Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6 part 3.16

Posted by harmony0stars on November 29, 2010

They waded through the water, casting anxious eyes at the door with every sound that echoed down the hall. Just as Glory had foreseen, it felt as though she were wearing cement once her dress got wet. The slippers she’d woken up in weren’t much better. They were not made for running through temples, let alone for slogging through pools of pitch black water. She squished through the icy cold liquid, mindful of the fact that she could not see her feet and might be stepping on just about anything in the dark. With that cheery thought, she acknowledge that she’d rather have the slippers than nothing at all. Somehow she didn’t think they’d bear as much wear as her sneakers had though.

On the other side of the low ceiling, the turbaned men collected light filled globes, shaking them on their sticks until they brightened like Halloween glowsticks. The scarred man dropped a burnt out torch into the water and spent a few seconds lighting another, counting the ones left in his bag before offering one to Phoenix. “Hope we don’t run out,” he said, shaking the bag before stuffing the strip of gem studded fabric inside.

One of the turbaned men approached her, holding an extra globe out with his head bowed as if he were afraid to look at her. When she thanked him, he touched his forehead and backed away to stand with his brothers. They watched her as if they expected her to sprout another head, though she didn’t blame them. Her arm was still a big black tentacle, though it was gaining more definition as the minutes passed, shrinking while the many small tendrils at the end condensed. She didn’t dare waste any time trying to restore it. They’d already used just about all the luck they had getting the choker off her; she didn’t want to hold them up any further by asking that they wait while she got her arm under control.

Climbing the slimy incline, they passed into a slightly dryer passageway. Liquid beaded up on the lower walls and made the stone beneath their feet treacherous, but at least she could actually see her feet, black as they were. As they rushed through the halls, her companions looked around anxiously, Phoenix and the scarred-man’s torches making the shadows jump before and behind them.

There was no sign of pursuit, and the sounds of the search had died away once they left the underwater passage, but by unspoken agreement, they were soon jogging through the tunnels, eager to get far away from the temple. The strange men in their turbans flanked her and her friends, two in the front and two in the back, with their leader jogging at their center near Glory. If not for the men in the front, there would have been no warning otherwise.

With barely a cry of surprise, one of the men in the front simply disappeared into what appeared to be a wall of blackness. His companion staggered back in surprise, and the formless spawn slopped down into the tunnel like a slurry. It oozed along the floor, rising up again in a wave as it approached and forming temporary limbs and tentacles which fell back into its body, useless and unused. It made an unquestionable beeline for Glory.

“Sttttttaaaaaaaaaaaay,” it whispered like a static hiss, attempting to herd her back the way she’d come.

“Get away!” Phoenix said, raising his torch and waving it at the thing. It danced back and forth, avoiding the flame, but shooting out tendrils which came perilously close to hitting Phoenix. “She’s mine,” he said fiercely, at which the spawn reared back in fury.

“Mine!” the thing raged. It slapped the walls with its black flesh, the ends of its tentacles developing fingers which closed into fists to splat against the ancient stones. Debris rained down on them and a square of stone collapsed under the onslaught, revealing an ancient tomb. Bones clattered to the floor, the skull shattering on impact, but the thing had no interest in old bones. It continued to slap the walls with its tarry arms as it came, ungluing them from the stone as it moved as if it was using them to pull itself along.

“Grow up… the both of you!“ Glory turned on her formless black suitor. “I will not civilize you; civilize yourself if you really care what I think of you, but I cannot think you want me for anything other than to get back at my father. And you,” she said, turning on Phoenix, “I belong to myself and not anyone else. If you ever try to claim I belong to you again…!”

Fortunately for Phoenix, that was as far as she got with her threat. The scar-faced man had slipped around while Phoenix was swinging his torch, and while both he and the spawn paused in their battle to hear her, he shoved his torch into the black slime. He screamed as the thing swung at him, knocking him to the ground behind it as it wheeled and lurched, trying to put itself out. But its body was like a mobile tar pit, and the fire ate into its flesh without the flailing having the slightest affect on it. If it would have let them pass on its own, they never found out. Glory grabbed Milet by the arm and dodged out of the thing’s way as it rushed forward like a freight train. Another of the turbaned men was swallowed by the fiery ooze, his cry cut off in mid-note as the spawn battered itself against the walls in a frenzy to escape the fire that had become a part of it.

Keeping hold of Milet, Glory ran in the opposite direction. Phoenix picked himself up from the ground and followed after, trailed by the remaining men. She paused as she reached the scarred man and caught hold of Phoenix as he attempted to run past.

to Book 6, part 3, page 17

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4 Responses to “Tattoo Book 6 part 3.16”

  1. Fiona said

    I like the description of the thing!

  2. Here2Read said

    Phoenix… a little possessive… LOL love it, Glory needs some love.

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