Tiny Tuscan Tale is a new monthly flash fiction contest run by Florence Writers. Submissions are open to all — local and international writers — and the winner will be published each month on The Sigh Press.
February 2018’s winner is Back and Forth by Christine Coster-Longman.
The prompt for March 2018 is ‘Yellow Umbrella’, check out Florence Writers for info on how to enter.
Photo by Liz Shemaria.
Back and Forth
by Christine Coster-Longman
I am plump. Breast well padded.
I have a small but comfortable bed-sit where my family and I snuggle up tight. A highly desirable residence, in a south facing barn nestling in the gentle Tuscan hills between Siena and Florence. The sweet fragrances of lavender, rosemary, fennel and vetch swirl around me, the musty smell of silver grey olive groves and vineyards fills the air, all forever imprinted in my mind. Nearby a brook empties into a small pool alive with pond skaters, whirligigs and a million dancing midgets. The farm meadows, frequented by sheep and a few cattle, provide me food-a-plenty and emergency building supplies with which to repair my abode.
Summer has been stifling but generous. Now those long fertile days are shortening, the balmy nights progressively cooling. Soon I will no longer be able to support my family, nor myself. I must leave. Go home and find new supplies.
Autumn is approaching. Kith and kin, striking in resilient new designer white shirt and deep forked tails, enhanced by a burgundy neckerchief up to the forehead, flutter restlessly and line up. We know our route. Almost a thousand miles, a dangerous six week journey. Cautiously, we test the meteorological conditions, wind force and direction, approaching fronts. At last favourable conditions and my biological clock strikes “now”.
I embark on my first two hundred miles, cruising at 22 miles an hour.
Many of my comrades travel by night, clandestine to avoid predators, navigating by the moon and stars.
We prefer to travel by day, in-flight meals, then stopping when we find a good reed-bed and breakfast.