The Painted Man, the Man with a Thousand Tattoos, washed up on the shore late at night, phosphorescent seawater clinging to his ink-tainted form. He lay half-comatose in the sand, coughing up water, before dragging himself up the shore toward the tiny huts. He was startled to find the patriarch of this atoll a pale-skinned wanderer like himself.
"How," gasped the Painted Man, "have you survived the touch of the islands without scars such as I have borne, lo, these many years?"
"I was writ upon, too, long before I arrived," the ersatz chief replied, "but not on the outside."
Interview: Nancy Kress
2 hours ago