Nightfall in the Scent Garden
by Claire Humphrey
If you read this, you’ll tell me what grew over the arbor was ivy, not wisteria. If you are in a forgiving mood, you’ll open the envelope, and you’ll remind me how your father’s van broke down and we were late back. How we sat drinking iced tea while the radiator steamed.
You might dig out that picture, the one with the two of us sitting on the willow stump, and point out how small we were, how pudgy, how like any other pair of schoolgirls. How our ill-cut hair straggled over the shoulders of our flannel shirts.
You’ll remind me of the stories we used to tell each other. We spent hours embroidering them, improving on each other’s inventions. We built palaces and peopled them with dynasties, you’ll say, and we made ourselves emperors in every one, and every one was false.
If you read this, you’ll call your mother, or mine. They’ll confirm what you recall.
By then, though, you will begin to disbelieve it yourself.
If you think on it long enough, you’ll recall the kiss. I left it there untouched, the single thread you could pull to unravel this whole tapestry.
You’ll start to understand none of these things happened the way you remember. If you read this, you’ll learn how I betrayed you.
About the Author
Claire Humphrey’s short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex, Crossed Genres, Fantasy Magazine, and PodCastle. Her short story Bleaker Collegiate Presents an All-Female Production of Waiting for Godot appeared in the Lambda Award-nominated collection Beyond Binary, and her short story “The Witch Of Tarup” was published in the critically acclaimed anthology Long Hidden. Spells of Blood and Kin is her first novel. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary.
About the Narrator
Kara Grace once walked into a room containing a spray of flowers in a square vase.