Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6 part 2.37

Posted by harmony0stars on October 8, 2010

They traveled for three days this way, avoiding contact with any other travelers. Glory spent her nights stargazing and mulling over snippets of conversation she had with Phoenix along the way. He didn’t drop any more bombshells, but the stories he did share did not fill her with warm fuzzies. Even when the starspawn made an effort to be involved in the lives of their children, it was usually to weed out the weak, while keeping any survivors firmly under their thumb. Every pretense they made of being civilized was only so they might toy with people later on. No wonder Tamash had warned her not to trust anyone. Their family made the most depraved stories told of the Greek and Egyptian gods look positively charming by comparison.

Her family consisted of monsters, pure and simple. Phoenix gave few examples of kindness that was not tempered by betrayal. There were exceptions. Yig’s children had once maintained vast civilizations before they were slaughtered and driven into seclusion by primitive humanity and he was supposedly very protective of those who remained. No wonder Ehecatl had a chip on his shoulder. Ythogtha’s father did not trust Nyarlathotep and so kept his children on Earth, his favorite or strongest son in a place called R’lyeh where he could keep an eye on him and the others jockeying for position wherever their lairs might be. Of course, seeing as Phoenix refused to use any of their given names, Glory had to puzzle out who Phoenix was talking about based on the euphemisms he employed. Ythogtha’s father he called the Priest of the Old Ones, and she only knew of Yig because of her encounter with Tacita Ruggles. Phoenix told many other stories while they walked, of beings she hoped never to encounter. Bad enough she’d made an enemy of Tsathoggua.

Even those children who were sent to the Dreamlands for safe-keeping were doomed to become monsters one day, if they weren’t already. Tamash was apparently the god of illusion, among other things. There was no guarantee that anything they’d seen at Kadath had been real. It seemed even when her relatives weren’t outright shapeshifters, they could pretend to be anyone and anything they liked.

It was all extremely depressing, but rather than causing her to give up hope, Phoenix’s stories made her all the more determined to hold onto her humanity with tooth and claw. She’d never been one to fall in line simply because it was the easy thing to do. If no one else would stand up for humanity, she would, even if it meant standing with people like Professor Scott. It was almost frightening to realize that he was in fact the lesser of two evils.

The sun was high in the sky on the fourth day when they heard the sound of a wagon behind them. Phoenix made to move off the road into the high grasses, but she tugged him back. “I think it‘s time we looked for transportation. I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel just a little tired of the scenery. The sooner we‘re off these plains, the better.”

Phoenix didn’t look pleased, but he didn’t complain either. No doubt he was weighing his options, blisters against interacting with other people. Neither of them were wearing clothes suitable for long journeys, but their sneakers were taking the brunt of it. Phoenix had taken to removing his at night, even though he took a moment to explain for her edification that it was wisest to keep them on in case they had to get away quickly. Keeping them on hardly seemed worth the possibility of athletes feet however. The rubber of the soles on both their shoes was starting to peel away.

And here again Phoenix griped that 21st century technology was not nearly as good as stone age workmanship. “In my day,” he announced, sounding as if he was going to tell war stories of having hiked to school uphill in newspaper shoes both ways, “footwear was made to last! The soles were made of wood, and they were sewn from strong leather and sinew. These are little more than slippers.” He lifted one leg to pull contemptuously at the sole of his sneaker, ironically making the widening hole worse for his efforts.

She only shrugged. It wasn’t as if she’d been around when the government was advancing its philosophy of planned obsolescence.

The wagon advanced up the road at a fast trot, the horse or pony seeming to enjoy its work. As it grew closer, the farmer slowed, giving the travelers a hard look as if he wasn’t sure of their intentions. Glory could see him scanning the waving grass as if expecting an ambush. He scowled as he noticed the sword at Phoenix’s belt, but his face was a warren of wrinkles. It might merely have been the shadows shifting as he approached.

“Greetings strangers,” he said in a cautious tone. “Which way do you travel?”

“Toward Ilarnek,” Glory replied with a smile. “Perhaps we could ride with you if you’re going that far?”

He nodded, gesturing to the back of the blanket covered wagon. “There’s few other places to take a wagon full of produce, and I’d be glad enough for armed company on these roads,” he said with a pointed look at Phoenix’s sword. “My cousins’ son was robbed of his wagon, mule, and the sweat of his brow only three days past. He stumbled back to the village a day later in nothing but his breeches. They didn‘t even have the decency to leave him his shoes or his hat.” He continued to tell of the trials and tribulations of his various kinsfolk as the day wore on, and Glory had a feeling he was more pleased to have someone to talk to than someone to guard his back.

The Stories of H P Lovecraft

A Taste of Cannibalism in Greek Mythology

The story of Isis and Osiris

to Book 6, part 2, page 38


2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 6 part 2.37”

  1. Fiona said

    If humans are just ants, why are the old ones going to so much trouble to mess with us? Stirring up the anthill out of boredom, or bent on extermination?

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