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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Horror/Scary · #2209023
Bad things happen when you come home with a tattoo.
SCREAMS!!! Contest Entry 1/1/20
Prompt: Takes place on a fire escape
1,059 words

I hung from the black steel bar at top of the fire escape by a single hand, my sweaty fingers beginning to slip from the cold metal. I should have been concentrating on pulling myself over the bar, back to the relative safety of the pitted metal steps. But I couldn't. I thought back to how this had all started.


I awoke in my bed this morning, groggy, barely able to pry one eyelid open. A moment later the headache kicked in, full force. My stomach lurched as my head pounded. My other eyelid opened with an almost audible pop, and I jumped up and raced to the bathroom. I made it to the toilet just in time for my projectile puke to splash toilet water onto my face.

Ugh! I felt sooo horrible.

I slumped to the side, hands still on each side of the toilet as I tried to remember what had happened last night. I was with my fraternity brothers at the Kappa Gamma party last night. I shouldn't have had those last three... four... I couldn't remember exactly how many shots of cheap tequila I had taken to cap the night with my friends.

However many it was, it was at least one more than I should have taken.

I groaned and opened my eyes again, the light exacerbating my splitting headache. Fuck! It was going to take another round or two of bowing to the porcelain god before this was over... starting... right...

I heaved vomit into the toilet again. When I was finished, something on my right arm caught my eye. It was black, and it looked like a sun with flames coming out of it.

A tattoo?! I had a tattoo! I hoped to God it was temporary. My mom would kill me if she saw this thing! I rubbed at it, but it didn't come off at all. I rose, stomach doing somersaults, and twisted the handle on the sink. I tested the water until it was hot, then placed my arm under the flow. I scrubbed at it again. It was not coming off in the slightest.

It was permanent then. Double fuck!

I slumped over the sink to rest my head on my new tattoo. As I despaired over my parents' reaction to my latest alcohol-induced stupidity, I heard something. It was a strange whispering sound.

My head shot up, making me dizzy and causing me to retch. My mind, however, remained focus on that soft but distinct sound. Where was it coming from?

I looked around the bathroom. No one else was there, the house still quiet as everyone slept off the effects of the previous night's festivities. I placed my ear to the tattoo and the faint whispering sound became louder.

It was the tattoo! What the hell? It was whispering?!

Suddenly, my right arm moved on its own, grabbing a pair of beauty shears from the counter beside the sink. I walked out of the bathroom into the first bedroom door off the hallway. I crept quietly over to Mark's bed as he slept.

My right hand raised, scissors pointed down, and my hand stabbed downward, even as I willed against it. The point of the scissors plunged into his heart, sending a spray of blood everywhere in the room.

Oh, my God! I had just killed Mark! How? Why?

While my shocked mind was attempting to come to terms with the fact that I had just murdered one of my friends, I walked over to Matt's bed and slashed the scissors across his throat. His eyes shot open as blood welled from the slice. He gurgled in an apparent attempt to talk, writhing in his bed. He gave me a pleading look before going still, eyes glassing over.

Tears welled in my eyes. I was already walking toward the next bed. Was I about to kill every one of my brothers?

I had to stop this! I had to do something! But what? This tattoo seemed to be controlling me! I tested each limb. I seemed to have full control of my left arm, partial control over my legs, and no control whatsoever over my right arm.

How could I stop this thing? Could I cut off my arm? I tried to think of what I could use to do that, while my right hand killed Mike. Shit! I didn't have time to spend coming up with a solution... I was killing people by the moment.

A thought came into my mind. I could commit suicide! That would stop it. I only needed control of my legs for a moment to jump out the window.

I ran back to my room and leapt out of the window, my feet barely clearing the edge of the fire escape. As I began to descend, my right arm rocketed out and latched onto the bar at the top, arresting my fall. Damn it!

I took my dangling left hand, the hand I could control, and used it to hammer at my right, under the control of the tattoo. My right hand's grip loosened, fingers uncoiling as my pounding took its toll. I kept at it, focused only on killing myself to save the rest of the people in my house. I banged my bruised arm, right on the tattoo, until the last vestiges of the evil hand's grip failed, and I dropped from the fire escape. I felt the crunch of my skull as the back of my head splattered blood, bone, and brains on the pavement. Good. I was about to die, taking the evil spirit--or whatever it was--in the tattoo with me.

I waited.

Not dead yet.

I waited some more.

Still not dead.

My right arm placed a hand under me. Then, my left did the same. They pushed me up to my feet. I reached down and picked up the scissors that had clattered to the ground when my right hand had dropped them to reach for the bar. Weapon in hand, I began to walk back into the house, unable, now, to resist the tattoo's more powerful control over my entire body. The rest of my should-be dead body quivered in fear for the rest of my brothers...
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