Clara doesn’t know that the letter she thinks is in her handbag waiting to be found landed on the floor of the hypnotist. It was the last thing he read before dialing her mother.

“She mentioned Samuel? Do you know who that is? You must contact him as well. Please… quickly…”

As Samuel’s feelings developed for Lyla, he disagreed that they keep it from Clara.

“We need to be honest with her.”

Lyla regretted telling Clara the moment the syllables slithered from the corners of her trembling lips. “I… we’re…. I’ll end it with him. Straight away. Let’s just talk about something else. Let’s pretend it never happened. It was stupid, I love you. Our friendship is so much more important. Let’s just put it in the past.”

“Let’s play a game…”

Two weeks later is when her mother said, “Clara. I know you’ve said you don’t know where she is, but people are worried about Lyla. There’s something I think you should try. Maybe there’s something that just hasn’t crossed your mind?”

The letter was penned ten minutes prior to the appointment.

Without knowing what I will say in the next two hours. I know how I feel right now. I know that love cannot exist. If it truly did. Pain would not be possible. And there would be no such thing as a lie.

Samuel reaches the shore first. Clara has been out of the water over an hour by then. She is amidst the thicket. It is far too dense to expose her bare skin; but hardly thick enough to hush the sound of a gunshot.

“CLARA!”

photo: A spider’s silk by Jessica Tremp