One crisp Wednesday morning, Jack’s usually mundane routine was abruptly shattered. He awoke, his head throbbing like a bad hangover, and saw a complex, cryptic tattoo inked on his arm. “Where the bloody hell did that come from?” he muttered, staring at the intricate design.

The tattoo was a riot of strange symbols, mingling together like a bizarre, alien script. The main motif was a large, spiral-like icon, containing various symbols within its curves: triangles intersected by vertical bars, waves spiralling into tiny points, and lines ending in solid circles. The black ink seemed to shimmer, almost as if it were alive, pulsating beneath his skin. A chill ran down his spine; he had no recollection of getting it, no memory of enduring the telltale sting of a tattoo gun.

Baffled and a little unnerved, Jack decided the uninvited ink had to go. A quick online search pointed him to one of the best-rated parlours in the city: “Indelible Artistry”, renowned for both its tattoo and tattoo removal services. Brisbane locals spoke highly of their services.

Walking into the parlour, the scent of antiseptic wafted around him, mingling with the hum of tattoo guns. The walls were adorned with flashes of colourful designs and artwork, a testament to the creativity dwelling within.

“Can I help you, mate?” a voice called out, cutting through his observations. It belonged to Dex, a tall man with broad shoulders, his arms a canvas of tattoos. A quick introduction and Jack learned that Dex was widely regarded as the best tattooist based in Brisbane.

“I need this removed,” Jack said, rolling up his sleeve to reveal the enigma inked onto his skin. Dex studied the tattoo, his bushy eyebrows furrowing.

“This is complex, man,” he remarked, tracing the alien symbols with a gloved finger. “You sure you want to get rid of it? Looks kinda important.”

Jack shrugged, “It’s important I get it off. Can’t remember getting it. Last thing I need is more questions.”

Dex agreed and reassured him that their tattoo removal services were top-notch. But as Jack exited the parlour, his appointment set, he couldn’t shake off a deep sense of foreboding. A sense that those bizarre symbols held a far greater significance than he could fathom.