Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7, part 1.3

Posted by harmony0stars on February 25, 2011

The guard was not at his post when she walked back through the gate, which was just as well. The gravel crunched under her boots as she walked along the grassy margin of the road. Her heart sank as she saw the flashing lights of an ambulance.

She hadn’t intended to go back inside, hoping to slip away instead, but the EMTs were coming out with someone on a stretcher as she approached. The orderly who tended to her father was with them though he didn‘t notice her until she opened her car door and shoved her borrowed clothes inside.
“Where have you been?” he demanded. “We looked everywhere for you!”

Glory ducked her head with unfeigned embarrassment. She could believe a missing visitor would worry a lot of people considering the size and decrepitude of the place. “I’m sorry… my father was… I just… I went for a walk. I got lost,” she ended lamely.

His expression softened to pity. “I’m sorry. It must have been the excitement of your visit.”

“What?” She followed the man’s eyes to the body draped with a sheet on the gurney. “He’s…?”

“When I came back to the room, he was already gone and I couldn’t find you,” he replied. She heard the sound of another vehicle on the road and glanced behind her to see a police car sidling up to the parking lot. Oh, great…

She gave her statement, though the officer seemed disinterested: She’d come to visit her father, but he’d been catatonic. It was not the reunion she’d hoped for and she’d left the room only to get lost trying to find her way back to the office. Once she found her way out of the building, she’d had to go around to get back to the parking lot, not wanting to go back inside and get lost again.

She was about to leave when the orderly said, “Do you want his effects?”

“Y-you can give his clothes to good will or other patients,” she said in a tired voice. “The furniture too if it’s not already your property.”

“No, I meant his personal effects,” Marley said, motioning for her to follow him back into the building. He held the walkie talkie she’d lost in her father’s room to his mouth and said, “Josh, did you collect the old man’s stuff yet?”

He listened to an indecipherable cacophony of sound but must have heard what he wanted to hear. “Well, bring it to office. I found his daughter.” There was another blast of sound, and she saw Marley roll his eyes.

Josh was a pimply-faced kid who didn’t look old enough to be out of high school. Are there no doctors?! It was a hell of a way to run an asylum with two orderlies and no one else in evidence even when releasing a body to a hospital or summoning the police. There was a box and a manila envelope sealed in a second plastic envelope, but all Josh’s attention was reserved for the plant he turned this way and that in his hands. “Hey Marley… you’re not… messing with me or anything, are you?”

“What the heck are you talking about?” Her father’s former caretaker demanded irritably. “You got Mr Lewin’s stuff?”

Josh gave Marley a suspicious look before setting the plant back down on the desk. Scowling he pushed the box across the desk and set a clipboard with a checklist on top. Marley grunted as he picked up the pile and gestured for Glory to follow him with a jerk of his head. Juggling the box and clipboard in one hand, he led her down the hall to another room with a sofa, a few chairs, and a table.

“Alright… we got clothes in the box, which you said you wanted to give to good will?” She nodded, and he set the envelope on the table and the box on the floor. “So everything in here is what he came in with when he was admitted. I just have to check it off to make sure nothing is missing or was tampered with since he arrived. Okay?”

When she nodded again, he pulled the tab on the plastic envelop, examining the manila envelope carefully before ripping it open as well. He set it back down and jotted something on his clipboard, holding it in one hand as he reached into the envelope with the other. “Okaaay? Uh, one necklace?” he handed over a medallion about the size of a dime, both it and the chain obscured by a patina of green scum. He shrugged at her blank look. “It’s probably a St Christopher medal or something. Someone could have given it to him after he got here… He‘s not Catholic, I take it?”

She shook her head and gave the necklace a glance with her other senses, but it didn’t seem to be anything special. “Well, they didn’t have us put all the clients’ stuff into storage until last year, so he could have got it any time since he‘s been here.” He reached into the envelope and removed an old wristwatch, checking it off before moving on to the next item. “Alright, one wallet, forty-eight bucks and thirty-three cents, driver’s license.” He snorted, “Like he was driving anywhere,” then looked embarrassed by Glory‘s outraged glare. He opened the wallet and counted out the money before handing it over without looking up. “And… one photo in metal frame,” he said, reaching into the envelope.

Glory took the picture with a tiny sob. The glass was cracked and dirty, but it was a family photo she couldn’t even remember sitting for. She and her sister stood in front of their parents, Lori in front of their mother, she in front of their father. He had one arm around their mother, and one hand resting on top of Glory’s shoulder, while her mother rested her hand on Lori’s. All of them seemed so happy in the picture, though Lori was looking in her direction with an unreadable expression.

Marley picked up the envelope and shook it to make sure there was nothing else inside before dropping it into the box. “Okay, I just need you to sign here.” He offered her the clipboard and pen after putting an X on the page where he wanted her signature. Pulling off a yellow carbon copy from underneath, he handed it to her. There was no need to linger, though Marley offered to let her sit in the lounge for a few minutes. Josh had the hospital phone number written down for her when she came back down the hall, and still no doctors had appeared, though someone was hooting like an owl or a mourning dove somewhere in the guts of the building.

She felt emotionally spent by the time she left the asylum grounds, but she still had to drop off Blackwood’s protections and visit her grandmother. The first she might have put off till another day, except she was already in Arkham and hated the idea of making another trip. Glory drove into the campus and parked in front of the library, lugging the large gift box she’d put the apron and gloves in into the building.

to Book 7, part 1, page 4


2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 7, part 1.3”

  1. here2read said

    how sad… just when you think a dysfunctional family gives you emotional distance you realize in the end love lingers past the hurt, the abandonment, etc.. How sad..

    • It doesn’t matter how horrible a person’s parents or sibling are, they’re family, and we want family to love us even if no one else does. Even a misanthrope can’t get away from the instinct of familial affection. No matter how you cut it, family leaves marks on your heart.

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