“The Inkless and the Inked” is an audio story. It is written by Brian Gully who kindly reached out to me and asked if I would like early access to the story in return for a review or post. The premise sounded really interesting, so I said yes.
“The Inkless and the Inked” is about a guy named Mark and a girl named Alice. As indicated by the title of the story, Mark has many tattoos, while Alice has none. Both Mark and Alice are nurses and have been together for several years. They are a fairly normal couple, and they seem happy. Their most common argument is about Mark’s many tattoos, especially about the arm that he has gotten inked a pure black. Alice wants to know why, but Mark never wants to talk about it, so they fight.
One day, Alice says goodbye to Mark and goes to visit her father before going home to her own place. Later that night, Mark gets a call from her father saying that Alice has killed herself. Mark is devastated and goes to Alice’s home. However, when he arrives at Alice’s home, he finds her there seemingly alive and well. It quickly becomes apparent that Mark is the only one who can see and hear Alice.
This short audio-story has a really cool premise! I loved the idea of being haunted by a lost love, because it’s a realistic kind of concept done in a different way than real life. I know that I for one dwell on ended relationships and while I’ve never had a loved one of that kind die, it was relatable in that sense. You feel for the characters in their confusion over what is happening, and you want them to end up okay.
I felt that the story had many well written aspects. I liked the word choice and their were a lot of really good moments. Additionally, the music that goes along with the story is really poignant and definitely adds to the experience. On the whole, I definitely recommend that you give this story a listen when it comes out on June 22nd. It’s only about an hour long, so it’s not too much of a time commitment and it’s definitely enjoyable.
However, there were certain parts that I didn’t enjoy as much. For example, the title is “The Inkless and the Inked” which relates to the fact that Alice has no tattoos and Mark has many. Tattoos play a large role in the story as they found about Mark’s black arm and the reason why he got it. Just before Alice dies she says that she’s going to get a tattoo. I just didn’t understand all the fuss about it, and I didn’t really think it was necessary to put so much emphasis on the blacked out arm. Also, that part didn’t come across as very realistic to me. I’m not a tattoo artist (nor do I have very many tattoos) but I can’t help but feel like a tattoo artist wouldn’t play full on blackout bingo on someone’s arm (Edit: I have learned that this is a thing, whodathunkit? :P). Additionally I feel like that would hurt like a son of a gun. I just didn’t relate to that aspect of the story, which isn’t a detriment for some people, because some people might really enjoy that.
I also didn’t really like the ending. I don’t want to fully spoil it or anything, but for me it was a bit of a let down. It seemed to do something I always tell my students not to do when they’re ending their short stories.
The story was definitely an interesting one and I definitely recommend checking it out and listening. However, those things are minor in comparison to the whole of the story. Overall, I would probably give it 3.5/5 stars. Make sure to check it out! It comes out on June 22nd. Thank you again to the author for letting me have early access.