Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6, part 2.11

Posted by harmony0stars on August 2, 2010

Robert fussed with the elder sign around his neck and tried not to stare out at the trees. He flinched as a pair of leaves trundled past, directed by an errant gust of wind. Nana Meredith stood with him, watching the trees more openly. If there was anything there, it was keeping out of sight. While her back was turned, Glory picked up the battered camera and dropped it into her backpack. Call it morbid curiosity, but she would at least try to salvage some of the pictures, if only for Ann’s sake. They’d gotten some pretty good shots of the former town as they passed through.

The books were definitely not going to fit into her backpack, but she’d realized that as soon as the old woman handed them over. While Glory was still befuddled by her grandmother’s about face concerning the books, she wasn’t going to turn her nose up at them just because they were inconvenient to transport. There were four of varying sizes, their combined width and the length of the thinnest made them impossible to transport easily. No Necronomicon unfortunately, but that didn’t make her less interested in them. Obviously they’d been useful to her father and grandparents both, though for different reasons.

She hadn’t had a chance to look through them, but Glory recognized the book on top at least, a virtual staple in old Pennsylvanian Dutch homes, Der Lange Verborgene Freund, the Long Lost Friend… a veritable wealth of folklore and folk magic. Aside from .pdfs online, she’d never actually seen a copy, let alone in German. She was very eager to look through it, and the other books as well. But first they had to get home.

The old woman might not value the books very highly after all the trouble they had caused her family, but she was determined to afford them some protection as they left the house. After smoothing out some old newspaper that had been wound up for kindling, she helped Glory cushion the books for transport and wrap and tie them up with twine. They were quite old and some of the paper was brittle, flaking away even at the gentlest handling.

There were no saddlebags or compartments on the bike where the books would easily fit however. As Glory and Robert got on the bike, Robert held the books in his lap. He didn’t need to be told to hold on tight. She felt him bury his face in her back, making sure he wouldn’t see anything in the woods on their return trip.

The last thing Glory saw as she went round the bend in the road was her grandmother standing in front of the house watching them ride away. It was not without anxiety that she thought of the old woman out in the woods all by herself with little food and barely adequate shelter. As soon as Glory got everyone back home safely, she was determined to come back with food and supplies. Nana Meredith might not agree to come away at first, but Glory was sure she could convince the old woman eventually. It would just take time.

She felt a little curl of disgust at her concern for her grandmother flicker and disappear as Phoenix stirred and quickly hid his own thoughts. He retreated further as she focused her rage and frustration on him. How dare you? she demanded, but there was no way to confront him while driving along a road that might open up into a smoking sinkhole at any second. When there was no response, she gave all her attention to getting Robert back to the motor home and safety. There would be time to confront the creature when she was alone.

Glory half expected Ann and Edgar to be outside near the motor home when they finally arrived, but the field around the vehicle and the trees beyond were ominously still. She breathed a sigh of relief when Ann opened the door and poked her head out to see who had arrived. Her relief quickly turned to dread as she saw the anxious look on the older woman’s face.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, turning the ATV off and walking to the motor home with the books in her arms.

“Well… there were men in the woods… with guns,” she said as Glory and Robert crowded inside.

Edgar barely looked up as he gnawed on a chunk of homemade jerky they’d picked up as they passed through to Centralia. He didn’t seem to be phased about the men in the woods providing he had something to chew on. Ann was a different matter.

“I just… they were paramilitary,” Ann said as Glory pulled the door shut behind them and set her precious package on a counter. “They were too organized to be anything else. One of them told me they were playing paintball, but I’m sure he was lying. When I told him we were waiting for some friends to come back, he suggested we wait inside the motor home for our own safety.”

“We didn’t see anything on the way back,” Glory said gently. “But we can leave now. I’m sure you guys are hungry.”

Edgar chirped in agreement, and Ann looked at him with her head cocked. “It all just reminded me of the Antiquarian Society. Scott’s teamed up with the military before when he could, when they had something to gain. I kept expecting him to pop out and recognize Edgar. He doesn’t look anything like he did, but…”

“It’s okay,” Glory said, touching Ann’s arm. “You did the right thing. When I come back, you and the boys can stay in the city.”

“Oh! Did you find your grandmother?” Ann asked, remembering what their trip had been about.

“Yeah, but… well things are complicated. I would have liked to have brought her back with us, but I think she’s more stubborn than me, and if the cops couldn’t get her to move, I doubt I’m going to have much effect on her.” Glory briefly described the house and how her grandmother was living.

“Is she… I’m sorry. I shouldn’t assume she’s senile.” Ann blushed and busied herself cleaning up some of Edgar’s puzzles before they set out for home.

“No, I’m pretty sure she is,” Glory smiled slightly. “Which just means it’s going to take a lot of work to get her to leave that place. Right now, I just want to get you all home. Then I can make plans to bring her food and make the old place livable. Once she trusts me, maybe she’ll agree to come back to Sybar City where I can look after her properly.”

Long Lost Friend

***

To Book 6, Part 2, page 12

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4 Responses to “Tattoo Book 6, part 2.11”

  1. Fiona said

    …that darn affect/effect thing again (I doubt I’m going to have much effect on her).

    Affect is a verb; effect is a noun
    unless you are using “affect” in the sense of “feeling; empathy”

    • Arg, thanks Fiona… I think that particular error will be with me forever. It’s a grammar parasite…

      • Fiona said

        I had an English teacher who pounded it into our heads so much that now it always jumps out at me.

        • I had a college poetry teacher who pounded comma usage into our heads because she was an insane old bat who wouldn’t know good poetry if it came up and bit her on the nose. lol I know because I gave her some of the worst doggerel ever written and she thought it was poet laureate award-winning stuff. heh

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