How I Met the Headless Horseman

I generally think the world is a scary enough without needing to embellish stories, particularly those aimed to scare. Isn’t it enough that we’ve got vampires, shapeshifters, and trolls, all of whom can shred a human in the blink of an eye? Do we really need to invent more horrors? Of course, when it comes to Halloween, I guess anything goes.

It was All Hallow’s Eve a few years back and I was sitting in the Cock’s Crow, watching a rugby match on the television while nursing a beer. The bar was quiet as it was near closing and most people had already left for another bar or a costume party. I had no plans was enjoying the quiet after the chaos earlier in the evening.

Dolan stood behind the bar, chatting with some regular while drying some glasses. The minotaur looked relieved that the night was nearly over and the bar was still in one piece. Catching his eye, I held up my empty beer bottle and gave it a little shake. He nodded and dropped the towel he had been holding before reaching into the cooler to get me a fresh beer. I slid to my feet and crossed the short distance to the bar where I set down my empty bottle and picked up the fresh.

“Last call,” he said as he tossed out the empty.

“Sounds good,” I replied. Reaching into my back pocket, I handed Dolan my debit card. “Close out my tab. It’s time to head home.”

Dolan snorted, turning to ring up my three beers. “Yeah. Be careful driving. All the lunatics are out.”

My laughter was trapped in my throat as the front door was thrown open and a large headless man walked in dressed in black with a head tucked under his right arm.

“Hey Lester,” Dolan called as he turned back to hand me my card and receipt. “It’s last call.”

The head sighed and his shoulders slumped as he walked over to the bar. “That’s fine. I just need a quick one before heading home. Give me a single-barrel on the rocks.”

The headless body approached an empty stool a couple down from me at the bar and set the head down on the shining surface before dropping heavily on the stool.

“Damn it, Lester! Head off the bar! I just wiped everything down,” Dolan growled as he turned around with the drink. He slammed it down and picked up his cleaning rag.

The body grabbed the head and placed it on the neck with a practiced ease. The accompanying sucking noise was something I could have done without hearing, but then I had seen and heard worse.

Lester picked up his drink and downed half of it while I focused my attention on my new beer. He sighed again with relief and reached into his pocket, pulling out a ten dollar bill to throw on the bar for Dolan.

The minotaur snatched up the ten and went back to wiping down the counter. “You know, you should talk to Gage,” Dolan drawled, jerking one large horn in my direction as he spoke to the former headless man. “He’s pretty good with them tattoos and potions. I bet he could get your head to stay on.”

The stranger slowly turned his glass with his blunted fingertips and he looked at me. His eyes were brown and surrounded by a web of lines and wrinkles that were accompanied by threads of gray through his brown hair.

“Human?” I asked.

He snorted, straightening on his stool. “Of course! You think I’m some pixie?”

“You’re the first human I’ve ever seen who could remove his head.”

“Yeah,” he grumbled, deflating before my eyes. “Doubt there is too many like me around.”

“Curse?”

Lester grabbed his drink and downed the last of it with a small wince. “Yeah, not that I did anything to deserve it. Story is that my great-great-grandfather – or something like that – pissed off a witch. Probably killed her cat. Anyway, she cursed him so that his head would fall off every Halloween. Of course, the curse is hereditary – follows down the line to every first-born son. The curse will leave me and pass on to my son in ten years when he reaches eighteen.”

I nodded, shoving my debit card and receipt in my wallet, while pulling out a business card. My first thought was that he should be grateful the witch didn’t make his other head fall off every Halloween.

“I can’t get rid of the curse, but I think I’ve got a potion and tattoo that could lock your head to your neck,” I said, sliding the Asylum business card across the bar to Lester.

He picked it up and frowned. “Well, I don’t know about getting a tattoo. That’s kind of dangerous, right?”

“No more than you losing your head,” I said as I stood.

“I’ll think about it,” he said and I knew his answer was already “no.”

I shook my head as I pushed away from the bar. With a wave to Dolan, I walked for the door. “At least be sure to tell your son he’s got that option when the time comes.” I called before walking out of the bar.

Lester wasn’t going to come see me because he had found a way to make the curse work for me. Judging by the black attire, he was probably renting himself out for Halloween parties and fake haunted houses. As long as the curse was helping pad his wallet, he didn’t feel the need to have his head permanently affixed to his body.

I just hoped he didn’t lose his head as he made his money.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Love comes in many varied forms. There is the love of family, love of country, and love of chocolate. But for Jocelynn Drake, one truly treasured love is the love of a good story. This Midwestern native spends the majority of her time lost in the strong embrace of a good book. When she’s not hammering away at her keyboard, frowning at her monitor, or curled up with a book, she can usually be found cuddling with her cat Demona, walking her dog Max, or flinging curses at the TV while playing a video game. Outside of books, cats, and video games, she is completely enamored of Bruce Wayne, Ezio Auditore, travel, tattoos, explosions, fast cars, and Anthony Bourdain (but only when he’s feeling really cranky). (Photo © Imaging Perspectives)

ABOUT THE BOOK: BUYER BEWARE… Looking for a tattoo – and maybe a little something extra: a burst of good luck, a dollop of love, or even a hex on an ex? Head to the quiet and mysterious Gage, the best skin artist in town. Using his unique potions  - a blend of extraordinary ingredients and special inks – to etch the right symbol, he can fulfil any heart’s desire. But in a place like Low Town, where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires happily walk among humanity, everything has a price.

No one knows that better than Gage. Turning his back on his own kind, he left the magical Ivory Towers where cruel witches and warlocks rule, a decision that cost him his right to practice magic. If he disobeys, his punishment – execution  - will be swift. Though he’s tried to fly under the radar, Gage can’t hide from powerful warlocks who want him dead — or the secrets of his own past. But with the help of his friends, Trixie, a gorgeous elf who hides her true identity, and a hulking troll named Bronx, Gage just might make it through this enchanted world alive.

JOCELYNN DRAKE ONLINEWebsite | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

GIVEAWAY!

Jocelynn is kindly giving away TWO (2) signed final copies of Angel’s Ink

For entry into the giveaway please answer the following question then fill out the form below: If you could get a magical tattoo to help improve your life, what would it be?

This giveaway is International and ends 31st October 2012

Oops! We could not locate your form.

Carolyn

Carolyn created Book Chick City in July 2009 due to her love of books. A Brit chick obsessed with zombies, kick-arse chicks and sexy heroes. She's also seriously addicted to chocolate, shopping, and coffee. Her favourite genres are Urban Fantasy, Romance and Zombie Lit... Brrraaaaiiinnnnsss!

82 Comments


Molly F. October 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm

I would get a star or a four leaf clover. I need all the luck I can get.

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Carmen October 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm

“My first thought was that he should be grateful the witch didn’t make his other head fall off every Halloween.” THAT made me LAUGH!

Hmmm magical tattoo – I honestly am having a hard time thinking what I would have, wonder if there would be such a one that helped you concentrate, cut down on procrastination? Idleness is my biggest hold back in life!

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Elizabeth@Nightmare on Bookstreet October 18, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Wow this book sounds great and I love the cover!
Magical tattoo…hmm. I love the idea of angel wings, I love stars, or possibly a bird of some kind. Or just some special words.
Great giveaway!

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Nidia Fialho October 18, 2012 at 6:52 pm

A magical tatto i will say a unicorn, to run with the wind.

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miki October 18, 2012 at 6:52 pm

a magical tatoo…something small i think i’m not sure of teh design but something to help my health would be great

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Melissa (Books and Things) October 18, 2012 at 8:18 pm

What a fun post to lose your head over.. ;)

Hm… what would it be? One for health and strength. Hm… perhaps something for fun as well, although I don’t know what that would be…

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Julie S. October 18, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Hmm.. something representing youth and strength would be cool. I’m not even 30 yet and I’m already getting tired. I don’t want to grow old lol.

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Denise Z October 18, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I would love a beautiful dragon. One of my favorite series features a dragon tattoo that comes alive and detaches from the wearer and helps save the day – that would just be awesome :) Thank you so much for sharing with us today and I wish you all the best with the release of Angel Ink.

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Nora-Adrienne October 18, 2012 at 8:29 pm

I think if I could get a magical tat it would be a Celtic one for good health.

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sherry fundin October 18, 2012 at 8:34 pm

At one time it would have been a unicorn, but I think now it would be a mermaid.

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erinf1 October 18, 2012 at 9:00 pm

What an awesome story!!!!!!! Thanks for a great post and giveaway! I’m *dying* to read this book :)

I’d want a magic tattoo which would either keep me healthy and strong or would ensure that I could “find” anything I wanted or had the best of luck :)

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Elaine October 18, 2012 at 9:08 pm

I need my luck to change so I’d get a magical 4 leaf clover.

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Victoria Zumbrum October 19, 2012 at 12:19 am

A angel or a pegasus.

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Donna Barton October 19, 2012 at 12:36 am

Dragon with tribal art.

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Erin October 19, 2012 at 12:37 am

Is there a tattoo that lets you eat whatever you want and still look fabulous? If so, I want it.

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Lissette Martinez October 19, 2012 at 12:41 am

I want a tattoo so badly. I’d choose an open book with some beautiful lines or just words: Like Live, Love, Forgive :)

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Stephanie October 19, 2012 at 12:49 am

A horseshoe for luck.

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Tiffany October 19, 2012 at 1:09 am

Awesomely fun story!! Okay, a magical tatoo to improve my life? Yeah, unless I could have a tattoo that would give me powers I could use to improve my life via improving the world – like to heal people or something, I’d probably go with the perfect figure charm. :-) No, wait! I’d get a tattoo that would fix my hearing loss. …And a decision-making-helper charm. -lol-

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Bethany C. October 19, 2012 at 1:58 am

I would get a tat for good health (boring, I know, but it’s really what I’d want.)

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Karen Wapinski October 19, 2012 at 4:10 am

I’d love a magical tattoo; have to agree with Erin being able to eat anything without gaining weight is the best superpower ever, bar none
but i’d also love one that allowed me to speak to animals. sometimes when my cat gives me such a solemn look i’d love to know what she’s thinking!

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donnas October 19, 2012 at 5:35 am

Health. Something to ward of sickness and other health issues.

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Ilona October 19, 2012 at 7:01 am

I’d get the chinese symbol for good health and long life and hope it really worked :D

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Lia Oxanne October 19, 2012 at 7:57 am

As a magical tattoo I’d like the word “patience” written, and I’d like to give me just that, patience, because I feel that with more patience I could take better care of all the people I love :)

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Anne L October 19, 2012 at 8:52 am

I think I would want a magical tattoo for good health, good luck… and maybe like Carmen said – cut down on procrastination

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Julie Picton October 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm

A tiny black horse

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Marie-Claude October 19, 2012 at 5:03 pm

A jellyfish on my back!!!! Something to boost a little bit my self confidence

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Heidi Nicholson October 19, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Magical tattoo…I would say a butterfly or something cheery and it would make me a happy person all the time.

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Dovile October 19, 2012 at 5:36 pm

I think it would be a black cat – for agility and luck, because I think black cats are lucky:)

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Emma Jackson October 19, 2012 at 5:50 pm

I’d have a pair of Magpies on my shoulder so whenever I saw them in the mirror I’d feel joy

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Joanne thomas October 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm

a little heart to make me lucky in love x

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Denise October 19, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Love the sound of this book and the cover just draws you in.

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Kerry October 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I would get a pebble and a shell because my mum who passed away 14 years ago used to collect nice stones/pebble and shells then clean them up and varnish them. so i would have something that reminded me of my mum and make me feel lucky.

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Cheryl Edwards October 19, 2012 at 7:29 pm

i would love an angel to be near me at all times

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Lynsey Buchanan October 19, 2012 at 9:53 pm

A pot of gold so all my debts disappeared so I could start a clean slate.

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[...] – Paranormal HavenJocelynn Drake, author of Angel’s Ink – Kindle Daily Deals, Book Chick City, Dark Faerie Tales,Juliet Dark, author of The Demon Lover – SuvuduKatie Reus, author of Fatal [...]

Petra October 19, 2012 at 10:16 pm

I already have a magical tattoo, the triple goddess/moon symbol. :) And I’m getting a new one soon, a leaping hare (inspired by illustrations by Wendy Andrew), as it is an animal connected with moon and different lunar goddesses. It’s also a common witch familiar. :)

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Lisa Pepper October 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm

I’d like a magical tattoo of wings that would give me the power of flight!

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Solange October 19, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Unicorn

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Mary Preston October 20, 2012 at 2:08 am

The magic of a DRAGON would be my choice.

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Barbara Elness October 20, 2012 at 4:42 am

My magical tattoo would be a heart to allow me to attain my heart’s desire.

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Brian October 20, 2012 at 10:19 am

Wings for flight. I’ve already tried Red Bull and it just doesn’t seem to work! ;o)

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blodeuedd October 20, 2012 at 10:40 am

Something tiny on my ankle, a Celtic symbol of sorts for good health

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Val Swift October 20, 2012 at 11:51 am

Something to make me go faster, so I could get twice as much done

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diane findlay October 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm

a unicorn that could magically transport my anywhere i wanted to go

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sheila lloyd October 20, 2012 at 7:38 pm

A Phoenix
so i could rise above the ashes of my failures

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Renee Richardson October 21, 2012 at 7:45 am

I would want something to make me insanely lucky or something that helps me manifest things quickly with my thoughts. Thanks for the awesome giveaway :)

Renee
fattybumpkins at yahoo dot com

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Jessica Tan October 21, 2012 at 8:03 am

Probably a unicorn for healing ability? Thanks for the giveaway!

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ellie October 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm

A snowman to keep me chilled out whatever the future brings

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jen english October 21, 2012 at 6:17 pm

I had a dream recently that my next tattoo should be a Robin, but I can’t remember why! I know I had a really good reason for it, I just can’t remember what that was. I’m still drawn to it though.

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Samina October 21, 2012 at 9:24 pm

I’ll probably get an invisible tattoo as if I’m found with a tattoo I assure you I will be killed.

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bn100 October 21, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Maybe a butterfly tattoo

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Jennifer H. October 21, 2012 at 10:06 pm

I’d get one of 3, or all 3. One to make me not have any brain farts and forget what I’m saying half way through a sentence, one to keep me healthy, and one to make me luckier.

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Jasmyn October 22, 2012 at 1:52 am

I think it would be cool to have a tatoo of an element and the ability to control it.

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fs1 October 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I would tattoo a fairy on my leg :) And I would wish that would bring me luck and growth.
Thank you for the giveway

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Chris Bails October 22, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I would get a 4 leaf clover, so that way I could always have luck with me. thanks for the giveaway.

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Peter Gilby October 22, 2012 at 9:48 pm

A Unicorn!

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Alison October 22, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I would get a butterfly as I think it represents being free

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cait045 October 23, 2012 at 4:15 am

I would love to have a tattoo of good luck. A four leaf clover

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Nicole P October 23, 2012 at 4:33 am

I would get a tattoo of an owl. The owl teaches us to see and hear past shadows, beyond fear and darkness, though to the other side that promises light, happiness and knowledge. If my tattoo was magical, my owl could come to life when needed to help me past any such troubles!

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Deana Potter October 24, 2012 at 2:21 am

Wow I already have a bunch of tats!! If I could get a magical one that would improve my life it would have to be wings to lift me up and help me out of trouble..

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Peggye O'Neil October 24, 2012 at 3:02 am

I would want a tattoo that combined to dragon fly and the Chinese symbol for happiness to remind me that life is constantlly changing and to find happiness in the changes

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Anji October 24, 2012 at 5:17 am

Phoenix

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Danielle October 24, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Hmmm. I would get lavender. I would spend all day relaxed.

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Darlene October 25, 2012 at 3:58 am

I’d get a paw print, in remembrance of my Maine Coon cat who died.

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Denise Roberts October 25, 2012 at 9:52 am

I have the tattoo I want designed in my head, have have it there for over 10 years. I’m just too chicken to get it. I want my 2 children’s names on my right breast and a heart with 2 pieces missing on my left breast, then have a vine linking the 2 tattoos with the 2 missing pieces in my children’s names. To have that tattoo be magical giving me a way to always help my children would be the ultimate for me as a Mom!

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Annabelle H October 25, 2012 at 8:56 pm

I’d love a tattoo of a phoneix and no matter how much life gets it down, it always rises from the ashes!

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Anna October 26, 2012 at 8:07 pm

A magical tattoo to find a job :) Common, but I really need one :P

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Angela Fitzgerald October 27, 2012 at 9:51 am

If I could have a magical tattoo wharf would it be? Hmm good question. I think I would choose a female pixie or a female fairy. Whichever one I chose would have a small little wand, also it would have pixie or fairy dust sprinkling down, and their wings would be of gold glitter.

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Ileana A. October 28, 2012 at 12:15 am

Some wings at my back!

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LadyVampire October 28, 2012 at 9:23 am

I think I would want a small celtic good luck 4 leaf clover or lucky charm type of tattoo of some kind that would bring lots of good luck.

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Gaby October 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Definitely a good luck tattoo!! It would help me a lot hehe

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Faiza Osman October 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Wings – so I could fly :)

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Lauren @ Northern Plunder October 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm

I’d love a tattoo to help boot my confidence levels seeing as though I can’t talk to strangers ;_;

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Lex October 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm

I would get scales. So that I might be able to better balance the aspects of my life so that I wouldn’t feel overwhelmed. :)

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Brian October 28, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Wings that would let me fly.

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Cherry Mischievous October 29, 2012 at 9:53 am

I think it would be an eagle so that I could fly away from enemies, fly to distant lands to explore wonders and just be free!

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Grete Evans October 29, 2012 at 12:08 pm

My tattoo would be to store up all my anxiety and fear and be able to release it safely by touching it. That or one to tell if someone is lying or not!

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Nuzaifa October 30, 2012 at 3:01 pm

A dragonfly or a snowflake! :D

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Christine F October 30, 2012 at 9:12 pm

A tattoo of my ginger cat to bring me luck.

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Paul Witney October 30, 2012 at 10:46 pm

A heart so I could spread love to everyone I know

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[…] If you’d like to read about the time Gage met the Headless Horseman, please click this link. […]

[…] Book Chick City is also running a contest that closes on October 31.  I am giving away 2 signed copies of ANGEL’S INK and the contest is open internationally.  To read the short Halloween story and enter the contest, please click here. […]

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