Rumpus Original Fiction: Three Flash Fictions by Rachel Hannigan




“Dead,” or “Spring”


Think about the artist at an artwork gallery celebration. Is she sporting a skirt, or pants?

She arrives alone. Does she first flip to the bar, or to the friends? Does she drink water, or wine? How does she look, inside the gang?


Think about the artist wanting on the artwork on the social gathering. What sort of expression does her face present? She seems to be on the first portray and sees colours beneath shade. She feels the paint rub towards her eyes, her shoulders, her sides, though she stands at a correct distance. She feels good concerning the feeling she has when wanting on the artwork, though the sensation she has just isn’t good; it’s one thing else. What’s the feeling? Does she inform anybody about it? Has she felt this sense earlier than?


Think about a person wanting on the artist wanting on the artwork on the social gathering. He’s struck by the artwork first, then the artist, who’s now standing in entrance of the second portray, the smallest, concerning the measurement of an index card, and least notable of the gathering. He waits for her to stroll away from this, the second portray, however she doesn’t. Not for a number of minutes, after which one other a number of minutes. That is extra minutes than the person anticipated anybody to take a look at this second portray within the assortment, the smallest and least notable. She retains wanting, and he retains taking a look at her, till he’s brusquely introduced again into dialog together with his spouse, the lady draped over his arm, and the couple standing reverse, who personal the artwork gallery.


Think about the artist noticing the person taking a look at her whereas she seems to be at artwork on the get together. She scratches her ear and sips from her glass whereas quietly stepping away from the well-lit nook of the show, towards the darker, much less conspicuous aspect of the room. She acknowledges the person as an essential particular person on this artwork world, a good entity whose consideration and adulation might bolster an artist’s personal popularity. And right here he’s, watching her. She sees that the person has one hand across the waist of a lady, a chic lady, with high quality, dainty jewellery catching mild, with the sunshine seemingly increasing in measurement. She watches the person lean over and whisper within the ear of the lady, however all of the whereas, his eyes don’t unfix themselves from her, the artist. She acknowledges a glance within the man’s eyes, a hungry look, a glance that appears like the person needs to eat the artist, savoringly, chew by chew, maybe utilizing solely a salad fork and butter knife. She shivers. The lady with the person’s arm round her waist steps away, and the person turns extra decisively towards the artist. He waits a second, then walks over, till he’s at her aspect. What does the artist do when he smiles and speaks to her? Does she spit and scream, or does she flirt and flit her eyes, adorably, again at him?


Think about the artist, arriving on the remaining piece. She sees swabs swirling and swiping one another, copper clashing with teal on inexperienced. It’s earth. It isn’t. It’s referred to as “Dead.” It’s referred to as “Spring.” She tilts her head. She doesn’t understand how each titles might apply to the identical portray. She can’t determine what it means, or how she ought to proceed.




My mother and I put a pile of filth within the yard so my dad can rake it round. We be careful the window, from inside, by the kitchen desk.

On the kitchen desk, there’s a chocolate cake. It’s the primary time we’ve got ever had one in the home. We eat it with tiny forks.

Dainty, my mother says, not tiny.

She all the time makes positive I do know the distinction between these types of issues.

Our yard is tiny although, not dainty, which makes the dirt-pile look big. It’s good that we put it on the market. He actually likes the rake. He’s good at it, too.

“Keep at it, Dad!” I open the door and name out, throwing him two thumbs up. “You’re doing great!”

He sticks his thumbs up too, smiles and laughs.

My mother laughs. All of us giggle.

He stays on the market, raking the day away till it’s darkish. “Come on in, honey,” Mother says, with chocolate on the corners of her mouth and beneath her fingernails. “It’s time for dinner.”

He comes inside, and we sit on the desk, which continues to be that includes the chocolate cake. Mother has scooted it over to make room for a casserole dish and greens.

Taro, she says, not greens.

Dad is complimentary of the casserole dish and the taro. He isn’t so complimentary often, however at the moment, he’s very complimentary, which makes Mother pleased.

She has been so joyful prior to now few days that there’s even chocolate cake.

General, it has been a productive day. A fantastic success, actually. Dad has managed to maneuver three-fourths of the filth pile from one aspect of the yard to the opposite, and Mother and I ate half of the chocolate cake. Collectively, that’s one and one-fourths, which is lots.

It’s virtually good, actually, as a result of if you add that to the opposite one-fourth that’s within the storage, you virtually have an entire. One-fourth within the storage is Dad’s automotive. He used to drive all over the place: to work, to observe soccer video games, to purchase beer at bars, to go to some fairly blond woman he stated he’s recognized his entire life and advised me to not point out to Mother. However now he doesn’t. He misplaced most of his automotive and bits of his mind due to driving, then crashing.

Actually it was the crashing that made him lose his mind.

However it’s not such a nasty loss as a result of Dad can rake now, and he likes to rake. Plus he can keep within the yard, and Mother likes him within the yard. She and I need a canine, however Dad all the time acquired an indignant face when she talked about it, and we by no means obtained one.

I guess if we requested him now, he’d say sure, and his face would keep the identical, or perhaps he would smile.

He’s smiling now as he reaches for the chocolate cake, which Mother reels in like a bit of bait. “No, no,” she says, swatting his hand away. “You know that’s not good for you. It’s going to hurt your stomach,” she says, after which she laughs.

Dad laughs, and I snicker. All of us snigger.

I’m wondering why Mother is a lot happier after the crash, however it was an accident, she says. Not a crash. That’s solely half as dangerous. And with that half, I inform her, as we end off the chocolate cake, we’ve an entire.



Wanting So Onerous

Preparing for work at some point, Olivia observed she was rubbing away, like phrases on paper being erased.

“Your coffee is on the counter,” she advised her husband, checking her diminishing reflection behind a spoon.

A second later, her husband referred to as from one other room. “Where’s my coffee?”

“It’s on the counter,” she responded.

He entered the kitchen, the place Olivia was analyzing the spots that have been showing in her hand, via which she might see to the opposite aspect.

“And the honey?” He requested, opening cupboard doorways and shutting them with little slams. “Did we run out?” he frowned. “Or did it run away?”

“I don’t imagine it did,” Olivia stated, hiding her arms behind her again. She left him stalking the cabinets earlier than strolling away to gather her belongings for work.

What began as spots was smudges all through the day. By lunch, the smudges turned greater gaps, brilliant and bald, like a path tramped by too many ft. She shuddered, then uncharacteristically hid extra of herself behind her desk, however nonetheless smiled at coworkers once they handed, regardless of her misgivings.

The smudges and gaps, she believed, should’ve developed as a result of everybody seemed so lengthy and so arduous at her, as a result of she was all the time being seen. She was reasonably engaging, sure, however past bodily look she felt obliged to be overly type, to strategy everybody with a smile. She couldn’t find the exact supply of this sense, whether or not it was survival or just inheritance. Regardless, it resulted in exhaustion that appeared inevitable, like the best way a glass of wine can be drunk, and a punching bag, punched.

Within the automotive on the best way residence, Olivia prevented her personal eyes within the rearview mirror. She didn’t let herself fear about the truth that she was fading, at the least, not till she stepped inside the home, at which level the splotches in her pores and skin had develop into sizable sufficient for her husband to tilt his head up off the sofa, away from his telephone, to ask, with concern rising up in his throat like heartburn, “Why do you look like that?”

“Like what?” she requested, swiping uselessly at a bit of hair that slipped from behind her ear with a hand that was all however gone, but nonetheless managed to really feel like lifeless weight on the finish of her arm.

She, too, felt like lifeless weight, or like a weird absence of weight, and so she retreated to their bed room. Her husband’s head returned to relaxation on the sofa cushion the place it had been, the place it belonged. Her husband did the mendacity, and Olivia did the dwelling.

She sometimes did numerous dwelling after work: cleansing, buying, strolling the canine. However as we speak, she was dissolving, like sugar within the warmest of waters. “Hey, when’s dinner?” her husband referred to as. “I told Ben and James they could join us.” Olivia sat up in mattress, about to reply, however earlier than any phrases got here out, her lips gave out, leaving one other hole, leaving nothing helpful by approach of mouth.

If she might’ve, she would have frowned. She closed her eyes earlier than they, too, burned like cigarette holes via what was left of her head, which was turning into much less and fewer.

“And tomorrow we’ll go to your parents’, right?” her husband referred to as, nonetheless a room away. “Or are they coming here? I can’t remember. Either way, I’m not excited.” He laughed bitterly and stretched his arms over his head, physique lengthening to take up the entire sofa. His thumbs stabbed on the telephone display. The unwalked canine nuzzled towards his knee. “Olivia?” he referred to as, then referred to as once more when he received no response. “You there?” he sighed. “I’m getting hungry.”

Her husband didn’t know that Olivia’s ears, and different options beforehand drawn onto the floor of her physique, had been erased. He ultimately lifted his limbs slowly, separately, and went to their bed room. He pushed open the cracked door and his backbone stiffened and his eyes sharpened, wanting up and down and throughout, till he lastly noticed his spouse as he had all the time seen her.


Rumpus unique artwork by Dara Herman Zierlein.

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