Sunday, 12 August 2018

'Wing Man'

This story from Rosalie Parker's new collection is an interesting example of a fantasy, rather than a ghost story or tale of horror. Ben, the protagonist, dreamed of flying as a child. As man he becomes active, successful, and finds love with Sheila. However, the jealous Matt claims Ben stole Sheila from him and sets out to do some serious harm.

Ben's job involves flying to various long-haul destinations, something he has no problem with at first. But when Matt injures Ben in a game of rugby the latter develops a fear of flying. He goes to a therapist, Saul McCabe, who cures Ben. But Saul seems to overdo it, as Ben becomes obsessed with flight, joining a gliding club.

Then Matt exacts his revenge on Ben by attacking him again during a rugby match. The vicious assault puts Ben in a wheelchair, and Matt gets away with it. Ben remains determined to fly, and dreams of Saul spreading real wings and leading him into the blue. It emerges that Saul has vanished, leaving no trace. The story ends in affirmation as Ben anticipates a somewhat Ballardian escape from an earthly existence that now seems empty.

An interesting tale, this, though it does read like a first draft rather than a finished work. Next, the halfway point of the collection! Stay tuned.

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