Headspace
Nikki Moss


There is a room filled with violet light, colours strewn on the floor, bleeding into one another. Along the walls, tower rows and rows of shelves ready to tip topple over with the weight of fantastic inks and dyes. Elegant and thin, squat and thick, brushes rattle in glass jars. Large vats simmer and spit multicoloured clouds. In the corner a little man weeps for what is gone and his worries for the future, while onto his shoulder rain steady drips of pink and green. He sighs, then plants his wellingtons deep into the puddles around his ankles. He tips his head back and howls like a wolf. This makes him feel better. So he does it again.   

Eyes closed, he doesn’t notice the pallet above him tip mischievously forward; purple and indigo tracks pour themselves into his upturned mouth. The howl turns to a splutter, he shakes his head from side to side, tangled hair issuing haphazard rainbow drops. Hushed now, the little man wipes the paint from his face, pauses, and licks his hand with a satisfied slurp. He scrambles onto all fours and begins to crawl, growling, through paper archways, stacked cartons of colour pencils tumble all around him, he is a wolf, a bear, a ferocious tiger. He slips, one hand skidding away in a splash of yellow, he rolls and becomes a brave explorer, chased by lions.   

Excited now, he sloshes to his feet and galumphs across to vat four, leaving a trail of footprints along a floor already covered in loop-de-loops. He cocks his head left, tugs an ear and lets out a quick whistle. A rustle, and Worrycat tumbles into view, ears bespeckled with blue. Small paws sliding, he yowls and hisses at brushes which stop rattling, then clang more loudly than ever. Worrycat scampers forward, snatches a milky white crayon to gnaw on before leaping onto the little man’s shoulder.   

On cue Worrycat begins to caterwaul, the little man drums his chest with his fists before letting fervent hands dance over undulating buttons, dials levers. Worrycat’s fur bristles, the little man seizes a pole and begins to mutter to himself, stirring excitedly, body obscured by intermittent puffs of steam. The vat begins a clattering roar, before emitting a thick rushing colourcloud. They watch it float to the ceiling. A rumble, then another, and suddenly there begins a rain of great glooping drops. Worrycat purs, licking here and there, while the little man sits in on the floor, he rubs his face, turns his head up toward the deluge. “O” he tries. “Oooooooo”. He shakes his head. “Oo . .rrr”. He lets a hand trail in the puddles of rain, tastes it. “Ooooorrraaannggge”


First published: May, 2010
comments to the writer: doorknobsandbodypaint@gmail.com