A dull thud, the blue tit drops to the patio, and Anna hastens to open the French door before lazy cat George thinks a snack has dropped from heaven. She cradles the tiny, feathery body in her bare hands. No heartbeat. But a glimmer of sky is reflected in the jet of its eye. Anna’s heart weighs heavy. The spring breeze ruffles the bird’s feathers – and its beak opens with a sudden gasp. The warmth of her hands is working its magic! The bird shakes itself as if waking from a nightmare, its wings quiver, and Anna’s heart flies.
I wrote this piece of flash fiction for the Globe Soup June Micro Writing Competition, in which we had 100 words or fewer to write on the theme of ‘flying’. I’m sad to say it wasn’t even longlisted. Since then, life has reflected fiction and my husband rescued a fledgling sparrow whose head was trapped in a bird feeder. He found a sanctuary that could deal with it and since then Twenty Two (named after her registration number at the sanctuary) seems to be doing well. The only real damage was to one of her knees – I didn’t know that sparrows even had knees! If all is well, she can be set free in our garden in a week or two.