Welcome to Quantum Muse, a science fiction and fantasy ezine. Welcome to Quantum Muse, a science fiction and fantasy ezine. Your banner could be here! Find out how!
Posting the finest in science fiction, fantasy and alternative writing and artwork. For free. In our sober moments...
   Reader's login    |    Writer's login
Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
The Greer Agency

Harris Tobias
Hold The Anchovies

Harris Tobias
The Stang

Harris Tobias
The Tooth Fairy War and Other Tales

Jeromy Henry

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.”
     “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.       

Read more stories by this author

Please leave comments on this story. Remember you are commenting on the story, not the Author. Love it, hate it, that's fine, but don't bring up the marital status of the author's parents.

Enter the code above to post comment:


ball Did you enjoy this story? Show your appreciation by tipping the author!

Enter your tip amount. ($1.00 minimum)

Then click on the tip cup!

We shamelessly accept handouts!

Give generously to the United Wa - uh, we mean Quantum Muse. It keeps Mike off the streets from scaring small children and the Web Goddess from spray painting Town Hall - again.
Enter your tip amount. Then click on the tip cup!

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

Jeromy Henry
The Tooth Fairy War and Other Tales

Jeromy Henry
The Wizard's House

Jeromy Henry
The Dreaming Fire

Jeromy Henry

Quantum Museletter! Be the first to know when new stories and artwork have arrived.

Subscribe to Quantum Museletter by filling out the following form.

Enter the code above to verify entry:
Your email address:
Your name (optional):

Do you like this site?
Recommend it to a friend by pushing the button below!