• Member Since 16th May, 2012
  • offline last seen Oct 3rd, 2017

Loyal


Just a dude. Writes horsewords... with varying regularity.

More Blog Posts376

  • 214 weeks
    Memories of the fallen.

    Nathan again, I just wanted to make a quick blog update for anyone who might want to give their best wishes. It has come to my attention that there will be a memorial service for Loyal held on the 19th of August. I'm making this post so that anyone who maybe happened to enjoy Loyals work has a chance to pay proper respect.

    Read More

    11 comments · 2,129 views
  • 215 weeks
    We will remember him.

    Hi everyone, my name's Nathan and I come today to bring some somber and tragic news. The reason Loyal isn't here giving you the news is because he sadly is the news. Loyal and I would have been best friends for 5 years this fall, but I am so very sorry to have to inform everyone that Jordan Williams appears to have taken his own life last night.

    Read More

    58 comments · 4,302 views
  • 236 weeks
    Fallout: Saddle Arabia Compendium, Vol. 1

    Stable Alpha

    ----------

    Read More

    0 comments · 467 views
  • 239 weeks
    Tattoos

    There was a Tumblr post some time ago that mused on tattoos, how everyone was born with their own, and they were unique to that particular person. It went on to detail how, when one tattoo bearer fell in love with another, their native tattoos would appear on the partner's body. And would remain, even after heartbreak. Some people would be littered with the marks, and others would go their entire

    Read More

    11 comments · 529 views
  • 241 weeks
    Fallout: Saddle Arabia is LIVE!

    That's right, folks, the first (two) chapter(s) of Fallout: Saddle Arabia are published! This marks the first time I've stepped into the Fallout: Equestria fandom, after many years of reading the stories and playing the games.

    Read More

    0 comments · 332 views
Feb
22nd
2017

Tattoos · 8:30am Feb 22nd, 2017

There was a Tumblr post some time ago that mused on tattoos, how everyone was born with their own, and they were unique to that particular person. It went on to detail how, when one tattoo bearer fell in love with another, their native tattoos would appear on the partner's body. And would remain, even after heartbreak. Some people would be littered with the marks, and others would go their entire life with only their own.

The idea spurred a prompt that I wrote several years back, and I've only just now stumbled upon what I wrote. So, presented for your consideration (and entirely outside the purview of this fandom) is my little take on that post.

You know. For funsies.

It started with the tattoos. What was first hailed as an epidemic swept across the world, spreading worry and panic like no other. Newborn children, fresh out of the womb, sported a single inked tattoo on their left ankle. Small flesh samples were taken, and sure enough the tattoos were found to be just that; regular tattoo ink, the same as any shop would use in their trade. At first, it mystified medical professionals. These children were perfectly healthy and had no developmental issues growing up. Furthermore, each tattoo was unique to the child, bearing no major indication of their destiny or anything worrying. Some were as simple as a small circle, others were detailed animals in poses, or even a random assortment of shapes.

The first children to be born with the tattoo were eventually released, especially since the thousands upon thousands of children following them sported the same marks on their left ankles. For those born with deformities or complications, their tattoos manifested as closely to their left leg as possible, sometimes as high as their hip or stomach.

Those generations grew older and older, finding companionship and love... and that was when the world realized that those who bore tattoos fell in love with the same, their partner's would manifest on their own body. Relocation of a tattoo was nothing major; childhood injuries and grevious workplace accidents had resulted in damaged or lost limbs, but the tattoos would re-appear elsewhere on the body. It was a painless procedure, and ensured the party who lost their tattoo would always have it.

But this was something else entirely. The partner's tattoo would re-appear elsewhere on the person's body, usually in places it was common to find the brands. Forearms, shoulders, backs, thighs, calves, even stomachs or in rare cases pubis'. They appeared suddenly and without discretion, giving a faint tingling sensation before manifesting. The marks were identical between the two people. The first couple to have it happen were instant celebrities, the first of the 'branded children' to find love. Then the second, third, and fourth couples emerged. As time wore on, millions of them found love among themselves.

The thing is, love is a fickle mistress, and sometimes doesn't last forever. What's worse, the manifestations would happen with each passing occurrence. And, much like regular tattoos, they were permanent. Even removal would see the tattoo re-manifest elsewhere on the body.

That was almost two hundred years ago.

Now, everyone has a tattoo. And when anyone falls in love, their partner's tattoo manifests elsewhere on their body. The brands are used as identification, and in some cases even ways to bind contracts between people. Legal documents were signed with your native tattoo, travel authorities could cross-reference your mark with an international database and expedite you through security screenings. Prosecutions could be decided with evidence of a culprit's tattoo. You could even look up other people's tattoos online, if you were so inclined.

Personally, I hated the damn things. And it was in the midst of one such whiskey-flavored pity party at the Montreal International Airport that I was beset by the most curious and shocking of events. She was mousy, sure, but alluring in her own right. She threw her bags into the chair next to me, slumping into the one just opposite her luggage with a resigned sigh and a weak plea for something 'cold, wet, and able to make me forget I'm stuck here for the next six hours.'

Poor wretch. My own flight was in two; hardly a third of the time she'd be consigned to the cheap mahogany bar and the surly motherfucker charging six dollars a glass. He poured her the same thing I'd been drinking, and she passed him her drivers license - complete with her own tattoo as the watermark - to open a tab. She downed the entire glass before croaking for another, which she nursed more sourly than her first.

It's really not in my nature to pry. Honestly, I should have just shifted one more seat over and went back to my own brooding over another business deal gone south. I should have ignored the brown-haired bespectacled businesswoman drowning her sorrows alongside me.

I shouldn't have done anything more than glare at her when she lifted her head, her green eyes blazing straight past the lenses of her glasses and into the side of my face.

"Well that's unfortunate."

Her words took me by surprise. I looked back at her, a frown immediately taking over my mouth. "What?"

"Your lover's mark," she gestured with her glass. "Right on the cheek. Ouch." Her eyes flickered over me, and in that instant I could tell that this was a woman who was used to scrutinizing others. As smooth as could be, she looked back at my face, her eyes dancing to the tattoo on my right cheek, and smiled. "Let me guess, the closeted precedence of 'no visible tattoos that can't be covered by a standard uniform' cost you, what, a job opportunity? Maybe a business deal?"

"... The latter," I mused, half in shock that she'd nailed what my business trip to Montreal had concluded with, and half that she'd arrived at that conclusion in less than ten seconds. "How did you-"

"I'm in the business." She smiled, flashing perfectly straight, white teeth at me as she produced a business card from her laptop bag and passed it to me smoothly. I glanced at the neat print, my mind still reeling. 'Marlene Davis, Tattoo Analysis,' followed by her contact information.

"A spook." I countered, passing her the card back. I could see the hurt in her eyes, but to be fair, she'd called my tattoo unfortunate. She had it coming.

"Alright, alright, no need to get hostile." She raised the hand not clutching her whiskey defensively. "Just commenting, that's all."

"Yeah, you and the CEO of every major company I've been in talks with." I sighed and went to turn away from her, but she pressed on anyways.

"Whose is it?"

"What?" I looked back at her incredulously.

"The mark," she gestured vaguely to my face with her drink before taking another sip. "Whose is it?"

"An ex's." I deadpanned. She just grimaced and waved around to the mostly-empty airport bar.

"I gathered that, unless your wife is hiding somewhere else?"

"Hardly," I gave a sour laugh before downing the rest of my drink and gesturing for another. "Been single since my last." As the surly man sporting a tattoo of his own on his left wrist poured my refill, I glanced at Marlene. "You?" It wasn't entirely appropriate to comment on another person's tattoos, but she'd broken ground first so I decided it was okay to reciprocate. She grimaced and shook her head solemnly.

"Sorry, that's a bit of a policy in my profession... We don't divulge our own tattoos, or any we may have from lovers."

"Aah." I leaned in, a devious grin spreading across my lips. "You said lovers. So you've got multiple."

"I never said that I did!" Marlene straightened, an indignant scowl painted across her lips.

"But I'm not wrong, am I?"

She wilted at that, her scowl gone from 'indignant' to 'resigned' as easily as the liquor went down.

"Three." She sighed, downing the last of her drink and calling for another; her third in a paltry five minutes. She was in for a long six hours at this rate. I decided I wouldn't be bested, and ordered another whiskey. This bartender stood to make a financial windfall from the two of us at this rate.

"What's your name?" Marlene asked, seemingly brushing past our awkward introduction.

"Matthew Holly." I decided to let bygones be bygones. If I didn't want to shift seats or leave the bar, I'd have to sit with this woman for the next two hours at least. I could use the company, and she was kind of cute, looking past the uptight businesswoman attire and attitude.

"Sorry about prying." Marlene groaned. "It's been a long week, and this is just... not my day."

At least she apologized. I offered her a smile and my hand, which she took daintily in hers. "It's fine; I'm not having the best week either."

"Seriously, though, whose is it?" Marlene pressed, her green eyes flickering to my cheek.

"I'd really rather not talk about it." My fingers left the handshake to light on the mark, almost absently. There had been a time when I would hold that tattoo with a smile on my face; a reminder that I had someone waiting for me back home, someone who loved me and bore my own tattoo right on her stomach, just beneath her belly button. I would lay my hand on that mark, and she'd lay hers on mine, and we would look into each other's eyes for hours on end.

"Matt?" Marlene's voice snapped me from my reverie. I blinked away the image of Tanya's face, her brilliant mane of blonde hair and those flashing, blue eyes. Instead, I found black hair and vibrant green looking at me, her thin eyebrow cocked curiously. "You zoned out there. Is it really that sensitive a subject?"

"It kind of is." I deadpanned, taking a moment to finally, actually let my eyes glide over Marlene's body. She was petite, easily a full head shorter than me. I'm average for a guy - shorter than our surly bartender - but she must have been shorter than even an average woman. She wore it well, however; and her frame wasn't stocky or skinny. She was actually rather attractive; a moderate bust swelling under her blouse, toned legs, and a flat stomach. Coupled with those ever-curious green, twinkling eyes, she was making an impression on me.

Maybe it was the alcohol. Maybe it was the years-long drought I'd been languishing under romantically. Maybe it was the steady rain falling outside of the Montreal airport's windows.

Maybe Marlene wasn't a bitch, but really just a curious agent of that international agency that documented and investigated these damnable tattoos covering our bodies.

"Her name was Tanya Ivanka. I met her in St. Paul seven years ago." I began, looking down at my half-empty glass. The rain droned against the windows in the background, and Marlene grew quiet, her emerald eyes fixed on me as I was cast back, to a place I'd just as soon not revisit.

------

Even for Russia, it was damnably cold. I had found myself with a few sour businessmen in St. Paul, talking through an acquisition they were interested in picking up near Seattle. The high-rise had been condemned thanks to some crazy asswipe that tried cooking methamphetamine on the sixteenth floor, but after a few years' time and plenty of visits by city inspectors and drug experts, was finally deemed fit for re-zoning. The real estate and property management company I represented were trying to sell the long-standing property and finally be rid of the harassing phone calls of that 'ugly, unsightly building' in Seattle. We were considering demolishing it when this Russian company had finally expressed interest in buying the highrise, and I was here to seal the deal.

But damn, why did it have to be so cold? Following the settlement (I had practically given the damn thing away,) my business contacts had insisted on taking me out on the town for the night. We stood outside of some trendy club now, smoking cigarettes and trying to converse in broken fragments of each other's language. I knew little Russian, and their English was passable but thick with their accents.

I remember huddling in my coat in that damnable cold, these fat businessmen laughing at my expense, sucking cancer for almost an hour before we were finally let inside. Thankfully, it was much more warm inside. Hot, even. I checked my coat and followed my associates to a cramped booth right off of the dance floor, with pounding music drowning out whatever pathetic attempts at communication were made.

We drank, we smoked, we tried to talk but mostly sat in surly silence. It wasn't until a familiar song came on that I excused myself to try and dance. Being rhythmically challenged, I'm sure I failed miserably. But, something about my Western charm seemed to have wooed one girl. I found her arms around my shoulders, and mine around her waist. We couldn't talk, but we could look at each other and smile. She got a laugh out of me, and I drew one from her. She was gorgeous; blonde, and blue-eyed, with irises as bright and flashy as a Pacific island's crystal-clear water.

I found myself in her apartment that night, and we talked and laughed and loved until I had missed my flight the next day. I stayed in St. Paul for the rest of that week while my company got another flight. She came with me, first as a joke. She said 'You spent one week in my place, so now I get to spend one week in yours.'

One week turned into two, turned into six, and then a year... We were married the next spring, in May.

------

"She was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer. They couldn't save her." I finished my story, and my fourth whiskey, while Marlene wiped tears from her eyes next to me. "I quit smoking after that. Haven't touched the stuff since."

"I'm so sorry." Marlene reached across the bar to lay her hand on mine. I could feel the moisture of her tears on my skin. I didn't pull away. Instead, I reached for her hand, curled our fingers together. She didn't pull away either.

"Airport's closed." We were shocked out of our reverie by the surly bartender, who was sliding our tabs across the bar towards us.

"What?" I blinked, shaking my hand free of Marlene's. She looked defeated, and that was when I saw the rain outside of the window. It had reached a fever pitch, the drops lashing against the panes with a fury borne of some wild, angry god. I fished my phone out to check my flight's status, Marlene did the same.

"You've got to be joking." I groaned, reaching for my tab. Much to my surprise, Marlene had both, sliding them to the bartender along with her card. "Woah, hey, come on no-"

"Payback." She smiled, standing from her stool. "For the story. And, you know, apologies for prying."

"No, it's not- you're-"

"Matt." She cut me off, her smile turned from warm to devious. "I expect you to pick up the hotel room."

------

Marlene had three tattoos. One on her collarbone, a concentric circle tightening in on itself, almost like a bullseye. The other was on her ribcage, just beneath her left breast. A fearsome, roaring tiger. The third was on her right ankle, which I'd have seen earlier if I'd have paid better attention. Her own mark was elegant, a series of sweeping arcs with no particular form. It looked almost like an artist's rendition of a breath of air, wafting over her skin.

We lay in the aftermath, our fingers loosely curled around one another's, talking and laughing like old friends. The rain continued to pour outside, lashing at our windows wildly. What had started as a drunken airport bar encounter had turned into a genuinely wonderful night with someone I found to be fascinating. We even had the same taste in music; relics of the past from centuries ago, before the tattoos had made their mark on humanity. One such tune played from the portable speakers she had fished from her luggage, ushering us into a restful night, alongside the wild storm outside.

I awoke alone, the speakers and Marlene both gone. The lingering scent of her perfume remained, buried into the still-warm sheets beside me. She hadn't left her number, or address, or even the same card she had slid to me across the bar last night.

Nothing but that mark, the wispy curls of air, right on my neck where she had first kissed me with those hungry, perfect lips. Her green eyes hung in my consciousness, alive and burning with light. Curious. Eager.

Scared.

Somewhere, I knew, Marlene Davis was boarding her flight with my own mark somewhere on her skin. Was it her forehead, where I had kissed her first? Maybe her thigh, where I'd laid my hand as we talked.

I left Montreal that morning with a hangover and a tattoo.

The rain in Seattle reminds me of that night. Sometimes, when I stand in my home and look out of the window at the streaming droplets, I lay a hand over that mark. And I wonder, somewhere else, if Marlene is doing the same.

-----


"That's unfortunate." A voice passes my ear in some bar in downtown Seattle; a dive joint with a local band covering some of my favorites from so long ago. To my left is some slender beauty, fiery red hair pulled up into a whip-tight ponytail.

"What?"

"That tattoo. Right on your neck. 'S kinda pretty, though." She grins at me.

I leave my payment on the bar.

Not again. Not ever again.

Report Loyal · 529 views ·
Comments ( 11 )

This an interesting thing to read i must say:eeyup:

Very interesting, but depressing. 10/10.

Ohh. Very nice short story!

Might be fun to have something like that happen with cutie marks. Perhaps in a pony world where cloaths were the norm.

Duuuuuuuuuude.

Why not send that in to some Sci-fi mag?

That was awesome!

~Skeeter The Lurker

nice writing Loyal, too bad that i'm not a fallout fan

4432143
Why depressing ? Every coin has two sides, how you deal with them is your thing, isn't it ?

4432553
What does Fallout have to do with this?

How does on upvote a blog post?
This is seriously good.

4432704 isn't that the other thing you are working on?

4433650
Yeah, emphasis on 'other.' I'm just wondering why you're commenting on this blog, and not the like, 6 I posted announcing that other story. Just confused me, is all, considering the subject of this blog is entirely outside the fandom.

Well, on the bright side, it leaves the whole 'do I love them or not' question completely moot... unless the tattoos start marking the internal organs.

I wonder how much it would cost to have tattoos relocated internally within a day...

Login or register to comment