Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 1.12

Posted by harmony0stars on March 18, 2011

“I don’t know,” she said miserably, though she had a pretty good idea. “Have you asked my sister?”

“Do you know where we can find her?” he asked.

“If I knew where to find her, she’d be dead,” Glory snarled, slapping the folder shut. The Colonel nodded as if he’d expected as much. With all his digging into her family‘s past, he probably knew all about how her sister had killed their mother and nearly killed Glory as well. “What about these people who survived? Can’t you ask them?”

Bitman shook his head sharply. “We’ve had to put most of them down ourselves.”

“That’s horrible!” Glory said in disgust.

“You don’t understand,” he said, reaching across the table to collect his precious folders. “It takes them apart and puts them back wrong. They were magnets for It, maybe even traps. Most of them were quite insane or had been reduced to nothing more than puppets, but wherever we keep them alive, It eventually comes and kills anything in the area. We have someone in custody right now…” he paused as if he’d said too much.

“I want to see them,” she said, glaring at him, but his smile told her she’d been played.

“We’ll have to leave right away,” he said, standing to retrieve his briefcase. He propped it up on the table and slid the files back inside.

“This isn’t some elaborate scheme to get me to come with you?” Glory demanded, eying him suspiciously.

“If I’d wanted to take you by force, we’d have been on our way an hour ago,” he said in a mild voice, slipping the recorder back into his pocket and tugging on his coat as if he was used to straightening a uniform upon standing.

“No, we wouldn’t have been,” she said, collecting the pitcher and glass which he had not touched.

“You seem to have a lot of confidence for someone who’s never had any combat training,” he said in a superior tone.

“If you and your flunkies had meant anyone in this house harm, you never would never have been able to approach my door, let alone forced me to come with you, even with Steiner’s little trick. Carnegie might have been a better code name for him, by the way. So what does Redfield do, have visions?” She looked over her shoulder as Bitman remained silent. His expression was speculative and a little disturbing, and she suddenly felt a little foolish for saying as much as she had. What was to stop him from kidnapping any number of people who’d associated with her and using them to force her out the door? Bitman seemed very good at keeping her off balance, maybe it was time to make him feel off kilter. “So are we related?” she called from the kitchen, writing a message on the fridge board for Ann before she went.

“What?” he asked. She couldn’t see his face, but had she imagined the tremble in his voice?

“You mentioned your son and said It’s been going after my distant cousins. Odds are, we’re related, right?” She came out of the kitchen, and instantly felt bad. He stood in the sunlight, holding briefcase against his chest. She tried to shake it off. Bitman was very good at making her follow his lead. He could just be putting on an act again. But she was not a bully. There was no way for her not to feel bad about poking an old man’s wounded heart.

“No,” he said, dropping his briefcase to his side and giving her a steely glare. “That would have been my wife.”

“Ah,” Glory said quietly, already ashamed of herself. “Let me get my bag, and we can go. How long am I liable to be gone?”

“A few hours,” he said dismissively. He walked with her to the front door, and opened it as she headed upstairs. “I’ll have the car waiting when you come out.”

Glory snatched up her backpack from her room, with its odds and ends of string, markers, paper, and other bits, and jogged back downstairs. As she came out the door, she scowled. A huge hummer dominated the street like a mini-tank. Didn’t they realize what a gas guzzler that thing was?

Steiner eyed her backpack as she climbed into the back seat. There were two rows of seats facing one another, and Redfield was driving. She sat in the corner across from him and with enough space between her and Bitman for two people.

“Sir, should I check her for weapons?” Steiner asked.

She could tell he hadn’t forgiven her for resisting his pervasive charms. Well, a man who could get anyone to do anything he wanted just by opening his mouth was not someone she had warm fuzzies about either. “Believe me, I trust you a lot less than you trust me. You want to frisk me?’ She held up her bag and waggled it in his direction before pulling it away and tucking it by her side. “Get a court order.”

“Don’t bait him, Miss Lewin. It‘s very immature,” Bitman said mildly. He turned to his agent who was having difficulty hiding a smirk at the corner of his mouth. “I’m sure there’s nothing in Miss Lewin’s bag that we would consider dangerous.”

She gave Bitman a sidelong glance, but he stared straight ahead while Steiner glared at her suspiciously. No one spoke for the remainder of the trip. Glory did not feel comfortable asking questions that might just as soon betray more of her own secrets, and none of her companions volunteered anything.
They left the city, joining the highway and heading out into the countryside. It was almost an hour later that they pulled into a nondescript block of a building surrounded by a barbed wire fence. Every few yards there was a sign warning of electrocution to the unwary. The place was set in a grassy field that stretched around the fence like another barrier to be passed. She imagined it might even be booby trapped with landmines, though she doubted they’d be so careless. Beyond the field was a wood that looked tangled with undergrowth even from a distance. The men at the gate seemed more worried about the woods than the hummer as it pulled up.

to Book 7, part 1, page 13

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