|Repose Remembers (reposeremembers) wrote in repose,|
@ 2020-04-11 23:26:00
|Entry tags:||billy kaufman, plot: memories, shiloh foster|
Will characters be viewing the memory or experiencing it?: Experiencing
Warning, this memory contains: Tattoos, Magic, Vomit
The artist leans over, hair pulled back and mask hiding face and black gloves covering hands. His shop is much like any other, you'd assume, though in addition to the sharp antiseptic at the back of your throat, there's also the sweetness of sage, burning candle, drip of clear water, incense on the air. There's no angry hornet-buzz of a machine in this shop at the moment, only the steady tap tap tap as his needles are forced into your skin. The bitter tisane he'd given you coats the back of your throat and he hums soft words to himself as he works to give his design permanence on the inside of your bicep. Somewhere safe, he'd said before having you remove your shirt. Someplace less likely to be cut through or injured, leaving the design intact as long as possible.
The room around you wavers like summer heat-haze, like the shimmer coming off of baking asphalt, and your stomach turns viciously when he finishes a line and reaches to the side for more ink. He continues to murmur, the marks on your arm growing in size and complexity until, when you look down and attempt to focus on it, the tattoo is almost half the size of your palm. Each curve and corner seems sharper than anything else in the room, including the artist, and his eyes wrinkle at the corners, betraying the smile that's hiding behind his mask. Hang in there, buddy, he says, but it comes from a long ways away, down a well and the film not quite matching up with the sound. You're almost done.
Your arm begins to hurt, finally, a delay that's only just now decided to kick in, and the last half-dozen marks feel like he's carving a dull blade into your flesh. Half-certain you'll never be able to use that arm again, it's a shock when he lifts his needles away for the last time, and everything snaps back together in sharp, oversaturated focus.
"Fuck." You manage to spit the word before he's shoving a trash can onto your lap, catching what looks like black sludge as it spills from your mouth. Far from being alarmed, the sound he makes is pleased, like this is a good sign. You retch again, more of the foulness forced from you, and he presses a cool hand against the back of your neck, holding you hunched over the receptacle. Don't fight it. You need to let it all out. You want to ask him why he didn't warn you about this, but there's another trickle from between your lips when you open them to speak. It seems to not matter to him, because his answer comes anyway. Would you have gone through with it, if I had?
He seems to be laughing at you, but once the vomiting stops he's there with something else for you to drink. This one is clear water, the chill of it beading humidity on the outside of the glass. Your fingers are slick when he trades you glass for trashcan, but he keeps his hold on each long enough to be certain nothing will spill. Drink that, and then I'll wrap you up.
You do and he does, both of you keeping your ends of the agreement. When you go to pay him, it isn't money he accepts, but the cost had been agreed upon before you sat in his chair, and it's a fair price to pay for what he's given you.
(When you wander past the next week, the building is gone, the lot empty and filled with weeds that are taller than your knees. You're not surprised.)