Saturday, 4 June 2016

The Tattoo

This week, Chuck has us writing about maps... now this could be any type of map on the face of the planet. Mine? Well, mine is interesting to say the least. 


She awoke in the hospital bed with tubes running in and out of everywhere and panicked! The machines near her bed began to beep loudly and nursing staff rushed in as they pressed buttons and watched her carefully.
“Mary, it’s okay.” One said to her – even though that wasn’t her name, “We’ll just remove this tube from her throat. Now, take a deep breath and cough as you breathe out.”
The last of the tubes were removed and there was just a cannula in her right hand for hydration. She hadn’t said anything to anyone because her throat hurt like hell; even the exercises they gave her had hurt her throat too much. The food in front of her was all mushed up and she didn’t really feel like eating; just the smell of it was off-putting, so she pushed it around the plate until it went cold and the nurse came in and noticed she hadn’t eaten anything.
“Not hungry? Well, I’m not surprised.” She moved the table on wheels away from her, “But I know your name isn’t Mary either. It’s a name we give people who come in without any identification; it used to be Joan, but here we don’t like that name – in case you die. It’s rather depressing and offputting. So Mary is more positive.” She took the tray away and left her alone.

Days passed and Mary was in the day room looking out at the rain while the television blared some soap opera to the people in their wheelchairs and the other visitors.
Mary never received visitors; and the hospital wondered why.
But Mary spent her days looking out at the rainy days which turned into clear nights when she slept – something the nursing staff noticed just recently. But seeing nobody came to visit her, nobody knew who she was and she didn’t know what had happened to her, she was kept at the hospital until she was well enough to be on her own.

The halfway house wasn’t exactly something she pictured herself in, but it was a good enough place. There was a man who ran it, a curfew at night and she could lock her door. He watched her as she walked in with a tiny suitcase and the clothes she wore and that was it.
“You don’t own anything else?” he grunted as the stale stench of cigars permeated the room by the front door.
“No.” she whispered.
He looked outside, “Dammit, it’s pouring and it was sunny before.”
She glanced out the window, “I’m sorry.”
“Woman, it’s not your fault.” He handed her a key, a set of rules which were photocopied and grabbed her suitcase, opened it and looked through it, closed it up and handed it back, “Sorry, have to make sure you don’t have any weapons.”
She took it off him, “Where’s my room?”
“Top floor. I gave you a room where you don’t have share seeing you don’t have a criminal record, the hospital didn’t think it fair you have to share with ex-cons.” He sighed as she ascended the stairs and the hospital administrator stood there with the man, “Mary, eh? A weird name for some chick you’ve never seen before. And no last name?”
“No… but she does have this.” He handed him a print of a photo, “It’s a tattoo on her back… we can’t make heads or tails of it.”
The man looked at it, frowned, turned it around and around, “Which way is up?”
“We don’t know.” He said, “Thought you being an ex-cop you’d know some people who knew what’s going on.”
Her room was on the third floor, at the end of the hall. It wasn’t a big room – but then, she didn’t need a lot of space. Tall windows overlooked the small town she had landed in six weeks before with no memory. Mary… “No, not that.” She closed the door and put away the small collection of clothes the Salvation Army had given her in the wardrobe, “My name isn’t Mary… it’s not the name of His mother.” She looked out as the street lights came on and she pulled up the large window, leaned out and let the rain fall onto her face. However, instead of wetting her skin and hair, the water from the skies energized her, causing the tattoo on her back to begin to illuminate a bright white and her wings to unfurl from her shoulders; their brilliant light filled the room.
“What in almighty God are you!?” the man’s voice shouted through the light.
She turned from the window, from the rain, realising now she forgotten to lock the door to her room, “My name is not Mary.”
“Well, no shit Sherlock!” he shaded his eyes from her brilliance, “What is that tattoo on your back?”
“It is my mark; it is to remind me who I am.” She said as the wings folded away behind her shoulders and the light disappeared, making the room dark again, “I am a messenger of the Lord; and I am on the run.”
“What do you mean?” he asked.
She smiled, “I escaped from prison up there, and I’m a wanted criminal… but with this mark on my back, it’s going to be hard to hide – especially seeing I cause it to rain wherever I go.”
“What is that mark?” he asked.
“It’s a map.”
He rolled his eyes, “Of what?”
She looked at him as though the answer was obvious, “Of Heaven.”