The artist was a master, and over the years she and he had developed a rhythm that raised his art to its highest level. No mechanical buzz disturbed the calm of the small room; his was an ancient technique. There was only the sound of her even breaths and the light song of chimes moving gently in the wind.
When she’d reached her deepest level of meditation, he began. The point pierced her delicate skin on each exhalation, and excess ink and blood was wiped away as she inhaled. There was no room for wasted movement in the dance of breath and skin and ink; his hands were steady and sure, his concentration complete.
The tiny design, which would have taken an hour at the most for an artist with modern tools, was completed in just over two hours. As the final drop of ink was tapped into her skin the air hummed with the energy of what they’d created.
The Chinatown sidewalk teemed with people as she left, each one hurrying to their appointments and responsibilities. No one spared a glance for the slender woman walking at an unhurried pace, in her summer dress and light sweater.
The master’s art – the precise placement of each design based on diagrams and texts penned centuries before Hippocrates had written his oath – was not meant to be gawked at or commented on. Only her doctor, with his sorrowful eyes and skeptical mind, knew they existed. He didn’t understand, and he certainly didn’t believe, but as hope waned he hadn’t discouraged her.
Eight years later – seven more than she’d been promised – the disease that ravaged her body was caged. Not gone, not forgotten, but held in abeyance…its power mitigated by the indelible marks of ancient ink.
This post is in response to a prompt from Write On Edge write a story of only 300 words or less, about a tattoo. I’m fascinated by the ancient tattoo techniques, and by the combination of acupuncture and tattooing. Thank you for stopping by…please let me know what you think in the comments!