Madison stared at the tattoo inked on her skin from mid-thigh to just above her hip. She'd wanted something for herself that she could enjoy in private but conceal at work. Actually, one of her coworkers had recommended this particular tattoo artist. Rumor had it that the woman possessed magical powers, and her tattoos reflected the image of the wearer's destined mate. That story, which had at first intrigued Madison, now frightened her. If the rumor held true, then her destined mate was... not quite human.
Though handsome, with a strong jaw and a well-defined nose, his wide-set eyes had an almost supernatural glow. The faint smile on his finely shaped lips revealed his needle-sharp teeth. His buzzed haircut exposed the pointed tips of his ears.
If this man -- or monster -- were real, she wondered what other bestial characteristics he possessed, for the tattoo only showed his face.
"You like it?" asked the tattoo artist.
Madison glanced at the dark-skinned woman with wild black hair and eyes so intense they looked almost inhuman as well.
"He's... beautiful. In a weird way, that is," Madison replied. "You know what's weirdest of all? It didn't really hurt. With my other tattoos I always felt something, but this --"
"It's my technique," the artist replied and turned away. Madison thought she heard the woman whisper, "The pain will come later."
Once again Madison stared at her tattoo. This was certainly an interesting start to her vacation.
First stop, the crazy tattoo artist. Next stop, a peaceful town in the mountains of New England. Hiking. Shopping in quaint little stores. Lounging among the smooth rocks in a cool stream on a hot summer day.
Madison could hardly wait.