The Rash

Written by Nada Alic, Illustration by Paige Vickers

The unnamed protagonist in this short story appears to have a rash on her body that only she can see. Her husband flat out thinks she’s making it up, the friends she calls on for help don’t really care, and although her therapist tells her that she can see the rash, isn’t that what she’s paid to say? A feeling of isolation — from others and maybe also from her already shaky sense of self — permeates our narrator’s reality.

Nada’s writing style is effortless, she’s naturally very funny, and her plot is presented somewhat lightheartedly; A reader can quite easily find themselves having a very pleasant time reading about the struggles of our story’s narrator as she suffers from a consuming rash, aching pains, and a desperate kind of restlessness around finding a cure for her ailment. The underlying questions that surface, though, carry heavier, all-too-familiar feelings. Is the rash imagined, or is it real? Do we believe her? And most importantly, what does it mean to believe without seeing?

Featured story for March 2019

When I got home, my husband was in the kitchen heating up leftover spaghetti bolognese and asked if I wanted any. I told him I worried the meat sauce would aggravate my symptoms and he sighed and nodded his head, giving me that look he gives homeless people when they ask for change. I stood on the other side of the kitchen island feigning a smile and told him I felt a lot better. He said he was glad to hear that, said he was looking forward to getting back to normal. ‘Why don’t we go to the mall and buy you something? Or just walk around, I don’t know. Might make you feel better.’
— Nada Alic


Paige Vickers is an illustrator and designer based in New York City. She earned a BFA in illustration and book arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and her work has been honoured by American Illustration, 3x3 and Society of Illustrators New York. You can find her illustrations in The New York Times, Teen Vogue, Food52, NPR, Village Voice, Cottage Life, Bust, and more.



Nada Alic lives in Los Angeles and writes about art, design and maintaining a creative practice. She has spent over a decade championing independent artists through education, content and community with brands such as Etsy, Gap Inc, Society6, Girlschool, PS Arts, Sexy Beast and more. Her fiction series Future You: a collaboration with painter Andrea Nakhla, has been featured in Urban Outfitters, Nasty Gal, Cool Hunting, It's Nice That, Metatron and elsewhere. Their most recent project entitled The Trick is a finalist at the 2019 GLAS animation festival in Berkeley, CA. She is currently working on a new collection of short fiction.