We are delighted to publish below the winning story in the Wild Atlantic Writing Awards (WAWA) Flash Fiction category written by Arabella McIntyre-Brown and entitled ‘Wild Weapon.’
Arabella, 62, lives in a remote village in the mountains of Transylvania and this was the first short story she had ever entered in a competition since winning her school’s literary prize almost 50 years ago.
Arabella was overwhelmed with emotion upon hearing she’d won.
“I was pulled in two directions of disbelief and delight, and had to keep checking the Awards website to make sure I hadn’t misread it,” she said. “What a fantastic start to 2021! To win is a marvellous boost to my self-confidence. The judges’s comments and previous winning entries on the website were extremely helpful. A huge thank you for all your encouragement.”
Born in rural southern England, Arabella then lived in London and Liverpool for 30 years, ending up as author and indie publisher before migrating to Transylvania in 2010. She is best known for her children’s books which feature, among other characters, a lovable puppy called Floss. A nonfiction book she wrote about her experiences in Romania is entitled ‘A Stake in Transylvania.’ This year she will begin a series of crime novels.
In an interview with Universal.net, a news service in Romania, Arabella said, “I live in the mountains and I’m rather keen on Nature, so I thought I’d give it a go. So, I wrote a story about a bit of drama, and spent the next few weeks honing, shaving and polishing the story.”
Sean Hillen, one of the judges in the competition who will also host a special workshop on flash fiction on the opening weekend of our upcoming Virtual Writing Retreat said, “Arabella managed to incorporate not just keen insights into the personalities of her two characters but also developed the growing tension between them. She then wrapped up her story with a sudden, dramatic twist at the end. She should be very proud.”
Arabella will talk about her life and her approach to writing as a guest speaker at our Virtual Writing Retreat in March.
BECOME A FRIEND OF IRELAND WRITING RETREAT AND GET ACCESS TO OUR
VALENTINE'S DAY SPECIAL
by Arabella McIntyre-Brown
Even for Kingsley, this was disgraceful. He was pissing in the Castalian Spring.
“Have some respect, you disgusting oik!” I added a violent expletive, but he just sniggered.
“No harm done. It won’t even smell. See, washed away already.” As he spoke, an owl hooted from the cleft beside the Spring.
“Athena’s warning you,” I snarled.
My husband snorted, then jumped down and strode past me. “I want coffee,” he declared, heading for the kiosk by the bus stop.
We were in Delphi, arguably the most sacred site of Greek culture, home of the Oracle and the Omphalos for millennia. I’d always longed to see it, and I was here with a botanist’s excuse of searching out the Parnassus Peony, named for the mountain looming above us. Kingsley’s obsession with the Greek War of Independence would be fed, too; tomorrow we’d be in Missolonghi.
I yelled: “I’m going down to the Temple of Athena.”
“See you later!” he called.
At that point, I never wanted to see him again.
Too impatient to walk the long way round on the road, I crossed it and scrambled down the limestone scree, grabbing at scrubby bushes to stop myself falling. It was a long way down.
It was the end of May. Athena’s temple blazed white against the periwinkle sky. Nature was renewing itself, life at its most vigorous – a thousand greens hung with jewels. But life is hungry, and only death can feed it. Near the marble columns, I saw a blackbird thrashing a snail against a rock until it could pick the soft body from the shattered shell, half-hidden among the roots of a laurel lay a mess of small bones and tufts of fur. The sacrificial circle.
My hunt for blood-red peonies offered me other floral gifts, air warmed by oregano and thyme. I was happily lost, my face inches from the earth, camera-busy. I heard my name and looked up. “Sybil!” Kingsley was striding down the slope below the temple, waving and hallooing. I hadn’t realised how close I’d crept to where the land fell away to the next terrace. It was only a couple of metres, but I didn’t fancy the fall or the scramble back up.
Kingsley was edging around a large rock on the edge, but stopped to peer into a hole, fingers clinging. “Wow!” He crowed. “A nest – with eggs!” He reached a hand into the hole.
“Don’t touch them, idiot!” I yelled.
Out of the sun screamed a bullet of feathers and talons, wings and beak wide for attack as the little owl mobbed the thief. Kingsley shrieked, tried to cover his head, lost his footing, shrieked again. It wasn’t a long drop, but he landed badly on a rock, and I think I heard his skull actually crack.
Athena’s owl landed by her nest, swivelling her head to pin me with a yellow glare like a question. What now, Sybil?
Options. But funeral rites first. Time for gifts afterwards.