Clio Velentza_High Summer

High Summer

Their old landmarks are charred, the ashen sludge slips into her sandals. Find me at our pit, he’d said. Where you dig for fossils. He should be waiting for her, always the last to arrive. Pine cones crackle, the sap hums in creaks and snaps. Stumps hiccup out sparks. Voices are coming from behind, they shout out her name. This grey naked thing must be their hill, no longer hidden. Come; at our pit, with the roots for a ladder. Bring any treasure you find. She picks up the fragment of an animal’s jaw. It’s hot and it has fine, sharp teeth. Bones are for amateurs. We are not bone people, we are scholars of leaf and twig. How well his clever hands arrayed the bulbs, the herbs, the frail errant petals. How well he spoke their sing-song names. Keep your knuckle bones, your feathers. She clutches and the jaw bites deep, draws out warm blood. Find me a copse a my-see-lium a grove. The sunlight dips the hill in fire and blinds her. Her fingers grope the root, the ladder, the reeking gap. The voices call her, they call him too. How well they sound, echoing together.

Clio Velentza is a writer from Athens, Greece. She is a winner of Best Microfiction 2020, Wigleaf’s Top 50 2019 and The Best Small Fictions 2016, and a Pushcart Prize nominee. She writes prose and plays, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in several literary journals. You can find her on twitter at @clio_v

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