Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 1.2

Posted by harmony0stars on February 23, 2011

“I hate to drag you away from dinner,” Glory said as she went through the pockets of her soggy clothes. It would be less weird if she showed back up at the sanitarium in the same clothes she’d been wearing previously, even if her coat and shoes were different. Her cell phone was completely ruined, and she was certain it would not work even once it dried out.

Cindy dismissed her concern with a smile and a wave of her hand. “It’s fine!. We were pretty much done.”

“Wow!” Chester said as she felt a heavy lump in one pocket and pulled out the ruby she‘d swiped from Bho-Rehd. Fire flickered at its center like a heartbeat.

“Oops!” She tucked the ruby into her borrowed jeans and gave the wet clothes to Cindy. “I was supposed to do something about that,” Glory said, responding to his puzzled expression. No wonder Phoenix was peeved. Probably the only reason she’d been able to bring the ruby out of the Dreamlands without it evaporating was that she’d been in physical contact with Phoenix at the time and had therefore reinforced their link. Whatever the Miri Nigri had done to him however had kept Phoenix in the gem rather than allowing him to fully reintegrate with her.

Gee, ya think? His mental voice was full of accusation. You always said you’d find a way to get rid of me, well congratulations. She broke contact with his mind, knowing he’d never believe it was an accident. Now Phoenix really was a djinni as Bho Rehd had called him, a slave to the gem. Even if she went back to the Dreamlands, she wasn’t sure if destroying the gem would free him or kill him.

“So how’s Innsmouth doing?” she asked Chester once her clothes were dry enough to wear, and they had gotten underway.

“Oh, well,” Chester said immediately warming to the subject. Cindy had opted to stay behind. Glory didn’t blame her, considering what they’d done to her the last time she was in Arkham. “I’ve convinced all but the most stubborn to come to Kingsport for now. I suppose it helped that a group of armed men swept through the town a couple days ago. I still have some families sleeping at the church as we look for suitable housing. Even that’s better than the conditions they were living in before.”

“I was stupid to trust that coast guard captain,” Glory sighed.

Chester shrugged. “It was to be expected, and we sensed them long before they reached the town. Those who couldn’t hide in the water waited them out in the sea caves. Whoever they were, I doubt they could tell who was living in town beyond maybe squatters. Everyone left in Innsmouth at this point is ready to make their last journey anyway, and we’ve begun evacuating Devil’s Reef to our other cities… as we should have done generations ago. We just have to find a new town for our younger generations to mature. Kingsport is a little too public considering how some of us turn out.” He didn’t have to elaborate considering his own looks, the poor man.

“Have you thought about buying an island or maybe an abandoned oil platform?” Glory asked. “I’ve read about some of them being refurbished as holiday resorts. You could even have countries and states paying you to take their garbage for artificial reefs.”

He shook his head. “We were considering South America or Canada, actually. We don’t really have the funds to buy an island. It’s not like the old days when we could just ask our sea-relatives to bring us up some sunken treasure. That kind of thing gets noticed.”

“Well, if you need money, let me know. I can help out with that at least,” Glory said, looking out the window.

“We couldn’t…” Chester started, but she cut him off.

“Call it a loan then, if you like,” she offered, turning to look at him. “I’ve got lots of money Chester, more all the time. My investments see to that. I can certainly afford a few humanitarian donations.”

Chester snorted with little humor. “Most people wouldn’t consider us human; even some of us don‘t…”

Glory smiled. “Whether or not we’re all human, we all have common ancestors.”

“You’re not…” he stopped, too bemused to continue.

“No…” she replied, realizing he thought she was saying she was a member of his race. “Let’s just say my father and your god are contemporaries and leave it at that.”

“Oh…” he said in a tiny voice, looking suddenly pale. They drove in silence for several minutes, Chester’s eyes glued to the road the entire time.

“I wouldn’t hurt anyone, Chester,” she said when the silence became heavy. “I don’t see you as any different from humans, naga, ghouls, or any other intelligent race. You know that, right?”

“N-no, of course you wouldn‘t,” he agreed, though he hardly sounded convinced.

Glory sighed. “I just want everyone to get along and not hurt one another any more.” He didn’t reply, and she was left to wonder if she’d just lost a friend.

Chester left her off several yards from the entrance to the asylum. She thanked him, and he flashed her a troubled smile. He ducked his head in a nod before doing a U-turn. Despite her offer of money, she doubted he would contact her any time in the near future. Being the child of one of the Old Ones was apparently a big deal even to people who could claim a similar descent. Were the rivalries between the various Old Ones really that close? She’d hoped she could pump him for information. Now the only other person she thought she might talk to candidly was Ehecatl, and she hadn’t seen him since he disappeared with his daughter. Given his absolute hatred of professor Scott, part of her hoped she wouldn’t see him again any time soon. That could get messy.

to Book 7, part 1, page 3

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