Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6 part 2.36

Posted by harmony0stars on October 6, 2010

With a sack crammed full of food and her guilty-by-association conscience, Glory readily agreed with Phoenix that they should avoid villages wherever they could. At least so close to where they’d been attacked. If she had to look anyone in the eye, she was sure all she’d be thinking of was ants. Long after their conversation ended, she’d stewed how many ants and other insects she might have inadvertently killed over the years. She felt like a hypocrite.

Lark’s farm had been about a mile from the village proper. Fifteen minutes or so before they came upon the village proper, they left the road and rejoined it a few miles later when the haze of chimney smoke was barely a smudge on the horizon. At the next village, they did the same. A convenient haystack on the outskirts of a third little town provided a warm, if itchy bed.

If they had stopped in one of the villages along their route, they might have found transportation, perhaps someone getting ready to travel and willing to take on two extra pairs of hands for loading and unloading the freight. From what she remembered of Lark’s map, there were at least a half a dozen more towns along their route… time enough later to find someone willing to give them a ride closer to Ilarnek. As it was, they neither saw nor heard a soul as they walked. Aside from the wind and the occasional drone of insects, they might have been the only two living things on the entire plain.

They burrowed into the hay for insulation from the increasingly cold and wet mornings. Phoenix fell right to sleep, his soft snores keeping her company for the fourth night in a row. It seemed odd to sleep in a place called the Dreamlands, but he apparently had no problems. Here was another indication of her Otherness. He had not been responsible for her insomnia. It was just another symptom of her transition from human to… whatever she was. She tried to think back to before she’d gotten her tattoos and before he had become a part of her life. Had there been signs even then that she was on the verge of some change?

The detours from the road slowed them down significantly, but she‘d gained new perspective from Phoenix‘s little speech, and their solitude gave her time to think some things through. Ants… it explained both Phoenix’s attitude concerning humanity and possibly Lori’s as well. Just when she’d been starting to think her interests in the occult gave her common ground with her family, she once again became the odd-man out. Equally disturbing had been Phoenix’s insinuation that twins were always antithetical towards one another. It wasn’t that she felt inclined to forgive her sister for killing their mother and attempting to kill her, twice, but at the same time… what if her hostility was a biological imperative like… chicks pecking each other to assert dominance? She couldn’t condone her sister’s actions, but at the same time, what if Lori had no control over her feelings? Lori had not been an easy person to live with, but Glory had to own up to the fact that she had never liked or trusted her sister either. Even before things had become really bad, Glory had made no effort to ‘make nice.’

The thought that their dislike of one another might be instinct rather than everyday, run of the mill sibling rivalry made Glory rethink her determination to find her sister and make her pay for what she had done. Without cognizance of even the possibility that her hostility was instinctive rather than learned, could Lori be held completely responsible for her actions? Her sister had never been the kind of person to examine her own motivations. What she wanted, she found a way to get, whether it hurt someone else or not. No, Lori would not have even considered that her hatred for her twin was somehow hereditary. Heck, Glory hadn’t even considered it until Phoenix came clean.

Glory lay curled in the hay for a while, enjoying the warmth Phoenix inadvertently provided. She’d never admit as much to him, but she did appreciate his company. He might very well be the only person in the Dreamlands she could trust. Of course it was in his best interests that she remained healthy, but she didn‘t begrudge him a little enlightened self-interest.

He’d certainly adapted faster than she would have expected. Phoenix seemed a lot better suited to the Dreamlands than she was. He knew how to fight with a sword, and he knew how feudal societies operated. For her, life in a medieval village had been little more than an academic consideration at best. She’d never given it any real thought as she researched their mystical development. Phoenix had spent several lifetimes in such places, albeit by proxy.

The idea that she might mutate into something inhuman if she went back to Earth without him seemed only a vague concern compared to the inconvenience of having him live in her head and influence her thoughts and actions. For the moment, she was compelled to follow through with the quest her father had set for her. Not knowing whether he had some way of watching her or punishing her if she diverged for her path limited her options, but the more she learned about her relatives, the less comfortable she felt with succeeding. Not that her brother had filled her with confidence about that possibility.

No, she would have to find some other way home, and without Phoenix if she could help it. There had to be a way of suppressing whatever was going on with her body without his help. She would not tell him her decision, but she was certain that they’d be happier apart than if they went back to being mentally conjoined. He’d just have to accept it when the time came. She didn’t feel much guilt over the decision. It didn’t seem like he was having much trouble fitting into life in the Dreamlands. Her presence was a needless complication.

Glory fidgeted in their prickly bedding and finally crawled out and up. The sky was a mass of stars dimly obscured by wisps of clouds. It struck her as strange that she’d felt drawn to watching them night after night since arriving in the Dreamlands. Phoenix called her kind starspawn, which was ironic considering his own origins. The twinkling of the stars gave her some measure of comfort. As she waited for the dawn, she wondered if the vague yearning she felt to be up there among the lights was genetic as well.

to Book 6, part 2, page 37

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 6 part 2.36”

  1. here2read said

    Leave Phoenix behind, aw!!!!

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