WINNER of the prize for HUMOROUS PROSE (THE WELKIN WRITING PRIZE 2023)
by Sarah Wallis
(Where the redoubtable Mr & Mrs Bramblehall-Smythes adventure to Birmingham, UK)
And so to Birmingham! Where we encounter the Fallen in the red round room of the Museum there, very apt we thought, no escape from judgement sort of thing, not in the Sight of God each moment. Powerful it was, especially as there was, of all things, a drumming workshop happening, louder and louder as we ascended the stairs, you could feel it, pounding in your chest – wondering what we’d come to we were, and the world too, the top of the stairs opening out into this red-walled round room and when we entered there the
as the brass he was made of, a grim expression on his face, finding us wanting no doubt, well, you know, we were wanting – of meaning and thirst to be honest with you, quite a warm day for the Midlands, we thought. But yes, grim visage, muscular capable, I’d say, not your Heracles, Hector or Achilles, but someone to watch for... and the wings... I don’t know, but would it, would it be, utterly sacrilegious, to say, perhaps – divine?
Is it just the matter of flight? Are all things blessed with wings a little touched, with a smattering of divinity? The scarab, the ladybug, the robin, the dragonfly, the flamingo or swan? It’s even machines, isn’t it? Think of a hot air balloon rising, aeroplanes, daily, taking off and landing, and what about rocket-ships? We’re mesmerized, aren’t we? Mesmerized... and also astonished. Living in an age of astonishment. And there was astonishment, you know, in this room, this sort of terrible red round room that held him, Lucifer, ready to take flight at any moment, but held by command, absolutely earthbound... as we all are.
Sarah Wallis lives in Scotland and publishes cross genre. Highlights include the staging of her works The Rain King and Laridae, poetry in The Yorkshire Poetry Anthology, art in Feral and flash in Ellipsis Zine. Chapbooks include Medusa Retold, Precious Mettle and How to Love the Hat Thrower.
A story that sparkles in its originality. I love the sense of moment and how the humorous tone of voice enhances (and almost subverts) the atmosphere of the piece; how the tone shifts to something much more philosophical in the final paragraph, leaving us with so many questions to ponder.