Invisible Lines (Part 8)

Invisible Lines

(8)                  {start with Part 1}

But what is it you really want more of, Sima? Paul thought.

“So it’s not getting off on the needle?”

“No!” She was blushing deeply. “I mean I do. Of course I do. There. I said it. But it’s not just that. It’s more. You have to believe me.”

“I could believe you, Sima. But I have to know what it is to you. Because what it is to me is incompleteness. I don’t just stick people for money.” I stick them because I like to, also. And because they get something from it. But you, you could be more.

Sima nodded, seeing she had a chance to seize. She took a breath.

“Everything about the tattoo… except this part. This fucking begging part, makes me feel alive, and in control.” She looked surprised to be saying it.

“I decide to get it, I pick the design, I permit the tattooist to damage me, hurt me, and I heal. My body absorbs, erases the damage. I’m powerful.” Paul had to wonder at how near a counterpart that was to his own feelings. He’d never thought that this particular  power exchange could run both ways. At the same time.

“It makes everything, even the pain, even the memory of the pain, feel so good. But… I don’t know why it feels that good, when it’s happening. It just does, and it’s also something I want. I could just be a freak. Other tattooists have called me that.”

She was so turned inward. Focused on her side of the equation. Paul realized this was another way she was like a converse of himself. It made him want to cross that divide.

“Whether ‘freak’ is a badge of honor or shame depends on us, not someone else. There are those who call anyone who has ink a freak, or worse. But tell me. Why so soon? It’s been, what, three weeks? You said you usually went three months or more, at least until the last one had faded.”

“It was… It was seeing you at the art store. I don’t know.”

Paul pursed his lips in thought. He wasn’t sure if she was withholding from him. Is it because you want my needle? I can give you what you want, and take what I want quietly, like I always do. But that’s not enough. I want more from…with you. He decided.

“All right, Sima. One more. But I don’t know about any more after that.”

“Thank you, Paul.” Her tone conveyed true gratitude.

“So. What and where?”

After another deep breath, she pulled a slip of watercolor paper out of her back pocket, and unfolded it to show him three tightly coiled spirals radiating from a single point.

“Triskelion,” she said. “Sort of. Here, about this big,” she passed her hand down to her skirt – over the front inside of her right thigh.

Paul raised his eyebrow. She was going for the gusto. The tight spirals were going to maximize continuous needle contact. The place…

“The inside part is going to go harder, depending on how sensitive the skin there is. Is yours?”


“I can spray the area with lidocaine before starting, that would-“

“No, thank you.”

Paul nodded. He’d expected that answer. He liked that answer.

“Will you be able to hold still?”

“I think so.”

“Ok. Let’s head on back.”

Sima smiled and followed him.

He set the chair on slight recline, and to raise her right leg only, and pulled his stool  and tools close on the left side.  She pulled skirt up almost to her hip, revealing a truly lovely canvas of flesh. He prepped quickly, efficiently. With machine in hand, he laid a glove on her thigh. For the first time in a very long while, he pushed away professional detachment and let himself really feel the softness under his touch.

With his eyes, Paul marked out the center of the design as a whole, and the center of each spiral. He lowered his hand and drew with the needle a tiny trefoil at the center, and small circles were each spiral center would be. He saved the innermost spot for last, and was rewarded by a little gasp.  He looked up at her flushed face, slowly inhaling her scent; soap, spice, and yes, sex.

“Because I don’t have to watch the ink, I can maintain the cleanest line if I stop as few times as possible. You tell me if you need a rest.” Then he added, “but I hope you don’t.”

Her eyes widened, as he smiled and turned toward his work.

{Continued in Part 9}

Latest Comments

  1. paul1510 says:

    this story gets better and better.
    The variations in human sexuality are endlessly fascinating, and this is one I had not encountered previously.

  2. dark gracie ® says:

    You fancy writers with your installments making us mere mortals wait. I enjoy Paul’s character a lot. I look forward to the next post.

    • Monocle says:

      That made me laugh. This is already in the top 5 longest stories I’ve written. May get to top 2 by the time it’s done. Thanks, Gracie.

  3. wordsmithingimp says:

    Last few lines. Mmph.

    • Monocle says:

      I’m especialy happy about this. I like, if I can, to have something that grabs or twists at the very end. Can’t always pull it off.

  4. April says:

    Always leaving us wanting more. ‘Sigh’
    I am learning patience as you feed us this story, one tiny morsel at a time.


  5. Wordwytch says:

    Ah, intrinsic vs extrinsic motivations. This spirals nice and tight.

  6. Deliza Rafferty says:

    Argh! I can’t stand the bits and pieces!!! Loving this.

    • Monocle says:

      It is especially gratifying to have impatient readers. Maybe that just means I’m also a bit of a sadist.

  7. Nan says:

    I want to know more about why she needs to hide them. Hinduism doesn’t prohibit tattoos, in fact, considers them devotional. Is it purely a family issue? Or is it because she’s ashamed of her feelings about the process?

    • Monocle says:

      I’m glad you’re liking it, and you’re right, it’s not a religious thing for Sima. It’s something else. I’m yet not sure how/when I’ll be getting to it.

  8. Nan says:

    I failed to mention how much I’m enjoying your rare foray into longer work. I love the switching POV and the description of the tattooing is so vivid. Can’t wait to read more.

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