Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6, part 2.3

Posted by harmony0stars on July 9, 2010

Glory tried to be a gracious host, she was the one who’d invited Stuart to her home after all. By the time he left however, she was ready to tear her hair out. She’d never been one to socialize, and while Stuart was a nice enough man, they didn’t have a lot in common beyond the circumstances that had initially brought them together. True, they had a similar dogged determination to see justice done, but that didn’t seem like enough on which to base a relationship, especially not when she had a third wheel living in her head.

Phoenix didn’t say so much as a word throughout the entire evening. That didn’t stop her from dwelling on his presence like a sore tooth. Even if she’d felt some kind of spark with Stuart, so long as Phoenix was in her gray matter she‘d never feel comfortable pursuing a relationship with anyone.

Still he tried… for two hours. It was probably hard for shapeshifters to find girls they could come out without fear of being laughed at or turned over to the government for vivisection. She didn’t feel comfortable asking him, and he didn’t bring it up. Too bad because his culture and abilities would at least have been something about which she could ask questions. Glory had never been good with small talk, and the conversation lagged significantly every time she was called upon to do more than listen and make interested noises.

It wasn’t that Stuart was boring either. He told her about ghost hunting in the woods around his family‘s home in Gettysburg when he was a kid with his six brothers, fossil hunting at Beltzville park in Pennsylvania, his political aspirations… Apparently, there had never been a shapeshifter in the Whitehouse. Though that seemed to be a pipe dream, since he hadn’t even taken one political course in college.

All Glory could think of throughout the evening however, was how things with Aaron had gone so terribly wrong. It didn’t matter that her sister had been behind their meeting; it still made her worry that somehow she’d get Stuart killed too. She still had mixed feelings about Aaron, especially knowing Phoenix spent most of the man’s life lowering his inhibitions.

When Stuart finally left, she banged the fleshy part of her fist into the doorframe with a sigh of frustration. How much of Aaron’s behavior had been because Phoenix was influencing him? It wasn’t until he was free of the… she hastily rephrased her thought as symbiont instead of parasite, knowing that while Phoenix might be silent, he was an ever present listener, aware of every thought that went through her head.

You could do a lot worse than having your inhibitions lowered, he said, well aware that she‘d been thinking of him.

It’s my body and my life, she replied irritably. Glory straightened the living room, checking the cat‘s bowl for water before going up to her room. You’re useful, but you’re not welcome. I want you to understand that. I didn’t invite you. Your presence is an invasion of my privacy, and you can’t control me the way you did the others. You killed Aaron by convincing him I needed you more.

Aaron was not the saint you think he was, Phoenix sneered, showing her the events that had led up to their union, what he had done to his mother and why, the life he had lived before and after they were joined. The only inhibitions he had were in regard to being caught violating your society’s expectations of civilized behavior. He had no problem actually breaking such rules, with or without me. You should be more grateful that I’m with you now. Aaron would have been dead decades before he met you. You wouldn’t have any of this money.

You think money is so important to me? she thought incredulously.

Maybe not, he conceded, but without me, you’d have died several times already. I’d tell you to pass me on to someone else, but I know you never would, he added smugly. You need me.

The only reason I won’t even consider passing you on is that I won’t let you enslave someone else, she replied. I don’t need you as much as you need a body to sustain you. You’re only useful when you feel like it. Figure out what you want to do when I finally deal with Lori, she thought at him viciously, because I will find a way to remove you without infecting someone else. In the meantime, your cooperation will determine to what lengths I go.

At that, he fell silent, sulking and bitter at her supposed unjust treatment of him. Glory let him stew. She didn’t have time to coddle him, and while his presence was convenient, it was also intrusive and creepy. They were not friends, even if they were allies by necessity. Despite his assertions that she should be grateful, she didn’t trust him. Phoenix had his own agenda, of that she was certain. He was trying too hard to prove she needed him when, considering their inability to reach a consensus, his most logical course of action would be to convince her to pass him on to some poor unsuspecting schlub.

Glory snatched Robert’s notebook from the floor and threw it onto the bed with supplies she’d picked up at the store. She’d bought a couple pairs of light gardening gloves and aprons. Whatever she came up with for Blackwood could be duplicated for her own use.

Turning the gloves over and over in her hands, she waited for inspiration to strike. If she put one pair inside another, she could sew stones or metal into the fingertips and palm without interfering too much with his ability to pick things up. The garden gloves also had handy rubber nodules painted onto the fingertips to improve the grip. If all the books were as large and heavy as the Necronomicon, then gloves would only protect his hands. An apron would protect his body, and he should probably have something for his head too. She seemed to recall that medieval wizards had worn metal bands around their heads to protect themselves when handling certain grimoires.

to Book 6, part 2, page 4

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4 Responses to “Tattoo Book 6, part 2.3”

  1. Fiona said

    Good point about Phoenix…hmmm…maybe he thinks she’ll be able to protect him

    and poor Hart, hopes dashed

  2. Fiona said

    You might want to point the new or forgetful reader to where they can read about Aaron’s backstory – I remember reading it, but don’t remember when

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