Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 1.18

Posted by harmony0stars on April 1, 2011

Robert returned to the living room with a thoughtful expression on his face, hopefully to do his homework. She didn’t like to nag him about it. That would make it seem that she considered him irresponsible. His report card would be coming soon, and then she’d know if he’d been slacking.

Glory shoved the curtains in the washer. If there was a bug, the water would hopefully drown it, and if not, the dryer would fry it. She returned to the dining room and dismantled the chandelier. All the washable pieces went into the dishwasher. There was no listening device that she could see, but a bath couldn’t hurt since she had it all down anyway. For the next hour, she cleaned, running a rag over every flat surface and wiping down the legs of the table. She even got out a flashlight and checked the crevices where the legs joined the tabletop. Nothing. She vacuumed, using the hose to detail every crevice and crease and made sure to empty the canister and take out the trash afterwards.

You’re only paranoid if they’re not out to get you, she reminded herself, somewhat nostalgic for Phoenix’s ‘voice of reason.’ He would likely have insisted they abandon the house, change their names, and never set foot on the east coast again. Maybe hop continents, abandon her quest to find her sister and her book. Don’t worry about the Black Stone or any other thing. Just hide herself away and wait for the dust to settle. She shook her head. Sorry imaginary voice of Phoenix, but that’s not my style.

As the day wore down, Glory thought to check her phone for a message from her lawyer and realized why there’d been no warning to expect the courier. She’d let the battery run down… again. She retreated to her room to plug it into the charger, then thought better of it. Could she… maybe charge it herself?

Even with a ‘dead’ battery, it did have a faint charge. That should count for an aura of sorts, separate from the phone itself. Hadn’t there been stories of exploding cell phone batteries a couple years ago? Well, better safe than sorry. Glory flipped it open and then concentrated on feeding the battery energy very slowly. Recharging the battery was like healing. The dull aura of the almost dead battery slowly strengthened to a more vibrant hue, and she laughed with delight as the screen lit up and showed the missed call from her lawyer.

She listened to his message before flipping the phone shut, a return call made superfluous by the arrival of the courier. Shoving the phone back into her pocket, she looked around the room, feeling excited and eager for the first time since she couldn‘t remember when. She felt like a kid with a new toy.

Being able to see auras was perhaps not the most important development to date, but it was certainly convenient. It beat feeling around like a blind person, which is what she’d been doing without even knowing she was handicapped. Glory had read about auras, but she’d never really believed in them aside from knowing that living things and most machines had an energy field. In her mind, auras had been relegated to new age quackery, and she never would have considered the possibility of manipulating an object’s energy field as a means of controlling or altering it.

Glory stopped at the bottom of the stairs and paused, watching Robert play his game. She could see the energy of the TV and the game he was playing interacting with his own, holding him captivated as he poured all his attention into beating the level or whatever the goal of the game was. Was that by design or did all games and puzzles interact with people like that? If it was an accident, it was an intuitive one.

She chewed on her lip as she watched Robert play. He couldn’t see auras, and even if he could, she’d never read of people who could manipulate them the way she could. Though her knowledge of what humans knew about auras was admittedly small. Still, if she could make Robert see auras somehow… Well, there were book on learning how to see auras, but it would be so much easier just to alter…

The blood rushed from her face just as Robert looked around between scenes. “What?” he asked with a frown.

“I… just wondered if you’d done your homework,” she said, covering for her sudden self-loathing.

“It’s just studying for a test…” he replied, glancing at the game. “I can do it before I go to bed.” His shoulders slumped as she glanced at the clock. It was already dark outside and had been for a few hours already. “Or I can do it now,” he mumbled, bringing up a save screen before tucking the controller into the cabinet and turning off his game. She patted his shoulder as he passed on his way up to his room and smiled. He made a show of scowling, but she could tell he was pleased that she was pleased.

“Come on, Eddie-spaghetti,” Ann said, standing up and dropping a handful of blocks into his toy chest. “It‘s beddy-bye time for you too.”

Glory helped find the scattered blocks and toys as she tried not to think about her little slip, but it was hard not to dwell on the men, women, and children she’d seen feeding on the soldiers only hours before. Her father had done that. He’d changed them, turned them into something else. In the car as Steiner pealed out of the parking lot, she’d remembered a horrible nightmare she’d had over and over again when she was small. Only the people in the dream had changed; the events rarely did.

He hunted them, little children but adults too, the smart ones, the creative ones, the ones who had open minds and hearts. Some lived. Mostly they just died because he could take them apart, but he wasn’t very good at putting them back together. But he got better at it, the more he did it. At first they were broken things that didn’t function very well, but he kept at it… experimenting. He learned from his mistakes.

She knew everything he did because he took her with him and made her watch. Not physically, but in her mind. He wanted her to see, and she hated him for it. Every night she’d gone to sleep hoping he’d take Lori, but he never did. Lori wouldn’t understand, he told her, mind to mind. You will, some day.

Well, she was older, but she still didn’t understand, and she didn’t want to. There was no reason for what he had done, was still doing. He had to be stopped. She’d used the Key, and now she knew why she needed to reassemble the Black Stone. Too bad she had no idea how many pieces Lori or whoever was collecting them already had.

to Book 7, part 1, page 19


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