He draws courage from his Ink.

I draw my Ink from my forearms, pulling out both revolvers from my skin like I am Clint Eastwood or something.

The only reason I know who Clint is and the only reason I know what those glowing Chinese calligraphied characters mean is because of the knowledge dropped on me by Inker Flea. The man I’m on my way to see.

I need new Ink before I do anything else.

This guy with courage charges at me and I catch glimpses of other Ink he posseses under the flaps of his hemp vest.



This guy had probably never been outside the Mid-North Region, yet had enough Mandarin on his skin to convince me he’s likely a language preserver; channels the old world words to imbibe himself with their ancient power.

Like my mantra.

Distance closing, I tap into a microcosm of my mantra’s mania and pump my legs foward into the orchard, away from this warrior farmer’s discontent.

I turn my head and see him pull something from his back.




They hit some trees near me, so I run faster. I turn my eyes once more and see him pulling at the blades Mother Nature was trying to reclaim.

This guy is fast.

I hit the end of the orchard and there’s a small clearing with a big rock. I get behind it and take aim.

I look up and see a speck getting bigger like my unresolved issues.

I tap into my mantra. The words warm my hemp poncho, across my shoulders, as I make leap to the top of the rock.

I use mantra vision focus and lock onto my shot. My aim is perfect. I will not miss. I cannot miss. My life, in this moment, in this space, in this place, in this time depends entirely on me making this shot.

I pull the trigger and miss.

Damn! Ink ain’t cheap. One final bullet.

He whips a tomahawk at me and without thought I shoot it so it lands in front of the rock.

Great. Now I got no bullets. I am such a dumbass.

I put away my guns as he flings his remaining blade in the general vicinity of my skull.

I jump and land in front of my big rock. His final tomahawk lands somewhere in the wild woods behind me.

I put up my fists and take stance.

He screams wild and comes in swinging.

I bob and weave, avoid his touch like radiation. I keep my eyes where they need to be. I was hoping for mediation.

Instead, I give him a right hook, he stumbles, and hits his head on the rock.

I check his breathing.

He’s out cold.

The sky rumbles and I look up to see the flashes of green light, as the purple rain falls and hits the ground.

The rock sizzles and smokes. With this guy out cold, there is no way he stands a chance against that burning rain. I throw him over my shoulder and pick up his tomahawk.

I carry him into the wild woods and put him next to where his other tomahawk landed, underneath the branched protection of an oak tree.

I take his other tomahawk and throw it to his side.  He’ll be happy about that when he wakes.

I head in the direction of the next town. I need new Ink and Inker Flea is the only one who will Ink me.

The sky flashes.

My skin burns.

I move forward.