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The Woman With the Tattoo

There is a woman with a tattoo.

She is a nice woman. Of average height and average size, with long dull blonde hair and dark eyes. She is just like everyone else.

Except for the strange tattoo crawling across her right shoulder and down her back.

The tattoo is also something that normally wouldn’t be worth noting — unless you’d seen it in person. It is a butterfly, drawn across pale-ish blemish-free skin in shimmering gold. When it crosses into your field of vision, your eye is immediately drawn to it. You stop what your doing, and ponder the strange ink, regardless of the importance or urgency of your previous task.

The butterfly seems to jump off her skin, seems to shiver and flutter it’s fragile wings. A snowfall of golden dust falling behind it, tracing its paths down her back. Yet, despite the moth-to-the-flame allure of the tattoo, nobody ever seems to ask about it. Nobody is ever seen talking or questioning the gilded image.

But everyone still thinks about it. Everyone whose seen it, has seen it the way you have. It’s an unspoken conversation you have, something to draw so many strangers together. You see it in the unbridled curiosity in everyone’s eyes, a glimmer of something you catch when you see her in public.

‘Did you see it?’

‘How could I not?’

‘Someone should ask her about it.’

‘Yes. Someone should.’

But no-one ever does. That too, is an unspoken agreement. Everyone wants to ask, to question, to know what it is about that image that draws so many in, like moths to a gilded flame. But no-one ever wants to be the person to do it.

Until you.

Until one day, when your walking down the street, one early evening, just before the sun has faded completely, you summon up your trembling courage, and speak under the dull dirty yellow light of the streetlamps.

“Hey.” You call, voice wavering and squeaky, teeth immediately sinking into your bottom lip. Your face burns, and your gaze wanders, but you don’t back down. Even though every bone in you says run.

“Yes?” She answers, sweetly and softly, voice pleasant, but again, not note-worthy. She smiles, pink lips curling like… any other persons. She wears no lipstick, no make-up, yet is quite pretty. Not impressively so, it’s just a nice warm pretty face. You never noticed that.

“Your tattoo…?” You never get the rest of your question out. You’d never really thought about what your response was going to be, the words, like most questions asked out of the blue, come out like a waterfall; sudden and unstoppable.

“What about my tattoo?” She asks, turning to face you, feet gliding across the suddenly empty street.

“It’s quite… unique, don’t your think?” You gasp, fingers curling and twisting the fabric of your shirt. You wish you had pockets to hide them. “Where’d you get it?”

She grins, it is not a pleasant grin, and only now, standing on the cusp of darkness, alone, do you understand why no one had asked her before. She was still plain, still of average height and weight, her hair is still dull, but she seems so impossibly large standing before you. A shadow pressing down, threatening to swallow you whole.

You meet her eyes and find she is not as sweet and harmless as you’d first thought. What stands before you is a Predator; and she is the type who likes to play with her food.

“Would you like to know?” She breathes, a puff of smoke in the evening air. She stands before you, eyes practically glowing with carnal delight. You are afraid, but still… like it was an inevitability, you push against you flight response.

“Yes.”

That’s the last mistake you make. Funny how such a simple word becomes your downfall.

Her grin widens, lips stretching unnaturally. Without thinking, you step back, the hairs of the back of your neck stand up at attention, and frigid claws tap down your spine.

“Wonderful.” She sings. “I always hope someone asks.” Her eyes are glowing now, and she is — dear God.

The light blinks out above, and you find yourself in complete darkness. But you still see — that split-second image burned into your brain, incomprehensible and terrifying. You try to scream, you breathe in — the beginnings of the sound rising in your dry throat, but you make it no farther.

Gold flashes in you vision, and then ….

Nothing.


 

There is a dull crunch, and then the streetlight flickers twice before blinking back on. Out of the shadows steps a woman of average height and weight, with dull blonde hair and dark eyes. She looks just like everyone else, down to the gentle smile curling her lips as she dabs them.

The only strange thing about her, is the golden butterfly tattoo crawling across her skin.

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