Hannah followed Helen past the kitchen through a breezeway that flanked the back of the house. She paused to gaze at the garden.
“I hope your green thumbs are up to the challenge dear!” Helen walked back to Hannah. “Breaks my heart to see it like this. You know, back when I was growing up, my grandmother raised climbing rose bushes over there,” she pointed at a weather worn teak arbor. “And my mum, when she had charge of the grounds, filled the raised beds with herbs and plants suitable for teas and tinctures. Our pantry’s rafters were full of drying plant bundles!
Hannah smiled as she imagined the life that once thrived in the weed tangled, overgrown mess. “I love herb gardens. We had one at Waverly, and a vegetable garden too. Every meal my mother prepared included something from the garden. And I remember too, when my sister and I couldn’t sleep, mother would take a bunch of lavender and crush the buds between her fingertips before fluffing our pillows.”
“Ah, your mother was a wise woman. I don’t have any plans for the garden, Hannah. Consider it your special project.” Helen motioned Hannah to the end of the hall.
“Well here you are.” Helen opened the door. “Make yourself at home. Tonight, a surprise! I’m cooking! Dinner is in an hour!”
Henry had retreated to his room after his rude outburst. Exhausted, he threw himself over the bed, soon tossing into fitful, restless sleep, haunted by a recurring nightmare. In it, he was a boy gazing at an elusive city that always glowed just past the horizon despite his attempts to reach it. Happiness resided there. And somehow he sensed his Alice was there too.
This is the seventh installment of a series in response to Jane Dougherty’s Weekly Microfiction Challenge. This week’s prompt is the painting, “Far, far away Soria Moria Palace shimmered like Gold” by Theodor Kittelsen. It is based on a Norwegian fairy tale that you can read by clicking HERE.
Find previous installments HERE.