Spenser had wanted to get a tattoo ever since he read the eponymous story by Paul Cooley. It was a super creepy story, but it dug at something primeval in him. He even knew what he was going to get. As an homage to the author he wanted to get an image from the book, the sigil of an ancient god.
He settled into the tattoo chair, face down, and waited as the artist cleaned his arm and positioned the transfer. He felt like he’d put his face through a toilet lid, but it had a nice cusion to it. The floor was clean enough to eat off of, but it was nothing exciting.
“Alright, mate, I’m going to start. This is gonna hurt a bit. It’s gonna look fantastic though.”
“I’m a little nervous.”
The artist patted him on the shoulder. “Nothin’ to worry about mate. I’ve had customers fall asleep during. Just breathe and keep breathing.”
Spenser nodded. He relaxed as the needles began piercing his flesh. He’d always had a high tolerance for pain and he was sure that he was ready for what was about to come. It wasn’t nearly as bad as his buddy told him it would be. It still hurt, though.
After what seemed like not long at all, the sound of the needle gun stopped.
He opened his eyes and was a little shocked to see that the floor of the tattoo place was no longer white linoleum. It looked like sandstone. The room had also gotten quite hot. “Dude, did I fall asleep?” He tried to raise his body up and felt the chains now strapping him down bite into his naked flesh.
“No. You died.” The voice sounded like it was filtered through grinding boulders. “Heart attack. Boom.”
“This is a dream.” He managed to move enough to rotate his head.
The face that greeted him was something out of a nightmare hatched by the lovechild of Giger and Escher. Its mouths were filled with flakes of obsidian. “No. This is hell.” It raised a needle tipped dagger dripping with black ichor. “Now let’s get that tattoo finished. This is going to hurt. Forever.”