Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6.26

Posted by harmony0stars on June 23, 2010

Visibility was low on the highway with the torrential downpour. Glory moved along slowly compared to the other drivers. Maybe they knew the road better than she did, but she could only see a few feet in front of the car and wasn’t willing to risk an accident for the sake of expedience.

She filled Ann in on the boys, though she only skimmed over how she and Robert had met in Greymalkin park. That was a story for later. Edgar was better behaved than most five year old. Despite the show he‘d put on when Scott had been showing off his little menagerie, Edgar could have been as young as seven or eight from the height at which he‘d stabilized. When Glory told Ann about the gift for languages all ghouls supposedly had, she looked wistful, probably wishing she’d been there for the meeting so she could have questioned them.

“But he hasn’t made any attempt to communicate yet?” she asked in a worried tone.

“No, well… he gets his point across when he wants to, but it’s mostly body language. A cat recently decided to move into the house. I’m not sure if he wanted to eat it or just enjoyed chasing it, but he made a cat-like noise when I told him to stop. He’s been shadowing Robert, and I was kind of hoping he’d at least start to pick up some of the normal gestures, head nods, waving… He does follow direction well. I can tell him to give me his hand if we‘re outside, and he rarely sits at my feet any more when I‘m cooking or eating. I only have to remind him to sit in a chair on occasion. He’s very smart and affectionate. I think he could talk if he wanted to, but…”

“But he’s been traumatized and isn’t sure if he’s entirely safe yet,” Ann said grimly. “I don’t know if this will work. My presence is only going to remind him of what we did to him. It might even ruin whatever rapport you‘ve developed with him.”

“We’ll see,” Glory replied, slowing down as a huge semi passed her, adding to the torrent of water falling on the car. “He seems to stay calm enough if there’s meat involved. If it’s not too late by the time we reach the city, I’ll stop and get some take out on the way home.”

It was nearly five when they drove over the bridge into the city. The rain let up abruptly. Glory dug her phone out at a traffic light and called home.

“Yeah?” Robert said irritably as he answered the phone.

“Something wrong?”

“Just figured you were calling to tell me you’d be late,” he replied without apology.

Glory frowned. “No, I’m just getting into the city now. I was calling to find out if you’d eaten yet.”

He was silent a moment before responding, probably embarrassed but too much of a teenager to admit it. “No, I was going to make something soon,” he said in a less combative tone.

“Call in an order to Salvatore’s. I’ll pick it up on my way. Steak sandwiches?”

“Yeah, okay.” At least he sounded more enthusiastic.

“We have a guest,” Glory said. She held the phone away from her head and asked, “Are steak sandwiches okay with you?” At nod from Ann, she brought the phone back to her head and said, “So order an extra, okay?”

“It’s not that professor guy, is it?” Robert asked warily.

“No, I’d never invite him into the house,” she said and debated with herself before adding, “But it is a former professor, so Edgar might be a little anxious when we get in.”

“Okay…” Robert said, though he didn’t sound as if he thought it was okay. He sounded as if he thought she was a little crazy.

“We’ll see how things go when I get home,” Glory said, closing the phone and dropping it into the console as the light changed.

When they got home, Robert was standing with Edgar at the foot of the stairs, holding his hand. Either Robert heard her key in the lock, or Edgar had heard it and Robert had followed him to make sure he wouldn‘t freak out over the visitor. Edgar showed no reaction to the sight of Ann. Instead, his nose quivered, and he looked pointedly at the bag in Glory’s hands.

Passing the bag to Ann, she said, “Why don’t you show Ann where the dining room is?” Robert just shrugged and led Edgar around the corner through the living room. Ann gave her an anxious look. “Just take it out and open it for him so he sees you handling it and maybe smells you a bit. I don’t think he’ll refuse it even if he recognizes you. I’ll be right in with drinks.”

Glory grabbed some napkins. She took a pitcher of cold water out of the fridge and set it with some glasses on a tray. Edgar might not have recognized Ann at the door, but he obviously recognized her scent once they reached the table. He sat nervously in his chair and hadn‘t touched his food, his eyes glued to the professor. She sat unhappily staring at her own food. Robert watched the both of them, probably worried that Edgar might become aggressive, though he hadn’t yet. Glory had her doubts Edgar would become violent at all if she or Robert were present. Obviously he hadn’t made any attempt to attack Jacoby when he’d kidnapped them.

Edgar anxiously looked up at her when she came in the door. She stroked his hair as she set a glass in front of him and filled it with water. “It’s alright, Edgar. Ann isn’t with those bad people any more. She never did anything bad to you, did she?”

He didn’t respond, not that she expected he would, but she suspected if Ann had abused him in any way, he wouldn’t have consented to be in the same room with her. She dreaded his reaction if he ever came face to face with Professor Scott.

Glory picked up his steak sandwich and took a bite as he continued to watch the other woman. “See, it’s okay. She didn’t do anything to your food.” He tentatively pulled out a piece of meat as she set the sandwich back down and nibbled on it. Ann picked up her own food after a moment and took a bite. Edgar continued to glance at the former professor, but the lure of food was too much for his anxiety. Once he saw that Ann was eating, he stopped worrying too much about her and focused on his own meal, pulling the sandwich apart and ignoring the soggy bread. Normally Glory would have admonished him to eat like everyone else, but she didn’t have the heart to scold him when he was being so good otherwise. He picked up a pickle and sniffed at it skeptically, looking to Glory for guidance.

“Try it. If you don’t like it, you don‘t have to eat it, and we’ll ask for no pickles next time.”

He put it in his mouth and immediately spit it back out, screwing his face up as if he’d sucked on a lemon. Wrinkling his nose, he carefully peeled the pickles off  and set them aside. Glory wondered what it was about the pickles he didn’t like, considering it was the first food he’d objected to.

to Book 6, page 27

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