The Tattoo

 

I’m staring at my arm. I blink. Blink again, in the hope that I will wake up. I have to be dreaming. The painful, carefully drawn dragon that I paid good hard earned cash for some days ago, has vanished.

It began this morning. While showering, I noticed that the ink was fading.
I attempted to reason the hows and whys of this happening. Had I been conned? Money exchanged for a simple cheap tacky job. But no, I couldn’t call it either tacky or cheap and it hurt.

The tattoo was to mark the turning point in my life. I was free from him. My husband. This was to be the start of my new life and to mark it I went out and did something incredibly stupid. I got a tattoo. I had always said tattoo’s were pointless and not for those over thirty. But here I was at thirty eight complete with tattoo.

Except for one small puzzling fact. It was disappearing.

dragon

Dragon by Sara M.

I decided to return to the scene of the crime – the tattoo shop. It was small, crowded and busy.

A fact not to be ignored given that thousands of us (Irish people) rant and rave about taxes and the loss of income, many of us compound our misery by acquiring a tattoo.

Anyway, the door bell jangles as I enter. He looks up. Squints, at me, which should have been off putting given his employment asks for keen eyesight.  He scowls, then flicks the cigarette butt into a can sitting on a shelf and grunts. The current victim sitting in the chair is young, pale faced and clutching a tin of alcohol. I grimace, turn from him and face my problem.
“Lo.” He grudgingly acknowledges my presence and waves his implement of torture at me.
“I….” Clearing my throat I start again. “We have a problem. The tattoo you gave me is disappearing.”
He smiles. This is not a pleasant smile. It is a horrific metal smile. Cool and ugly.
“I want whatever you are on.” His throaty reply brings a squeak from the boy in the chair.
“Can I have some? Does it make the pain go away?”
I ignore the artists latest victim and focus on my problem.

I stare at him but he is staring at my arm. I l discover, that once again, I have a tattoo of a dragon on my arm.
“I think you should go for a sleep and relax. It looks like a nice clean job, swelling has already vanished. You will be fine.” He dismiss’ me and turns away.
I am staring at the dragon and feel the blood drain from my face. ” It’s back.” I whisper ignoring the giggling of the other occupants. I leave as quietly as I can.
However two minutes later, cutting through the park, I glance down. No tattoo. This is madness. I head for a park bench.
“I must be crazy.”
“You are not but I wouldn’t class you as being un-crazy either.” The voice is pleasant, elderly but pleasant. I look around and see nothing. Not even a cat lazing in the bushes or a bird tweeting in a tree.
Now I know I am losing my sanity.
I feel a tweak of heat on my arm and I glance down. The dragon stares up at me. He is approximately three inches tall and is breathing fire at an amazing rate.
“Please don’t do that.”
“Why? I’ve lain amongst the pages of that blasted book for ever and now that I’m free, why not?’
I shrug my shoulders and consider my answer. To give him his due I can understand his need to escape. “But it’s my arm and I would rather not be burnt.”
He smiles at me . “I’m George, by the way.” As he speaks the fair hairs on my arm are singed.

Grimacing with pain, I lean over and pluck a leafy twig from the nearest shrub. “Try this.”
He does and is happy with the result which is a black shriveled up mess in my hand. How do I know he is happy? Because he begins to dance, tap dance by the amount of pain he is inflicting on me, all the way up and down my arm and finally moves along the seat I am sitting on.
A shadow looms above me and I look up. The park keeper is standing glaring at me. “Why would you do that?”
“What?” I am really puzzled.
“Set a twig on fire.” He has yanked off his cap and is mopping his brow. His bald head is a shining example of cleanliness.
“I didn’t..” I begin.
“It was me.” George explains as he jumps onto the arm of the bench. To re inforce his point he lets out a bellow of fire that catches the end of the park keepers hanky that protrudes from his hip pocket. It goes up in smoke. He looks at me and at George. He faints, landing on the ground with a nice thud.
Standing up, I step over him saying, “looks as though life has lost its boring factor. How would you like to meet my ex husband?”
George smiles and I leave the park with him sitting on my shoulder.

Story originally posted on CC as part of a weekly challenge. – Maria.

 

 

Flash Fiction: Aya’s flight.

Aya clung to the rock.  Her thoughts were bleak. Is this it? The end?  She was tired of running.

Her vision was spectacular. A trait she cursed now as she watched the red spectre creeping relentlessly towards her. It was hungry devouring everything in its path.

Worse she could smell the acrid smell of death. So strong it hit the back of her throat making her gag.

Aya supposed this must be how her victims had felt before she ended their lives. But, she argued, my act had been one of self-defense not one born of hunger and greed.

Her eyelids fluttered, she wobbled a little as she clung to the rock. I mustn’t sleep yet, she whispered though there was no one to hear.  Aya was thirsty, hungry and exhausted.

She looked to the sky. The dark clouds mirrored the color of the charred earth but no rain had fallen.

She offered a prayer to the Gods for a quick end.

A tear escaped.

Then she heard it. A flutter. Ears straining she wondered if she was imagining it. A wishful thought converting a whispering wind to an animal’s movements.

Shoulders slumped as she decided to stay and prepare for death.

Aya flinched when she felt the slightest tingling touch along her back. Turning she saw a bright blue and green flicker darting along her back. The kingfisher moved like a flash of lightning as it danced in the air above her.

She opened her mind and heart to it demanding, “What do you want of me? Death?”

“No. Life. Follow me you are close to a spring which leads to a river many miles from here. ” The kingfisher darted away.

Aya watched him leave. Tiredness dictated she check this out before she moved. Swiveling about she took a deep breath. Her lips quivered as a tentative smile formed. She decided green river reeds never smelt this good.

Summoning the last of her energy, Aya loosened her grip on the rock. Then spreading her wings, the last dragon took flight into the dark sky with a heart burdened with hope.

 

dragon

 

The Dragon’s Secret. (Children’s story)

Finn hated being the smallest dragon in his village.

If I can’t be big then I will be famous. I will be a magician, Finn thought.

He gave magic a try. He set his magician’s hat on fire.

Finn tried hip-hop dancing.

“I’m dizzy” he moaned bumping into his mum. The pot of potatoes she was carrying, flew high into the air and landed on his dad’s foot.

With a roar dad flew into the sky and returned with a piece of a cloud. He wrapped his burning foot in the cloud.

Finn tried singing. “He sounds like a fire alarm,” mum said. Finn stopped singing when the lolly pop factory burned down.

“I’ll be a champion swimmer,” he said jumping into the pond. He splashed about so much he emptied the pond. Finn was followed home by a row of squawking, honking, homeless ducks and swans.

“If I were the biggest dragon then no one would laugh at me.”  He moaned.

Finn ate more vegetables, and exercised everyday but he didn’t grow.

Granddad went to visit Finn. “I know how you can be as big as a house.”

Finn asked, “why doesn’t everyone do it?”

“Because their surname is not Nogard” Granddad said. Bending close to Finn he whispered the secret of how to become a large dragon.

“I don’t think I could do it.” Finn said with a shake of his head.

“Don’t think Finn – just do it.”

Finn flew high into the blue sky searching for a cloud.  It was hard work beating his wings.

He remembered Granddad’s words,” keep going especially when you feel you can’t.”

Finn found a perfect small cloud.

He wrapped a silver thread around it by flying in a circle close to the cloud. He counted as he went, “one, two, three, four…” On the thirty third circle a large rumble shook the sky, followed by a flash of lightening.

Finn was thrown to the waiting stars.

“A dragon to play with,” the stars cried bouncing him between them.

The noise brought the other dragons out of their homes. “Where is Finn, how did he disappear?”  They watched the sky and waited.

“He’s gone,” sobbed mum.

“He will be back perhaps we have time for tea,” Granddad said.

Everyone agreed. Tea and cakes were eaten before they heard a light whooshing noise. It grew louder until it became a rumble like a jet plane.

High in the sky they spotted a swooping, diving spot growing bigger.

“It’s Finn,” Granddad said. Everyone began to cheer as Finn came to land.

Finn smiled and spewed flames into the sky.

Looking at his mum he said, “sorry I will need a bigger house.”

She just squeezed his foot, “it’s nice to have you back, I’ll go make an extra large dinner.”

Granddad said, “You will go down in our village history as being the largest dragon in the realm.”

And this was only the beginning of Finn’s fame, for he returned to the land of giants on many more occasions.