Tattoo Book 7 part 3.4
Posted by harmony0stars on September 6, 2011
Glory sat abruptly, startling Mike and Jack as she landed at their feet. Trevor didn’t look too steady either, though at least he wasn’t bleeding. Dark shadows seemed to loom and lurch around them as Mike tried to help her up and Jack fished for a handkerchief. There was very little reason for the darkness with the sun almost overhead. A few blinks, and the shadows withdrew, probably only a residual effect of peering through so much time… just a matter of refocusing her eyes.
“We go east,” she managed once she got the blood flow under control.
“Are you sure?” Jack asked as he held her elbow, gently guiding her towards the parking lot while Mike looked after Trevor. “I’d always heard that the monks hid the real stone somewhere in the River Tay.”
She waved off the concern of one of the tour guides who saw her with the bloody hanky to her nose and shook her head at Jack. It was Trevor who answered though. “No, they definitely went east, not west.”
“We’ll check at Dunsinane Hill,” Glory said, finally taking the bloody cloth away from her face as she sat in the car. “There were two rumors about where they might have taken the stone. If it’s not at Dunsinane, we’ll have to come back here and follow the monks on foot.”
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Mike asked. “I mean, you were bleeding pretty good there, and Trevor looks dead on his feet.”
“I’m fine,” Glory and Trevor both said at once. “I think… it was just that I had to wade through so much before I finally managed to home in on the stone,” Glory continued. “It shouldn’t take near as much time to find the stone once we reach the Hill. I know what I‘m looking for now. It‘s just like following a scent.”
“If it’s at Dunsinane,” Jack said.
“Yes, if,” she agreed irritably.
The drive took less than half an hour, but they had to kill time until twilight. As Jack pointed out, the locals wouldn’t exactly be pleased to have a bunch of Americans digging up their landmark. Once they’d walked around the hill a few times for form‘s sake, they went and found a small café and made arrangements to stay in a nearby bed and breakfast overnight.
As they drove back to the Hill a few hours later, Glory couldn’t help but shudder at the shadows that flowed in the wake of the car, over field and hedgerows. They were made all the more insidious by the lowness of the sun and the deepening hue. She couldn’t help but feel as if some of them moved independent of the car.
Half the Hill was in shadow when they got back, but at least there was no one around to see them desecrate the landmark. Trevor and Glory climbed the Hill, while Jack and Mike went to take the shovels from the car. An icy wind had picked up and galloped across the hill like a troop of Saracens.
Glory brushed through the layers of time, searching for the Stone of Destiny. She grew more and more impatient as the shadows lengthened, but the sun was setting after all. One would expect shadows. She was just starting to worry that maybe the monks hadn’t come to the Hill when she finally caught sight of them on the north side.
Trevor followed her down the hill as she hurried toward the sweating monks. The closer she got, the more solid they became until it seemed if she just reached out… She could save everyone a lot of time with digging.
“No! Don’t!” Trevor called after her as she reached for the package the monks were so intent upon burying.
Her fingers had only just brushed the package when a howl echoed in her skull, felt as well as heard. All the shadows that had been lurking since Scone seemed to coalesce in a spot just in front of her. A rift opened, no more than a crack, but through it she could see cyclopean buildings bent and twisting at obscene angles. Something wriggled through as reality healed itself, a lump of slimy flesh, born from nothing but gaining traction in the material world the longer it remained there.
“Oh, fu..” Glory backpedaled away from the twitching thing as it unraveled and grew, oozing vaguely phosphorescent blue-green slime in the twilight.
It came after her, growing as it followed. Limbs emerged from lumps of flesh that slapped against the rock, mere tendrils a moment before. The thing gained more definition the more it moved, and as it took shape, it followed more quickly the movements of its prey. It launched itself at Glory, and she cringed away from its touch.
It was hardly a comfort when the thing hit a barrier she hadn’t even thought of since she’d been in the Dreamlands. She felt each blow of the thing’s tentacles like a slap to her chest where the pendant hung. It had served to protect her from the thing’s brothers in that dark place between time and space, and despite having no real world substance, it was still enough to protect her from a thing which was equally alien to the earthly plane.
“What is it?” Mike called as he and Jack climbed the hill. “What’s going on?”
Glory looked up from where she crouched and saw him standing next to Trevor, his face confused rather than horrified. He clearly could not see the thing which had given up trying to batter its way in and had decided to latch onto her protective barrier like some mutated octopus instead.
to Book 7, part 3, page 5