Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 1.20

Posted by harmony0stars on April 6, 2011

“Sorry… it was just force of habit; I swear!” He was probably more distressed at the thought that his boss would be angry at his failure to get her cooperation than that he had unduly offended her. “It comes in handy when we’re trying to keep people calm after an event. I wasn‘t attempting to force you to agree with me, honest. If Redfield wasn‘t in quarantine, it would be him here, not me.” He said the last almost wistfully.

She set the water on the table. After a few seconds of tense silence, he relaxed a little and popped open his briefcase. To her surprise, he took out a legal pad and pen in addition to a small handheld voice recorder and a camera. He noticed her puzzled expression and explained. “There’s sometimes distortion on recording devices. It’s best to have hardcopy just in case.”

“Fine, but if I’m answering your questions, you’re answering mine,” she said. She sat opposite him, folding her hands on the table in front of her.

Steiner hesitated. “If I can,” he said cautiously.

“Relax,” Glory said dismissively. “I don’t care about names, places, or dates. I’m more concerned with policy. I don’t like what I saw yesterday.”

He fumbled with his pen, tapping it against the paper before responding. “Things don’t usually go south that quickly… All the more reason to get your statement so we can try and figure out why that Revenant responded to you like that.”

“She was dead?” Glory asked.

“Er… not technically, no, but… She wasn’t exactly who she was before the Entity got her, and from what we understand of the… process… she may have been killed and revived more than once.” He clicked his pen nervously. “If you could tell me exactly what you experienced, including any thoughts or feelings you might have had?” he asked in a hopeful tone, not at all comfortable with the direction of their conversation.

“But your boss intended to kill her, and to blow up the place where you were keeping her. That must get expensive.”

He flinched. “All of our safe houses are rigged to blow, but that’s the first time we’ve had do it in over a year. As for the girl, you saw her…”

“Yeah, I saw her,” Glory said sourly, “but it’s not like I got a chance to do more than that.”

Steiner shook his head. “It was a trap. That’s all I can think. I’ve never seen anything like that, and I’ve been with the Company for almost ten years. The old man told me to go, but I was the one who waited. I’ve seen Redfield come out of weirder situations. I really didn’t expect you to come out carrying him though.” He looked at her curiously, tapping the pen against the blank pad. “But I shouldn’t be putting my own spin on this. We need your statement to compare it to ours to make sure we haven’t missed anything.”

Sigh. “Fine,” she said. “I saw the little girl coming towards me. She was creepy even before she started giggling. Then your boss said to run for it and Redfield was dragging me out of the room.”

“You didn’t feel or hear anything?” Steiner asked, visibly relieved that he was finally doing the job he’d come to do.

“No, should I have?” Glory asked.

“Um, no, not necessarily,” he said. “I don’t want to influence your statement with any leading questions. We just want your impression of events. What about when you reached the hall?”

She frowned, worried about how her story might be construed but wary of leaving anything out that was expected or that Redfield might have told them. “There were shadows everywhere. They latched onto people and seemed to take their energy. People they touched began to bleed from their eyes and noses and ears.”

“You saw shadows?” Steiner said, his pen scratching against the paper.

“Yes?” she said, worried again that she’d said too much.

“Redfield’s always described them as shadows too… I‘ve never seen anything,” he announced without looking up. “So you were in the hall, and then?”

Glory bit her lip. Maybe play dumb? “Don’t think I’m vain or anything, but they seemed to be afraid of me. Maybe it was my tattoos?”

“Huh,” he replied without committing to an answer. “Did you feel anything? Did any of them try to communicate?”

“No… They tried to take Redfield, but that’s when I picked him up, and they kind of backed off and disappeared with everyone else.”

“They just disappeared?” He looked up now, curious.

“Well, no… they kind of melted. Some of them took everything that your people were carrying. Some of them, when they disappeared, they left things behind.”

“Things like?” His pen scratched against the paper again.

“Weapons, clothing…” Scratch, scratch went his pen.

“Oh, ok… So, what makes you think they were afraid of your tattoos,” he asked after a few seconds of tapping the nib of his pen against the page.

Aside from the tattoos on her hands, most of them weren’t readily visible. Her hair and clothes kept most of them hidden, especial this time of year. She brushed her hair back with her hand so he could see some of the tattoos along her hairline and pulled at her collar to show more on her neck. “They’re protective… magical.”

“Right,” he said with a tiny curl of his lip.

Glory let her hair fall back over her tattoos and shrugged. She hadn’t really expected a different reaction. “Your boss didn’t really tell you anything about me, did he?”

to Book 7, part 1, page 21

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