Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 2.31

Posted by harmony0stars on July 23, 2011

Maria padded past Glory with her head held high but her ears and tail drooping. Her large paws got in the way as she halfheartedly scratched through the pile of bones, scattering it more than she intended from the growl that escaped her throat. How anything so elongated and dainty could have such massive feet was a mystery to Glory. They were probably great for stability when running though a forest and over soft surfaces like mud and snow, but not so good for selecting one tiny bone from the massive pile.

She tried nosing a smaller bone from the pile but gave up as she had to maneuver the obstacle course of the collapsed pile. Scatting the bones with a frustrated growl, Maria scanned what remained of the hoard. She lowered her muzzle to a likely bone which stuck out from the rest. She gingerly took it in her mouth and carried it back to Glory, spitting it out at her feet like an insult.

“Thanks,” Glory said, too worried about picking the lock to flavor her words with the appropriate sarcasm.

Maria walked a few paces and lay down, watching Glory skeptically. The bone was from a bird, a pheasant of some kind perhaps. Glory hoped it had always been a pheasant, but who knew with Neirin. It had been crushed, probably to get at the marrow, and several long splinters jutted from it. She twisted her leg behind her, ignoring the pain of the awkward pose, and wiggled a few of the bone shards into the hole until she found one that fit.

Hopefully it wasn’t enchanted, though the fact that it was connected to Neirin’s magic treasure chest did not fill her with the greatest confidence. That the shackle hadn’t just popped open as soon as she willed it to also made her anxious. Had she just been deluding herself all the other times doors open at her touch? The alternative was that she’d have to attempt a transformation and who knew if she’d manage to get herself back into her proper shape again.

The lock was simple enough that she hoped the bone would work. Neirin’s “key” had looked to be little more than a metal tube. Glory didn’t know a lot about the history of locks, but she suspected that medieval locks hadn’t been so complicated picking one with a chicken bone was out of the question.

She looked up quickly as something clattered to the floor in the dark. A moment later, Jack appeared on the edge of the light, clearing his throat so as not to startle her. Maria lifted her head from her paws and stared at her uncle, her nose quivering. For his part, when the dog didn’t attack, he more or less ignored it.

“Need a little help?” he asked, patting his pockets. Jack withdrew a small pouch from some hidden pocket and unraveled a collection of lock picks.

“Um, yeah…” Glory said with some relief, tossing the bone. “Do me a favor though and tap the top of that chest first. The last thing I want is to be stuck to you.” She tapped the ground with one finger by way of example.

He raising his eyebrow but doing as she asked. “It’s a good thing I saw you come in but not out again while I was up in the air.” He shook his head at the state of the tent. “This place is disgusting. I’ve met ghouls who were more hygienic. Is Maria not here as well? That‘s why I decided to play one of my old tricks in the first place. Her mother will never forgive me if I let something happen to her. As if I can stop her when she sets her mind to it… Too much like her great grandfather, head strong.” He looked around, his brow wrinkling with concern. “She‘s usually rather good at getting herself out of a tight situation given half a chance though.”

Glory unbent her leg with some relief as he crouched down next to her. She was still paranoid that he would become stuck, but she couldn’t think of any more precautions they could take.

“Um…” Glory coughed, glancing at the dog. For her part, Maria lowered her head back to her paws and turned away.

He followed her gaze to the dog and looked back with some confusion.

“Yeah, that’s her,” she said, unable to keep the disgust from her voice. “I’ll tell you about it later.” Maria turned her head towards them and growled. “Look, don’t growl at me. You got yourself into this, and he’s bound to find out about the other thing even if we do get you changed back in time.”

“The… other thing?” Jack looked from Maria to Glory and back again, his face a study of incredulity.

“She’s pregnant. And before you even ask, it‘s not Trevor‘s.” Maria jumped to her feet with a snarl, hackles raised, but she seemed to deflated as Jack put out his hand, laying it on her shoulder.

He pursed his lips. “This is neither the time, nor the place, but we will have words, young lady. For now, let’s get out of here before we have to fight our way out.”

“See if you can get this necklace off, if you could please?” Glory lifted her hair and turned her back to Jack.

She knew exactly when his hand made contact with the necklace because of the pain. Glory gritted her teeth and bore it as long as she could. Though it seemed an eternity that she stood and waited for Jack to figure out the clasp, she was certain it was only a matter of seconds before she stepped away from his hands. He raised an eyebrow at her as she wiped tears from her eyes and tried to steady her breath which came in short gasps.

“It’s enchanted to cause pain,” she explained. “Neirin wants to make me more… compliant.”

“The more I know about this sick chopper, the more I want to steal a page from my dearly departed brother’s book… Give the bastard a Cheshire and string him up by his ruddy organs,” Jack said with a scowl.

to Book 7, part 2, page 32

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