Tag Archives: Elisabeth Ingram Wallace

Elisabeth Ingram Wallace
February 2018 Commended

Satin Nightwear for Women Irregular

by Elisabeth Ingram Wallace

The walk to the Allotment is wet and full of cats, taut muscled screams darting under cars. It’s clunky, carrying all the bulbs she hoarded in one plastic bag, a bin-liner, stretched to a thin translucent skin.

When I get to her plot, I plant them. Ten halogen, twenty-two bayonet, and thirty-seven screw bulbs.

The ground around me is worming, and when I walk away the earth shatters.

I take her two nightstand drawers full of polyester nightwear to the wasteland behind Lidl. Giant white French knickers, black slips, a blood red chemise.

The labels are cheap and Chinese and the brands don’t translate. ‘Queen Silky Unique’, ‘Satin Nightwear for Women Irregular.’

I squirt lighter fluid, drop a lit match. When I walk away the sky bites and coughs through me. I can taste the perfume burn, her tight satin cling.

Her cookbooks next; one-hundred and twenty-three.

One is handwritten.

Her life in cakes, pages clotted with butter, her fingerprints, still. Two sheets stick, crack open an echo; a Rorschach of coffee, spilt decades ago - cockroach, demon, shadows. Her face.

Next day, I walk past it, already displayed in the Oxfam window. 99 pence.

For three weeks, I walk home a different way.

I walk the long, wrong way home and think of another window, the one in the hospital. I opened it wide. “My wife is too hot,” I’d said to the nurse, “she needs air.”

But I needed air. I didn’t want to be alone in that room, with her last breath. I wanted it out.

I tell everyone. I am OK.

Burying her is easy.

It’s just filling a hole. Burning her up into sky, and walking away.

About the Author

Elisabeth Ingram Wallace lives in Glasgow, and is spending 2018 writing her first novel. Her flash fiction is published or upcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly, Atticus Review, Flash Frontier, and every Bath Flash Fiction Award anthology so far! She has a Scottish Book Trust ‘New Writers Award’, a Dewar Arts Award, and won ‘Writing the Future 2017’ with her sci-fi short story ‘Opsnizing Dad’. She studied English as a mature student at Oxford University, and has a Creative Writing M.Litt. with Distinction from the University of Glasgow. You can find her on Twitter @ingram_wallace

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February 2017 Judge’s Report
Kathy Fish

First, I’d like to thank Jude for inviting me to judge this wonderful contest. What a tremendous honor! I’m so impressed with how organized and efficient all of the Bath contests appear to be, especially how quickly the long list is chosen and announced. The production of a beautiful anthology from the contest long list is also very impressive. This all takes hard work and demonstrates huge respect and appreciation for your contestants. Kudos to everyone involved!

I’m also very taken with the spirit of this particular contest. By that I mean the attitude of the contestants. There’s a feeling of camaraderie I picked up on on social media. A spirit of encouragement and high energy. A willingness to go for it and cross your fingers, but if you fail this time, never mind, there is always another great contest coming up. It makes me feel good for the writers involved. Writing is a tough gig! The best way to survive as a writer is to cultivate a sense of lightness, boldness, and playfulness around your work. Not lightness around your material (although that’s okay too), but lightness around the results. If you can keep showing up, keep playing and learning in the face of disappointment and rejection, it gives you a tremendous advantage in the long run. So kudos to everyone who submitted!
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Elisabeth Ingram Wallace
February 2017 Commended

My Thirty-Eight Step Korean Cleansing Routine

by Elisabeth Ingram Wallace

Six months ago, my Mum and I started to get serious about skincare.

Mum’s goals were to be ‘barely there’, ‘flawless’ and ‘age-defying.’

My goals were to ‘go big’ and ‘colour!’

Mum tried ninety-eight Concealers and Foundations.

I tested Highlighters (for inner glow) and Contouring kits (to define).

You can find all our reviews on YouTube. With the product placement offers rolling in, we took things up a level.

Mum had her tummy tucked.

I got a bigger bum, bigger boobs, and bigger lips.

We weren’t getting the impact we wanted, YouTube viewer wise, so we upped our game.

Mum spackled plaster into her wrinkles and applied beige masonry paint.

I had my forehead surgically removed and replaced with the skull of a tiny baby bird. I’ve always felt insecure about my skull, ever since I was a toddler and I first noticed my cranium was disproportionate to my mandible.

Mum started sleeping with a bucket full of slugs on her face, so the slime would infuse her epidermis overnight.

I killed a man and climbed inside his body and wore him as a moisturising onesie.

That week, we got 4.8 million followers on Twitter!

Yesterday Mum filled the bathtub with sulphuric acid. Overnight, her body fizzled and melted into slime. By dawn, she was barely there. I drained her away this afternoon.

With Mum gone, I need to find myself. Centre myself. Be Me.

That’s why I’ve established my thirty-eight step Korean cleansing routine.

Self-care is a core component of mental health.

No more drama, surgery or make-up. Just clean healthy skin; twelve toners, three ampules, eight serums, nine moisturisers, and six sheet masks, twice a day.

It’s me time. No more Twitter, no more YouTube, no more Facebook. No more sharing, friending, following. No more words.

About the Author

photo credit Rob MacDougall

Elisabeth has worked as an art director, production designer and prop maker in adverts, horror films, music videos and Kids TV. She’s made (fake) bombs, torture dungeons, flying sandwiches, vegetable rock-bands and giant emus.

In early 2017 she received a New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust, which means she can now spend less time building murder lairs in the forest and more time writing.

Elisabeth is currently writing ‘The Precinct’, an apocalyptic short fiction series, and is in the middle of writing her first novel. She can be found @shortstoryprize.

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Elisabeth Ingram Wallace
June 2016 Third Prize

The Baby Came Early, Screaming

by Elisabeth Ingram Wallace

Davina clocked Harold the second he was born. She slapped his arse and shoved her wrist-watch in his mouth. He sucked the tinny heartbeat, silenced. “I understand you,” she said. “You just need more time.”

By six-months old, he had twenty-six manual alarm clocks, four digital time-pieces, and a free-standing grandfather clock which he slept in like a crib. The days pounded. The flat pulsated. Davina slept in the bathtub like each night was a hurricane warning.

Each time Harold cried, Davina gave him a new watch, or let him touch the numbers on her iPhone. Then the wailing began again.

“What’s wrong Harold?”

But Harold just sobbed, his big hands in his mouth. The hands were from a 1919 train station clock. Czechoslovakian, solid bronze. She’d bought them off eBay.

“You’re too small a number to explain. Maybe when you’re one, or two. Then you can tell me what’s wrong.”

She played him ‘Hammer Time’. She read him ‘The Hours’. At night the clocks glowed neon, and crawled round the room with their slow worming glow.

They listened to the woman on the phone-line tell them the Greenwich Mean Time, over and over, and the time was always different, except for twice a day.

That’s where Davina got the idea. To stop all the clocks, before time consumed them. “Then you’ll be right. Not wrong. At least twice a day.”

Davina killed the iPhone in the washing machine, on Cottons, ninety degrees. She unplugged alarm clocks, removed batteries from watches, pulled pendulums from carriages.

From the grandfather’s belly, Harold kicked, howled and emptied. Davina had morning sickness, all over again.

About the Author

Elisabeth Ingram WallaceElisabeth did lots before fiction: silver-smithing, production design, and working as a prop-maker for children’s TV. She’s made diamond rings, giant emus, a dog’s birthday cake, as well as shoving steaming microwaved tampons into pies to make them look fresh-out-the-oven-scrumptious. After receiving a Dewar Arts Award, Elisabeth studied Creative Writing in Glasgow, and has been published in two anthologies and edited another. Elisabeth is currently writing ‘The Precinct’, an apocalyptic short fiction series, and is in the middle of writing ‘Lobster Queen’, her first novel.

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