Cursed(The Thrice Cursed Mage Book 1)

By: J.A. Cipriano

I was tempted to lay there and rest for a while, to try and figure out what the hell had happened, but what if I passed out? Sure, I’d somehow survived this time, but I might not survive the next time. Besides, the idea of being covered in garbage wasn’t exactly appealing. In the unlikely event people who regularly dumped trash in here decided to glance inside first, they would probably notice me taking a nap inside and call the cops. I was pretty sure I wasn’t exactly friendly with the police. Call it a hunch, but I don’t think cops looked kindly upon people who slept in dumpsters.

With all the willpower I could muster, I crawled to my feet and pushed the heavy black lid open. The sunlight greeted me like a punch to the face, and I was forced to look away and cover my eyes with my black hand. Thankfully, the tattoos along my arm weren’t glowing like they were radioactive anymore. I gave myself a moment to get used to the brightness before pulled myself over the metal lip. Even though I tried to land gracefully, I wound up collapsing onto the cracked asphalt. It hurt, but at least I was out of the dumpster.

I pushed myself to my feet, intending to walk off my recent debacle like a badass. Then I was going to go home and get myself a nice warm shower. I stopped mid-step. There was just one problem. I didn’t remember where I lived. Hell, I didn’t remember anything other than my name. Mac Brennan.

Chapter 2

My hands flew to the pockets of my black slacks only to find them empty. I pulled them inside out and stared at the white fabric in disbelief for a lot longer than I cared to admit before I managed to summon the will to push them back inside. My hip pocket revealed even less since it was a pocket in decoration only. Why the hell was I wearing pants with decorative pockets? I glared at it in disgust until I began to feel ridiculous for staring at my own ass.

A sigh escaped me as I ran my left hand through my dirty blond hair and nearly had a heart attack when it came away wet. I pulled it back down and stared at the scarlet goo running down my fingers. My clothes were plastered to my body with too much blood for it to be good. Panic raced through me as I began patting myself down, looking to make sure all my parts were in the proper places.

A couple seconds later, I was relieved to find all my bits were where they should be. While I was covered in blood, among other things, it wasn’t mine. That didn’t bode well, and that was ignoring how this bit of knowledge didn’t terrify me as much as it should have. Was I used to this sort of thing? I hoped not.

I searched my mind, trying to figure out the reason for my current state but found myself finding only fog. Man, I was worse than Jon Snow. I really did know nothing.

In the end, it didn’t really matter. I needed to find a change of clothes and a shower because if someone saw me like this, I was going to be facing a lot of uncomfortable questions I couldn’t answer. I was pretty sure the whole amnesia defense didn’t work very well when you were found covered in blood.

Unfortunately, I had no funds, and I needed to figure out why my damned arm was blacker than the hair on Lucifer’s ass. I stopped, my breath catching in my throat as I slowly raised my right hand and stared at it. In all the excitement, I’d sort of dismissed my blackened flesh, but now that I wasn’t about to be crushed to death in a trash compactor, I found myself wondering about it.

I wasn’t sure how much of my flesh was covered in the strange inky darkness, but as I unbuttoned the cuff of my shirt and pulled it up to check, all the flesh I could see was black. My heart began to hammer in my chest as a wave of panic swept over me. I reached out, trying to steady myself against the side of the dumpster. I took a deep breath in a mostly failed attempt to calm down. How had my arm had gotten this way? Had I done this to myself? Even if I had, that didn’t explain the strange red symbols tattooed in startling relief over my blackened flesh.

Earlier, when I’d been about to fall to my doom in the dumpster, I could have sworn my tattoos had glowed, but they weren’t now. I trailed my fingers over the symbols. My skin felt normal enough. Maybe I’d just been hallucinating due to adrenaline and circumstance? That had to be the case, and if it wasn’t, surely there was some other explanation. Maybe they’d been painted with glow in the dark ink or something. Hell, for all I knew I was an actor and the black arm and tattoos were just some temporary thing done by the makeup department so I could to play a part. It wasn’t like I could remember getting them, or even what had happened to me last night.

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