It was empty – the chair was gone, along with the equipment. The hanging light bulbs were removed, a few additional ceiling tiles had fallen through, and a layer of dust coated the floor. I stood there, frowning, looking for life where there was none. But on the floor there was still the mirror from my first visit, so I picked it up, and inspected my back to see if there was anything new.
I choked, and shivers ran down my spine when I looked into the glass. For my original tattoo had not been copied on my back. It had been moved there.
The next day I woke up to a stinging sensation, and cursed. There, on my left bicep, was a picture of a swastika, connected by thin lines to the tattoo network of my back.
I called in sick that day, and I turned on the television. I shook on my couch, and couldn’t focus as I flipped through the channels. I considered calling my parents, but they’d think I was just trying to get money. And I considered calling my friends, but they’d think I was going crazy. So I settled on the news, something I almost never watched. And I learned about the incident the night before.
“The scene before you has been blurred out,” said the blonde reporter standing in front of a gas station, “due to its graphic nature. Experts are still trying to discern what occurred here last night, though it is currently being attributed to some sort of wild animal yet to be identified. The victim’s body is covered in lacerations, as if caused by wires of some sort, the wounds culminating above his chest where the skin was ripped clear. And here is the footage.”
The screen flickered, and I saw the inside of the gas station, the man at the counter tapping his fingers as he waited for customers. The framerate was low, and the screen jumpy and somewhat out of focus, but the door opened and a dark shape entered.
It crawled along the ground, propelling itself forward with a single stump like arm attached to a greater mass of black, similar in shape to a man’s torso. The attendant pulled a gun from under the counter and began firing, bullets gouging into the floor, but the dark shape leapt onto him, swirls of black shredding his shirt in seconds. Then the camera blurred out, censored by the news team, but not before I saw what had been on the man’s chest.
A tattoo of a swastika.