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Tattoo

Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes



a hand with a blue-green tattoo reaching for the book Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes on a bookshelf full of books

Bailey and her best friends Zo, Delia and Annabelle are chilling at the mall, looking for the best accessories to wear to the school dance. Delia is the fashionable one, Annabelle is the practical one, Zo is the tomboyish one and Bailey is the klutzy one, but somehow, they've been besties for forever. After Delia buys fingernail polish, Zo wants to go to the food court, but clumsy Bailey trips into a kiosk. Luckily, dreamy dreamboat Kane helps her up off the floor while his friends talk to her friends. When Kane and the other boys leave with an ambiguous “see you around,” the woman who works at the kiosk approaches the girls.


The kiosk woman, aka 1-800-CREEPYSALESLADY, has piercing blue eyes and a mysterious selling ability. She selects the perfect accessories for Delia (a black and white choker), Zo (a purple crystal on a gold chain) and Annabelle (a dark silver barrette), but she makes Bailey choose for herself. After knocking a bunch of stuff all over the place in true klutz fashion, something calls to Bailey: temporary tattoos, and she hears Sídhe blue, blood green echo through her mind. Weirdsies! Delia calls dibs on one of the four tattoos even though they're Bailey's and then the friends finally go to the food court.


After a meal that probably includes chili dogs and bacon cheeseburgers, the girls go to a shop to try on outfits for the dance. Delia picks out midriff revealing outfits for herself and Bailey and a strappy black dress for Zo even though she'd rather wear workout gear, and Annabelle chooses her own practical, long-skirted outfit. Clothing decided, they then pick tattoos and where they are going to place them for the three days they are meant to last. Perfect timing for the dance on Monday!


Delia puts hers on first, near her bellybutton, and it somehow doesn't require any water or anything. Bailey feels weird and hears weird voices and sees weird colors and everything gets worse when her tattoo is put on her lower back. Voices in her head say: To fight, to live / We two of three bestow this gift / To see, to feel / To stand upon the ancient Seal / To know, to feed / To change, l'Sídhe / From earth she comes / From air she breathes / From water, her prison / beneath the seas. / Fire burn / Desire bleed / As we will, so mote it be. And then, she blacks out.


Bailey imagines? fantasizes? prophesies? herself at the dance with Kane and, as they sway back and forth in true, awkward, slow-dance style, he tells her her hair is beautiful like moonlight. Uh, seriously? Her hair is blondish-brown and not moonlighty at all. But oh wait. Yes it is. It's silver! Kane disappears and Bailey wakes up. Her friends are all around and she asks them if they felt anything weird when they put their tattoos on, but they say they didn't, so she has to pretend she didn't either. They decide to change out of the clothes they're going to buy for the dance and then get some ice cream because it will probably help.


Before they can get out of the store, Zo complains about her strappy black dress, but then she says at least it's not as ugly as a lime green corduroy miniskirt, but then, in maybe a coincidence, the friend group’s nemesis, Alex, shows up, asking the shop worker about size 2 hot pants, but she's wearing a lime green corduroy miniskirt! They get into a fight with the mean girl who has nasty things to say about each of them, but then, Bailey hears the last words of the weird chant that she heard when she put her tattoo on, Fire burn / Desire bleed, coursing through her head and all of the sudden, Alex's shoe erupts in flames! Bailey's tattoo feels hot to the touch, too. Zo puts the fire out, Annabelle asks if Alex is okay, and then they leave the mall without ice cream. She comes. / To fight, to live. / It has begun. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! WHO IS SHE?!!


As the girls walk home from the mall, Bailey thinks about the lines she's been hearing and the fact that she just maybe set someone on fire, and Annabelle responds to her thoughts. Everyone is puzzled because Annabelle thought Bailey was speaking aloud, but no. She read her mind. She is psychic! When they get to Bailey's house, they try to figure out their powers and how they obviously came from the tattoos. It's lucky Annabelle is really smart and now psychic because she's able to work a lot of confusing things out without them needing to be said aloud. Delia isn't paying attention but daydreaming about her Mango Mermaid nail polish when it suddenly changes colors. She can transmogrify things! It makes her a little dizzy to change a gum wrapper into a pair of Chanel socks, and Zo, still trying to figure out what her power is, warns Delia that Bailey's mom is probably going to come in thinking she's sick, and then she does. Zo can see the future! They decide they have to go back to the mall the next day and talk to 1-800-CREEPYSALESLADY.


That night, everyone sleeps over at Bailey's, but unlike their regular sleepovers, Bailey isn't the first to fall asleep, afraid she's going to unintentionally erupt in flames and burn the house down. Of course, in trying to not fall asleep, she does immediately and has a dream featuring a waterfall and a stone floor and two super hot immortals, Adea, who has red and black hair, and Valgius, who has blue and black hair, who tell her that they're going to need help to protect the Seal with a Capital S. They are Sídhe, and maybe Bailey is too? She keeps thinking about Blood of the Sídhe and they tell her that she's always known all this stuff. She wakes and tells Annabelle about the dream, hoping that she can just psychic it from her mind, but that doesn't seem to be how her power works. Bailey writes everything down for Annabelle to study and then has another dream with the moonlight hair and Kane at the dance in which he tells her he's always known her before disappearing.


The next day, they get up and start walking to the mall. Combining all their permits does not equal one real driver's license and they point blank refuse to use the one Delia transmogrified, so they set out on foot. What's the point in living within walking distance of the mall if you don't walk there? While they walk, Bailey tells them all about her dream, which they take pretty well, but then Kane rolls up next to them in his SUV while Bailey is a mess of hair from goofing around with Zo. He offers them a ride to the mall and the friends make Bailey sit in the front because they all know she hearts Kane. Delia asks him if he's going to the dance and when he says yes, she says Bailey is going too which is a little awkward and on the nose, but whatever, it works. As he drops them off, he asks Bailey to save him a dance.


Unfortunately the creepy kiosk is closed in preparation for Mabon, which, what? that's weird. Annabelle suggests Bailey touch her tattoo while they stand at the kiosk and she hears the voices of Adea and Valgius again, saying she comes, but this time, she's angry and vengeful and also Our lives. Your fight. Both worlds. That doesn't sound good. Annabelle then suggests Bailey touch stuff at the kiosk and when she touches the Mabon sign, she gets the same she comes stuff. Zo tries and when she touches the sign, her eyes roll back and her face starts glowing. She sees a vision of a girl on an eleventh floor balcony who is singing a creepy song while staring at nothing, then her eyes glow blue and she leaves her body which topples down to the ground below. They determine that, since Zo can see the future, this hasn't happened yet. Luckily there are only two hotels in the area with balconies that are that high up. They rush to the nearest one to hopefully stop this girl from falling to her death.


They picked the right hotel and after transmogrifying locks into pudding multiple times, they make it into the girl's room and find her on the balcony. They try to get her back inside but she won't budge. She starts humming and Bailey hears two voices coming from her, kind of like how Adea and Valgius talk to her. Then she sees weird tentacley strands of something forming a net and pulling out her soul! Bailey gets mad and sets the tentacles on fire which is great because they snap, but then the girl starts screaming, you know, because of the fire. Delia changes the fire into honey which coats the girl. She screams even more now because being coated in randomly appearing honey is also terrible, but Annabelle is able to mind control her. She tells her to get cleaned up so they can talk. Like a hypnotized zombie, she repeats her orders and does as she is told. Bailey touches her tattoo and hears that they are safe, but then she receives another warning not to go out after dark because they will only be protected with the day in majority. She will find them and destroy everything. Yikes.


The girl gets cleaned up and comes out of the bathroom questioning everything that just happened, but Annabelle mind-powers her enough so she won't ask too many questions and also learns about her and why she's in town. The girl, Amber, is in town for a weird, New Agey sort of conference with her mom but she's worried because she broke a circle which Bailey thinks consists of beach volleyball players because that's who Amber seemed to be looking at from the balcony. Annabelle tells Amber she should apologize to the circle and that things will be okay after that. Amber then asks about their tattoos and thinks that they look kind of like a language, so Annabelle decides they're going to the University linguistics department to ask for help, leaving Amber behind. They head to the bus station and Bailey mentions the last warning she got about not being out after dark. It's late afternoon, so they'd better hurry.


After a quick chat with Annabelle’s mom, they go to see a bearded old man professor of ancient languages, Lionel. He determines that Bailey and Annabelle's tattoos are pictograms, maybe of a sun and moon, but those could represent anything, that Delia’s is probably a symbol, too, but Zo’s doesn't look like it belongs and might be a combination of letters in different languages. Lionel takes a phone call while the girls begin looking through the hundreds of books he has. Annabelle finally finds her symbol and learns it is druidic. Lionel rejoins them and, after the druidic discovery, knows a colleague he can contact. He sends the girls home and will contact them the next day if he learns anything. A touch to Bailey's tattoo gives another message of getting home after dark and that the she who is after them is Sídhe. Duh. Pretty sure we already figured that out!


They decide to spend that night at Zo’s house where they order pizza and Annabelle uses the computer to look up information about the Sídhe and Adea and Valgius. She learns that Sídhe are fairies and that some thought they were fairy warriors and that Adea and Valgius might've cast a spell on them to give them their powers. She also learns that the New Agey conference that Amber and her mother are in town for is called Daughters of Adea and they see Annabelle's tattoo symbol on the website. Looks like they'll be going back to the hotel tomorrow! But now, it's time for pizza, or in Delia's case, pizza transmogrified into salad. Gasp! The horror!


Bailey dreams of Adea and Valgius that night and Valgius is hurt. They haven't been true warriors in a very long time but she is coming and she wants to use humans as her playthings, and she already knows Bailey. She might not know that Bailey has powers or that she's with Adea and Valgius and the Seal, but she knows her, which seems really bad. Bailey cries and Adea uses her tears to protect the Seal, and then they tell Bailey that she is called Alecca and that there is power in a name. Bailey wakes and immediately writes the name down and notices a cut on her arm. Zo wakes up, too, and assumes what appears to be a guardian position over her friends. When Bailey goes back to sleep, she has a Kane dream again. He kisses the cut on her arm and it feels better, but just as they're about to kiss-kiss, he disappears and Bailey wakes up. It's time to go to the hotel.


There, they realize that the New Agey group doesn't really know anything about Adea, thinking that Adea is an acronym for A Dawn Ever Always, which doesn't even make sense. As they're about to leave, they are approached by a woman called Keiri who does know what's going on. She takes the girls to her room, reveals that she has psychic abilities like Annabelle, and tells them that Adea, Valgius and Alecca are the Fates and they represent life, birth and death. When Bailey realizes this, she blacks out.


Bailey sees Adea and Valgius making out and being caught by Alecca. She seems pissed because they're supposed to be a trio, but a trio can't work well if two of the three are in love with each other. She pretty much tells them that she's going to destroy everyone and everything because she knows everything about humans while they only know about each other. They plead with her that they're still a trio but she's like, nah dog. She recreates the chant from the beginning, changing it to be more violent and scary. Oh great. 


Bailey wakes up and explains what she just saw, which excites Delia because they're basically caught in the middle of a fairy soap opera. Bailey is ready for this all to be over, so it's a good thing that the tattoos are temporary, but Keiri questions that. She looks at the tattoos and realizes that they are made with Sídhe blood, which is green, like all the chanting has been telling them, but Bailey heard the tattoos calling to her before they put the tattoos on. Keiri thinks that Bailey is a descendant of the Sídhe, which explains her dual colored hair. Bailey thinks about Adea and Valgius’s hair being red and black and blue and black and then Alecca’s, which she remembers is silver and blond. Okay great. She's part fairy and they're all stuck in the middle of a love triangle. What’s next?


Bailey starts writing down her dream while Keiri examines the tattoos. Annabelle takes the barrette she got from the saleslady from her hair so Keiri can see the tattoo she put on her neck better and suddenly, they can hear each other's thoughts, which they were unable to do before. Ah ha! The perfect accessories the saleslady gave them enhance their tattoo powers! Keiri gives Zo a crystal on a string, kind of like the one she got from the lady, and determines that Zo, in addition to seeing the future, can also scry to find the location of things, and the crystal, when used over a map, will show her the way. They test it by asking where hot guys are, then specifically where Kane is. Zo sees that he's at the school, then she has a vision of the school dance. Alecca is there and she's draining the lives of the students who crumple to the ground. They've got to stop her! While they're discussing the dance, Annabelle gets a call from Lionel who tells them that he thinks their tattoo symbols are a prophecy.


They go see Lionel who has spent most of the time since they last saw him with transparencies of their tattoos, combining and recombining them into sentences made in ancient languages. He's not sure of the exact meaning, but he has decided that with various combinations, the tattoos mean something about life, death, souls, a battle, a spider, and an end. To ease the extreme stressful tension, the girls joke about adding “in bed” to the end of fortune cookies, making the horrible weird combinations end in the silly phrase. As dark approaches and they're about to go home, Zo has another premonition. She sees a little boy in a bathtub stare off at nothing on the ceiling, like Amber, then he starts humming, like Amber, then he drowns himself. Zo needs a map so they can find the boy before he dies.


Even though Delia changes their shoes into roller blades, they don't make it in time to save the boy. Zo has another vision and Bailey touches her, causing her to join in. They see Alecca in the ceiling, spinning a web of tentacles that pull out the boy’s soul. Well, at least now the prophecy makes more sense. Alecca is a soul spider and she's eating children's souls to become more powerful so she can end the battle between herself and Adea and Valgius… in bed? No, it's not time for that joke now. They all go home to prepare for the next day. They have to stop Alecca from stealing the souls of their classmates at the dance.


The next morning, Bailey takes a shower and gets ready for school. As the water hits her tattoo, she gets a zap and a final message from Adea and Valgius. Time runs thin, blood runs thin. She realizes that they're one going to have the powers as long as they have the tattoos and their tattoos are only good for three days. On the bus, they talk about using their gifts to defeat Alecca. Maybe Annabelle can use her mind control while Bailey circles her in fire, then Zo can scry for a weakness, and Delia can transmogrify a weapon. It seems like a good plan, but then Annabelle remembers a line that Bailey told them about being protected while the day is in majority. Today, the last day of their tattoos, is Mabon, the solstice. The last day that daylight will last longer than night. The power between good and evil is shifting in Alecca's favor. They've got to stop her before the dance, before she can take over, before she destroys the world. … In bed.


Bailey gets pulled out of her trig class to the gym to assist the dance committee. Uh. What? When she arrives, she sees the committee consists of Zo, Delia and Annabelle, so Annabelle mind controlled the principal, but it's fine because they have to figure out how to stop Alecca. Annabelle thinks that, since together, their tattoos symbolize life and death and Adea and Alecca represent life and death, maybe their powers will overlap. They have to be prepared to stop Alecca at all costs, which means they have to find her. Zo tries to scry using the crystal Keiri gave her, but it bounces all over the place and shatters against the wall, but then she pulls out the one she got from 1-800-CREEPYSALESLADY and it doesn't fly off and break. It must have magic like Annabelle’s barrette. But what about Delia's choker?


As Bailey watches the crystal, she gets sucked into her Kane dance dream. The same thing that happens every other time happens again, moonlight hair, hand holding, awkward dancing, but this time, they kiss. And then, he says over and over again that he wants her, and she says she wants him, and then they start humming. Oh no! Dream Kane is Alecca! Luckily Bailey is able to snap out of the tentacles before Alecca sucks out her soul, but when she does, all four of the girls are transported to the waterfall room with the Seal.


Alecca is there, taunting them, especially Zo, with what they want most. She'll be able to give them all whatever it is that they want, all she wants in return is their souls. Is that really too much to ask? She knows what it's like to be human, to be so full of desire for someone else, to truly love, but she also knows what it's like to have that ripped away and now she wants everyone to suffer. Bailey remembers their half-baked plan from the bus and Annabelle does, too. She begins to distract Alecca because, with the barrette, Alecca cannot read her mind, then Bailey surrounds her with fire. Unfortunately, Alecca also has fire powers and fights back against Bailey, then chokes her and flings her across the room.


Bailey thinks to Annabelle that they need to keep Alecca on the Seal because it will be able to stop her. Annabelle catches on and gets Zo and Delia in on the plan, too, and they mean girl her into distraction. Delia is especially good at this, commenting negatively on Alecca's hair while Zo mocks her. Delia then pulls off her choker and throws it to Zo who throws it around Alecca's neck. The choker literally chokes Alecca, cutting into her throat, and making her bleed onto the Seal which crumbles beneath her feet and she disappears.


The friends rush to Bailey who tells them it's not over. They've got to seal the Seal. They pick her up and carry her to the Seal and then she begins the chant that she first heard with Adea and Valgius, but changes it to suit their needs. Annabelle catches on and pushes it into Zo and Delia's minds, and soon they're all chanting. To fight, to live / you two of three bestowed this gift / We see, we feel / We stand upon the ancient Seal / From earth she came /  from air she breathed / From deep within her hatred seethed / Fires burned / Desires freed / And as we will. So mote it be. With the last line, and with Bailey's blueish greenish blood dripping down on the Seal, it closes up with bright rays of light.


With that, Bailey finds herself sitting on top of the ocean, none other than 1-800-CREEPYSALESLADY there with her. She tells Bailey that everything that happened was set in motion years and years ago when Adea and Valgius had a child. She brought the child to this world where its line continued for generations and now sits right here on the ocean with her. What? Bailey? Yes! 1-800-CREEPYSALESLADY reveals that she set up the kiosk just for Bailey because she would be the one to set the world back in balance. She gave her friends their accessories to help them, too, and now, the world will right itself, even without Alecca. Bailey feels pretty proud of herself and her friends for vanquishing Death, but 1-800-CREEPYSALESLADY laughs and calls Bailey a foolish girl. Alecca was never the fate of death, she was the fate of life! How else would she have always known her? After that, but before Bailey awakens from this dream, she asks 1-800-CREEPYSALESLADY who she is. She says she's been known by many names: Poseidon, Neptune, Triton, but among the Sídhe, she is called Morgan. With that, Bailey wakes up.


The four friends sit on the floor of the gym while Bailey tells them what she just saw and who her great great great x1000 grandparents are. Delia wonders if that means she'll get to keep some of her powers, but speaking of powers, they only have a few hours left with theirs, so they need to use them to find hot guys! Unfortunately the principal comes in, but luckily Annabelle still has her powers, so she tells the principal that they did a good job setting up the dance and that they should go home for the rest of the day. He agrees, but nemesis Alex who just walked in gets mad. He tells her to go back to class while Bailey and her friends leave the gym.


That night at the dance, Delia, Zo and Annabelle force Bailey to find Kane and dance with him. As they push her out on the dance floor, each girl feels her tattoo and Bailey sees them disappear, but then she crashes right into Kane. They dance, and it's awkward and clumsy and kinda cute. There are no desires and wanting, just two regular people dancing. Of course, Bailey trips again, and as Kane helps her up, he sees her tattoo and asks if it's real. Uhhh… yes. Yes it is. Bailey hears Adea and Valgius in her head and knows something is different about herself. She rushes back to her friends and shows them the tattoo, which they notice is a mix of her original one plus Annabelle’s, the combination they know from Lionel means Life. Yep, she can read their thoughts. Bailey is now the Third Fate, the Fate of life… in bed.


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