Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6.24

Posted by harmony0stars on June 18, 2010

“I’m not a serpent person, if that’s what you’re thinking, though they prefer to be called Nagas. Just an FYI in case you ever meet one again. Do you know anything about the draug’s hoard?”

“Artifacts of Norse mythology,” Ann murmured as Glory continued to drive.

“Yes, including a cloak of invisibility and a few other artifacts that didn’t make it into Scott’s eager hands.”

Ann sagged in her seat, putting her hand in her lap. “I am so glad you’re not a ser- a naga. Not that I have anything against them,” she quickly amended.

“It’s okay. I’ve only met one, and he’s got a nasty temper. But that’s understandable, considering Tacita Ruggles kept him as a slave for years while Scott tortured his family. From what he said when we‘d gotten safely away… I‘m pretty sure they have history.”

Rubbing her eyes, Ann sighed. “I knew it was personal. She begged him to let her daughter go, called him by name.”

“I don’t trust him, not one bit. I’m convinced he sent Professor Jacoby to kill me, or at least to scare me into contacting him. One of my friends with the police found his print on a bullet that he dug out of my house. I can think of a lot of plausible ways it might have got there, but that‘s just me trying not to freak out whenever I have to interact with the man.”

“God, I wouldn’t put it past him.” She suddenly paled and looked at Glory as if for confirmation. “You don’t suppose he’ll try to have me killed. I know too much about his operation.”

“I don’t know. I’m sorry. You know him better than I do. I know I can’t trust him, but I also can’t afford to alienate him because of what happened with Jacoby and because of my kids. You know my youngest, though I only say youngest because I have no idea how old he is.”

Ann gave her a puzzled look. “I don’t. I only just met you.”

“Ehecatl, my naga friend, and I walked out of Scott’s death camp with his daughter and three others. Cindy went home to Kingsport, and the ghoul boy came home with me.”

“Really?” Ann asked excitedly, thankfully not ever asking after the cinder-man. “How is he? He always seemed quite docile. I tried to get him to talk, but I don’t think he trusted me at all.”

“He still hasn’t spoken, but he’s very smart. I‘ve only had to raise my voice a few times. You wouldn’t even recognize him.” She turned onto Peabody and glanced at her passenger as a thought occurred to her. “Do you have any leads on a new job?”

Ann laughed. “I wasn’t even looking for anything else. This was completely unplanned.”

“How would you feel about being a nanny?”

Ann gaped at her. “You don’t even know me.”

“You come highly recommended… bleeding heart and all. Anyway, my place is safe if you really think Scott might come after you. I can’t promise no one can get at you when you’re outside, but I swear no one can get in if they mean anyone inside any harm. I just had bulletproof sheets installed over the windows too. And I think a cultural anthropologist would be the perfect nanny for a ghoul.” Besides, she thought as much to herself as Phoenix, I have to learn to follow my instincts, and they say Scott’s bad news and Ann’s not. “Why don’t you come with me tonight, and we’ll see how Edgar reacts? If you two get on okay, you can stay a couple days and we‘ll see what happens from there.”

Ann bit her lip and looked out the window. “I’ll need to stop at my place for a change of clothes. It‘s right up on the left.” A few seconds later, Glory parked near the building she indicated. The rain had slowed though it was anyone’s guess if it would stop. “You should come in,” Ann announced. “I don’t know how long I’ll be. It’s been a while since I went anywhere, and I don‘t know where my suitcase is.”

Glory followed her inside and felt Phoenix’s relief that they would be able to keep an eye on the woman. It seemed since the museum and Scott’s assertions that the Old Ones were soon to be free, he was determined to take more of an interest in her affairs.

Ann dropped the box on a sofa held together with what looked like bungee cords with a sigh. “I can’t believe I wasted fourteen years of my life in that place,” she said with a shake of her head. Looking around the apartment, she seemed lost. “Would you like some tea?”

“No, thank you, but feel free to make some for yourself,” Glory replied, looking around the room. In addition to the sofa, there was a TV with a thick layer of dust on it. It didn’t look like either got much use. There were bookshelves everywhere against the walls, and a bedraggled spider plant that probably didn’t get enough light, not that the windows were well placed for houseplants. Ann’s apartment faced into a narrow alley, and it was doubtful that she got any sun at all. Glory smiled as she examined the nearest shelf and found several books by Jane Goodall, All Creatures Great and Small by Herriot, and similar titles. She didn’t imagine Ann and Professor Scott had got along well at all.

“I have a lot of books,” Ann said, poking her head in from the kitchen and spotting Glory near the shelf. “I hope that wouldn’t be a problem.”

Glory snorted. “You’re talking to someone who’s been a bibliophile since first grade. There’s plenty of room in my library for your books or you can keep them in your room if you prefer. I have two spare bedrooms for you to choose from, though I imagine you’ll want the one with its own bath.”

Ann set a teapot on the stove and walked down a hall to what Glory assumed was her bedroom. She was back a few seconds later with some towels and offered one to Glory. “You’re assuming he’ll like me,” she said almost glumly.

“Did he ever try to attack you when he was a prisoner?”

“No, I wasn’t really allowed to interact with him in the same room. They’d put him in an observation room with two inch thick glass and let me talk to him through an intercom, but it never went anywhere.”

“Well, I haven’t seen him act aggressively towards anyone yet. He’s very shy of crowds and new people, but I don’t think there’ll be a problem.”

“You’ve taken him out in crowds?” Ann asked aghast. “How did they not notice he isn’t human?”

Glory gave her a half smile. “I first tried to find other ghouls, hoping they’d take care of him, but apparently if you feed a ghoul meat, it’s your friend for life. They did help him shapeshift to a more human appearance though. He could pass for someone of Mediterranean of Middle Eastern descent now with his olive skin and dark hair and eyes.”

Her eyes were wide and her cheeks flushed. “I am so glad we met,” Ann gushed. The teapot whistled, and she returned to the kitchen. “Do you think I could talk to the other ghouls? I’d love to study their tribal structure.”

“I don’t know. They were very polite to me, but that might be because I saved one of them from a crazy scientist who was trying to transfer shapeshifting abilities to humans. It’s something we can consider if you and Edgar get along well though. If he accepts you, the other ghouls might not bat an eye.”

to Book 6, page 25

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 6.24”

  1. here2read said

    aw, diversity at its best….

    I often think, if instead of white, black or asian… we just thought human… most of our petty problems would go away.

    but maybe I am just hopeful…

    • No, I feel exactly the same way. All our immigration worries would clear up as well. Half the problems we have with other people is cultural. If we focused on what we have in common instead of the differences, there’d be no more us against them, and cultural differences would just be the spice that makes life interesting. Nationalities would become like religion, a matter of choice. People could just be who they are, and not what.

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