Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 2.14

Posted by harmony0stars on May 30, 2011

The weather didn’t get much better, but at least it didn’t get too much worse. So there was that.

As the sky darkened, they were lucky enough to find a cozy hollow with a wall of rock at their back and a long armed oak overhead. It wasn’t much, but it would keep the rain off provided the wind didn’t change direction in the night. Jack disappeared into the gloom almost as soon as they chose their campsite. The others spread out to gather firewood.

“So anyone have a…” Mike started as he made a small pile of twigs. Maria pulled a lighter out of her pocket and lit the bit of bark and dried grass at the center of the pile.

“I thought you quit smoking,” Trevor said as she proceeded to pull a pack of cigarettes from her pocket and light up.

“Yeah, well, I thought you were psychic,” she said sourly and found a thick, dry root to sit on, close enough to the fire to keep warm but far enough to show her displeasure.

Rather than responding to her jibe, Trevor sighed and settled down next to the fire. As Mike broke up some of the thicker branches, Trevor fed smaller sticks into the flames until the heat began to chase away the chill that had come with the darkness. Glory propped up their few empty water bottles in the rain using small stones. They probably would not collect much water, but it would at least allow her companions a sip of something in the morning.

“Bet you wish I’d brought more water and snacks,” Maria sniped from under the tree.

“Maria, shut up,” Trevor said tiredly. Her face screwed up in fury, but before she could speak, Jack strode back into the clearing and dropped three rabbits beside the fire. There was not a mark on them, and it went unsaid how he had managed to catch one, let alone three.

“Nice,” Mike said, much impressed.

“I hope you have a blade,” Jack said with an indulgent smile. “I’m afraid I’m not permitted to carry one.”

“Yeah, I got it,” Trevor said. Patting his jacket, he pulled out a Swiss army knife and took the rabbits to the edge of their camp to clean them. He spitted the gutted carcasses over the fire and sat back. Silence reigned over the gathering.

“So I guess everyone’s too polite to say anything,” Maria said as the smell of the roasting meat filled the clearing. “But I think we were promised an explanation.”

Glory glared at the little woman a moment, then shrugged. Instead of addressing her nemesis, she spoke to Mike and Trevor instead. “What do you know about our family and my father?”

Both men had the good grace to look uncomfortable. “Well, your father seems to have been one of the Hollowed,” Mike said, elaborating when Glory gave him a puzzled look.

“We grade those who have been exposed to the… to Mr Slim by their characteristics. The Hollowed are just… empty shells.”

Glory shook her head. “No, he wasn’t. And your boss called it Slenderman.”

Mike winced at the name. “Yeah, well, some of us don’t like to call him that. And what do you mean your father wasn’t hollowed? He was catatonic.”

She shook her head again. “He spoke to me before he died.”

“Could have been It speaking through him,” Trevor offered.

“No,” Glory said quietly. “They both spoke to me, first my father… then my other father.”

“Your other…? Oh hell,” Mike said, looking as though he might be sick.

“This is… just a theory I’ve been working on. I could be completely off base here, but my grandmother told me before she died that she ordered my father not to have any children after they bound it, Mr Slim, into his body. But obviously he didn’t listen, not that he had much control over it after a while.” She stared at the ground, unable to look at her companions and dug a small furrow into the leaf loam and soil with the toe of her shoe. “I used to have terrible nightmares. Seeing that little girl reminded me of them.”

“I’m sorry, but what the shite are you talking about?” Maria demanded.

There was silence in the clearing, the only sound, the falling rain and the crack of wet wood and the sizzle of animal fat in the fire. “My father was a selfish, deluded man who summoned something called the Dark Demon and used it to scare my mother into marrying him.”

Jack sputtered and everyone looked at him. “Your father did what now? That’s just outrageous. Only a fool would try, and even so, the Faceless God would only come at his own discretion. He can’t be summoned or controlled. If he went into your father‘s body, it was because that‘s where he wanted to be.”

“Faceless God… “ Trevor muttered in a disgusted tone. “Yeah, that sounds about right.”

“So… what? She’s some kind of inhuman monster?” Maria asked, sounding more pleased by the idea than disturbed.

Jack scowled at his grand niece. “No more than you or I, my dear.” She scowled back at him but held her tongue.

“From what I’ve gathered, from what the colonel and my grandmother said, you guys are from two separate branches of my family. And I think this… Dark Demon or Faceless God or whatever has been meddling with both branches for an awfully long time. Which is where your talents come in. My mom was from one side of the family and my dad from the other.“ She made a face. “And if Jack’s right, then this… thing went out of its way to get them together specifically to produce my sister and myself.”

Maria snorted but an annoyed glance from Jack kept her silent.

“That’s… well, why?” Mike said after a moment.

“I’m not sure, but he-it’s put me on this quest to find the lost piece of the Black Seal and apparently my sister has already found most of them. I don’t know what it does, or rather I know what it’s been used for in the past…”

“Atlantis,” Jack said quietly.

Glory looked at him with surprise, but he only nodded for her to continue. “Yes, and I know what kind of person my sister is. The last time someone tried to use the Seal, they sank Atlantis. So if my sister is looking for the stones, all I can do is try to find the remaining ones before she does and keep them out of her hands. Which is why we’re here.”

“Wherever here is,” Maria muttered.

to Book 7, part 2, page 15

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4 Responses to “Tattoo Book 7 part 2.14”

  1. Fiona said

    It might be worth having Jack along after all; he seems to know some things.

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