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At the Foot of the Mountain
by Ania Vesenny

art by Katherine Domsky
art by Katherine Domsky
The day after the avalanche, snowflakes fluttered like bugs—they gathered around my head, stung me just below my eyes, and burrowed into my mohair scarf to lay their eggs.

Bella pushed me towards the coffee counter. "Goddamn your regulations, we're sitting outside," she yelled over my shoulder. "She's the sister!"

I wanted to slap the espresso machine and say she was the fiancée, but two men at the window table looked up, and the owner said, "Sorry." I kept my fists tight inside my pockets and let her order.

The mountains, gauzy and wide, towered just above, but I knew that even if the roads weren't closed, it would still take us hours to get there. The snow around my hot chocolate melted in a perfect circle, revealing blue plastic tablecloth.

"I'm sure Xan will stay up in the cabin where it's safe. He isn't stupid," Bella said.

When Xan was nine, I slid off the rocks into the knee-deep lily pond. I was twelve and wanted Randy Owen to jump after me. Xan clutched my hair and tried to drag me out. "I'm not drowning," I yelled.

I nuzzled my paper cup with my lips and thought about air pockets, and whether he remembered to take his backpack off. Bella's hair turned white with snow.

"When do you think we'll hear?" I asked. The sky wasn't night yet, but it already swallowed the mountains.

"You can't change him, you know. He needs the edge," she said and twisted her ring. "Maybe that's what happiness is, not leafing through Modern Bride on Sundays, trying to find a moment when he isn't talking about the trails, so I can kiss him and show him a wedding gown. Let's go in."

The cafe was loud, and orange, and smelled of freshly ground beans. My scarf was heavy now with melted snowflake larvae. I took it off, hit it against the back of a chair, and watched millions of glitter bugs fly.

All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2014 by its authors.



Ania Vesenny born and raised in the former USSR. Her flash fiction has appeared in Per Contra, FRiGG, Dogzplot, elimae, and elsewhere. Before moving to Halifax, Nova Scotia, she lived in Iqaluit, Nunavut.

Read the interview.

Katherine Domsky is a Canadian currently living in Coastal Texas. She loves to shoot life as she comes upon it, and almost always has a camera slung over her shoulder. The contrasts and textures in the environment are particulary influential in her art. Katherine can be reached at katherinedomsky@gmail.com.
Issue Twenty-Four (March 18, 2009): Barista by Sarah Black «» Night Vision by Edmond Caldwell «» Star Man by Bill Cook «» Bluegills by Thomas Cooper «» Seattle Gymnopédie by Scott Garson «» One Night at Crobar by Shane Goth «» Scrapple by Tiff Holland «» What If The Dungeon Closes by Tim Jones-Yelvington «» Toes by Darby Larson «» The Hamster by Tara Laskowski «» Dirtclouds by Charles Lennox «» Moat by Ravi Mangla «» A Witnessing at the K&W Cafeteria by Heather McDonald «» Roots by Jen Michalski «» I Use Commas like Ninja Stars by Sam Nam «» Turtle Creek by Gregory Napp «» Prey by Susannah Pabot «» By Saturday, We'd Be Singing by John Riley «» At the Foot of the Mountain by Ania Vesenny «» Interviews: Sarah Black «» Edmond Caldwell «» Bill Cook «» Thomas Cooper «» Scott Garson «» Shane Goth «» Tiff Holland «» Tim Jones-Yelvington «» Darby Larson «» Tara Laskowski «» Charles Lennox «» Ravi Mangla «» Heather McDonald «» Jen Michalski «» Sam Nam «» Gregory Napp «» Susannah Pabot «» John Riley «» Ania Vesenny «» Cover Art "No. 41 - 2007" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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