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 first novel, Spells of Blood and Kin, won the 2017 Sunburst Award. Her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex, PodCastle, and many other places.
About the Narrator
Kara Grace lives in Michigan with her beloved boyfriend, puppy, and fluffy cat, but is always dreaming of Sunset Cliffs in San Diego. She is a geography student and aspiring voice actress, and is positive she is a woodland faerie stuck in the human world.You are most likely to find her deep in the woods admiring and making friends with bugs and other wildlife, or underwater watching the sunlight filter through the surface and hanging out with the aquatic life. She currently spends her work days trapped in an office, but looks forward to a future where she can make a living traveling as a cultural consultant, and using her voice to bring the written word to life. Feel free to contact her with projects and/or adventures.