Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6 part 3.8

Posted by harmony0stars on November 10, 2010

When Glory came to, she was lying on the bed, and someone had changed her clothes. This was not an altogether bad thing as her clothes had been absolutely disgusting, but it only took her a moment to remember under what circumstances she’d been brought to the room in the first place. The thought of anyone handling her while she was unconscious was enough to make her sit bolt upright in the bed.

She immediately regretted it, her abrupt movement causing her head to swim. Falling back, she did manage to catch and support herself in a half sitting position. Despite its oily and fluid constitution, so much like Tsathoggua’s formless spawn, her pseudopod could adopt a solidity that any sane person would have considered antithetical to its nature. The seal around her throat kept her disoriented, but apparently the removal of the cast had at least helped with her coordination. Her black limb supported her solidly before becoming a mass of lethargic tentacles spread out upon the opulent bed spread. At first she thought her tattoos had been eradicated by the transformation, but she caught sight of at least one colored symbol swimming through the black goo that was her arm. She reached out with her hand and poked the black limb with a finger, immediately pulling her hand away as the digit sank into the black ooze with only a slight sense of pressure in the ‘skin’ of the thing.

Movement out of the corner of her eye caused her to quickly turn in that direction, an act for which she was rewarded with another wave of dizziness. She shut her eyes tightly as her perception twisted. The thought that there was anyone else in the room with her made her open them again just as soon as the vertigo passed.

Against the far wall, clustered in a group like a small squad of soldiers, stood four women. They were draped head to foot in black fabric like widowed Spanish Madonnas, a veil hiding the only thing that might have set them apart as individuals. It did not escape Glory’s attention that while her own clothes were shot through with threads of precious metal and heavy gems, that the style of her dress and that of the black garbed women was essentially the same. The only thing that assured her that they were women was not the dresses they wore but their swollen bellies. Now the priest’s words took on an ominous new meaning. The black flesh of her pseudopod quivered in disgust even as goosebumps broke out on her skin.

As if they had choreographed it, each of the women stepped forward and then parted to stand beside the bed in a line, platters held out to her in offering and heads bowed. “N-no, thank you,” she said in a strangled voice. They made no move, standing like statues in their gently swaying veils. She took a closer look at the trays and recoiled even more violently. The food was fine, appealingly arrayed fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and meats. Wine or some other golden beverage slowly returned to stillness in its decanter. It was only on closer examination that the shimmering blackness which she had mistaken for gloves was revealed to be more of Tsathoggua’s formless spawn quivering over the women‘s hands. As she changed position on the bed, light from one of the lamps shown through the veil of the nearest woman, outlining a quivering mass which moved sluggishly over a slack-jawed skull.

Her mind shied away from contemplating the life cycle of Tsathoggua’s offspring as she eased herself across the bed to the other side. She was still feeling off balance, but the worst of her vertigo seemed to have gone with the destruction of the cast. The seal around her throat kept her mind foggy and made her feel vaguely off kilter, but it did not affect her limbs at all.

She set her feet on the floor and stood, swaying only slightly before her lightheadedness passed. The room was opulent, palatial. There was ornamentation on every piece of furniture as well as decoration simply for the sake of art. She had to look twice at a massive gold tree frog stuck the wall in much the same pose as she recalled from frogs in their aquarium in her high school biology class. In other circumstances she would have been quite impressed with the artist’s rendering. The mirror set in its back reminded her a recurring nightmare she’d had after the class ‘pets’ were dissected however, of frogs with large red eyes embedded in their flesh where no eyes should have been, eyes which boiled away like egg yolks as she tried to ‘save‘ them by carrying them to a pool of water that reflected the moon. It had plagued her for months, even though she’d refused to take part in that dissection or any other. Everywhere she looked were frogs and toads and other amphibious things worked into the room’s décor. Looking more closely at the gem crusted dress she wore revealed even more amphibious creatures cavorting on a swamp-like field of faded green and blue silk.

Glory staggered a few feet towards the door, reaching for the handle, but one of the things… she couldn’t even bring herself to call them women, spoke. It was impossible to even say which one it was. Maybe it was all four of the things.

“Don’t,” it said, the voice gurgling up from a black slime filled throat, a sigh which broke like bubbles into words. “Little princess, you will be well cherished here. All will be forgiven if you stay.”

“Stay,” echoed one or more of the other things. Were they speaking or was Tsathoggua speaking through them?

“Your father has no care for you or any of his children, else he would have freed Ourkranos by now. I have punished him, in your stead. You are…” one voice broke off.

And another took its place. “… more sympathetic. You know we are not ready to be let loose. We will fall…”

“…to fighting amongst ourselves again…”

“…killing each other and our children for sport.” He finished and fell silent as if waiting for her response.

“Y-you eat children!” she blurted. “You ate Tacita Ruggles.”

“I never claimed… to be any more evolved than my brethren,” he gurgled from multiple throats, and Glory cringed in disgust. “Nor do I tell my worshippers how to offer tribute.” When she did not respond, he added, “Civilize me then, little princess. You have pity enough to spare even for small mindless things. Why not your own kind?”

Is he talking about the frogs in my biology class? Does he know about the dreams? The thought of him knowing anything about her, especially things she‘d dreamed in the privacy of her own mind… She struggled to crush down the whimper which threatened to give away her distress.

When she made no more effort at conversation, the women lowered their offerings, returning as one to the spot they had vacated. Glory was not fooled by their passivity. No doubt if she made any move for the door, she would be forcibly detained. She was also not fooled by words. Forgiveness… she doubted she was there for anything but the sake of revenge. He was offering her a choice that was no choice. If she said no, he’d do what he liked regardless.

to Book 6, part 3, page 9


2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 6 part 3.8”

  1. Fiona said

    I’m on the edge of my seat! What a great story.

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