Tattooed

He saw the look of horror on their faces immediately. He descended the last step, fingers brushing the worn post. He felt the familiar ridges, the scratches filled with memories of rough-housing and laughter and carefree childhood.

“Stop this nonsense,” mother hissed. “If you can’t present yourself appropriately, don’t present yourself at all.”

Mother turned her back on him in the cold emptiness and gaily joined the others in the brightly-lit room.

He gripped the worn post, dug his nails into the ridges and etched one more memory into its scratched surface.ย I’ll show them.


Flash fiction written for Friday Fictioneers. Photo prompt:


picture by Shaktiki Sharma

20 thoughts on “Tattooed

  1. It makes me wonder about how accurate the narrator is when it comes of the description of the earlier scratches. Maybe many of them were there to show another their rage, too… The tone of this story speaks of storms, of wildness that will leave little standing.

    1. Thanks! Of course I was immediately drawn to the insect… but the post caught my interest in the end โ˜บ

  2. That was a great take. Good of you to totally diss the bug!
    Now I wonder what he looked like to create looks of horror on their faces…

    1. Not to give it away, but… I was imagining him as queer, brightly dressed like the bug, and that’s what horrified his parents. But I like that the vagueness made you wonder ๐Ÿ˜‰.

  3. Yes, there is a big contrast from the scuff marks made from joyful living, and the fissures created from too much pressure. I did wonder if the protagonist’s memory was sharp enough to remember which marks were which.

    1. I think the joyful-living marks and the pressure-fissures tend to get mixed up in our minds sometimes… Rethinking the past is a weird thing.

  4. Interesting and intriguing. Makes me wonder if the happy-sounding memories initially introduced were not fun and playful rough-housing after all? (And how soft is that wood…or how strong are his nails to make scratches that way?) I wanted a little more in terms of knowing what the MC looked like that caused the reaction that was received, but enjoyed the story nonetheless!
    Happy trails!

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