Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 1.6

Posted by harmony0stars on March 4, 2011

“I have to admit,” Mack said in an apologetic tone as he opened the door to his office, “We kind of thought he might have got you and your kids too.”

“So Bob said.” She sat on a chair that had seen better days, its white stuffing creeping out between strips of multicolored duct tape.

“So, uh, first can I have your name for the record, and what was your business in Ashland?” Mack said, searching his desk for a pen while he kept his other hand on a legal pad as if to keep it from wandering.

“It’s Glory Lewin,” she said when he’d tracked down a chewed up bic that worked, “and I came looking for my grandmother in Centralia, which is why I needed a vehicle to get me up there. I hope this won‘t take long. I need to find someone who will loan me something so I can take her some groceries.”

He blinked at her, a dumbfounded expression on his face. “You can’t go up there.”

“I promise I won’t interfere with your investigation…” she started.

He waved his hands. “No, I mean you can’t. There’s been a major collapse. Didn’t you notice all traffic in town? There was talk about evacuating Ashland a couple hours ago. That’s what the army says it was doing up there in first place, assessing the area for new hotspots. I‘m sorry, but your grandmother‘s house is just… gone.”

“Wh-when did this happen?” Glory asked, a pain in her stomach as if someone had just hit her.

“Couple hours ago… Round midday?” He set his pen down. “I’m really sorry. I didn’t even know Old Lady Lewin still had family in the area.”

“I only just found out about her a few days ago myself,” she said weakly. “I was going to try to coax her to come live in the city with me. She said no the first time, but I was going to work on her…”

“Um… why don’t you take a few minutes to… err… I’ll get you something to drink,” he said, standing and abruptly leaving the room.

Glory rubbed her eyes with the heels of her hands and leaned against the desk. There was no way this was a coincidence. Her father had died at approximately the same time his counterpart had sent her into the Dreamlands. And finally free of its human prison, her other father, maybe her real father, had gone flying back to his true body under the smoldering fields of Centralia. He’d taken a moment to punish her grandmother for interfering so many years ago and then gone… elsewhere. At least she hoped he had. She didn’t want to think about him hanging around, maybe trying to get into her home again. Noden’s sign might be good enough to keep him out, but obviously it wasn’t enough to keep him from collapsing the ground right from under a building.

“Here you go,” Mack said, setting a can of Coke on the edge of the desk and returning to his seat. He played with his pen as if uncertain of how to continue. Not a man who was comfortable with emotional displays apparently.

Glory ignored the can. “Let’s get this over with,” she sighed. As Mack set his pen to paper, she told him about meeting Pop… Jack Wight… at the diner and his offer of renting his ATV to her so she could get up to Centralia. She hadn’t noticed anything wrong with him aside from feeling he was vaguely sleazy. Sarah, the waitress at the diner, had warned them not to go up at all. She avoided mentioning what Robert had seen among the trees and only touched on the soldiers Ann had seen, since she had not personally had any contact with them. Mack accepted her statement, asking a few questions to clarify small details, but otherwise simply going through the motions of taking her statement. They had their man and were really only clarifying a few details. He didn’t seem to be too happy with the soldier’s though, despite their having caught Wight. Though she wondered what his problem was, rivalry or professional jealousy, she didn’t ask.

“Well, thank you for coming in, and… I’m sorry about your grandmother. You never know… she still might turn up,” he offered when they were done, though she could tell he didn’t mean it. “We still have emergency workers and the army helping with trying to find where Wight might have hidden more bodies, so if she‘s up there…”

“Can’t you just ask Wight where he hid them?” she asked. “I mean, from what Sarah said at the diner, I thought he’d more or less confessed even if his explanation was insane.”

Mack looked uncomfortable again. “Unfortunately, that’s not an option. We only had him in custody for twelve hours before the collapse. While everyone was distracted, he… killed himself in his cell.”

“I thought you guys took people’s shoes and belts and stuff to prevent that kind of thing,” Glory said, standing up to go.

“We do; we did!” he protested. “We’d be under investigation from internal affairs, but we have video of the whole thing! He took a running start into the bars like he expected he’d be able to go right through them and…” He stopped, shaking his head. “Never mind. I don’t want to give you nightmares. I just can’t figure out what he was trying to do, kill himself or get free.”

“They say people who’ve lost their hold on reality can do things the rest of us can’t even imagine,” Glory offered as he escorted her back down the hall.

“Yeah, I guess.”

Glory climbed back into her car and looked at the two bags of grocery sitting in the seat next to her. She went back the way she had come until she caught sight of a church and stopped only long enough to leave the bags on its steps. It didn’t matter what they chose to do with the food so long as she didn’t have to think about it or what had happened to her grandmother. She drove back to Sybar City almost in a fugue.

to Book 7, part 1, page 7


2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 7 part 1.6”

  1. Alderin said

    Sucks about grandma, would have been nice to have another ally in the house, especially one with answers to questions about her past.


    Last paragraph: “She back the way she had come”, almost sounds like poor translation.

    • LOL Omissions are the worst typos because your brain fills in the missing word. Thanks 🙂

      Having her grandmother around would have been too convenient, and I don’t think Nana Meredith would have approved of her cutting the signs out of her arm, or the ramifications…

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