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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
Stormcastle: And Other Fun Games With Cards And Dice

by
Jeromy Henry
The Wizard's House

by
Jeromy Henry
The Dreaming Fire

by
Jeromy Henry
DONKEY FROGS & PANTRY GOBLINS

by
Richard Tornello


Tattoo You?

by Andrew Dunn


     “Shouldn’t we tell him?” His voice was gruff. Rough. Even as he tried to mumble just above a whisper. 
 
     “Let him rest, he’s been through a lot.” I imagined she was a nurse. Or a teacher. Probably a mother too. She sounded like the nurturing type. 
 
     I wish I knew what they wanted to tell me. This wasn’t the first time I’d overheard them talking about me in the hall.  
 
     “At some point he’s got to know.” He insisted. 
 
     “But Ken,” she soothed, “when they brought him in we didn’t even know if he was going to…”
 
     Make it. It was hard to remember it all but between the bits I could recall and listening to them when I could, I knew I’d almost died out there. Were it not for Ken and whatever her name was, I’d have ended up as a rotting stink of flesh and bones somewhere out in the woods. Or a rotting stink of flesh and bones on the march with a thousand others that hungered for human flesh. 
 
     “I still say we ought to call Randy over so he can get started.” I imagined Ken as a tall, portly man, and that he was crossing his arms as he said it. 
     “There’s time for that once he’s well,” she shot back. 
 
     “You know as well as I do Deana that if we don’t it’ll attract them.”
 
     Them. What I would have become had someone not hauled me out of a creek after I’d fallen and then tumbled down a hill. I could remember running. Fast. And my lungs burning and my body weak already from the heat. I could remember falling into a creek where the water was mud but it was cool all the same. It wouldn’t have taken long for them to come after me and gnaw my soul free from body. Then I’d be like them, staggering and groaning my way along to find nice people like Ken and Deana to gnaw away at.
 
     “Ken,” she hissed, “just because they came around here last night doesn’t mean it’s because we haven’t done it yet.”
 
     “Then why were they here?” Ken was emphatic. “I’m going to talk to Randy and see what he says.”
 
     “He’s too weak still to be tattoed!” Deana let her voice rise above a murmur. “And we’ve got the watchmen keeping an eye out in case they come around.”
 
     Tattooed? 
 
     “Deana,” I imagined tall portly Ken acting like men did in old movies when they grab their true love by the shoulders before they deliver stern news, “if he isn’t tattoed from head to toe those things will come back again and again until they overrun us.”
 
     Zombies couldn’t handle tattoos? It didn’t make sense. Not at all. 
 
     “I know Ken,” Deana almost sounded as if she were sobbing, “I know.”
 
     “Now Deana,” Ken consoled, “tattoos are the only thing we know of that keeps them from bothering us and until we took him in they’d kept their distance. I’m going to talk to Randy and see what he says.”
 
     “Okay Ken.” Deana sobbed. I imagined they shared a quick but firm embrace before tattooed Ken bolted down the stairs. And then Deana stood there alone in an empty hall with tears rolling across a face inked with paisley shapes and stars and sky blue and purple and the sun. 
 
     I wanted to lift myself out of the bed, find Deana in the hall, and tell her that I was strong. That it would be fine if Randy wanted to bring his ink and needles over to start etching designs into my skin. I imagined Deana would wipe her tears away and smile the way she did when she won something at the county fair or when Ken bought her something really nice downtown. 
 
     Unless she knew that from my chest down to my waist and along both thighs I was already tattooed.       
     
     
 



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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
Peaceful Intent--Stories of human/Alien Interaction

by
Harris Tobias
Lockdown

by
Timothy O. Goyette
Louisville's Silent Guardians

by
Michele Dutcher


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