Head throbbing, stomach churning, I pulled myself up slowly to a sitting position in bed. I hadn’t had a hangover this bad in ages.
I remembered meeting my friends Todd and Kip downtown for a drink, but after moving to a second bar, everything goes dark. I hooked up with someone…think her name is Carla.
After a minute, she came out of the bathroom, not looking much better than I felt.
“How are you?” I asked.
“I feel like shit,” she declared, sitting on the edge of the bed. “Thank god for cabs. Last thing I remember is the tattoo parlor…”
I tilted my head. “What? Tattoo parlor?”
Carla frowned and pointed. On the back of my hand was a brand new tattoo, the skin around its edges still red and irritated. It was some kind of symbol, like a rune or something.
“I tried to talk you out of it.”
“What the fuck? I don’t remember anything. What is it?”
“There was this creepy old lady sitting at the bar and she overheard us talking about tattoos. She drew that on a napkin and gave it to you. Said it was an ancient symbol of good luck.
Next thing I remember is being in a tattoo place where you got that done.”
I looked at the symbol again. “Good luck. Wonder if it works.”
Carla’s head snapped toward me. Her eyes widened and darkened. Her lips curled back to expose teeth like an angry dog. Suddenly, it wasn’t the face of a woman, but of a creature.
“You’re still alive, aren’t you?”