The pain wracked his body. Sharp and hot, the claws of a vicious cat raking his face.
Feel the pain, child! It is the price you pay for your wickedness. Pain cleanses, pain is penance.
The minutes crawled by as the searing needle bit into his cheek.
Tell me child, how often do you have these unnatural thoughts? How long since you last gave in to them?
Another scratch, ink staining his skin. He wanted to scream, to cry. He would endure. Unlike the therapy, the tattoo was his kintsugi. Pain embraced, not inflicted. “I’m here, unbowed, unbroken”, it said.
B Pichotka (he/him) is an unashamedly queer educator by day, and a writer of fiction by night. A German transplant living in Scotland, he has been involved in Queer rights activism since 1999.