The wide berth the patrons gave him piqued my interest. Wiry and worn, a scar across his left cheek, his skin pockmarked and leathery, he appeared common enough, but those tattoos, those were something else. His hands were riddled with them, the open collar of his shirt revealed even more; all in black ink, intricate as fine lace.
I rolled my shoulders back. I learned to drink, gamble and fight in my brother’s shadow. Yet, I had nothing on this fellow.
“You waiting for someone?” I asked with my fool’s confidence.
He looked up. His eyes, disarmingly dark, pulled me into their depths. It was a tumultuous journey, tossed upon the rocks of his emotions; rage, disgust, most prevalent, an aching, deep sorrow. He had nothing on me in that regard.
He shook his head slowly, his eyes returning to his glass. “No, no.”
“Well, I could use some company. Would you mind?”
He waved his hand dismissively at the chair across from him. I settled down and caught the eye of the waitress.
“Two shots of... “ I glanced at him. “What would you prefer?”
The waitress glanced from him to me, and I shrugged. “Two shots of Vodka,” I said. I was courting the devil. Suicidal, my brother always called me.
He eyed me after the woman had left. “Do you have no sense?”
I laughed. “Not really.” I leaned forward. “Those tattoos on your hands are really beautiful. I had to get a better look.”
His laugh was bitter. “Beautiful? Hardly. You are a stupid girl.”
I grinned. “I know.” The shots arrived and I downed them quickly. “I’d love to see the rest of them. I’m sure they tell quite a story.”
“Not for your eyes, little sister.”
The tenor of his voice reverberated across my memories. I closed my eyes. I’d crawl into his bed, battered and bruised; that voice would tell me haunting folk tales.
“Then tell me one.” I asked, yearning for that long ago, not so innocent time.
“One what?” he looked up sharply.
“A story; the sort those tattoos would tell.”
* * *
My entry to Thomasdublin's Weekly Flash Challenge, 3/30/13. Link to it is under 'external links' on the right.
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bit·ter·sweet: being at once bitter and sweet; especially: pleasant but including or marked by elements of suffering or regret. A collection of short stories I've written since joining Wattpad for various contests, challenges and publications. The...