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Sliver – Flash Fiction Journal


By John Reid

When my brother was twenty-eight, solely 5 years in the past, he turned wildly profitable nearly in a single day. I do know that within the trendy world this isn’t a novel factor. Like so many others, he awoke to search out himself an web sensation. Nonetheless, by no means in my most quixotic goals may I’ve conceived what occurred to him to have really occurred to him.

First off, I didn’t even know he was a painter. The person I knew–the person I assumed I knew –wouldn’t have had the faintest thought the right way to render a picture on canvas, not to mention render it properly. Maybe if appeared for, I might need unearthed a reminiscence of his aptitude for artwork in our schooldays, an uncanny self-portrait carried dwelling beneath his arm: the thick coils of his darkish hair tucked excellent; the marginally sunken, extremely engaging blue eyes, excellent. However that will’ve been the very most..

Secondly, I used to be stunned as a result of on the time of his propulsion, when his work was first gaining traction on TikTok and Instagram and all the pieces else, he was nonetheless in rehab, at Montford Home, simply outdoors Glasgow. That is the place he began portray, as remedy. So, the concept of him going from the place he was to the place he did, and within the blink of a watch…
All these years on and nonetheless I battle to consider it.


Now he weeps in my toilet. I’m folding some comfy garments for him outdoors the door. I attempted to look in a second in the past, to piece him collectively by way of the stained glass: a slanted ochre ship on a tumultuous sea, infused by the nice and cozy gentle of the candles my fiancée lit for him. However I couldn’t. He’s only a form, a distortion, organized on the porcelain rim. And he’s weeping. His daughter has simply died, ten days in the past, from an bronchial asthma assault in her sleep. She was three years outdated. Her identify was Sukey.

This isn’t a great story. The story of his reformation, his rise to fame from rubble to Ritz–that was the nice story. No formal coaching, no actual predilection. The BBC made a documentary about him. It was okay. The bulk comprised not of his artwork however of close-ups of his face, his brows grimly clenched as he labored at his studio in Greenwich. Else it provided a perspective behind him, a shaky angle centered on his tall body, donned all the time in a splattered black hoodie that consumed him like a cloak. His again would take up the entire display; maybe within the nook there can be a sliver of his canvas unobscured, some distressing, outstanding sliver. By no means thoughts that his outdated habits have been nonetheless evident when he was being interviewed on the exhibition earlier than the credit. By no means thoughts that every one too simply you may see the anatomy of his jaw worrying itself beneath his prickled pores and skin, as he listened to the filmmaker’s questions, as he thought of how all this made him really feel.

—Might you ever think about you’d find yourself someplace like this?

It merely fortified the picture. He was a person with a previous.

Then Sukey was born. Her mom Tia was a shocking, if considerably deranged, hippie, all the time swearing by therapeutic crystals and ranting in regards to the Masons. Her relationship with my brother–I understand now I’ve not given his identify; his identify is Rab Renfrew; you’ll have heard of him–her relationship with him was temporary. They broke up when she bought pregnant, and surprisingly, there gave the impression to be no bitterness right here, no winner or loser. They have been every fairly happy on the prospect of a kid, however the considered elevating it collectively merely by no means was; the kid was all the time going to dwell individually with Tia.

So I feel Rab noticed Sukey perhaps twice a month. I solely met her as soon as. I used to be down in London for work. Scotland have been enjoying England; I used to be and nonetheless am a sports activities journalist at a semi-respectable Glasgow paper, and the sport simply occurred to fall on a weekend wherein Tia and the newborn have been heading for a check-up. Rab was going too, and he invited me alongside. He insisted I journey at the back of the automobile, with mom and daughter.

Sukey was nonetheless so younger. She’d come early. She was strapped into her pod, all shriveled and jaundiced and loosely shaped. Her little pink fingers jogged my memory of one thing from the ocean, like an anemone’s tendrils. Tia had barely observed I used to be there. She nonetheless wore that glazed smile new moms appear to exhibit for a month or so, the compromise between unquenchable bliss and expiring from exhaustion.

 —Each second for her is a battle proper now, she stated. Each breath a victory.

 —She’s a lover not a fighter, Rab murmured over his shoulder.

—The perfect individuals are each, Tia stated as she gazed into the pod, consuming in each burp and gurgle.

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