• Dina

Strawberry Rhubarb


​ Charity Town had known economic success for many years and had doubled in size over the last decade. The townspeople struggled very little. You see, everyone knows Charity for its delicious fruit products. However, the town did not know true fortune until a mysterious woman set up a quaint bakery in the heart of the town. Good Thymes Bakery was run by Elliot, a strapping young woman of an ambiguous age who dressed in slacks, suspenders, a dress shirt, and bowtie every day she worked the shop. Which was everyday, from sunrise to sunset.


​ Elliot’s claim to fame was not her handsome features butthat she was the town’s only witch who made pastries to cure any ailment. Witches were known to live in groups, never straying far from her coven. Elliot, had no known family to speak of. Most of the townspeople didn’t question it. Elliot was loved and considered the town’s good luck charm.


​ One morning as Elliot opened shop, her favorite customer wandered into the bakery, the familiar chime of the bell at the doorway alerted Elliot to Maya’s arrival. The sun coming through the front windows made her red hair look like a cascade of fire.


“Good morning sunshine. The usual?” Elliot couldn’t help but smile however, as Maya approached the counter Elliot could immediately sense something unsettling in Maya. Then she saw it, her usual rich makeup seemed faint, it was last night’s. It was weak, but she could also smell vomit, and there were bags under her eyes.


“Maya?”


“Hey El.” She said with a sad smile.


“What’s going on Maya?”


​ The two women had become fast friends two years ago when Maya moved into town for a job in the mayor’s office. If they weren’t chatting it up at the shop, they were out at their favorite local bar or staying in binging some new show on Netflix. If something was wrong with one of them, the other immediately knew.


​ Maya just looked at Elliot, tears forming in her eyes. Quickly, Elliot walked around to the other side of the counter. Taking Maya by the hand, she guides her back behind the counter, to the back of the bakery, into a small closet-like break room with only a plastic table and two folding chairs.


“Wait here,” she said hastily. “I’m just going to close the shop.”


Elliot returned to a quiet Maya. Elliot had never known her to be so sheepish and solemn. Maya was vibrant; it was what Elliot loved most about her. Elliot took the seat across from Maya looking into her dull quiet eyes.


“Maya, talk to me. You’re scaring me.”


After a few minutes of silence Maya muttered something quietly. “I’m pregnant.”


“Oh.” Elliot tried to hide her shock. “Okay, and you don’t want it?”


Maya shook her head.


“They have ways to take care of that.”


“El, I don’t want anyone to know. No one can know.”


“Maya, why?”


“This is a small town, you know that people talk.” Maya wasn’t looking Elliot in the face. She sensed something wasn’t entirely right.


“Maya, I know you don’t care what people think. What is this really about? Who is it?”


“Who?” Maya looks up at Elliot, her face flushed.


“Yes. Are you trying to protect whoever the father is?” Maya was quiet. She didn’t look away.


“Do you not want to say it?” Elliot asked gently. Maya shook her head again.


“Do you want to show me?” A nod to say yes. Maya placed her hands on the table, palms up. Elliot rest her palms on top. What Maya showed her was the mayor’s office. She was alone with him. They had been drinking. He was close, Elliot could smell his cologne and the alcohol on his breath. She could feel his hand slipping up her, no, Maya’s skirt. Maya protested, but it was a game to him. What happened next was too much for Elliot, she quickly pulled away from Maya’s hand and almost fell out of her seat. She felt sick and wanted to wretch.


“That fucker. I’m going to kill him.”


“El no. I’m begging you to leave this alone. Just please, help me.” There were tears in her eyes.


“Okay.”




​ “What’s this?”


That night, after Elliot closed the shop they met at Maya’s small apartment. Elliot had brought with her a single galette and was now holding it out before her.


“It’s a strawberry rhubarb galette.”


“Okay?” said Maya, reaching for it. Elliot quickly pulls back.


“It’s the ‘help’ that you asked me for but, before I give you this, I need something from you.”


“Like payment?”


“No, a promise that you will tell no one about this. You know where I stand when it comes to meddling with human drama.”


Elliot’s deserts were be imbued with many a magic but none that could significantly affect or damage a human in any way. Her tarts could give good luck, cookies to help you sleep, muffins to cure hangovers. However, she had refused on many occasions to make pastries that doubled as a truth spell, love potions, and even poisons. Humans needed to sort out their affairs other ways.




​ A few weeks go by and the two friends have not spoken of that night since. One morning, a young woman walks into the bakery. Elliot recognizes her but cannot quite figure out who she is.


“What can I get for you darling?” She asks of the sheepish girl who looked ashamed. Elliot recognized that look.


“You’re the mayor’s secretary aren’t you?” Elliot asks innocently. The girl nods and finally speaks.


“I was hoping you had the strawberry rhubarb galette available.” Elliot’s heart sank and her stomach churned. She was infuriated, but she could not say no to this girl who looked fresh out of college.


​ Unfortunately, the young secretary was not the last. Over the next few months, Elliot had three more girls come in. She couldn’t handle it anymore, something needed to be done.




“That’s why you’re going to deliver this to him.” She said to Maya one evening as the two sat at Elliot’s dining romantic om table. A delicately packaged strawberry rhubarb galette sat between them.


“I thought this was essentially a morning after pill on steroids. What will it do to him?”


“It’ll make that asshole flaccid for the rest of his life.”


“El, I thought you didn’t—“


“Interfere with human drama? Yeah, until I had five women seeking secret abortions come to me, all raped and impregnated by the same man.”


“El…”


“Just leave it on his desk. I’d do it, but I have no way of getting that close to him.”


Elliot knew how this might affect her friendship with Maya but she was determined to put an end to the mayor’s vile practices.




​ The next morning, mayor James Campbell walked into his office where on his desk sat the singular galette. Also on that morning, an empty storefront greeted the patrons of Good Thymes Bakery. The town of Charity could no longer feel Elliot’s presence. As years passed without her, the town’s prosperity began to fade, and every business that occupied the Good Thymes storefront found no success.

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