1 flash story
by Lara Longo
Lara Longo is a senior manager at The Atlantic and has an MA in cultural studies from King's College London. Her writing has been published in Thrice Fiction, Reflex Fiction, and Detritus. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Our cottages sink a little every year. The mountain, too. One day, my father says, that thing will come down and we’ll all be buried. It never grows what we plant, never shields the sun. Sometimes a rogue tourist comes to scale it and we have to call the rescue. My brother once broke his ankle skidding down.
Last year, the valley recorded the most rainfall since they measured rainfall. Flood water gathered, greasy and black, and gave us ponds. Dogs dodged the sludge. Miners pointed at the murk and said, how bout that!
The ground eventually swallowed the last of the water but now the mountain shifts.
When there are slides, the valley quakes. The rumble is a roar. We race outside, facing our neighbors, and wait for nothing. Then, the mountain sags, settling into itself. We tussle with our bedsheets, not sleeping.
Our inglorious heap is framed by every kitchen window in the valley. From the peace of our own homes, we regard its new outline. We take in the small humiliation of its misshapen top.
My sister had a dream about a shale pile that grew and grew into a tall wave. It hovered above the valley and made a satisfying arch. She said our old birds were uncaged, chirping like mad.