Agata (Emily Kiddell)

Verity La Flash Fiction

Agata listens to the powerlines. The low, continuous buzz forms a voice around the wet heat. It measures her days. Sometimes, when it softens to a hum, she remembers Ilma in the backyard, and the noise mimics the communal prayer of grasshoppers. The child is there, bounding and leaping. She hunkers down, her bottom almost to the earth, then springs: ‘Look, Babushka, I am a frog hunting.’
The child is real. She knows this, but the line is unsteady.
The volume of moisture is gathering again.
Today the hum quickens; it rises. The clock winds until it catches. Agata sees herself framed — growing backwards, like all the photographs she’s hung (above the sill, on the walls) counting back to Russia. The inside of her house looks bleached. The flash, she thinks. It undermines the endless bloom of her plastic flowers.