by D. K. Thompson
read by Jason K. Jones
First appeared in Apex Magazine. Read it here!
I wake up in someone else’s house every morning, and lay my head somewhere else every night. The tattoos are my only constant company, covering almost all my skin. I’d stretch the free space of my flesh out if I could, but I don’t make or choose the pictures—and I can’t control the size. I’m running out of skin, and I know what that means. When it’s all inked, I’ll be out of time.
The angel here, on the inside of my wrist, that was the first one. A cartoon character—the tips of his wings sharp as knives. That’s as far back as I can remember: waking up on the side of the road with the taste of dirt in my mouth and the smell of gasoline on my hands. The asphalt and the sun had burned my face from opposing sides, like I’d been twice-grilled. Gravel bounced around me as semi-trucks roared by. I flexed my hands—my knuckles were bloody and cracked. I’d been in a fight, but despite the pain, I grinned because I was pretty sure I’d won.
Then I saw the dead man in the ditch.
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D.K. Thompson (also known as the Easter Werewolf) has written stories featured or forthcoming at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex Magazine, Bull Spec, Drabblecast, Pseudopod, and Escape Pod, and has lost NaNoWriMo twice. Once upon a time, he edited and hosted PodCastle with Anna Schwind. His collection of stories And Welcome Back will be out in 2016. He lives in Southern California with his wife and three children. Learn more about him on his website, or follow him on Twitter @krylyr.
Jason K. Jones is a disembodied voice that occasionally cohabitates with a body of the same name. They live together in Athens, Georgia, with one Jason’s wife and the other’s Weighted Companion Cube. Most days they believe they are the same Jason.