1 month ago
The rest of the events of that night are hazy, but I do remember a few things. I remember Fred getting into a fight, and us getting thrown out of a club; I remember seeing that girl again, dancing with two guys who may or may not have been my frie...
short story, crime, thriller, mystery, tattoo
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It was Friday, and though I was still at work, I was beyond excited. It was my buddy Wallace’s birthday, and the boys would soon be meeting up for a night on the town. Thinking about drinking, meeting girls, and making good memories was more than enough to will me through the boring day at the office. When 5:00 came, I darted out of the building to my car in the garage. I would go home, shower, and meet up with everyone else at my friend Fred’s.
I was at Fred’s by six. That gave us two hours to pregame and shoot the **** before we headed out. Wallace, Fred, Navid, Xavier and I drank vodka and played videogames until it was time to go. With a good buzz going, I was feeling confident and ready to wreck **** up with my boys. We rode an Uber to our downtown area and started at our favorite bar. There was a good amount of people there, but it wasn’t as packed as we knew it would be as the night went on. We had three pints each before crossing the street to another bar we had been meaning to check out. This went on for the next hour. At our fourth bar, Navid and Wallace went to go chat with a couple of girls sitting in the corner. Fred, who was “that guy” in the group, was already slurring his words and annoying the bartender with stories about other times he had gotten drunk. Xavier was outside taking a call from his girlfriend, and I was just relaxing, enjoying the positive vibe. That was when I first noticed her staring at me.
There was a girl sitting on the other side of the bar, with flowing, smooth black hair and very pale skin. She wore heavy eyeliner and had a nose ring, as well as several piercings in her ears. I couldn’t help but admire her body; She wore a loose black dress and had several different tattoos. As I stared at her and she at me, my drunk mind began to realize that she was familiar. I had seen her before. Was it tonight? Had I seen her at one of the other bars? Or had it been somewhere like the supermarket, or the bookstore? My attention was diverted from the girl when I heard Fred getting loud with the bartender. After pulling him aside, I looked back across the bar. The girl was gone.
The rest of the events of that night are hazy, but I do remember a few things. I remember Fred getting into a fight, and us getting thrown out of a club; I remember seeing that girl again, dancing with two guys who may or may not have been my friends; and I remember making out with that girl, my hands running up under her dress. Other than that, everything else is lost. I had gotten blackout drunk. When I woke on Saturday afternoon, my head ached something fierce. I was nauseous, and every part of my body was hurting. But one spot hurt more than everything else. I looked down groggily at my left bicep and groaned audibly. ****. Somehow, I had ended up with a tattoo.
It was a strange symbol that I did not recognize. Done all in black ink, it consisted of a sort of six-pointed star with a three-headed serpent entwined inside it. The snake’s heads each had eyes that were also stars, and each was baring its fangs. A chill ran up my spine as I stared at it. What the hell had I been thinking? How could I possibly have ended up with something so macabre? I popped two Tylenols and hobbled to my refrigerator to find some Sprite or Ginger Ale. When I had settled down on the couch, making sure all the curtains were drawn, I called Wallace. I wasn’t surprised that he hadn’t answered. He must have still been passed out. I then called Xavier instead, and when he answered, he didn’t sound nearly as bad as I knew I did.
“Hey, what’s up, man?”
“Hey, Xavier. Are you good? Last night was **** insane.”
“Hell yeah it was. I stopped drinking after I lost you guys.”
“You lost us? How?” I asked.
“I don’t know, man. But none of you **** answered your phone so I just went home. Kayla was waiting for me anyway.”
“Have you talked to anyone else?”
“Yeah, Fred and Navid. I haven’t heard from Wallace.”
“Do they remember anything?”
“You already know Fred doesn’t even remember leaving his house to get into the Uber. Navid hasn’t mentioned anything noteworthy either.”
“Man, I have a **** tattoo! It’s weird as **** too, I’ll send you a picture of it.”
“A tattoo? Damn you guys really got wasted last night.”
“Yeah, unfortunately. I’ll talk to you later man.”
I had never had a tattoo before in my life. I wondered how long it would itch, how to take care of it, what I was supposed to do, but I had no clue. As the week went on, I got no answers about that night, and my body did not fully recover. By the time Monday rolled around I still felt woozy; To make things worse, Wallace had been reported missing. Worry and guilt washed over me as I went into the police station to give statements about what had happened that night. If I had been a better friend, not encouraged him to get so damn drunk, maybe he would not have gone missing. The only issue was the fact that none of us knew how we had gotten home; None of us had a record of an Uber ride back to Wallace’s or to anywhere else. None of the guys remembered any suspicious people; None but me. I told the police about the girl in black, and how I had seen her at several different places we had been to. They took note. After that, I went home, hating myself and hoping that Wallace was okay, wherever he was.
That night, the girl came into my room. She floated through my open bedroom door, moving like a shadow in the darkness. I lay stationary on my bed, unable to move or scream as she climbed on top of me, her black eyes peering into mine. She licked my face, then bit my lip, bit it like she intended to tear it off. Then she put her face close to my ear and whispered, “You belong to him now.”
That was when, in my mind’s eye, I could see Wallace, screaming as blood gushed out of his eyes and nose. A split second later I was back in my bedroom, looking at a pair of severed legs. They then began to walk towards my bed, leaving **** footprints on the floor. I woke with a start, sitting straight up in bed and crying aloud. I looked down at my tattoo, which was now pulsing angrily. I could have sworn that I could see the snakes moving, but then they were still, and I shook my head. The dark was playing tricks on me. I was not going crazy.
Things got worse and worse. I often found myself inattentive at work, feeling as though someone was watching me. As I stood in the lobby, making myself a cup of coffee, a hand had touched my shoulder. When I looked at it it was completely gray and rotten; I spun around and threw a punch. I watched in horror as my boss fell to the floor. I was sent packing. Though I had no appetite, having been fired and possibly facing a lawsuit, when I got home I tried to eat a ham sandwich. You can imagine my horror when, looking down, I noticed that three of my teeth had fallen from my mouth, completely rotten and black. I yelled out loud and fell out of my chair. I looked down at my arm and there was no mistaking it now; The snakes within my tattoo were writhing, and I could feel them in my flesh.
I took a picture of the cursed things and sent it to Xavier. When he had not responded after twenty minutes, I called him. He did not sound amused.
“Wallace is missing, man. He might be dead somewhere and you think now is the time to **** around and crack jokes?”
I was confused. “What are you talking about? Can’t you see the tattoo?”
“All I see is your pasty **** skin. There’s no tattoo. Don’t bother me again, I’m trying to have dinner with my girl.”
And he hung up on me.
That night, I had a vivid nightmare. I saw pieces of Wallace, scattered here and there in a dark room. The walls were completely soaked in blood, and there was a goat, dancing all about the room on its hind legs. I woke again, sweat rolling down my face, and stared in terror at what looked like Wallace’s arm, reaching around the frame of my bedroom door. Blood dripped down from his fingernails, and, as though from a distance, I could hear what sounded like dancing hooves. They were getting closer.
I had had enough. I ran down to the kitchen, grabbed the sharpest knife that I had, and went to work. I sliced the skin from my bicep, and I cut off a little bit more flesh for good measure. I threw the pieces of myself into the garbage disposal and turned it on. The sound of my flesh getting ripped up was the most satisfying thing I had ever heard. I haven’t had a nightmare since.