The ink well was almost dry, the inside crusted black. He dipped the needle in the shallow remains, one tiny drop clinging to the tip. It glistened bright in the low candle light, as he twirled the needle slowly in between his fingers. Then, pressed against taunt skin, it pierced through with a soft but sharp pain and a pinpoint of deep red blood. Each play of needle on skin brought a fresh tinge of painful crimson overlay a crevice filled with absolute black. Every dot was one step closer to completion, the final product of which he wasn’t fully aware- yet.
So far he had covered half his forearm. Intricate patterns of spirals raced up from his left wrist, fractals from a larger pattern- one that was just beginning to emerge. He had no ultimate plans, but each moment of pain just seemed to work with all the others. He carried on throughout the night, until the candle was just a molten puddle- flickering and struggling for air. Until the sun began to peek over the horizon, illuminating the sky with pink and orange. Until the rag was stained red and black with blood and passion, wiped away as he worked. With the emergence of the sun, eh began to pack up his tools and place them in the knapsack at his side. He slung the worn bag over his shoulder, and started walking towards the rising star.
He took his time walking next to the asphalt road interrupting the continuity of brilliant green grass. Somewhere overhead perched atop a telephone line, a bird cried out in song. It matched walking pace and changed in tone with the weight shift from foot to foot. A beautiful and mournful song to accompany the monotony of the journey. Sung for him alone, it faded as long abandoned houses started to line the street, unkempt with refuse filled lawns. At the edges of societal abandonment nature took back the once refuges of man by force. Vines crawled up the decaying wood, choking back the dingy paint- seemingly to hold together the crumbling buildings.
Fire began to run up and down his back, the spine straightening and lengthening on its own accord. Surges of energy and electricity flowed as the world around him got brighter, more vibrant and vivid. Every step increased the pressure in his spine, rising and falling through its length. It told him that he was getting close to his next destination, a sirens song refreshing him from the days of travel. He felt eyes peak behind blinds, watching him as he headed further into the seemingly abandoned town. Their gaze pierced into his soul, and he felt the burdens of their heavy judgements. As with everything else- he shrugged it off, and continued on his path.
Limbs began to tingle, that drifting feeling between being awake and asleep. As the electricity formed throughout him, he felt lighter and less physical. His pace didn’t slow or quicken, he simiply walked. Although with every step, he felt as if he were walking more and more on a cloud, rather than the fluffy grass and hard earth beneath is feet. Surges of energy radiated through him, traveling from the earth to the sky with each breath.
Ink buried deep beneath skin began to stir. Spirals compacted and grew, the fractals deepened with a clarity unworthy of the simple tools utilized. He saw them shift and turn, pointing out the destination, at least the current one. An old brick home, worn smooth after an untold number of storms- deep red with a crumbling white picket fence. a dying tree in the yard shedding its last layer of bark, not even strong enough to produce a single leaf. Perhaps once the American dream home, filled with a loving family- hopes of old age and generations harbored, not at its antithesis.
He felt it calling to him, caused him to feel as if he was shaking- trembling. A satellite in orbit, pushing him closer and closer. Past the picket fence the lawn was shaggy and unkempt. A wide porch sat littered with rotted holes, peeling white lead paint.
Something scurried away as he took his first step up.
Ancient wood creaked, and for a second he thought the floor would give. It played out instantaneously in his mind, a brief moment of free fall, then pain as he crumbled on the steps- going to push himself up, he decided that route was not the one he wanted, and the wood held his weight groaning.
Another step up. He had forgotten why he had come, with an overwhelming urge to simply turn and run. To just keep running until his legs gave out and his lungs burned white hot. But his body was having none f it,. and he took another step up.
He realized he had to continue and as foot struck the solidity of wood- he understood once more.