Some listeners will recognize characters and story elements from H.P. Lovecraft’s “Cool Air.” That’s because this story was written for She Walks in Shadows, an anthology of stories containing female characters from Lovecraft’s stories. All contributors to the anthology were women. She Walks in Shadows won the 2016 World Fantasy Award in the anthology category, and “Bitter Perfume” received an Honorable Mention from Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 8 editor Ellen Datlow.
About the Author
Laura Blackwell grew up in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and the setting for “Bitter Perfume” is loosely based on it. She now lives in sunny California. She has a horror story in Strange California, edited by Jaym Gates and J. Daniel Batt. Laura is a writer of speculative fiction. Most, but not all, of her stories are contemporary fantasy. Her novelettes and short stories have appeared in magazines and in various print and eBook anthologies, including 2015 Locus Recommended and 2016 World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows. She’s the copy editor for Shimmer.
About the Narrator
Emily Smith is a physician living in the Central Valley of California. She’s not afraid to put you to sleep but she is terrified of black widow spiders, heights, and that sudden silence that means a child is up to no good. She lives in constant danger of being eaten by cats, tripped by a baby, choked by a wisteria vine or smothered by wild birds. The wisteria vine is currently the most likely cause of her demise as it is the only thing not dependent on her for sustenance and her death dovetails nicely into its plan for world domination.
You can occasionally find her as Fireturtle on the Escape Artists forums, particularly if there is a flash contest in the offing.