“High Flyer” - A Short Story by Steve Wade from his debut collection In Fields of Butterfly Flames and other Stories - 2020
I have been following the work of Steve Wade since March of 2013
His debut collection can stand with the masters of the Irish Short Story.
This is the eighth short story by Steve Wade that has been featured on The Reading Life. The fourth from his debut collection.I first read his work during Irish Short Story Month Year Three in March of 2013. I found his short story “The Land of the Ever Young” fully qualified to stand with the great occult fairy tales of Sheridan Le Fanu or Andrew Lang.
“The Land of the Ever Young" recreates and helps us understand the stories of fairies stealing human children and substituting changelings for them. Part of the root of these stories comes from the famine years where people had to find ways to deal with the starvation of their children. On another darker side, this story also treats of the fact that one more hungry child could be the tipping point in a family on the edge of starvation that can send everyone else into the grave.
First and foremost 'The Land of the Ever Young" is a tremendous lot of fun to read. Joseph Sheridan le Fanu or Andrew L)ang have no better stories than this.
The other stories covered on The Reading Life show the extent and depth of Wade’s range. (Some of the stories can be read online at links found in my posts)
Today’s story way more than justifies my belief in the immense talent of Steve Wade.
I am slowly working my way through his debut collection, In Fields of Butterfly Flames. The stories are just so powerful I think you must space them out. This is my second from his debut collection.
Isabel’s husband of some twenty years recently told her he was ending their marriage. She is on a train. A handsome younger man is looking at her, checking her out. She cannot help but enjoy this.
“Isabel remembered this type of look from men. Almost. A look they pretended you weren’t supposed to notice but made quite sure you did. A look she couldn’t remember inspiring for years, not since before she and Don had yet to find each other. Long before Robert existed.”
She is being left financially secure, she gets the house and their son will get his father’s expensive German car, A BMW convertible. Perfect to impress girls. He decides to take it for a drive:
“A black BMW convertible. A gift from his father – what a gift. And he had just turned nineteen. The break-up between hismom and dad no longer seemed as crushing as it had been these past months. He climbed down the gears at the sight of a couple of women wheeling strollers in the distance. Always worth a look. Bingo. Yummy-mummies. That’s when the moron in the Golf whizzed past.”
In just a few moments, the gift of Robert will destroy four lives.
In this brief work Wade shows us how fragile life can be.
The closing is one of horror and heartbreak, years of hoped for happiness gone.
About the Author - Steve Wade’s award-winning short fiction has been widely published in literary magazines and anthologies. His work has been broadcast on national and regional radio. He has had stories short-listed for the Francis McManus Short Story Competitionand for the Hennessy Award. His stories have appeared in over fifty print publications, including Crannog, New Fables, and Aesthetica Creative Works Annual. His unpublished novel, On Hikers’ Hill was awarded First Prize in the abook2read.com competition, with Sir Tim Rice as the top judge. He has won First Prize in the Delvin Garradrimna Short Story Competition on a number of occasions. Winner of the Short Story category in the Write by the Sea writing competition 2019. His
short stories have been nominated for the PEN/O’Henry Award, and for the Pushcart Prize.
From the Author’s introduction
“The stories in this collection first appeared in anthologies and periodicals. Some of them have won prizes or have been placed in writing competitions. Ostracised by betrayal, isolated through indifference, gutted with guilt, or suffering from loss, the characters in these twenty-two stories are fractured and broken, some irreparably. In their struggle for acceptance, and their desperate search for meaning, they deny the past”
A very worthy edition to the reading list of all lovers of the short story.