I gave myself a writing challenge. I put out an open call on Facebook for individuals willing to let me write their Dystopia Rising characters. I explained that I want to write more than just Jeanie, that I’d work with the individuals who play each character. But, it’s a chance for me to work on my writing skills by challenging me to branch out into other characters. So, here it is. The sixth of my Dystopia Rising Friend Fictions.
The tattoo gun clicked to life in his hands with a slight shudder. The Hedonist smiled, ready to share the proud moment of adding new ink to an anchor that he cared about. He glanced over to the Iron sitting next to him. She was pale. Her eyes were closed and her fists balled up. Her whole body was tense.
“Jeanie, dear, y’alright?”
“Fine.” Her teeth were clenched.
“You sure? You look a might tense.”
“I don’t like getting tattoos.”
Charles looked at the tattoo gun vibrating in his hand and then back over to the girl he saw as his niece. For a moment, he once again saw the black ink of a designation number that marked her as property plastered across her cheek. A-825. Just as quickly, the memory faded. The pain and guilt that rose with the memory remained.
He clicked the tattoo gun off and placed it down on the bar. “Jeanie, you don’t have to do this.
The engineer took a deep breath and glanced over to Charles. “But I want these. You said I earned them.”
“You did,” the Ascensorite responded, “but you don’t have to get new ink if it bothers you.”
“I want these. I chose them. Just cause I don’t like getting tattoos doesn’t mean I don’t want them. Shea said I should make the tattoos be something I chose. So I am.”
Charles smiled warmly at the Iron. With everything going on, there was still pain and guilt. That would probably exist for awhile. But the pride was returning. Pride in how his niece had grown since he met her. Pride in the ink this anchor had earned. Pride in how this Iron had chosen to trust him despite all that she had lived through.
He watched her apprehension a moment before sliding off the bar stool and heading behind the counter. He glanced at various bottles with hands raised and ready to ready to grab the one he was looking for.
“Charles, what are you doing?”
“Ah!” He reached for a bottle of red liquid and began pouring a tall glass, which he then placed on the counter next to the Iron. “Here, drink this.”
“What is it?”
“Hooch. My top shelf shit. Should help you calm down, dear.”
Jeanie smiled. “I like your top shelf stuff.”
“You should! It’s good stuff.” Charles chuckled. “Take a few sips now and then when you start getting really upset about this, let me know. I’ll give a moment to take a few more sips before we get started again.”
The Iron nodded and took a few sips while Charles made his way back around the bar and up on the bar stool once more. He picked the tattoo gun up off the counter and glanced at the bare shoulder that Jeanie had positioned in front of him. “Jeanie, dear, at least try to relax a bit. It’ll hurt less if you do.”
Jeanie took a deep breath and closed her eyes. “I’ve felt worse.”