A tattoo that's been on your hand for as long as you can remember. A chance happening. A threat.

A story.


2. How It All Began

It all started with an explosion.


"Lily Marinos, stay back. I want to talk to you." All eyes swiveled to a girl in her late teens. Her hair was dark, almost black, tied back in a ponytail. Her emerald eyes were tastefully ringed with black eyeliner. Her head was resting on her hand, which had a black angel wing tattoo running from the inside edge of her wrist to just below her index finger. She raised her head from her hand and looked around. "Tonto," One girl murmured. Her friend laughed, nodding. When the bell went, and everyone else filed out, Lily instead went up to the teacher's desk. "I've heard rumors that you've been receiving abuse over that tattoo of yours." She glanced down at it. Everyone called it a tattoo, but she knew it wasn't. It had been there for as long as she could remember, even since she had been a child. Doctors in her hometown had been baffled by it. Eventually they had just concluded that it was a freak happening. But everyone in this town thought it was a tattoo. She nodded meekly. "It's fine, though, sir, I can handle it." He sighed. "If you ever need to talk, Lily, you know where I am." She nodded. "Thanks, sir."


A tall boy with short dark hair and blue-grey eyes pushed open the doors to the school. Several students stared at him. All of the other guys wore stylish yet casual clothes. He wore a white t-shirt and black combats, with army dog tags around his neck. He had a denim jacket over his t-shirt. He heard various bitter comments murmured as he passed existing students on his way to the office. "Jeez, this guy thinks he's in a freaking military school." "Seriously? Is he serious?" He knocked on the door of the office and entered. The receptionist looked up. "I'm Josh Flint, the transfer student from Tennessee." His accent was muted slightly, but there, none the less. "Of course. Take a seat, someone will be along in a moment." Josh sat on one of the various chairs dotted around the office, dumping his bag at his feet. A few moments later, a tall, thin man with dark hair that was just starting to grey appeared. "Josh Flint?" Josh nodded, getting to his feet. "I'm Mikael Barnes, the principal. I hope you'll enjoy your experience of our school. Would you like a tour or to go straight to class?" Josh's accent always became stronger when he was nervous. "Uh, I think I'd like a tour, please, sir." He nodded. "Follow me."


Lily swung her bag onto her shoulder, heading for her next class. She straightened her black denim jacket. Underneath it, she wore a white t-shirt and purple jeans. On her feet, she wore black army boots. Her angel tattoo both belonged and looked oddly out of place with her outfit. Her bag was white, with various lyrics scrawled on it in Sharpie. Laughter broke out as she passed the science labs. The laughter came from a group standing a few feet away, all clearly watching her. She stopped outside her next class, choosing to remain standing instead of sitting. 


Josh was having trouble taking it all in. This school was way bigger than the one he had previously attended back home in Tennessee. He looked around, taking note of the debating team posters and baseball try-out posters. He watched the people, noting the stares he got and if they were good and bad. He was trying to remember all of the facilities and their locations at the same time, but he was struggling. "And right up here are our prized science labs. Your next class is English in 3G. Here is your timetable, your map, and all the other relevant paperwork you might need. I'll let you get acquainted with your fellow classmates. You know where to find me if you need me." Barnes turned to walk away, aand at that precise moment, there was an explosion from the science labs.

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