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Terror Tatts by Robert Scottelaro

She was a one-nighter, had gruesome tattoos crouched under her clothes. It was a quick and somewhat disconcerting excavation: all those blood-dripping teeth and claws of real and imagined angry beasts. But she liked a lot of the same poets I did, could even quote stanzas, and what dwelled inside did not reflect what terrorized her skin. She told me she was struck twice by lightning which somehow freed her, was a barmaid at the end of the world. I looked to see if her face would change, but it didn’t. I never pursued either claim, just cuddled up beside a gaping maw, some inky pack of daunting creatures, just to feel the warmth beneath them.

Hear Robert Scotellaro read his piece

Robert Scotellaro is the author of eight chapbooks and six flash story collections. His work is included in W.W. Norton’s Flash Fiction International, Flash Fiction America, and six Best Small Fictions and Best Microfiction anthologies. With James Thomas, he’s co-edited New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction (W.W. Norton). Visit him at:

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