The Tattoo

Natalia Corres
5 min readApr 21, 2023
Ink from the 
darkest nightmare,
tumbling across
skin in swirls,
from a parchment of
living tissue
a story
born of some
strange dream and
personal meaning.

Dark lines and
colors under
a layer
of blood
and each small
a tribute,
a tithe,
paid forward by
an art piece who
wields a needle.

Alice woke up one fine morning with a tattoo on her stomach. This would have been unremarkable except that when she went to bed the previous night, she had been tattoo free. And she was not prone to sleep walking nor was she anywhere near a tattoo parlor. What’s more, the tattoo looked remarkably like a crow — which, if she had chosen a tattoo at all, it would not have been a bird of any kind. Birds made her nervous.

She had not felt any discomfort on waking, and she had only noticed the tattoo when she took off her nightgown and was stepping into the shower. She thought at first that her eyes were playing tricks on her. She stepped out of the shower again, dripping wet and stared at herself in the mirror.

She definitely had the outline of a crow in black ink on her stomach. Back into the shower she went, scrubbing the lines with a soapy loofa, but it made no difference. After toweling off, she still had the outline of a crow on her stomach.

She dressed, had coffee, and went to work. At break time, she called her doctor’s office to make an…