Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6.18

Posted by harmony0stars on June 4, 2010

Together they ran to the library, certain that the sky was going to open up before they reached the doors. Scott waved at the librarian behind the desk at the center of the room as he lead the way inside. “On the first floor we have the Humanities, language and the arts on the left and history, psychology and sociology on the right,” he explained in a muted voice, though the diner had been more crowded than the library. “There are classrooms and rooms for study groups at the back. The sciences, math, biology, medicine, and business are on the second floor, though I think you’ll be impressed with our occult and religions section on the third floor.” He walked over to the woman at the desk. “Is Dr Blackwood in his office?”

“Yes, though I think he said something about leaving early if this weather keeps up. I don’t think anyone’s come in in over an hour.

“Call up and let him know I’d like to get into the special collections in a few minutes if you would please?” The woman smiled and nodded.

A moment later, she said, “Doris says he went to the restroom, but he should be back by the time you get up to the third floor.”

With the exception of Professor Murdock, it seemed all the other staff liked Professor Scott. On the other hand, they might just be making nice. Since they had to deal with him either way, it would be better to keep him happy. Who knew what they said about him when his back was turned? Teague and Tom certainly kept their true feelings under wraps, though their grades obviously depended upon his good will.

They rode the elevator up to the third floor. It was one of those fancy elevators with three walls of glass. As they rose, Glory could see all the shelves of books as they passed. There was something about being in a building full of books that energized her. She supposed most people walked into a library or even a bookstore and felt calmed by the weight of information collected in one place. When she looked at books, she felt hunger, a craving to devour everything that was between their covers, even on subjects that didn‘t particularly interest her.

People would probably think she was insane, but ever since she’d been a child, she’d had dreams of gleefully running through endless rows of books, pulling them from their shelves and nesting in them like a wild animal, ready to attack anything that moved in her endless forest of books. There were books that breathed and flew and swam, books that attached themselves to her like seeds in soil, unfurling fronds and flowers like hungry mouths that would mature into new books. She’d dreamed of making meals of books, devouring them like a starving man in a desert, baking, broiling, frying or boiling them, cracking them open like eggs and turning the words into a porridge. She processed the thoughts they contained like the nutrients her mind needed to build itself and grow strong. She’d dreamed of houses made out of books, basements and attics full of abandoned books through which she wandered like a ghost. Before Pheonix came along, she’d wandered massive dream-bazaars where the vendors and storefronts dealt in nothing but books. It was like something out of the Arabian Nights. Even as she went from shop to stall to a beggar selling scraps of books to feed himself, she knew that everything that was contained in their pages was already in her mind. She had prowled through the night and glutted herself on ancient tomes found only in her dreams. Glory missed them and the sense of satisfaction her night time wanderings had brought her.

Even when she was awake and held a book, reading whatever its writer had recorded, she often had a sense of déjà vu. It was as if she wasn’t reading so much as remembering something she’d already known but forgotten. She rarely had to look anything up unless she was completely unfamiliar with it. Even the symbol she’d seen in the museum was vaguely familiar.

She caught Scott watching her in the glass as they passed between floors and reigned in her eagerness. “Your library is gorgeous. Even if I’d only be interested in half of it, it’s still… exhilarating to be surrounded by so many books. I’d read anything in here if it was put in my hands. I have specific interests obviously, but I could start reading on the bottom shelf of the very first row of books and read all the way through to the end. I like books more than people. They’re more trustworthy.”

Scott nodded. “Most books… some are not trustworthy at all. Some should be destroyed if it weren’t too dangerous to even consider it.” She cocked her head at him, a little horrified that such a learned man would ever consider destroying a book. “You’ll see. The Necronomicon is a book that mankind has tried to destroy many times, but every time we think the last one is gone, another one turns up older than the first or in a different language. It’s better just to put it away in a vault for the good of the world. At least that seems to stop it from multiplying.”

Glory frowned, but didn’t disagree with him. The idea of a book that could replicate  itself if destroyed was sinister, though Scott was probably just being paranoid again. She hadn’t yet seen the mysterious Necronomicon; maybe it was as dangerous as he insisted. It certainly couldn’t be less dangerous than the book she’d written herself.

They stepped out onto the third floor. Between the elevator door and the door to what she assumed was an office or a classroom were a half dozen tables. There were a few rows of books behind the elevator, but it didn’t appear that there were many books on the third floor. Glory felt almost disappointed. Scott led her to the left and another row of doors. She caught sight of several more rows of books which had been hidden by a column and felt a little better about her trip.

to Book 6, page 19

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