First appeared in Apex Magazine. Read it here!
All Things to All People
by D. K. Thompson
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.