The Tattoo - Short Story

Updated: Mar 23, 2021

A short story based on the writing prompt found on Pinterest.

"At birth, everyone has the date they will die tattooed on their arm. You were supposed to die yesterday.”

The Tattoo - Created by Ashleigh Nicole

I had never known how I would die. In fact, very few people did. For the most part, we just knew when. It was a terrifying prospect, waking every morning and crossing another day off the calendar, as your end drew closer. But it was just our way of life. 

For centuries it had been this way. It started with the takeover, but that is a story for another day. Right now, I want to tell you my story. You see, when I was born, my arm was tattooed with the date 06/05/2517. Today, the date is 07/05/2517. I should be dead. 

Yesterday, I awoke with a feeling of dread. I had no idea what to expect, and tried to get on with my day as though it were any other. Today, I awoke with a feeling of confusion. So far, I have not left my apartment. I do not dare. What will happen to me? Do they know that I’m alive? A friend once told me they had records for everyone, and they marked everyone off when their day came. Would they be coming for me? Maybe it was a mistake. The wrong date. It could be today. It could be next year. I had always known with absolute certainty that I would die on 06/05/2517. Now, I have no clue, and that terrifies me more than anything. 

I could run away, but they will still find me. Their resources are quite literally out of this world. The rational part of my brain keeps telling me to pick up the phone or go to the hospital. It’s surely just an innocent mistake. I had heard of people finding ways to prevent their deaths, but what was the point? It was a crime to do so. I certainly hadn’t tried, wouldn’t of known where to start in the first place. 

The rest of my mind is racing. And I still don’t dare leave the house, even move from my chair. I just keep recording this story. My phone rings. I had seen in a museum once that phones used to be these little machines made from plastics and metals, that people carried around. Now, a chip in my ear buzzes, and to answer it all I have to do is activate a button on on the back of my ear lobe. Do I answer? Who would be calling? Everyone I knew, knew my death-date. I bring up the information screen in the palm of my hand. It is an unknown number. The only unknown numbers in this century, belong to them. 

I don’t answer. Eventually, the buzzing stops. The sudden silence sinks in, and my mind starts to panic. I had never heard of another one living past their date, the exception being those that found a way to stop it, but none of them lived for much longer. No, someone who had lived purely due to fate, I feel would have been big news. Does that make me the only one? I am frightened. I look around my small apartment. I don’t know how long I have, but I now know they will come for me. I don’t know how I know, it’s just a feeling I can’t shift. 

That’s it, I’ve decided. I’m going to pack a bag and leave. I’ll stick to the back roads, and get as far as I can. I hear a commotion outside in the street. I tell myself it’s just the neighbors fighting again. I can’t stay here any longer. At first, the prospect of just staying in my home forever, however long that might be for me, was very appealing. Not now. I’m too scared, and I hate to admit that but I am. I have no idea what’s going to happen but if I keep moving, maybe it won’t seem so bad.

I look at the tattoo on my arm one more time. I’ve looked at it at least a hundred times since I woke up. It says the same thing it always has. I keep expecting to see that the date has changed, but it hasn’t it. It just tells me the same thing, but that is now useless information. 

That’s it, I’m going. 

There’s a knock at my door. I don’t move, frozen in place by fear. The knock gets louder. I think they’re going to break down my door. 

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