Branded by Gay Degani

Chrissie waited. She was bored, she was tired, she was busy trying to put herself into another time and place. Reg had talked her into coming with him and she came because he promised it wouldn’t take long. All he wanted was a tiny little tat, maybe a spider or a crow. A bat: outline and fill. He’d get “ink in a blink.”

Blink, my fucking eye, she thought and stretched out her legs. Her single tattoo snuck out from its hiding place beneath her jeans. She turned her ankle and leaned forward to get a better view. She’d asked Reg where the hell he’d put another design. He had two colorful sleeves depicting some kind of Bosch-like hell, his back was tribute to Poe with pulsing heart, wine cask, mummy, bug, dilapidated house on a hill, inked around a huge raven with a cold dark eye. On his chest, from collarbone to pubic hair, he was H.P Lovecraft, the man himself centered amid monsters, Cthulhu, Kassogtha, Ghas, and Gugs. Snakes encircled his neck, Frankenstein and Dracula graced his buttocks. He’d gone native on his face, Maori tats that would make Mike Tyson green with jealousy.

She stared at her own tattoo, a 3-D chain above her ankle bone, the links thick and so real, she reached down and ran her finger over their curves.

She sat back and glanced at her watch. Reg had been in there over an hour.  She felt a stab of irritation. An aggravation all too familiar these days.

She studied her ankles, cocked them left, cocked them right. The chain, chosen and paid for by Reg, taunted her. She should get her own tattoo and make him wait. She could get a chain on the other ankle, a broken one.

Or she could walk away.

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Gay Degani, a resident of Los Angeles, has a full-length collection, Rattle of Want, (Pure Slush Press, 2015) and a suspense novel, What Came Before (Truth Serum Press, 2016). She’s had four flash stories nominated for Pushcart consideration and blogs at Words in Place.

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