Permanent in Ink

Screen Shot 2013-12-01 at 6.37.41 PMMy breath hitches when the sleeve of his hoodie sags and gives me a clear look at his inked hand and wrist. Or what seems left of them. A snake’s black and blue, forked tongue licks his middle finger and wraps around it to his black painted nail. The head of the viper is tattooed over and around his hand, the mouth wide open, fangs curved over the knuckles of his index and ring finger. A rush of adrenaline tingles through my body. I lower my voice to a hushed, awed whisper. “What the hell is that?”

He blinks and gives me a slight and confused shake of his head. Then his eyes light up. He unzips the hoodie. “The ink?” He sheds the sweatshirt and reveals his arm. “A family thing.”

A deep inhale quiets my racing heartbeat, but only a little. I gape at what doesn’t even look like an arm anymore, at what looks like a fucking rattle snake growing out of his shoulder. A rattler that ate his arm.

He flexes his biceps, the viper slithering along with the movement of his muscles.

© 2013 Mina Witteman