Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 1.11

Posted by harmony0stars on March 16, 2011

“Nothing important,” she said, glossing over the events at the Sanitarium. “He told me to get away, and that he didn’t care about me. I don’t know how true that was, but I didn’t wait around to find out. The orderly says the stress of my visit killed him… I don’t know if that’s true either. I think waiting for me or my sister to show up probably appealed to His sense of irony. He-It might have been bound to my father at first, but I don’t think that lasted much past him being lobotomized.”

“Why do you say that?” he asked, looking at her curiously.

“Just… a feeling I have,” she said, shrugging again. “If there was much of him left at that point, it was too weak to keep the other one in check.”

Bitman wordlessly selected another file and slid it to her. She didn’t open it. There was a bad feeling in her stomach that the pictures in the second file would be much worse.

“Open it,” he barked, making her flinch. She looked at the top few pictures; there were many more, too many, and pushed the folder away in disgust. “Your father was one of the worst and most prolific child killers of the twentieth century,” he spat. “There are over a hundred that we know of. We’re certain Jack Wight helped him… take care of some of the bodies, but we’ll probably never know the full extent of the murders. Care to revise your feeling?”

“I can’t tell you anything because I don’t know anything. My mother is dead. Now so’s my grandmother. I can’t ask them about what happened any more than I can give you the answers you came here for. I didn’t even remember my father until I found him again, and I certainly didn’t remember him the way I saw him in Arkham. I was hardly more than a baby when he left us.” She stared at the table in front of her, unable to meet Bitman’s eyes. “I don’t want to think he was responsible for killing little kids, but from what my grandmother said…”

“What?”

“She told me he summoned… that thing, to kill my mother’s family so she wouldn’t have a choice but to fall in love with him. So obviously he was capable of killing or at least ordering people killed, just… it doesn’t seem like killing little kids would serve any purpose. I can’t wrap my mind around anyone hurting children. It’s.. wrong. I have to assume… I want to believe that it was the Thing inside him that was responsible for that. But I can’t even imagine why It would hurt children, and why not even touch me or my sister? I mean, is that why our dad finally left? Every little kid wants to believe that their parents love them and want them to be happy, so did he leave to protect us? Is that why he went to my grandmother… when he… tore his eyes out?”

Bitman tapped the final folder as if trying to decide whether to pass it over or not. She opened it once he sent it sliding across to her and just as quickly shut it. Like the other, it was filled with photos of mutilated children. “Look at them,” he ordered, though not without sympathy. “They’re not like the others. These are from after he was confined. Not all of them were dead when we found them, more‘s the pity.”

Her flesh crawling, she leafed through the photos. There was blood, mutilation, death… but she began to see what Bitman had meant. As she went through the photos, what began as a horrid mess of violence became refined and purposeful. There was still blood, but the pictures began to resemble autopsy photos rather than murder scenes. Bitman began talking as she moved from photo to photo.

“Did you know your father studied medicine for a little while before his interested turned to history and the occult? His grades weren’t good enough for medical school. That’s why we thought he initially started killing… frustration. But the Slenderman was killing centuries before your father came on the scene. It seems now from what we know and what you just said, that once It joined with him, Its actions became more… specific, perhaps thanks to his medical knowledge. We’ve traced It to Germany, the Black Forest, where your father‘s side of the family came from despite the English surname.” She glanced up at him, wondering if he was accusing her of something. “Curiously enough, your mother’s family is from Ireland where there are similar stories of the brolaghan, The Grey Man or Old Boneless depending on the region. They came over during the Potato Famine, changing their surname in the process. Strange that they’d change their name too, don’t you think? As if they were trying to hide from someone.”

Glory shrugged unhappily. “What am I supposed to be looking for?” she asked, listlessly turning each horrific photograph.

Bitman shook his head. “That’s what we’d like to know too. What are we looking for? What is It looking for? It’s not torture. It started out looking like that and all the stories agree that’s what It does, kills for the pleasure of it. But something’s changed, and we don’t know what. Its activities have evolved. Oh It still kills when It feels like, but now a good quarter of Its victims show up alive. Some you’d hardly know had been touched at all, until it’s too late.”

“So what do you want from me?” she asked, almost angry. Forcing his way into her home, making her look at photos of dead children, what gave him the right?

“Answers. You’re the last member of two families that are now all but extinct. So far as we can tell, both halves had dealings with this thing or were at least in the vicinity of Its rampages. We’ve done our research. The Irish branch of your family was slaughtered the very day your mother’s grandparents came to America, first cousins by the way. I’d go so far as to say it’s possible your father didn’t have anything to do with killing her family off when he took a liking to your mother.“ He shrugged, but it was small consolation. She supposed her grandparents could have been mistaken, or her father had been tricked by It into doing what it wanted him to.

“Your father’s family snuck out of Germany just before the War started and settled in Centralia, secret Jews or so their neighbors assumed, but they’ve pretty much been dying out since the coal fire, and not by natural circumstance either. You have some distant cousins on both sides wandering around, but they’re so far removed it’s not even fair to call them family, and make no mistakes, they‘ve been targeted too. Once we made the connection, we found that almost half of His victims can be traced to your family tree, and the rest could easily be related without a paper trail, if you catch my meaning.” He waited for her to say something, but when she remained silent, he asked, “So what happened? Were your great grandparents part of a cult that went bad? I’d really like to know why It hasn‘t come after you the way It‘s done everyone else in your family.”

to Book 7, part 1, page 12

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