Following the cryptic directions offered by the tattooed messenger, Marlowe found himself in front of a rather peculiar establishment: “Inkspirations – Where the Ink Sees You Before You See It.” It was hard to say whether the shop seemed old because it had been there for a century, or because it had been artfully crafted yesterday to look vintage. As Marlowe pushed open the door, the faint tinkle of a bell ushered him in.
The inside of the shop was a maze of coloured ink bottles, sketches of fantastical creatures, and a faint blue glow illuminating certain areas of the room. At the centre, humming a tune to herself while dancing with a tattoo machine, was Inky Isabelle.
Recognising her from a framed photograph on the wall, Marlowe cleared his throat. “Um, hello? I believe I was here last night?”
Inky Isabelle, her eyes magnified comically behind enormous round glasses, squinted at Marlowe’s face and then, quite without invitation, lifted his shirt to peer at his back. “Ah! The Destiny Tattoo!” she exclaimed with glee.
Marlowe blinked in confusion. “Destiny Tattoo?”
The eccentric tattooist located close to Brisbane gave a dramatic sigh. “Oh, yes. Not just a mere map. It’s alive! Every choice you make, every thought you entertain, and every pastry you decide to indulge in will alter its path.”
Marlowe’s face went several shades of red and pale. “But I don’t recall asking for it!”
Inky Isabelle shrugged, her multiple bangle-clad wrists jingling. “The Tattoo chooses the person, not the other way around. You must have wanted it, at least subconsciously.”
The weight of the realisation began to sink in. Was he destined to be a walking, changing map forever? “Is there any way to remove it or at least control it?” Marlowe asked, a note of desperation in his voice.
Inky Isabelle’s face turned contemplative. “I’ve heard of a tattoo removal parlour in north Brisbane. But be warned, Destiny Tattoos are not so easily undone. However, understanding its purpose might be the key.”
As Marlowe left the parlour, his mind raced. It seemed his Brisbane adventure was far from over. But, as the map on his back would suggest, destiny had a funny way of guiding him right where he needed to be.