The Tattoo

by Cecilia

Her breathing sped as she ran down the hill. Her heart pumped faster, her innocent eyes filled with tears. Exhaustion did not slow her down, she was driven by fear. No matter how fast she ran, that man ran faster. She turns quickly and sees the shape of him on top of the hill, his face scarily dark, his lips tipped up in a mocking smile. He stared at her for a moment, he didn't say a word, but she could tell what he was thinking. I'll get you. No matter where you go, I'll find you. And as he turns away, in that brief moment, she sees that same tattoo on his neck. The long slithering black snake was wrapped around a dagger, drops of blood were spurting from the snake's mouth. It scared her.

Is this a dream?She was sure it was. But the terror and the panic felt so real. And so she kept running down the slopes, frantically looking around her in case the man was following. She yelped as her skirt got caught in a spiky brown plant, slashing up her leg and tearing her skirt. A hot, blinding pain filled her. She collapsed, under the scorching summer's sun and onto the dry, yellowing grass.

Shadows shifted. Darkness surrounded her. Words, sentences, all spoken by that same rough voice. There was a strange smell, like dust and rotting wood. Her tongue felt sticky in her mouth, her dry lips ached for water. Her eyelids were heavy, she could not see clearly. Blurred images moved around some more. Her arms and legs were numb. So hungry, so thirsty. She drifted back into unconsciousness.

She woke with a gasp.

"Oh darling! You're alright!"

""Mother? What's going on?"

"Oh you ran to the hill to pick some wild flowers and then you got lost! You had me so worried."

"But there was a strange man behind me, chasing me."

"Oh sweetie, everything's alright now. A nice man found you, with a terrible gash on your leg!"


"I'll leave you to rest."

The door was closed gently, but then swung open in a quick motion.

"Hello." The man said. "Now you've been playing on that hill haven't you? Trespassing, that's what it's called." He laughs coldly. "You shouldn't do that. You should never do that. In fact, you need to be punished." He laughs again, then grabs the girl by the throat. Closing his grip on her, he choked every last breathe out.

The last thing she saw was that tattoo, that same tattoo engraved on his neck. But this time, the snake didn't look scary, it looked mocking. Its lips were curved into a sneer. And although nothing was spoken, she knew what it was thinking. I told you I would find you.

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