Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 1.13

Posted by harmony0stars on March 21, 2011

The man who checked the Colonel’s ID fell all over himself waving the hummer through when he saw who he was. Apparently he was kind of important. Agent Redfield pulled into a lot that was only sparsely populated by cars. He offered her his hand as she opened her door, but she ignored him, jumping down to the asphalt without his assistance. He gave his boss a questioning look, but Bitman waved him towards the building.

The place was virtually deserted, but the people she did see were well armed. They traveled in pairs with grim expressions on their faces, as if they expected to be attacked at any moment. The few people wore lab coats had armed escorts who followed them everywhere, even following one man into the bathroom. She’d have laughed if everyone wasn’t so serious.

“How’s the girl?” Bitman asked as they entered a room guarded by two soldiers who stood at unblinking attention like Beefeaters on either side of the door.

A harried looking Indian woman gaped up from her clipboard, too tired for a moment to respond. She shook herself, blinking behind coke bottle glasses and brushing ragged black and gray hairs back to her drooping ponytail. “She’s sleeping, but we’ve almost reached the limit of safe study. I… didn’t think you’d get here in time.” She eyed Glory skeptically. “Is this the new POI Red promised us?”

Agent Redfield colored, looking at the floor. Otherwise Glory would never have realized the doctor was referring to him at all. “Maybe,” was all Bitman said as Glory gave him an annoyed glance. He motioned for Glory to follow him, leading the way across the room to a large observation window. A little girl of about eight or nine lay on the cot, sleeping peacefully in a dirty cotton nighty and bare, mud smeared feet. Despite the dirt, she was an absolutely adorable child, with messy curls and a cherubic expression, even in sleep.

Glory stared through the glass for only a few seconds before the little girl’s eyes popped open. Bitman stifled a curse as she sat up and looked right at them. Redfield yelled to the guards as Steiner grabbed the doctor by the elbow and hustled her towards the room’s only exit, barely pausing to let her grab a milk crate full of files. Glory didn’t have to be told that the window she was looking through was probably mirrored on the child‘s side, and the little girl shouldn’t have been able to tell if there was anyone there at all.

Grinning maniacally as she scooted off the cot, the girl dragged a battered, button-eyed bunny with her to the glass. She made a beeline for Glory, but Glory held her ground as the child approached. Except for a deep down gleam at their center, like the shifting pupil of some predatory thing, the child‘s eyes were utterly black. The tarry blackness couldn’t help but remind Glory of Tsathoggua’s spawn, especially when after several seconds of staring at her with that vapid grin, the black of her eyes began to ooze down her cheeks. That’s when the girl began giggling. It rose and fell as if on a mechanical loop, which was grating, but not particularly menacing. The child smear her hand through the black slime and raised a finger to the glass. Glory watched with fascination as she drew a circle on the glass, putting an X through it before moving on make more drawings. There was a flash of someone taking a picture from behind her as well as the clatter of running feet in the hall.

“Out!” shouted Bitman distantly. “Everyone out, now!”

Someone grabbed her by the shoulder, yanking her away from the glass. Glory blinked at Redfield. They were the only ones left in the room. He shoved his camera in a pocket of his coat and dragged her from the room.

Shadows were creeping in the halls. She could see them crawling like living things, gaining solidity by the second, though no one else seemed to notice. A soldier a little further down the hall staggered as he neared one of the things and leaned against the wall. It wrapped vaporous tentacles around him, making him cough and retch. His partner threw an arm around his waist and dragged him through the hall towards the exit, but the shadow stayed with him and more were attracted to it. The pair had only stumbled a few feet before the second man fell to his knees and began vomiting. There was a chaotic egress to the parking lot, and she could hear cars pealing away. Bitman and Steiner had already disappeared.

Though no one else seemed to notice the forms gaining strength as they creeped up from the cracks and crevices of the ancient linoleum, Redfield jerked and flinched whenever one came close, guiding her through the hall to the door as if he assumed she was as blind as everyone else. “You see them too?” she asked, and he shot her a terrified look. As he dragged her around collapsing soldiers who bled from every orifice and retched blood onto the broken tiles, she could see a tiny bead of blood gathering in one of his nostril, and his eyes were bloodshot and wild.

Redfield gasped as one of the shadows swept by them. He staggered to a stop, almost falling as the obstacle course became too crowded to navigate. They were still yards from the door, and the shadows were thick and hungry. Everyone in the hall had fallen to the floor with the exception of Redfield and herself, and Glory was the only one completely unaffected. All the shadows paused near her, but none of them made any attempt to stop her. The fallen soldiers were their targets, and Redfield.

He fell against a wall, gray tentacles draped around him from several nearby shadows. None of them had jumped him yet like the others, but they were definitely feeding on him. Glory pulled her arm from his grasp, and he gaped up at her, a bit of blood leaking from one eye. A shadow approached, more crowding the hall behind it. Looking at it with her other eyes, she could see that its aura extended much further than the insubstantial shadow at its core and the misty tentacles she‘d already noticed took on a un unsettling hue of necrotic flesh. Though they were several feet away from it, she could see at its center an even denser shadow. This deeper blackness, she was almost certain, represented the person the shadow had been before her father took it… and made it into something else. Did it ever remember what it had been? She hoped not.

to Book 7, part 1, page 14

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6 Responses to “Tattoo Book 7 part 1.13”

  1. here2read said

    wow.

  2. Fiona said

    It’s always scary when the shadows show up.

    Some tense mixups in here eg. at the child’s approached. He staggering to a stop

    • I apologize for all the typos lately. I hurt my back and it’s hard to concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time. In fact, I’ve got behind on updates too. I’ve been working on next week’s updates for about two weeks now.

      Thanks for catching the typos. I need all the help I can get.

      • Fiona said

        😦
        I hope your back improves.

        I feel like you’ve been writing lots lately, with all the notebook updates. I really appreciate how much you put into this story 🙂

        • Thanks 🙂 I’m hoping I can get back to work next week. Money is getting thin while I wait on my tax return and pay the chiropractor for electroshock therapy (not what it’s called, but it involves electricity).

          There may or may not be a notebook entry tomorrow. If not tomorrow then next weekend. It all depends on whether I can finish next week’s trio of updates. Really there’s only editing left to do, but I’m easily distracted right now, and you’ve seen the results. (Typo-city!)

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