Dreams of Gray
By Maurice Lawless
Copyright 2011 Red Iris Books
Waking up naked was usually a good thing for me. It meant I’d had a particularly nice night dancing at the club, followed by a little horizontal dancing with a cute guy (or girl, if I’m really drunk). I usually wake up content, warm, and relatively unharmed. So maybe I’d have to pluck my bra off the ceiling fan and sneak out without waking up my friend-for-an-evening. It was all par for the course.
But waking up cold, wet, and dirty was new. I’d never had to pick leaves and mud out of my hair before, and this was the first time I had to wander aimlessly through a damp forest for most of the day before I figured out where I was. I ran barefoot and bare-assed from bushes to trees to random parked cars and climbed into my apartment through the bedroom window to avoid being caught without a stitch to my name.
It was one hell of a way to start the week.
I skipped work that day—big surprise, right? Something about waking up naked in the woods two miles from my place really makes me drag. It took me a solid hour to scrub off the caked mud and leaves, and that wasn’t mentioning the freak-out that followed realizing I’d joined the ranks of the heavily inked.
I sure as hell should’ve remembered how I got that tattoo. It took up my entire goddamn back! It looked like some weird cross between runes and a tribal armband a meathead might get on a date, and it ran from the tops of my shoulders to the small of my back.
It didn’t make sense. I’d never liked needles. They had to pretty much sedate me growing up whenever I needed a shot. Sedative before the sedative in some cases. What could I say? I was a biter. I’d never set foot inside a tattoo parlor, much less sat through the hours—no, days—it would take to get that amount of ink put on. It didn’t even feel tender, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t unconscious for a month while it healed.