contemporary short story
By Michael L. Trombetta
pools of light,
The Old Woman and I sat at the kitchen table.
Musing with the night.
She was sipping honeyed tea,
And I, neat usquaebach.
Our yearly rite.
shadows danced on the walls, in sync with the crepe myrtles
whipped about by the equinoctial gales. Stick-like figures in
a wild bacchanal, leaping then full-stopping to the intermittent
roar of rushing wind, screeching owls and the dopplering whistle
of a freight train highballing across the Panhandle. I was far,
far away from Miami. . .
I watched the Old Woman across the circular glass table top.
Sipping tea and scribbling in the ever present Moroccan bound
notebook. There were nearly fifty now, carefully stored in a
well traveled steamer trunk in the attic. All in Hungarian.
"Soon, they are yours," she whispered to me.
Caressing her beloved Siamese, Bandit.
knitted, she peered into the near distance. The exact pose as
in an old painted photograph: Mama (everyone calls her that
now) was sitting in an outdoor cafe in Budapest, wearing a white
dress dotted with colorful pansies. A wide brimmed hat, its
cerulean ribbons floating on a cascade of blonde hair. Obviously
pregnant with Cora. Pen in hand, she was searching across the
Danube for someone - her lover? There was no inscription but
the stamped date was 1 sep 39.
a country girl. Her vegetable and flower gardens were the envy
of the county. Out the kitchen window, I saw rows of corn, beans
and peppers. Beautiful roses, jonquil, daffodils, and tulips.
She also raised pigs and the honey from her bee hives was in
constant demand. It produced the finest mead. Her crescent rolls
were simply unparalleled
As a young
woman, Cora enjoyed searching for wild flowers. Mama had warned
about the wild boars, beasts that were probably descendants
of those brought by Ponce. They will crash into you, break your
legs and stomp you to death. But it was a human beast who abducted
and raped Cora. An old man and a boy fishing on the lake reported
to the police that they had heard a young woman's screams but
by the time they reached the dirt road all they saw was a red
cloud of dust and a shiny black 4-door Caddy . Couldn't make
out the plate because they opened up with automatics. Heading
The police did all they could.
Then Mama hired me. For four years, she and I searched. I finally
rescued Cora from a hideout in the middle of the Okefenokee
Swamp. It was on Easter Sunday.
around the date of her abduction, Cora was swallowed by the
memory of her personal experience of hell. She was just lost
to the world for four months. But then, around Springtime, Cora
would return to herself and Mama would rejoice as if it were
New Year. She had her daughter back once again and all the earth
Shore Fiction - for the short story
just arrived by a wooden skiff, launched from a rusty schooner,
to WordSmitten's Native Shore Fiction, where we publish writers
who give us a short trot through cultured minds and wayward
We look forward to seeing short stories from every writer's
native shore. It does not matter if you have never seen the
sea and breathe only inland waves of wheat or rye ~or big city
fumes. We'd like you to share your innermost native shore with
with our Storycove Flash Fiction (a story of fewer than 500
words) we are pleased to offer to our newest department for
standard length short stories (1000-4000 words). To launch this
department, we have selected an image of a rare shorebird known
as the slim-billed curlew. Like a great short story, this bird
is unique and in danger of disappearing.
Call for Fiction: The
reading period for The TenTen Fiction Competition runs from May
1 to the deadline of July 1. The winner will be published in our
Native Shore Fiction department in the autumn edition of Word
The prize for best short story is $1,010.00 to
be awarded in the late summer. This year's judge for the contest
is author Noy Holland, UMASS professor and head of their MFA writing
program. Very Important: Read the guidelines and enter your short
for The TenTen.