When Bruce Gallagher looked down at the source of the itchiness, he couldn’t believe his eyes. How did his ten-year-old get a tattoo?
Any shop would get closed down for doing that to a child. And he would make sure of it. But he quickly discovered that there was more to this situation than met the eye. And that was what had him calling the police.
More Than A Father
To his daughter, Bruce was more than just a father. He was her best friend, and at the worst of times, he was her pillar of strength.
But when she came home that day, she did so with a secret that she couldn’t reveal to anyone, especially not her overprotective father. What was she hiding? And who was behind this scandal?
It Went Both Ways
Lana, Bruce’s daughter, wasn’t the only one who relied on the special relationship they shared. Since her mother’s passing a year before, she had been providing her father with the same amount of care as he gave her.
She was there for him during the toughest of times and prided herself on being a good daughter. But she knew this had gone too far. And her father wouldn’t take matters lightly.
Glorious Summer Break
It all started when the school year came to an end. Bruce had gone through a tough few months as his debut novel wasn’t selling. But he promised to take his daughter on a vacation, and he wasn’t going to let her down.
So they packed their things and had a glorious vacation in Spain. It was when they returned that the problems truly began.
Back To School
The first day of school had finally arrived, and it was time for young Lana to reunite with her friends. But this year would be different from all the rest.
It all started when Bruce dropped his daughter off at school that morning. The father was convinced that everything would be fine. But his daughter wasn’t too sure of that. He should’ve taken her resistance as a sign.
Nervous And Excited
Lana was nervous and excited about going back to school. But she didn’t really show her anxiety until they were in the parking lot.
Bruce understood where she was coming from. A new year meant new teachers, and his daughter wasn’t too fond of change. But he thought that would pass once she was in the class. If only he knew how wrong he actually was.
Bruce was blissfully unaware of what happened after he dropped Lana off at school. For him, it was just another day with nothing to worry about.
But when his daughter got home that evening, she did so with a secret. And once Bruce found out what that was, he knew he needed to act. He simply couldn’t let her new teacher get away with what she had done.
Nothing To Expect
Bruce spent the day behind his laptop, not expecting anything extraordinary to happen to him or his daughter. But that was where he was mistaken.
While he stared at the blank page that plagued him, something was happening to his daughter. And it would change their lives forever. What would the young father do when he uncovered the teacher’s secret?
Just Another Day
When the young father woke up that morning, he thought it would be just another day. And no one could blame him.
But as the time drew nearer, he began to feel a sense of excitement. He was sure Lana would tell him everything he wanted to know and more. But he wasn’t prepared for what would actually happen.
He Couldn’t Wait
There was an hour left before she came home, and Bruce could feel that he was at the edge of his seat. He always loved it when his daughter told him about her first day at school.
However, this day would be different. His daughter would remain silent and aloof. She was trying to protect the person who was responsible for what had happened to her that day, not knowing that her silence would crack the case wide open.
Lana arrived home at around 4 pm, and that was when Bruce got his first shock. His daughter refused to talk about her first day at school. And she seemed to be uncomfortable with the subject.
At first, Bruce ignored it, thinking that she was just in a bad mood. But when they had dinner, he realized that this was far more serious.
While he was eating, Bruce realized that his daughter was scratching her arm. But this seemed to be more than just a simple itch.
She was scratching so much that he thought there wouldn’t be any skin left. So he broached the subject and asked his daughter what it was that was itching so much. He wasn’t prepared for the answer.
Trying To Hide
“It’s nothing,” Lana said, pulling her sleeve down even further. But she didn’t stop scratching, and even that didn’t seem to help.
Lana’s frustration was written all over her face. And each time she scratched, she exerted more pressure than she did before. That was when Bruce realized that something was very wrong, and he would not be leaving without an answer.
“Tell me what it is, or I’ll find out myself,” Bruce said. His tone was harsher than he wanted it to be, but at that point, he was so worried that he couldn’t control it.
Lana tried to protest, but her father gave her a stern look. He had only used that expression a couple of times before. And his daughter knew that seeing it meant trouble.
She Opened Up
That was when Lana decided to open up. She had given her father a few of the details about what had happened in her class that day, and when she was done talking, she pulled up her sleeve.
The sight before him shocked Bruce to his core. What did he see? And what would he do to the person that had damaged his daughter like that?
For a moment, Bruce was at a loss for words. His eyes were glued to the inside of his daughter’s right arm as he tried to comprehend what he was seeing.
It took him a while to snap out of it, but when he did, his mind started racing at a thousand miles a minute. Who would do such a thing to a ten-year-old?
Bruce ran his finger over the tattoo, but the severity of the matter still hadn’t penetrated the fog clouding his mind. “What is this?” he asked in an attempt to clear things out.
“A tattoo,” Lana said with a wince. That was when a fire ignited within her father. When she mentioned it during her talk, he never thought it was an actual tattoo. He thought it was a sticker or something like that. But now that he was looking at it, he couldn’t deny how real it looked.
Not The Problem
Bruce was furious, and understandably so. Someone had marred his daughter’s skin for life. But there was more to this than just the tattoo.
The longer Bruce stared at it, the more that fact became clear. This wasn’t the first time he had seen that design. Someone else he knew had exactly the same tattoo.
He’d Seen Something Similar
Bruce raked his mind. He was certain that he had seen that tattoo before, but where? Who was it that had a similar design, if not exactly the same thing?
He thought about it for hours, picturing that person’s arm in his mind. But he simply couldn’t solve the puzzle. Was it someone he worked with? Was it one of his friends?
Where Was It?
For the entirety of the next day, Bruce’s mind was on the design he saw tattooed on his daughter’s arm. He knew he had seen it before, and he knew his daughter did as well.
But where? Nothing he did helped him answer that question. That was when he started contacting his friends. Did the design belong to one of them?
Thinking About It
Of course, Bruce wanted to exact revenge on the person responsible for this, but there were two problems. One, his daughter refused to tell him where she went and how she got permission.
And two, he still didn’t know what the true source was. But that didn’t stop him from trying to figure it out. One way or another, he would find the answer.
Not long after that, the school had a parent-teacher meeting. Bruce and Lana went through the list of teachers she had, and they all had good things to say about his daughter.
But there was still one teacher to see. As soon as Bruce saw her, all his questions were answered. But that didn’t mean they weren’t replaced with new ones.
He Saw It
As Bruce extended a hand toward Mrs. Walker, he saw that she had exactly the same tattoo on her inner arm. That was when he realized that he had just found the cause of all his troubles.
With that thought in mind, he asked his daughter to leave the room, stating that there was something important he had to discuss with her teacher.
As soon as Lana left the room, Bruce turned his attention to her teacher. “So you are the one who gave permission for our children to get tattoos?” he asked through gritted teeth.
The teacher’s brows furrowed in confusion. “What do you mean?” Mrs. Walker asked. She was acting like she had no idea what he was talking about, but Bruce was one step ahead of her.
Bruce pushed as hard as he could, but the teacher refused to give him any information about the tattoo, or what happened the first day Lana returned to school.
He left that meeting with less information than he went in with. But the young father was adamant. He would get all the information he sought. And when he did, the teacher would pay the ultimate price.
Talking To His Daughter
That night, Bruce sat down with his daughter and asked her to explain exactly what had happened that day.
Lana told her father that Mrs. Walker insisted on them getting the same tattoo as her to show that they adored her as a teacher. But that wasn’t all she said. Lana had one more confession to make, and it would change everything.
Lana confessed that the tattoo wasn’t real. No one had taken her to a tattoo shop, and no one had given permission for her to get permanent ink.
It was just a Henna tattoo that was supposed to wash off after a few weeks. But there was something about that specific Henna dye that no one knew until it was too late.
A week had passed, and Lana’s condition was only getting worse. What started with a simple scratch had turned into a condition that Bruce couldn’t treat.
Wherever the Henna dye was applied, an irritation to the likes Bruce had never seen occurred. His daughter’s skin was blistered and red. And he knew that the time had come for him to talk to a professional.
Bruce had his daughter in the emergency room within the hour. The doctors there examined her arm and quickly discovered that she was having a reaction to the dye.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t a rare occurrence. That specific dye contained large amounts of a hazardous chemical known as Phenylenediamine, and it had caused a chemical burn on his daughter’s skin.
Crossing The Line
The doctors tried everything to help young Lana, but the girl would be scarred for life. Her teacher’s mark would stay with her until the day she died.
That was just too much for her father to handle. As he stood there, watching the doctors work, he pulled out his phone and called the local police department. There was no way Mrs. Walker was going to get away with what she had done.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.