Read by Tina Connolly
Originally published in Realms of Fantasy, February 2011.
Elisabeth had been curious about the Victorian house for years. Once she was inside, it won her over. The house was filled with ephemera, harvested from a lifetime of travel: copper plates, ceramic vases, Persian rugs in burgundy and yellow, eclectic art pieces. Window shelves held glass bottles in turquoise and blue. Crystals dangled over the kitchen sink, spinning rainbows from light. Potted plants grew lush. Nothing matched. It was a mishmash of beloved things that formed a charmingly incoherent whole.
The two girls sat in Ana Celina’s room. Ana Celina’s gray cat rubbed at their ankles, demanding affection. They talked about college; it was all anyone talked about these days. Elisabeth was going to a state university three hours away. Ana Celina was headed to a school in London. “I need a break from Neve,” she explained.
“My mom. Come on. I’ll introduce you. She’s probably down in her secret lab.” Ana Celina rolled her eyes.
Elisabeth followed Ana Celina through the house–down the stairs, past the kitchen, to a closed door. Ana Celina knocked, then paused, waiting for the muffled “come in.”
Ana Celina opened the door and fragrance rushed out like the surf. Fleeting florals, ripe fruits, fresh greenery, ancient spices: each scent struggled to make itself known. Stunned, Elizabeth gazed around the room. It was large, and filled with shelves. Each shelf was lined with trays. Each tray was packed with finger-sized vials.
Rated R. Contains Young Love.
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