RAINBOWS • by Mark Dalligan

I live in a paint factory. After the working day, I rub myself clean with white spirit and hide in the darkness until the others are gone.

It has been this way since Susan’s passing. She was my landlady, but also my partner. I used to wake to her salon-tanned silhouette as she slipped from the bed to pull the curtains on a welcoming rosy dawn, or depressing grey day.

When she died, they put her in a wooden box, and took the sky away with shovel loads of dark brown earth.

Her son, a puce man, catching the fresh green scent of money, wanted me gone. I refused. I’m big, and the first bully boy went off with a bloody nose. But when he came back mobhanded, they made a sorrowful black bruise of me.

Chucked out, I’d just a backpack full of laundry to call my own. I gravitated to the factory, to my twilight life, and found inspiration.

Alone, I lay down large sheets of paper. Senses smoothed by smoky brandy, I pour emulsion rainbows, rivers of gloss, on the paint splattered floor. Naked, I roll in creative birth, press my hands, my feet, my body, against the papers.

By morning the paint has dried. I slip the images into a cardboard tube and post them in my lunch hour. The art dealer thinks I’ll have a colourful future.

By day Mark Dalligan is a City banker but he shares his body with a writer who has started to emerge at night. He’s having some success, with work taken by Boston Literary Magazine, LitBits, Apollo’s Lyre, Bewildering Stories, MicroHorror, Static Movement, Clockwise Cat, Ranfurly Review, Twisted Tongue, Delivered and EDF.

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