Tattoo of the Black Angel
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© A.E Kirk 2015
"That's the thing with magic. You've got to know it's still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you." Charles de Lint
When I look back on it all, I think, 'How did this all take place?' and 'What would've happened if I'd never gone into the tattoo parlour?' Naturally all the events that happened after that now feel like a dream or a fading memory. Did I really train in a secret base? Did I really fight with mythical creatures? And did I really fly? I try to imagine life without magic, but find it dull and boring. Of course, magic is real, but only to those who believe.
So I suppose you could say that my new life began when I was invited to May Cup's Cafe one blustery October afternoon by some university friends. The cafe was quaint and bright and was usually quite busy during the weekend. Nestled down a little narrow lane between some small miners' cottages, in the heart of rural West Wales, the cafe sat opposite the only tattoo parlour in town called Needle and Ink.
Approaching the cafe, I saw my friend Amanda heading in the same direction. She glanced at the tattoo parlour as we went past it. Her friends Beth and Heather tagged along.
'Amanda, don't be such a baby,' Beth snapped at her. Amanda sighed heavily, looking forlornly at the window. It was ridiculous. There was nothing to see in the window apart from local advertisements. Two stood out in bright yellow flyers: "Wanted, Solo Singer for new and upcoming Punk Rock Band, the Shazmo's", or "Snake's for Sale, £130 O.N.O". It was a weird parlour run by a very heavily tattooed bald man.
Pulling my coat tightly around me to ward against the cold, I followed the girls into the warm aromatic-smelling café and saw a small clean table by the window.
'Oh hey, Tara,' Beth called waving at me. 'Come and sit with us!' Amanda and Heather turned around; they gave me a small smile and beckoned me over. Taking my coat off, I sat opposite Amanda, she seemed sulky but I didn't ask why.
'Have a look,' Beth smiled, passing me the menu. 'We already know what we want; we come in here a lot.'
I had a quick flick through and decided on something chocolaty. 'Special hot chocolate it is.'
Sitting directly in front of a still pouting Amanda, I tried to infiltrate their conversation about the upcoming Halloween Dance at the University. I wasn't planning on going, but I found their conversation interesting.
'I was thinking of like a partly decapitated witch,' Beth said indicating her neck. 'I could have a deep fake wound on the side of my neck with blood oozing from it, ooh that would be so cool.'
Heather smiled. 'Defo! And what about the witch costume?' she asked her. 'Are you going for bare legs or those weird stripy leggings?'
'They aren't leggings, they are very long socks,' Beth told her. 'And maybe, I don't know, depends on how cold it is. But I will be taking my black and purple dress.'