Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

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Tattoo Book 7 part 1.10

Posted by harmony0stars on March 14, 2011

The old man moved the briefcase she hadn’t even noticed from one hand to the other as he gently closed the door behind him. He stood blinking in the morning light which streamed through the hall from the kitchen doors. He turned to her expectantly, and Glory shook off her fugue. She could have led him to the kitchen, which was cheery, or the living room, which was comfortable, but she opted for the formality of the dining room with its hard chairs and Spartan ornamentation. It was the one room in the house that seemed stark, and it served him right to sit on a hard chair for forcing his way into her home.

Not that he seemed to mind, which for some reason made her feel mildly guilty about being a poor host. “Would you like something to drink?” she asked stiffly.

“Some ice water, if you wouldn’t mind,” he said, setting his briefcase on the table and looking at her expectantly. “I may get a bit dry before we cover everything.”

She didn’t ask what they were going to “cover.” When she came back into the room, she was disconcerted to find him at the large window which dominated the room. He examined the protections she’d carved all around the molding.

“That has got to be hell on the resale value,” he commented as he reseated himself at the table.

“I‘m not fond of change, so it hardly matters,” she said, pouring a glass of water for him and setting the pitcher beside him. He snorted, taking several files from his briefcase before setting it on the floor. She seated herself opposite him, and the window filled the space between them with light. “Who are you?” she demanded as he opened his mouth. “And don’t give me a song and a dance because as fond as I am of my home, I could still disappear with my kids in an instant if you threaten us again.”

He raised his eyebrows innocently. “Miss Lewin, when I threaten someone, they know it. I was merely stating facts. As for who I am, my name is Colonel Steven Bitman. I am the head of a government agency which is more or less funded by the FBI. We are called ON, short for Optic Nerve, which is meaningless to you and would be denied by the FBI if you contacted them with questions. Our primary purpose since World War II has been to watch for and neutralize any and all supernormal threats to humanity.”

He paused as if waiting for questions, but Glory bit her tongue. With an almost imperceptible shrug, he selected a battered manila folder from his pile and slid it across to her. She opened it and quickly shut it again. Seeing her father’s bandaged eyes had been creepy enough without seeing black and white photos of the injury when it was still fresh.

“We funded his stay at the Sanitarium.” At a startled look from her, he smiled. “You didn’t think your grandmother was responsible for his care, did you? Not the way she was living at the end there. To be honest, we always thought he was just one more victim. He certainly never gave us any trouble. He was completely complacent through all our tests, despite the unpleasantness he inspired in his fellow inmates. It’s only with the death of your grandmother, and the circumstances surrounding the death of the unfortunate Mr. Wight, that we’ve had to revise our theories concerning the Slenderman.”

She flinched at mention of Wight, but of course he would know that she’d been to Centralia and been interviewed by the police about him. “Why? My grandmother was living on top of a disaster waiting to happen. If I’d known she existed sooner, I would have found a way to get her off that mountain years ago.”

“You need to look at the rest of those pictures,” Bitman said, tapping the table with an impatient finger.

Swallowing, she opened the file again, pushing the pictures of her father aside. There were both black and white and color photos of Centralia and the pit where she assumed her grandparents had burned the thing that had taken over her father’s body, her grandmother’s house aged in the photos until she came to images of the place as it had been when she finally went there herself, and an old portrait style picture of her grandmother and a man she assumed to be her grandfather. Without asking for permission, she set it aside. She doubted he’d had permission to take it from her family in the first place, and she had nothing at all to remember them by aside from the books her grandmother had given her. There were many pictures of her grandmother’s charms hanging from trees around the house and shadowy images taken through dirty windows. She finally got to the bottom of the folder and the most recent disaster to hit Centralia.

“Green,” she said without surprise when she saw the flames in the sinkhole where her ancestral home had been.

Bitman nodded. “You can see why we’ve decided to tip our hand by coming here.”

“No, I can’t,” she said stubbornly.

Bitman finally scowled, his grandfatherly expression dissipating like morning fog. “Don’t toy with me, girl. This thing has been taking our children for far too long. My s-…” he froze up for a moment before going on, but she had a good idea of what he’d been about to say. “If you have any idea of how to stop it, then you need tell me. Now.”

“I’m sorry. I don’t. Obviously what my grandparents did, didn’t work.”

“What exactly did they do?” he demanded, his body language betraying his eagerness.

She was silent for several seconds. “They bound it into him… my father, in the hope that it would be neutralized, but it obviously wasn’t. And the longer he carried it, the less that even meant in terms of what it could do. I’d like to think he was just a shell… at the end, but I know he wasn’t. He spoke to me.”

to Book 7, part 1, page 11

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 7 part 1.10”

  1. Alderin said

    Oh, goody, a secret government agency. 🙂

    Can’t wait for more, as always.

    *HUGS*

    “death of the unfortunate Mr. Wight, that we’ve has to” – had to

    “remember them by aside the books” – ‘aside from’? Though both may be correct.

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