Orion and the Girl With Ink
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Orion was, on the outside, a fairly typical teen-ager. He cussed whenever it seemed appropriate and he could get away with it, he stole whatever he couldn't afford (which was quite a bit), he smoked, he drank whenever anyone would let him, he played his music loud and got into fights and spent a lot of time being outraged at the behavior of nearly everyone older than him and annoyed by the behavior of nearly everyone younger than him. He dated, got laid, got bored, and dated some more. He'd smoked pot, tried extacy, and dabbled in a few other drugs. School was a waste of time, work something to be avoided, and even friends never quite seemed to get beyond his aggressive but funny outer personality.
Music, books, drugs, time spent just wandering the city; he'd spent a lot of years finding ways to escape normal life, bored and often repulsed by the day-to-day way of living most of his peers seemed to just slip into. There was a vast chasm between him and them, one many of them didn't see, that he stood on the edge of for hours and days at a time, trying to figure out why he couldn't relate to them, couldn't find contentment in everyday life. He was certain there was more to life than what he'd seen so far. There had to be more, some greater purpose, some act or event that would make it all meaningful, something that the rest of the sheep wouldn't understand and didn't know about but that surely, surely a clever boy like him could find.
He drifted in with what many people would consider the wrong crowd. Druggies, freaks, weirdos, geeks, he started hanging around an old one-screen theater that played the same movie every Saturday night, a campy sci-fi flick that drew a near-religious following of goths, punks, gay, bi, and kinky folk from all over the city. For someone with a quick mind and a distrust of 'normal' people, this was something of a relief; a drastic change from the preps and jocks, the arrogant girls and the testosterone-drunk boys in high school, at least. It was somewhere he could feel safe, somewhere that wouldn't single him out, somewhere he had started to feel as if he fit in.
The gathering there drew people of every age, from kids younger than him to adults long since gone grey-haired and everything in between. Some showed up only occasionally, some were part of the shadow cast that performed onstage during the film and were there at least every other week, and some were quite literally there every week, rain or shine, large crowd or small, having clearly adopted the weekly gathering as a home away from home. It was, perhaps unsurprisingly, one of those who was responsible for changing his life.
One of the regulars was a woman who, even for this crowd, was a bit... odd. She would arrive every week before the show even started, taking up her seat outside the theater and setting up her supplies, most often just a huge box full of pens, ink, glitter, stick-on gems, makeup, and the occasional paintbrush or rubber stamp. Anyone who would sit still for long enough would be drawn on, tattoolike images that could be washed away at the end of the night, many of them silly or done to the customer's request, but a few that were more than just ink.
She had a strange knack for fortunetelling, looking at someone for a few minutes, then pulling out pens and sketching what she saw, the flow of their energy, the color of their aura, the patterns brought to mind by the hazy shapes of their future and their past. Many of the people who had her draw on them didn't even try to give suggestions or make requests, just waited to see what she would reveal and hear what it meant. Orion wasn't sure he put much faith in such things, but he did have to admit that she could find oddly appropriate artwork for just about anyone, and that some of the things she drew and described were things she shouldn't have been able to know.
She had drawn on him a few times, had even offered when he needed some money to pay him if he'd be her canvas, and one day a family emergency convinced him that it was worth letting her do what she wanted on his skin for a quick twenty dollars.
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