Jobs and Internships

Ads and Sponsorship


Page Color








Wasp Hour

Written By Lucas Rucchin
Cover Art by


A dejected child becomes distracted from their detached relationship with their mother by The Wasp—a grand, frightening, uniquely exhilarating onset in the child’s life.

Editors’ Note

Wasp Hour draws you in from the very first sentence. This mid-winter mountain-top noir brings us face to face with some of our greatest fears; and helps us realize that maybe they aren’t as scary as we imagine. As a former child with a formidable fear of insects, and a current pianist, I immediately fell in love with this story. With its vivid descriptions and dreamlike progression of events it really was a treat to make cover art inspired by this piece.

My first bout with The Wasp occurred on the eighth of January: a time when the black sky was most hungry, chewing away at the panoplies of grey clouds as early as mid-afternoon; when the air was so stubborn that you could barely see the lights trembling below from where our home stood on the domed mountains; when there shouldn’t have been any wasps around at all. I was nine. I was still burning around the corners of life with youth corded to my shoulders. I never cared to check what lay around these corners before I made the irreversible pivot, and I was all the better for it.

The emergence of The Wasp was also unnatural because of how visitation was handled in our home. How, I wondered, are you here, tapping at our windowed walls? How did you find the side road behind the clusters of bushes that leads to the front gates, the presence of which is only revealed to guests in a message from my mother? How did you find the little panel on the left pillar of the gateway, press the voice memo button, and receive my mother’s approval to allow you in? And how did you know I would be here, in the grand living room, seated at the piano but never once playing it, weightlessly sliding a hand across the keys at most, because my mother gave up on me a long time ago, no longer watching me with a smile as I play out a phrase, then stop, then lean closer to the repertoire book on the ledge, then play it out again, a terrible and artless thing, but still she believed, still she goaded me on with that voice of soft leaves?

The Wasp did not say anything in response. It maintained its rhythmic patter on the window. Boxed by the windless dark, by sleeping pine trees, The Wasp seemed nothing but an astray beam of yellow light, reflecting on the window from a source high above, something not really there. The taps were precise: it slammed its body against the glass with consistent ferocity and tempo. It was unearthing something within me. Soon I was playing a languid etude dug from the sealed fissures of my memory, amateurishly woven together, all the while guided by the metronome of The Wasp.

I was sweating by the time I finished. I turned and The Wasp was no longer there. The wind inhaled slowly and the trees shivered in apprehension. The living room with its sofa that could stage six people, ten if they were drunk enough to get close, was so very empty. The tapping came about again: The Wasp was now assaulting the front door. Through the glass panels sandwiching the entrance I could view it more carefully. It was the largest insect I had ever seen. Its wings shuddered the surrounding air; its abdomen, possessing the heft of a filled grocery bag, swayed jeeredly from its thorax like the entrancing swing of a grandfather clock’s pendulum; the blade of a sharpened pencil extended from its backside. It studied me with a million black beads.

You can’t come in, I said. I made sure to open my throat and propel my words with my stomach. I’m sorry. It’s too late. And my mother doesn’t like bugs. Mom doesn’t like anyone visiting, really.
The Wasp stopped tapping. Its antennae looped and unlooped as though crossing its arms. Do you treat all your guests like this? it seemed to say. Gales with great arms dragged helpless sheets of leaves across the path that connected the door to the front gates. The moon winked behind layers of clouds. The Wasp lingered for another moment, tapped one more time against the door, and shot skyward.

I stepped back from the door. Our home was situated close to a commercial flight path; as The Wasp undertook this maneuver, I could discern no difference between the whisk of its wings and a turbine’s low roar. I returned to the piano, hoping that The Wasp would too return to the windowed wall where I had first noticed it. I twisted myself into the corner of the room; I ran up the stairs to the first landing; I adopted any position in which I might attain a wide and unburdened view to escape The Wasp as soon as it reentered my vision. Nevertheless the buzz was everywhere. For all I knew, it may have tunneled its way into the walls.

In a fit of childlike panic I ran back to the door, for the camera system was controlled there, a large high-definition screen that amassed all the gazes of all the cameras around the home, and so I thought, delusionally, that in reaching this screen—meaning traversing once again the living room where I would be vulnerable—I would be able to scroll through all the cameras and pinpoint The Wasp, and so delusional I was that I did not consider what would happen afterwards. I arrived at the screen; I whipped my finger against the controls, sifting through the camera footage as a madman scribbles paranoias on a page; I saw no Wasp through any of their eyes; the plot of the house was silent and dark; The Wasp was behind me.

It was crawling on its legs. It studied me like a dog.

Hi, I said.

The Wasp’s head swivelled to the left. It waved an antenna.

You’re not supposed to be here, I said.

The Wasp held out one of its front legs. I took it and shook it politely. I thoroughly enjoyed the kindness of The Wasp—that despite my running and hindering, it surrendered to common courtesy.

How are you? I said. I pushed myself onto my toes. Pretty cool, huh? It’s pretty big. Bigger than your nest, I bet. Or wherever you live.

The Wasp shook its head.

Well then. I can’t imagine why you’d want to come here.

The Wasp was now crawling towards the piano. It floated up onto the lid and examined the tuning pins. Satisfied, it receded to the couch.

Do you want me to play?

The Wasp nodded.

Once more I found my way to the piano bench. The line of keys was a stretch of wrathful river; I felt if I were to place my hand on the keys, I would be swept away. The Wasp recognized my hesitation. On the sofa it began a gentle flutter of its wings, a sound like soft leaves padding a path. The blood under my skin stopped rolling.

That’s a nice sound, I said. Thank you. But I’m really not sure what to play. I haven’t played in a long time, see. My mother doesn’t want me doing so.

The Wasp again swiveled its head. The clusters of black beads swelled and corrugated.

Well. I did play just now, didn’t I? You’re right. But I’m not sure if I can do it again.

The Wasp wandered up to the piano lid. It navigated a leg into the innards of strings and hammers. Slowly, without any concern for rhythm or dynamic, it plucked out the first few notes of the etude I had played. It opened its mandibles as though saying, You can’t play much worse than that.

I had made up my mind: I would play. I realized that, seated here by the piano every night, dreaming, looking for something in the soundless instrument, I had been waiting for The Wasp all along. The wrathful river died down. I settled my hands on the keys.

A boom came from upstairs, the sound of a door flinging open. It was the first time I saw The Wasp recoil in fright. The stairway rattled with my mother’s footsteps. She was singing an old 70’s tune to dreadful results—her tongue didn’t seem to work properly. The Wasp flung itself off the couch, scrambled through an air vent, and disappeared. I could hear its wings as it was eaten by the night.

My mother paused on the final step. She sniffed. Her hair looked as though it had been tumbled in a washing machine. Her left arm was kept snug to her bathrobe; her right brandished a wine bottle.
Was there anyone here? she said. Coarse sand and creaking floorboards. I shook my head. Mmm, she grunted, and began downstairs.

So concluded my first bout with The Wasp. I hoped for its return. My mother was probably going down to drink wine and cry.

About The Author

Lucas Rucchin is an aspiring prose writer situated in Vancouver, British Columbia. His work, both creative and journalistic, has been recognized in Surging Tide Magazine, for which he publishes as a staff writer, and The Aurora Journal. Outside of writing, Lucas enjoys playing the trumpet in jazz and concert ensembles, cross-country running, and taking his dog on lengthly walks.