Afterglow by Clio Velentza
Early in the morning, Sis took me to watch the volcano. I slept on her lap in the bus. We got to the heath just as the sun was rising, just as the pillar of smoke began to thin and gleam. We threw our blanket down and ripped open the biscuits and chocolate milk.
“It’s pretty,” said Sis, “as long as you don’t have to think about it.”
The rains had come and gone. The desolation was green again. I complained that the mouth of the bottle was too small to dunk biscuits in.
“At least our volcano is a mild one,” she said.
I got up and walked circles around her. I’m bored, I said.
“Yes,” she said.
I hate this stupid volcano, I said, I wish we could go away.
“There’s nowhere to go,” she said.
There’s home, I said.
She drew a high arc in the air, from the volcano to the town.
“Woosh,” she said. “Crash. Nowhere to go.”
I lay down. She made me sit up so I’d keep it in sight, and I pinched her.
I don’t care, I yelled, why should I care?
She pinched me back. “If it’s there, you have to look at it.”
I cried and said that nobody has to look at it, you can barely smell it from the town. I wanted more biscuits.
“That’s not the point,” she said.
I kicked at the thorns, threw stones about. The volcano hiccupped, soaking us in light.
Then what is the point? Woosh. Crash. You always want a point, I said.
“Yes,” she said.
Clio Velentza is a writer from Athens, Greece. She is a winner of ‘Best Small Fictions 2016’ and a Pushcart nominee. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in several literary journals, such as ‘Wigleaf’, ‘Paper Darts’, ‘Lost Balloon’, ‘Jellyfish Review’, and ‘Hypertrophic Literary’. She is currently working on a novel.