cat long enough, she’d forget that he’d somehow survived the razor sharp shards of the urn without a mark on him and had simply followed her home by some happy coincidence. Phoenix was agitated too, though he refused to respond to her questions. She got the impression that he wasn’t so much bothered by the cat as the circumstances leading up to its arrival. As he’d said, he’d existed untold millennia without drawing the attention of any of the Old Ones, but now they seemed to be crawling out of the woodwork. Compared to that, the cat was nothing.

She proofread her report three times before she was satisfied. It wasn’t so much errors that Glory dreaded, but the possibility that she might give away some kernel of information about herself or the things she’d taken from the draug’s hoard or even what she‘d done after. A position with Scott’s xenophobic little group might be the furthest thing from her mind, but she didn’t want him to realize that.

As the room brightened with the rising sun, she sighed and stood, closing up her computer and leaving it on the chair. The cat lifted his head and watched her with an air of astonishment. “That’s right,” she said irritably, “I don’t sleep, ever. Sorry to disappoint.”

Though she expected him to lie back down and continue his frustrated watch on the vault, he surprised her by hopping down and following her out the door. She wondered what Edgar’s reaction would be when he saw the cat again. Well, it was on his head if the ghoul caught him. Maybe being a ghoul, Edgar knew something about the cat she didn’t.

She picked up the tray and carried it down with her. “I’m just going grocery shopping before the boys get up,” she told the cat. “As late as I had Edgar up last night, I doubt he’ll be awake before noon. I guess you have the run of the house till then.”

The cat leapt onto the kitchen counter and sat watching her every move. Maybe he was hungry, but she was all out of tuna. Whatever he’d been waiting for upstairs, the fact that she didn’t sleep had clearly changed his plans. Writing a note to Robert in case he woke before she got home, she stuck it to the fridge. She was only running down to the corner store. He probably wouldn’t be up before noon either, those being his normal hours during the weekend, but she wanted him to know she wouldn’t be gone long if he happened to come looking for her. Shoving some shopping bags into her pocket, she headed for the door. As closely as the cat was keeping, she half expected him to follow her out, but he stopped at the entrance with a chirp. As she closed the door, she saw him turn and trot lightly towards the living room.

The shopkeeper’s cat sat sunning itself on the counter, his orange fur incandescent in the early morning light. Muriel, the shopkeeper, had warned her when she first started shopping there that he was not an affectionate cat. Now as if to make a liar of the old woman, his eyes popped open as the bell rang, and he watched Glory with all the devotion of her feline houseguest. He mewed almost petulantly when she began shopping, as if insulted by the fact that she hadn’t come over to say hello. Muriel looked at him as if scandalized.

Glory stopped in pet food aisle and dropped several different cans of cat food into her basket. It was several minutes before she was done and carried her purchases to the counter. The orange cat, Sebastian if she remembered correctly, was sitting as if at attention, watching her avidly as she approached, and his owner watched him incredulously. As she began emptying her basket, he leaned in and sniffed at her hands, rubbing himself against her arm. She paused and scratched first under his chin and then behind his ears while he purred himself silly.

“Well, I’ve never seen him do that before!” the old woman declared.

“My house was just taken over by a cat. Maybe he smells him on me?”

She shook her head and rolled up one sleeve, displaying some healing scratches. “He barely lets me touch him without taking a swat at me. I can’t see him getting friendly with someone who has another tom. Sure you haven‘t got a girl?”

Glory shrugged, unable to come up with a plausible explanation. “Pretty sure.” It wasn’t like she’d picked him up and turned him over, but he seemed to have the normal male equipment. She set the various cans and bags onto the counter. “What do you feed him? I’ve never had a cat before.”

“Honestly? None of this stuff. I feed him whatever I’m having. He won’t touch anything that’s made for cats, and I’ve tried everything. Guess I spoiled him when he first moved in on me.”

“A reverse adoption, huh? Me too. Least mine hasn‘t taken any swipes at me yet.”

Muriel snorted. “Yeah, but he’s a good old tom despite the scratches. A couple years ago some young idiots tried to rob the store, and he took some chunks out of them for me. I haven’t had any trouble since. It‘s reassuring just to have him around. He‘s even saved me a time or two when I was dreaming.” She chuckled, and Glory couldn’t tell if the old woman was joking or serious. She put the cat food back and got more tuna. If nothing else, she knew he liked it.

to Book 6, page 13

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 6.12”

  1. Fiona said

    Hmm…my guess is the museum cat was going to talk to her in her dream, but she didn’t go to sleep, darn it! so on to kitty plan b?

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