Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Posts Tagged ‘Candace McBride’

Tattoo Book 3.13

Posted by harmony0stars on April 5, 2009

Gozala cocked her head to the side, then said, “Mike wants to know what Gil is doing here.. He’s… really upset.”

“I doubt I could have left him behind,” Glory asserted. “I found him waiting in the car while you two were escaping. Then his professor came back and completely lost his mind. The man’s definitely not wound too tight, and Gil wasn’t much better off at that point after spending who knows how long with him. Either I was more believable than his shrieking teacher, or he just figured coming with me would get him closer to you, Mike. He really loves you a lot.”

It was hard to tell what Mike was feeling or what he might be thinking. He’d lost the ability to speak, and his face was hidden in the shadows of his hoodie. His flesh hung from his bones in a permanently morose posture that gave no clue as to his feelings, but even Glory could tell that Mike was at a breaking point. Gozala got up from her crouch and wrapped her arms around him. Glory did not like to think what that might smell like, but she supposed Gozala must be used to it from her time with her father.

Feeling like an intruder to Mike’s pain, Glory turned to look through the pine boughs to the Miskatonic camp instead. It didn’t look as though anyone was aware that Gil was no longer a willing member of their little band. They’d gambled that his psycho professor would not have had time to tell too many people about Gil’s defection, especially given the fact that the man was on highway duty with the state troopers. Hopefully after his little outburst back at the ramp, some men in white coats would be making a special trip just for him. Glory wasn’t sure if that level of xenophobia had ever been socially acceptable, but if he wasn’t certifiably paranoid she’d be very much surprised. Genocidal maniacs made her skin crawl.

Whatever Gil had told his former peers, they seemed to have accepted him back into the fold with a minimum of fuss. He busied himself helping his colleagues collect bones from the depression surrounding the cave entrance. As she watched, students removed long and small bones from the leaf litter. Only rarely did they come up with a bleached branch which they threw aside without comment. There had to be hundreds of bones of all types in the small area of the depression, and there was no telling how many more had gone to dust over the thousands of years Gozala said her father had lived under the barrens. No doubt they intended to take them back to the university for further study. Once they detonated their explosives, any archeological value the site had would be completely destroyed and who know how far the caverns stretched beneath the woodlands. The hole depression might sink or at least be unsafe to examine after the detonation.

Glory could understand people being frightened of a creature that killed indiscriminately and which had probably lived there longer than man had inhabited the continent, but she didn’t think that gave them the right to mistreat Gozala as they had. And while she could understand their need to get Gozala’s father under some kind of control, she really did feel that they were missing out by not trying to open up some kind of dialogue with the thing. Obviously if he had spared Gozala’s mother, he might be trusted to leave other humans alone in the future providing someone convinced him to make humanity exempt from the menu. He might have even been inclined, for the sake of his child, to pass an assimilating any more humans under the proviso that she would come to no harm . If the Miskatonic scholars had not treated Gozala so badly, they might have gained a lot more by kindness than they had by force. Glory had a feeling that Gozala was more than a little lonely and might have interceded on their behalf if they‘d given her a chance.

As she watched, Gil carried a box of bones towards the car battery they were going to use as a detonator. His glances were not so subtle as she might have hoped, but the battery had been set behind a barricade where everyone would presumably be safe during the explosion. No one noticed as he set the box down as if to retie his shoe and instead pulled the wires from the battery and placed it in his box of bones. He peered around the barricade to make sure he was not observed, then resumed his trek through the woods to a compact van the group had somehow maneuvered through the trees. When he reached a particularly dense patch of evergreens, he paused long enough to toss the battery into the undergrowth. He carried the box to the van before returning to help his colleagues continue boxing up old bones.

In the meantime, the group carrying the explosives had reached the cave entrance. Their leader carefully set the dynamite in holes which had been bored into the rock before his escort threw several starstones down into the dark opening. They retreated back to a safe distance at a considerably faster speed now that they were no longer burdened.

“Wrap it up people! We’re just about ready to blow this shit up,” shouted one of the students happily as they marched back to the barricade. He wore a baseball cap half backwards and a dirty t-shirt which professed his love for “obnoxious cRap music.”

“Mister Campbell! I don’t think that kind of language is at all necessary under the circumstances.”

Glory could practically hear the eye roll as he answered, “Yes, professor.”

Turning towards the other students, their teacher announced, “You heard Mr. Campbell folks. We’ll be blowing the entrance in a few minutes, so please finish whatever you’re working on and move behind the barricade.”

“Um…. Professor Scott?” asked a female student, her auburn hair pulled back in a short pony tail.

“Yes, Ms. Burroughs?”

She stood behind the barricade staring down at the small indentation in the leaves where the battery had been only minutes before. “Did you, um, move the battery?”

“Why would… I… move…?” his sentence tapered off as he rounded the barricade and stared down at the loose wires in the leaf mold. His head shot up. For a moment a look of consternation crossed his face as he spotted Gil laboring with the other students. Then he shouted. “All right people, whether you are finished or not, gather behind the barricade. Now.”

Several of the students looked up with doubtful expressions plastered on their faces before hurriedly tossing whatever they had in their hands into boxes and actually jogging a little to reach their glowering professor. When everyone had gathered he announced, “First… I am going to ask if anyone has for some reason decided to move the battery for some reason unknown to the rest of us.” There were some confused and mumbled words to the negative before nearly everyone turned to look at Gil accusingly.

“What? Hey, I didn’t do anything! Would I still be here if I did something to it?”

“Maybe that’s just what you want us to think, fungus breath,” Campbell muttered, glaring at Gil.

“Well, sure, because it’s true. I didn’t do anything to your stupid battery. If I had, I wouldn’t be stupid enough to stick around. And anyone who knows me knows I don‘t even like mushrooms on my pizza, so give it up Coriander.”

“Gah! Don’t call me that!” Campbell growled, taking a step towards Gil with clenched hands.

“Enough!” Professor Scott yelled, stepping between his two students. “Mr. Kirk,” he announced, obviously addressing Gil, “you will stay here, with me, at the barricade. Everyone else, check to make sure you still have your starstone, then fan out. Whoever or whatever took the battery cannot have gotten far.”

Wishing she could get to the little clump of evergreens unseen and retrieve the battery, Glory settled for quickly digging the runes Hraethigalder  and Ottastafur into the earth at her feet to ward off curious eyes. For good measure, she also dug the seal of the moon , its spirits , and intelligences into the soft, peaty soil. The moon governed invisibility, something they would need very soon. It was all she could do without popping her sword and she didn’t want to do that unless she had to. Their hiding place was close enough for the searching students to consider as a hiding place for the battery. Hopefully their starstones wouldn’t negate the affects of her charm, though she didn’t see why they would. They seemed to belong to the class of protective amulet rather than having any anti-hex or fascination properties. But then, she hadn’t been able to examine a stone for long, so she couldn’t say for sure what exactly they were meant to do. If there were any symbols incorporated into the stone’s surface, she had not been able to identify them as such.

to Book 3, page 14

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