Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6, part 2.6

Posted by harmony0stars on July 16, 2010

Despite the creepy vibe he gave off, “Pop” did nothing untoward. He showed Glory how to control the ATV before directing them to the road that would take them up to Centralia. The foliage grew more yellow the further they went, though someone unaware of the town’s history might have attributed it to the onset of autumn. Ann followed behind her in the motor home right up to the blockage.

Ann was disappointed about not getting to see the old town, but she agreed to wait at the motor home for Glory to return. In the meantime, she’d keep Edgar occupied. Edgar loved romping around in nature, but didn’t get to do it often enough in the city where someone might see his disguise slip for a moment or two. It would probably be safe enough for them to play in the fields around the blocked off roadway though, and it comforted Glory to know that the kids would have adult supervision if they needed it.

She felt bad about not letting Ann come along, since she didn’t imagine there’d be any trouble in a town of ten, but there was definitely not enough room on the ATV for four. At least she had a disposable camera in her backpack from a rundown little gas station just outside Pennsylvania. Glory was just about to motor around the mounds of dirt when Robert came barreling out of the motor home. “I want to come with,” Robert announced. “There’s room for two.”

“It’s dangerous up there, Robert,” she said in a pleading tone.

“Yeah, well, it’s less dangerous for two. You could fall into a hole as easily as me, and who’s going to know where you are if you do?”

Glory pursed her lips. Though she didn’t want to give in, it was good logic. On the other hand, she was a bit more durable than he probably realized. Before she could say yea or nay, a state police car eased down the road, chirping its siren.

“There a problem here, folks?” A balding, middle aged officer stuck his head out of the window, the wind ruffling his shaggy sideburns. “If you’re planning to go up to Centralia, I’m going to have to ask you to turn around and leave. It’s been a real mess up there lately.”

“I have family up there,” Glory replied. He looked at her through narrowed eyes, and Glory tugged a folded piece of paper from her front pocket.

“Old lady Lewin, huh?” he asked, looking at the internet directions and google map she‘d printed out before starting the trip.

“She’s my grandmother, I think. I didn’t know I had any family left, but I’d like to go up and talk to her at least.”

“Well,” he drawled, looking at the motor home and the ATV. “Don’t expect too much out of her. No offense, but she’s been battier than a belfry for over twenty years. Ever since her son…” he paused and looked her up and down. “Guess that’d be your dad, huh?”

Glory shrugged, suddenly uncomfortable. First Miskatonic library, now the police. Maybe she was completely wrong and she wasn’t related to the old lady at all. Then again, there couldn’t be too many Lawrence Lewins, sons to Meredith Lewins, in the world…

“Well, least you came prepared,” the cop said, nodding towards the ATV. “The rest of your lot staying down here?“ he asked as Ann poked her head out the door with Edgar sticking his head under her arm to peer at the squad car.

“Yes, we only have the one ATV,” Glory replied.

“Well, alright then. Be careful. Look out for smoke and browned plants, since that’s where the fire’s active and you’re more likely to find sinkholes. And come back down before sunset unless the old lady puts you up for the night. You don’t want to get lost up there in the dark.” He paused, and said, “I don‘t know if you‘re going up there to talk her into leaving that hole, but it wouldn‘t be a bad thing if you could get her out of Centralia. No one should be up there, living like that.”

“OK, thank you.”

He nodded without comment and began backing his patrol car down the rubble and weed choked highway. When he reached a point where the road widened, he turned around and went back the way he‘d come.

“So, can I go?” Robert demanded. He’d kept silent through the whole conversation, perhaps having learned through officer Hart to hold his tongue where cops were concerned.

“Alright, I guess. There is room for two, and I’m sure Ann doesn’t need you bothering her.”

With a promise to Ann to be back before dark, Glory and Robert mounted the ATV and started down the sketchy trail to the side of one of the dirt mounds. The road was in bad shape, but they traveled several yards down the old highway before they encountered the first of the smoking craters. The blacktop had buckled, and a large, steaming crack stretched down the tarmac like a ripped seam. The whole place stank of sulfur.

“Wow, it’s hot!” Robert said as he reached down to touch the ground after insisting that she stop so he could feel the blacktop under their wheels.

Glory stared at the smoking fissure anxiously, remembering the cop’s warning, but the road seemed to be more or less stable. She could only imagine what was going on, yards or inches under their feet as they continued up the deteriorating road towards the town of her ancestors.

to Book 6, part 2, page 7

to Bonus Material: Robert’s Notebook The Law of Worldviews

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 6, part 2.6”

  1. Vicki Grimes said

    I really like the use of Centralia, I never thought of it before as a link to the paranormal, but it makes alot of sense.

    • There’s so much about the fire and the region that is simply weird. I don’t think we’ll ever know what really happened there. I’m not the first to use it in fiction, and I’m sure I won’t be the last. Centralia is actually not the only place where there are man-made fires underground either. There’s a place in Eastern Europe where they were harvesting natural gas and it caught fire. It’s also still burning to this day.

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