The Mermaid Tattoo

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The skin had been peeled from her back, shoulder to shoulder, neck to hip, not the gruesome act of mutilation by a psychotic serial killer but done with surgical precision, the last request of the deceased. The tattoo was known to be the only flesh work of an infamous reclusive artist, completed hours before he took his own life, which was in fact a gruesome act. The full backpiece was to be stretched as a canvas would and sent to a museum in Amsterdam which curated such oddities. Despite the thrice decades since its inking the image was remarkably well preserved and said to be extraordinarily detailed by the less than a dozen people to have seen it, those being the closest of the woman's friends. And her lovers of course. Also by one stranger, a lone naturalist hunting mushrooms on an unseasonably warm November day who happened upon her meditating nude in the woods. He would thereafter be counted as a lover. However fleeting a dalliance, it was an encounter he would never forget and recall fondly on his deathbed some 45 years later.

   

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