Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6.27

Posted by harmony0stars on June 25, 2010

Glory had all but forgotten about the cat until it butted her leg with its head. She didn’t know what to make of the thing. One minute it acted like it had a mission, the next it was behaving like any pet looking for dinner. At least it hadn’t clawed her leg to get her attention. She would have healed… it just would have been rude considering the intelligence he’d shown so far. Robert watched with disapproval as she removed the meat from the remaining half of her sandwich, tore the foil in half and set it on the floor as a makeshift dish. Phoenix hadn’t complained about her eating, but she’d felt his growing irritation. Trying to please them both, it seemed neither was satisfied.

Well, if Ann ended up staying, she’d tell them both about Phoenix and hopefully that would make everyone happy. She felt Phoenix’s mood curdle further at the thought that she would soon reveal his existence to others before he withdrew into one of his oblivious silences. He couldn’t do anything about her plans aside from show his disapproval, but she was grateful at least for the illusion of being alone in her head.

Ann watched Edgar with thinly veiled curiosity. She kept her head down, staring at him under the fringe of her hair, watching openly whenever she brought her sandwich to her mouth. For his part, Edgar ignored her. He had his food and was content enough to give it his full attention. If he was even aware that Ann was still at the table, he didn’t show it.

When the cat had finished its food, it crossed to the other side of the table to examine the new human. Ann let out a startled squeak and looked under the table as he rubbed against her leg. He purred audibly as she reached down to scratch him behind the ears. She gathered the remaining bits of her sandwich and offered them to him.

“What’s his name?” Ann asked as he jumped up into her lap to lick the greasy foil on the table.

“He hasn’t told me yet.” With an annoyed look at Glory, the cat leapt from Ann’s lap and disappeared into the living room, his head held high. She made one of the napkins damp with her water and wiped Edgar‘s hands and face. “Why don’t you show Ann where your toys are, Edgar? I’m sure she’d like play.”

He looked at her and then glanced at Ann as if for confirmation. All that remained of his food was soggy bread and a few stray pickles. Normally she would have told him to finish his food, and he seemed both relieved and confused by the change of rules. He pushed away from the table and stood near Ann but not close enough that she might reach out and grab him. When she stood, he backed up a little and waited for her to follow him into the living room.

“Why’d you bring her here?” Robert said accusingly when they left. “He’s afraid of her.”

“No, he’s wary of her, but if she’d been one of the ones who hurt him, I think he would have reacted as soon as we came in the door.”

Robert scowled, balling up his empty foil. “I don’t get you. You wanna keep him safe from those Miskatonic goons, and then you bring one here.”

“How would you like to be home schooled?” He gaped at her in confusion. “Ann quit her job for ethical reasons. Just from the books she had in her apartment, I’d say she’s unlikely to turn Edgar in even if it doesn’t work out. I’m hoping she can be Edgar’s nanny though, and yours as well. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about missing school or watching Edgar, and I wouldn’t have to worry about leaving you on your own if I felt whatever I was doing was too dangerous to bring you along.”

He looked torn. “You brought her here so you could ditch us more often?”

Glory frowned. “No. In fact, we’d probably spend more time together if it works out. Edgar has to approve of her, but at least she’d be qualified to work with him to get him to talk. I haven’t asked her if she’d agree to home school you, but I could do that just as easily and start teaching you the fundamentals of magic at the same time. Speaking of which, I’ll need your notebook back to add your first lesson. And if Edgar decides he likes Ann, I’ll need to talk to all of you about some things.”

Robert gave her a suspicious glare as he collected the cups and garbage nearest him and followed Glory into the kitchen. “That would be okay, I guess. I wouldn’t really mind not going to school. I hear home school kids have a lot more free time.”

“I doubt you’d have as much free time as you think. Not if you’re learning magic.”

He shrugged and added smugly, “Well, at least I’d be around make sure you eat.”

Glory shook her head with amusement. It would probably be difficult to convince him she didn’t need food. Despite the relief it would be to bring everyone up to speed, she wasn’t looking forward to the big reveal. They needed to know about Lori and what she’d done too, no matter how embarrassed Glory was about the whole thing. It was ironic that she could deal with other people’s problems without batting an eye, but she didn’t know what to do about her sister. She didn’t even know how to track her down. Hopefully Scott’s Antiquarian Society would help in that area… if Lori was in fact involved.

Ann looked up as they entered the living room. “Look, he spelled cat!” she said excitedly, gesturing to the alpha-blocks.

Four blocks were piled up in a pyramid on the floor. Looking down on them, they did indeed spell cat with the A block in the middle higher than the others. Robert’s expression was incredulous, but Ann quickly explained.

“I was just talking to him as he played with his toys. I asked him if he liked the cat when he was playing with the blocks, but he didn’t respond so I moved on to other things. Then when I got up to stretch my back, I saw he’d spelled cat with the blocks. Isn’t that great?”

Glory smiled and leaned over Edgar. “Did you spell cat for the nice lady?” she asked. He looked up and smiled, offering her his pattern blocks.

“He can’t spell,” Robert blurted. “He can’t even talk.”

“Ghouls are born with all the languages of their ancestors. Isn’t that right, Edgar?”

He made no sign that he‘d heard, not that Glory expected him to. Instead, he set his puzzle box on the table and began sorting the shapes into piles. Glory picked up the pattern boards and offered three to Ann.

“Ask him which one is the cat.”

Edgar seemed to have gotten over his shyness and didn’t even flinch when Ann walked around the table. “Edgar, why don’t you do the cat puzzle.” She set all three boards on the table for him to see. He immediately began putting the pieces in place on the correct board.

to Book 6, page 28

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