Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 2.12

Posted by harmony0stars on May 25, 2011

Careful to keep the light on the floor and more or less hidden by her body, Maria trailed her hand along the wall to keep from walking into it. She could see Glory’s light ahead and stayed far enough away so as not be casually noticed. Glory did not diverge from her straight path, which made Maria doubt very much the story she had been fed. She expected better from Trevor, really. He was usually very forthcoming about such things. Which meant that this Glory woman was a bad influence on him.

Trevor was silent behind her. She trusted him to stay that way. He was a good spy, even if he didn’t work for the right people. Someday she might win him away from Black Luna, but then he wouldn’t be interesting any more. Such was life.

Up ahead she saw the woman and Mike stop, and she put a hand out to slow Trevor. They slowly edged forward, her hand on his arm. Behind her, she heard a soft taptaptap that told her Jack had arrived and was bringing up the rear. He might be impetuous and often annoying, but her great granduncle knew his business. Together they were the darlings of the occult division, Jack’s abilities making up for Maria’s very much diluted dhampir heritage. Of course, without her to act as his watchdog, he probably would have been destroyed as soon as he was discovered. Really his time in the grave seemed to have mellowed him from menacing to merely creepy. His habit of draining people, particularly women, of energy could be forgiven. He only did it to make a pretense of being a gentleman. The old perv got more women to lie down for him than a gynecologist.

They edged closer, but in the dark, it was impossible to see what Glory was doing. Why couldn’t the woman be reasonable? If she had nothing to hide, there was no reason not to tell Maria what their real reason for being in Scotland was. Therefore, they must be up to something. The only question was, supernatural espionage or the theft of some as yet undiscovered occult treasure? Either way, they wouldn’t get away with it. Trevor was fun, but this was a matter of national pride.

Glory examined the sign chipped into the stone. Unlike the others, it looked fresh, as if someone had just made it and walked away into the dark. It was etched into one of the few stones that had not been cleared away as the caves were modified and widened. The oblong boulder jutted out into the main passage just as the passage itself came to an abrupt end, one narrow crevice on the right also ending as if the stone had sealed itself like two hands coming together.

“It’s a cup and rings,” Mike said, making Glory look at him with something akin to astonishment. He grinned in the dark. “What? I can know stuff too.” She imagined him sticking his tongue out at her and smiled despite herself.

Shaking her head, she snorted softly and turned her attention back to the stone. She traced her finger over the ring patterns, an electrifying tingle buzzing along her nerve endings. It was not an unpleasant sensation. She felt herself relax. For a moment, she almost allowed her hand to become that gelid tentacled thing she’d fought so hard to forget, but pulled her hand away with a shudder.

“What?” Mike asked, laying a hand on the stone. He grimaced and took his hand away almost immediately, wiping it on his jacket as if he’d put his hand in dog vomit. “Oh, that’s… I don’t know… nasty. It makes my skin crawl.”

“Yes,” Glory said faintly, feeling ill for far different reasons. She held the flashlight in one hand pondering the stone. With the pretense of stepping closer, she stumbled and dropped the light.

Falling forward, she landed against the stone, laying her hand flat against the symbol carved into its surface. As Mike grunted and searched the cave floor for the flashlight, Glory allowed whatever charm was on the stone to take its course, dissolving her hand into a gooey appendage which filled the crevices of the seven concentric rings and its central depression like putty. The elder key on her shoulder tickled, though that was not an adequate description of the sensation.

There was a shift, almost as if gravity had been turned off for a nanosecond before being reinstated.

Mike stumbled as he snatched up the flashlight, and she was almost certain he felt it as well. Behind them, she heard a gasp and saw the light of a second flashlight. Damn Maria… why did she have to be so nosey? Glory had a feeling that Trevor and Maria had also felt the shift.

The tingling had stopped. Glory pulled the pudding that was her hand away from the stone. There was no resistance this time as she reformed the limb into its proper shape, wiggling her fingers to assure herself that they all bent in the proper way.

“Did you… feel that?” Mike sounded uncertain of having felt anything at all.

“I certainly did,” Jack replied from the nearby darkness, and Glory hissed. He laughed at that, sounding entirely too close for comfort. The weird giggle set her teeth on edge. Mike swung the light in her direction, stepping around her to confront the other man, and Glory heard the vampire retreat towards Maria and Trevor.

“What just happened?” Maria demanded.

Nothing seemed to have changed, despite the odd shift. Somewhat disappointed, Glory shrugged, no longer feeling a pull to proceed in any direction. “I don’t know. Let’s just get out of here.” She took a step towards the other light and paused. “Keep your pet leech away from me, or I’ll hurt him. I mean it.” Jack giggled in the dark, but he sounded far enough away that she ignored it.

The trip back through the caves was uneventful. Glory felt increasingly frustrated and uneasy. What had been the point? Had she done something wrong? She was definitely missing some clue, but what?

to Book 7, part 2, page 13

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 7 part 2.12”

  1. Alderin said

    Maria and Jack are related… at least the annoyingness seems to be thinning with the generations?

    “She expect better from Trevor” – expected

    • Annoyingness, yes, but I think Jack is the more likeable of the pair. He’s a creeper, but I imagine it’s due mostly to social awkwardness. That Maria though, she’s cold.

      Thanks for catching the typo 🙂

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