Today I will give you the prompt we used at my writing group’s meeting last night. It stirred up some great responses, two of which required more time than 10 minutes. This included mine, so here is the completed story.
In your morning shower, you notice a tattoo on your body that you don’t remember getting. What is it? How did you get it? What does it mean?
I trudged to the bathroom, peering through half closed eyes avoiding the bright sunlight flowing through the windows. In my drunken state, I had forgotten to close the curtains. My head thudded in time to my footsteps. My body ached. What had we done last night?
Turning the faucet, I braved a glance at myself in the mirror. Black smudges of mascara gave me the look of a panda. What a state! Pulling the shower curtain across the tub, I let the hot water refresh me, slowly revitalizing my body. With a large amount of shower gel on my hands I began washing. Ouch, my left shoulder smarted as I rubbed with the flannel.
I looked down at my arm to see a multi colored tattoo. What the hell? When did that happen? Oh my God, how drunk was I?
I inspected the new ink – a sword across a shield embossed with a bear head, jaws open, teeth bared. As I gazed at the image a memory emerged. The tavern at the lake has been crowded and my friends and I had joined the locals as they relayed stories of a local legend. A massive bear larger than life, who took pet animals in the dead of night.
One hunter among the group showed us a huge scar across his back, the result of an encounter with this bear. He was lucky to escape with his life. He told us he had been hunting deer and was about to take aim when the bear appeared out of nowhere behind him and struck his back. The force of the blow pushed him tumbling him down an outcrop to the river below. He was convinced he would surely have died if he had not fallen. Spellbound by this tale we raised a glass to his escape.
Now my mind tried to grasp the remainder of the evening but it was hazy to say the least. Once showered, dried and dressed, I forgo breakfast as my stomach rolled unpleasantly at the thought and poured strong hot coffee into a mug. I sat on the window seat and people watched for a while. Thank goodness it was Sunday and I could lazy around all day recovering. I must of dozed off because my cell woke me. The sun was higher and hot through the glass.
“Where are you?”
“At home of course, why?”
“You are so late for work, Gail. Are you coming in today?”
“What? It’s Sunday.”
“Nope, Monday and it’s ten o’clock. So are you coming in?”
I looked around my apartment, at the traffic below my window and then the dried coffee spill on the floor. How could I have slept for so ling?
“Are you still there? Hello?”
“Yes, yes, I’m here. Look I need to sort out a few things, I’ll be in tomorrow.”
“Was it that heavy a night?”
“I was home all night. I’ll see you tomorrow, Sandra.”
I stood but staggered back down my feet throbbed in pain. I looked down – my feet were covered in mud and grass. What the hell is going on? I just showered. That’s when I saw the trail of muddy foot prints and – what is that? Blood!
Clutching my cell I crept toward the bathroom following the tracks. My head swam and then I was in a forest. The cold grass and morning dew chilled my feet and I shivered. This is the most intense dream I have ever had.
“Gailen, get down!”
The shout was just behind me, I froze and two large hands pushed me to the forest floor. I looked in surprise at the hunter who’d relayed his tale of the bear that night.
“What’s going on, this dream is intense.”
“No dream, Gailen, you are returned.”
“Hang on, my name is Gail not Gailen and…”
“No time to talk we must run, the beast will smell us soon enough.”
The hunter pulled me by one hand, all the time I cursed as sharp sticks and stones pierced the soles of my feet. He did not let me stop but pulled with a strength and urgency that scared me. As we approached a steep embankment I hesitated looking both ways for another route, but a sharp tug on my hand sent me flying and tumbling down the steep bank. I cried out several times as my body struck hard objects. At the bottom, the hunter picked me up as easily as a feather and looked intensely into my eyes.
“Gailen, you are returned and must fulfill your destiny. You and only you can defeat the beast. It is foretold. You bare the mark.” He pointed to my new tattoo.
“Hold on. Firstly, my name is Gail, secondly this tattoo appeared out of nowhere yesterday – might have been the day before actually – but I have no destiny and I just wish this dream would stop. It is much too real for me.”
“The Queen of Light hid you in another realm for your own safety but with the beast grown so, she had no choice but to bring you back. You must kill it and save the kingdom.”
“Okay, so now this is a fantasy dream? I’m going to wake up any minute.”
“Gailen, listen to me. Your life in the other realm was temporary, this is your true home. Do you not remember?”
“No, of course I don’t this isn’t real.”
“It is real. You must see the seer and get your memories back as soon as possible. The beast is rampaging villages as we speak, he must be stopped and you are the one who can stop it. Come we will go to the wise one.”
I will stop this story here as it has taken on it’s own momentum! I will carry on the story later.
Why not try this prompt and tell us about an unexpected tattoo?