After my eyes adjusted to the bright light, I saw Ash sitting in her chair. She waited patiently for me to come and take my seat. She gave me a quick smile. Ash knew what it felt like to be an outsider. Ash had her own set of issues to deal with. The biggest hurdle being she’d been born into a male body. But with technology today, Ash was happy.
She waited for me. I expect there was someone behind me. So I couldn’t stall long. With a deep sigh I walked to the chair and sat down. “You know the drill?”
I nodded. “Hold still, keep quiet. Missing anything?”
She shook her head, “You ready?
I nodded. Ash lifted her gun to the special ink that was created by the same magics that were done out in the other rooms. No human could see the ink unless they had a tie to the supernatural world. Sage would see it but Mia would not. She was perfectly normal.
Ash smiled and started her work. “It’ll be alright Nox. We got through this once.”
I nodded and then she put her hand to my forehead and then the buzz of the needle started and then the pain. I winced at first and then I turned inward and thought about all the things I’d seen in my vision quest. It was not easy to forget.
The blue eyed figure who I would need more than life itself. The tree with the vine and the flower and yet the tree felt more familiar than I remembered it in the dream. The night sky that shown in the daylight. It was all so very strange as I gritted my teeth and tried to hold still for Ash. I wanted to run away. To scream. It wasn’t the pain, it was the fear. the fear of needles pressing in on my chest. It was hard to breath. My heart beat fast. My hands were white as they grasped the arms of the chair. The felt cold and numb.
It felt like forever but when Ash was done she smiled at me. “Well done, Nox. I expected to have to stop several times while you were sober.”
Ashe held up a mirror and neatly tattooed on my right temple was the pair of cross swords that represented I had passed on to adulthood of the Venatori. My mother had one too despite her lack of occult ability. But she was raised among us like I was. It had made me wonder if she had received the same judgement as I had – that she gave me. I wondered but then I pushed it away. I didn’t care if she was picked on or hated or even loved. I didn’t care enough to dwell on it and pushed it away as I climbed out of the chair.
My feet were a little wobbly but I made it to the door. There was a garbage bin across the way from the exit of the ceremony and that was as far as I made it before my breakfast emptied itself into the bin. I didn’t open my eyes, I wondered how may others before me had done the same. It was a convenient location for a garbage bin which meant I wasn’t the first and I was not likely to be the last.