The Compass Rose

November 24, 2014: Mack decides to get a tattoo. It changes everything.

Inku - East Village

Strange Tattoo parlor.



  • The Horishi

Mood Music:

Captain Mack Linden had been having a rough time since her release from the hospital, in the wake of a supernatural attack. She'd been forcing herself to visit the spot in her engine room frequently, even putting her heavy bag and mats down there to work out in the small bit of open space. It was an act of defiance of the demon that tried to drown her and claim her soul. He failed in the former, but did he succeed in the latter? When she did die, would she be dragged down into some hellish Davy Jones locker?

The nightmares were the hard part. She was drinking too heavily, and she knew it. When one of the hands came to her raving about a little tattoo shop in the East Village called "Inku", and how the tiny Japanese tattoo artist used hand tools instead of a needle gun, she decided it was time to permanently remind herself who she is and that her life had purpose.

The tiny shop was easy to miss, nestled between a vinyl records reseller and a vintage clothing shop. Bells chimed as Mack pushed the door open and a wave of incense assaulted her. It was dim, with serene music and the burbling of a small electric fountain making it seem more like a spa than a tattoo parlor. A short, slight, aged Japanese man stepped out from a doorway covered in a beaded curtain, and gave her a formal bow of greeting.

I have been expecting you," he said in careful English. Mack wasn't sure how that was possible as she hadn't made an appointment. "You are the Navigator." She chalked it up to her deck hand telling him about her.

"That's me, Captain Mack Linden. I wanted to get a tattoo of…" she began.

"A compass rose," he finished for her. "I am the Horishi. Please, come." He escorted her into a small dark room and she laid face down on a massage table, sans shirt. The rest was a bit of a blur, pain, blood, incense and music, the soft murmurs, unintelligible, of the Horishi. The words she could make out sounded like, "You will show the way and reclaim what you have lost." A lot of mumbo jumbo.

Then she was approving of the compass rose between her shoulder blades, paying less than she expected, and heading home with instructions to care for the tattoo. When she got back to the boat, she crashed hard in her cabin and didn't wake up for 12 hours. Still groggy, she took a shower then brushed her teeth. On the door of the head she had a long mirror for checking her clothes, and she glimpsed something in it, reflected in the mirror over the sink.

Startled she straightened and looked harder. The compass rose looked as it did the day before, but the rest of her back was covered in other faint marks, dotted lines, scrawled numbers, and the indistinct outlines of land masses.

"What in the hell!?!?" she yelped, startling Rufus and sending him padding in to check on her. He whined at her back and sat down. "I am so sick of this supernatural crap!" Then she shrieked. In the mirror, behind her, she saw a translucent figure that looked just like her grandfather. The tile in the head was nice and cool when she fainted on it.

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