Marked woman

When Beth’ny asked Joni to the gig Joni thought it might be a joke. But there was no mistaking the fingers Beth’ny slid around her neck, the subtle pull that dragged them together, or the lusciousness of her whisper. ‘Please say yes.’

‘Oh…y…yeah. That’d be great.’

Beth’ny Quadril. Goth goddess. She turned every head she passed, and in their Literature tute she understood the nuance of every text. And now they’d be going out together. It was unbelievable.

To celebrate Joni got drunk then had one of those inspirations she got when she’d had a few too many.

At the caf next morning Beth’ny made a bee-line for her. ‘Hi Joni,’

‘Beth’ny. Hi.’ Joni’s voice squeaked like a rusty hinge. She couldn’t think of anything to say until a girl walked past sporting a tattoo the length of her arm.


‘D’you think?’ Beth’ny looked unimpressed.


‘Mucky colours, fuzzy lines. They never look as good as they do in photos.’

Joni’s hand shot to the wad of cotton on her shoulder. It would be days before the scab formed then heeled. Her face turned as red as the ink of the rose petals she’d always wear, where Beth’ny’s fingers had first touched her.


2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (