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The challenge on Writer’s Carnival this week was to use the prompt ‘GETTING INKED’. Write a story of 750 words or less, ending in the sentence ‘And that’s how I got the tattoo’. At just over 1,100 words, I failed… hey ho.


I rested my elbow on the bar and let my attention slide around the nightclub.

With one hip hitched up onto a barstool, my bare legs looked about a mile long and I knew it. Shit, where is he? Scanning faces was proving to be a pointless exercise in the shadow cluttered basement. The bass of the music vibrated the floor beneath my stiletto, and breathing clean air seemed to be a thing of the past, the odour of salty sweat so strong I could taste it. The decision to arrange my thick hair into a pleated up-do was a blessing in the cloying heat.

“You don’t have to do this.”

I dragged my attention away from the sea of gyrating bodies and looked into Ryan’s frowning face. “Yes, I do.”

Running his meaty hand over the back of his neck knotted his bicep. “Let me take care of the prick.” His fingers were warm as they reached for mine. I didn’t resist as he drew my hand forward, extending my arm. My pale skin glowed in the glare of the bar’s backlighting. Ryan’s finger stroked over the crook of my elbow where my tattoo of a metal needle appeared to extrude from my vein, the ascending shaft becoming a green stem bearing leaves, which twisted around my upper arm. Sprouting small flowers as it crossed my shoulder blade, it reappeared over my shoulder, meandering down and disappearing beneath the fabric of my tight dress.

“This was a bad idea,” Ryan muttered.

Raising a brow, I pointedly looked over the tattooed sleeves on both his arms featuring snakes and demonic faces.

His voice roughened as he said, “You know what I mean, being bait.”

I gently disengaged the fingers he had woven through mine. “Please, don’t worry.” I smiled. “You’d never get to him. They call them ‘bodyguards’ for a reason.”

Straightening and tugging the bar cloth from his shoulder, he picked up a glass and began polishing it. “You’re right.”

“Just get Sampson to hit the light show when you see him. I’ll take it from there.”

Easing down from the stool, my swaying stride took up the beat of the music as I crossed the room and moved on to the dance floor. The heavy thrum vibrated through my chest as I picked up the pounding rhythm. Raising my arms above my head, my hips followed the circling flow of my body. The lifted hemline of my dress bared acres of silk smooth leg, exposing the tattooed stem spiralling down around my thigh, ending in a rosebud behind my knee. Letting my head drop back, I pretended to zone out.

I registered the flow of figures moving between the scattering of round tables beyond. With my stomach churning, I waited. Suddenly, the tempo of the light show changed, a rainbow of harsh color bursting into life. He’s here.

My skin crawled, damp heat chilling my flesh when I caught sight of him. The tightness in my chest felt as though the tattooed stem was real and applying choking pressure to my body and limbs.

Fluid grace deserted me as the flashing colored lights passing around the room picked out his features. Lounging back, with an arm extended along the padded backrest of a curved bench, he was just as I remembered. Shit, this is it. Deliberately leaving my dress riding high, the shadow darker between my thighs, I crossed the room. His eyes glittered as they stared at my crotch and I knew he was wondering what, if anything, I wore underneath.

My hips rolled as I slowly walked over. Sliding my knee down into the space between his spread legs until it rested on the seat cushion, I pulled on his tie, leaning in and whispering, “I’m not a fan of underwear.”

He grinned as his hand closed on the back of my thigh.

“Not here.” I eased smoothly away from his stroking fingers, my sensual appraisal promising excitement.

His breath hissed as, turning around, I gave him a tantalising glimpse of my barely covered ass and it took all my willpower not to look back as I sauntered away. Glittering sparks erupted behind my eyes and I realized I’d forgotten to breath. Pull yourself together.

The metal bar of the fire exit chilled my palms as I shoved the door open. The evening air tightened my skin into goosebumps, and I shuddered as I felt his warm hand slide round my midriff. The heat of his body smothered my back. I swallowed the bile in my throat and turned in his arms. His hand gripped my backside as I shuffled him sideways, out into the alley, letting the heavy door thump shut.

“Outdoor girl, then. Thought so, by the flower tattoos. Nice.”

His wet mouth sucked my neck as I pushed him back against the wall.

“You haven’t seen the best part,” I whispered.

He stopped clutching at my body, his hands dropping to his side as he leaned back into the wall. His voice catching in a tight throat, he said, “Show me.”

My fingers closed over the zipper tab sitting in the deep V between my breasts. I stared into his face as I slowly pulled it down, enjoying the moment when the tight mask of lust faltered.

“What the fuck.”

Stroking my hand up over his tense shoulder, my sharply manicured nails dug into his flesh.

“Shit,” he hissed, his hand gripping my wrist, the force making me wince. “What are you? A psycho bitch? No one would want to touch that.”

I took a step closer. “But you did, once.”

He finally looked into my face and his slack jaw dropped open. I slipped the four-inch metal spike from my hair, letting the weight of it tumble down. In a smooth fast action, I drove the needle-sharp point into the side of his neck, using the heel of my hand to ram it home. The blood sprayed like water from a blocked faucet, the splatters cold against my flushed skin.

Stefan Ashworth, Internet site developer, psychopath, and tattoo fetishist, slid down the brickwork, the rough edges grating over his body until he came to rest sitting on the ground. His head flopped over, and, if it weren’t for the claret waterfall staining his shirtfront, a passer-by would think he’d passed out, drunk.

I smiled as my fingertip smeared through the wet droplets scattered over my bare torso. The stem running down over my shoulder ended in a cluster of dew drenched rosebuds. The centre point of each one framed a puckered scar dug into my flesh where, the first and last time I had met Stefan, he buried a blade in my chest five times and left me for dead.

Pulling up the zipper, I turned on my heel and repaid the compliment. And that’s how I got the tattoo.