Welcome to the first day of our 2022 Halloween Flash Fiction Blog Event! Most days of our event we’ll be sharing two stories, and our second story for today is coming from Hildie McQueen! I hope you love all our stories this week, and be sure to check at the end of each one for the contests/giveaways!!
BAKE A SPELL
An Abbie Adams Mystery
Just when Abbie Adams pulled out a tray of beautifully baked pumpkin spiced cupcakes, the loud sound of witch’s cackling made her jump. The tray flew from her hand and plopped upside down on the floor. Actually, half of the tray landed on her foot.
“Ow!” Abbie hopped up and down, the scorching baked goods burning through her sock.
“What happened to you?” Becka, her best friend and business partner at Sit A Spell Teahouse watched as Abbie bent to pick up the tray.
In true Halloween spirit, Becka often made changes, but to switch the happy jingle of the bell over the door to a stupid cackle was just wrong.
Abbie lifted the tray and dumped the cakes into the trash bin. “I want our bell back. That cackling scares the bejezzers out of me.”
“Lets you forget, we are witches and must embrace all things Halloween. It is our duty.”
The cackling sounded, both of them jumped. When Abbie narrowed her eyes at Becka with an “I told you so,” look, Becka pretended not to notice.
“My order better be ready,” Mrs. Woolworm, their old schoolteacher and still as terrifying as when they were in the fifth grade, walked to the counter and studied the offerings through the glass.
She pointed at a Bundt cake. “What is that?”
“It is a black licorice and candy corn flavored cake with ghoulish sour berry frosting,” Becka informed her. “I know it sounds horrible, but I promise, it is a perfect treat for the holiday.”
Both Abbie and Mrs. Woolworm stared at Becka as if she’d grown a third eye.
The woman huffed. “I’ll just take my cupcakes please.”
When their old teacher left with her order and a couple other treats, Abbie tapped Becka on the shoulder. Her friend was a master of flavor blending and giving the residents of Whisper, Georgia some of the best tasting cakes, scones and cookies. This new combination however sounded horrible.
“Are you sure about those flavors?” Abbie asked. “I almost want to taste it but can’t make myself do it.”
Becka shrugged, “Suit yourself. Mark my word, before the end of the day, someone will be buying it and ordering two more.”
“Are you planning to put a spell on them to lose their sense of taste?” Abbie said with a chuckle as she began mixing a new batch of pumpkin spice batter.
Abbie’s little dog, Fugly, pranced into the room, a squeaky rat hanging from its mouth. The dog dropped its horrid toy and ran to the back door, barking and growling. It was not a menacing sound since Fugly weight five pounds, at the most, and was just a bit bigger than a squirrel.
“Stop, Fugly,” Abbie said. “No. No.”
When the dog wouldn’t stop, Becka went to the door and pulled it open. The shriek was so loud, Abbie threw the bowl of batter away from her and ran out of the kitchen with Fugly on her heels.
“Eeeeeeeeee!” Becka screamed again.
“Do you need help?” Abbie called back. “Are you dying?”
“Come here,” Becca hollered back. “What the hell is wrong with you. Someone can be stabbing me to death right now.”
Abbie tried to peer around the corner. “Is someone stabbing you?”
“Help me,” Becka demanded, and Abbie had no choice but to face death with her friend.
Becka stood in the doorway, orange goop covering her from head to two. The goop plopped from her arms and head, forming a strange lumpy puddle at her feet.
Abbie neared, slid a finger down Becka’s cheek and sniffed it. Then she took a tentative lick. “It’s some sort of pumpkin flavored goo.”
“Its pie filling,” Becka said lifting a lock of hair that had stuck to her face. “I have been pie’d with cheap imitation pie filling. Do you taste cinnamon? Do you smell cloves?”
Unsure what to do, Abbie grabbed a roll of paper towels and began cleaning Becka. “Who was it?”
“They wore a mask,” Becka replied. “Threw a bucket of pie filling at me. I couldn’t see until I wiped it away and by then, whoever it was, was gone.”
The cackle announced someone at the door and once again, both of them jumped. Moments later, Clark Carter, the mayor peered in.
“Oh there you are.” He walked over to where the cupcake batter had spilled over and studied it for a moment.
“I bring good tidings,” he began, seeming to not notice that Becka was still covered in pumpkin pie filling. “Your little bakery, café or whatever it is, has won.”
Unable to keep from it, Abbie whirled around with a wide smile. She loved winning. It didn’t matter what it was, winning was wonderful. “Yay. What do we get?”
“You get to provide cupcakes for the Whisper Halloween Gathering. About twelve dozen should be enough. We are expecting quite the crowd.”
Becka pushed Abbie out of the way and stomped to where the Mayor was or had been as he walked backwards. “I wouldn’t want to contaminate things,” he said holding up both hands.
“What kind of prize is that?” Becka snapped. “We bake for a crowd?”
The man never ceased to amaze Abbie. He managed a bright smile. “Yes and in exchange I will personally ensure you are recognized. For all to see and taste how wonderful your… treats are.” He followed a trail of pumpkin goo as it slid down Becka’s arm. “If I may ask…”
“No you cannot,” Becka managed. “Please go. We have work to do.”
“Thank you!” Abbie called after him.
“What do you mean thanking him?” Becka said. “He is a swindler.”
Abbie clutched her hands together. “But we won.”
Becka laughed. “Only you can be excited about that kind of prize. I’m going to wash up and change. Then I’m going to calm down by baking. While I bake our prize, I need you to investigate and find out who pie’d me.”
The cackle sounded and both of them jumped.
“I’ll go help the customer. You wash up,” Abbie went to the front of the shop.
If not for owning the café, Abbie would have been a private detective. Nothing beat the rush of following clues and catching evildoers. At first the trail was easy. Whoever threw the pumpkin filling at Becka left a trail of droppings for half a block.
Thankfully Fugly loved it and so he happily led the way until the trail ended. They stood on the corner of the city’s square, and Abbie looked up and down. “Let’s walk the square,” she told a happy Fugly, who trotted ahead of her.
Although she didn’t think Fugly was her familiar, the dog seemed to understand everything she said. Interestingly, the dog wasn’t fluent when it came to not peeing on her bathroom rug.
The aroma of spices wafted from a window and Abbie stopped in her tracks. “Pumpkin cupcakes.” She hurried between two buildings, the coming to a window, lifted to her tiptoes and peered in.
A gasp was caught in her throat. The sight was too horrible to behold. Mrs. Grundy, who was every bit of eighty, was baking. Dressed in bright orange skintight leggings and matching shimmery shirt, with black apron, the woman was gyrating with every stir of the spoon.
Dancing to The Monster Mash that blared from a small radio, a second Mrs. Grundy hopped from one foot to the other. The double was dressed exactly the opposite, black leggings and shirt with an orange apron. On the table were dozens of pumpkin cupcakes.
Was it possible? Could the world be so cruel as to have made two horrible, mean women?
Tired of waiting, Fugly barked and both Mrs. Grundy’s turned to the window. Abbie ducked, but she was sure they saw her.
“Run Fugly!” She dashed back out to the sidewalk and then pretended to window shop through the door of the newly opened CBD store.
“Are you spying on me?” The orange Mrs. Grundy appeared. “I am going to call the police and have you arrested for being a peeping Tom.”
Abbie gave her a bland look.
The woman returned the look. “Just because you’re sleeping with half the police force doesn’t mean you can get away with breaking the law.”
She couldn’t argue. There were only two deputies, and one was her boyfriend.
“What about the fact it’s against the law to practice magic within city limits?” Abbie retorted. “You doubled yourself.”
Mrs. Grundy’s eyes widened. “I did no such thing.”
“I saw you,” Abbie said.
It was then Mrs. Grundy seemed to notice she was holding a wooden spoon. Chocolate batter dripped on her shoe. “Go away.” The woman swung the spoon.
Abbie stuck out her tongue and licked the spoon. “Not bad.”
Before the woman could swing again, she and Fugly raced back toward Sit a Spell.
“What happened?” Becka asked when she walked in gasping for air.
“Gr-Grundy. D-double…” Abbie grabbed a glass and filled it from the dispenser they kept on the counter. “They is making pumpkin cupcakes.”
“It had to be her. She threw the batter at me,” Becka said with fists on both hips. “The witch.”
“Should we retaliate?” Abbie asked. “Why would she do it?”
“If she doubled herself, then it’s possible her double is mischievous spirit.”
“They dance,” Abbie said with a shudder.
“Ew.” Becka added.
If left unchecked, Mrs. Grundy was always doing crazy things. Everyone, especially the Mayor was terrified of the old witch.
“What can we do?”
Abbie’s lips curved. “We kidnap the double and spell it away.”
“Did you just make it up?” Becka said, “Cause I’ve never heard of spelling something away.”
“Tonight at midnight we ride.” Abbie said holding up a cookie.
“Make it nine. I have to get home before my show comes on.”
Getting to Mrs. Grundy’s store, where she supposedly sold candles, but it was obvious she planned to sell pumpkin bread for the fall, was the easy part. The hard part would be getting inside without either her or the double knowing.
“I have an idea,” Abbie said pulling out her cell phone. “Mrs. Grundy loves Jimmy.”
Moments later, blue lights flashing, Jimmy Kiser’s six feet of muscles and handsomeness climbed from the cruiser and looked around until seeing Abbie. “Someone called about a possible break-in, you may want to move away.”
Neither she nor Becka budged as Jimmy tried the front door of Grundy’s Candles. He rounded to the side and moments later, knocks sounded.
“Why is he knocking?” Becka asked. “Does he think the burglar is going to open the door and invite him in for coffee?”
“Never mind that,” Abbie said pulling out her skeleton key. She pushed it into the door, and it magically formed to the opening. Then it turned smoothly, and the door opened. Abbie and Becka hurried in and hid behind a display of candles.
Alarms sounded and moments later, Mrs. Grundy and rushed to the front where Jimmy had returned to and now stepped inside.
“I had possible intruder call. You really should have an alarm that works.”
“Intruder?” Mrs. Grundy snapped. “There is no intruder. I must have tripped it by accident. The woman huffed. How did you get a call before my alarm went off?”
Jimmy shrugged and looked past her. “Are you sure there’s no intruder?”
“Well,” Mrs. Grundy said seeming to realize he was about to leave. “Why don’t you walk with me to the alarm panel.
When Abbie and Becka slinked into the kitchen, the double was dancing to Thriller while frosting pumpkin cupcakes.
Her eyes snapped to them. “You did not win. I did.”
“Have at it,” Becka said. “I don’t want the stupid prize.”
“Umm,” Abbie tried to interrupt. “We won.”
“No you did not,” the double said, her voice much younger sounding than Mrs. Grundy.
Abbie tapped Becka’s shoulder. “We’re supposed to kidnap her…it.”
“Oh yeah,” Becka replied. “I have three hundred cupcakes already made, you can never beat me.” She gave the double a little shove. “You lose.”
With that, they ran to the side door and raced toward Sit a Spell. The double, mostly because it wasn’t a real person, easily beat them, running past them while shrieking at the top of its freaky lungs. “I won. I won. I won.”
When it got to the kitchen, Abbie, who was bent over breathing hard, pointed to the deep freezer. “They’re in there.”
The double Grundy rushed in and Becka slammed the door. “I wonder how long it takes to freeze them?”
“I really should go to Pilates,” Abbie said gasping for breath.
Two days later at the Whisper Halloween Gathering, there was indeed a large crowd. The air was filled with the mingling scents of cinnamon, pumpkin and the churros, that the Ortega brothers made while wearing their usual Lucha Libre costumes.
A sign had been stuck into the ground in front of Sit a Spell, with “Cupcake Winners” handwritten with a magic marker. Abbie had decorated it with glitter to make it more festive.
Abbie dressed as Morticia and Becka as bride of Frankenstein served their prize to people who happily purchased hot cocoa to go with it.
“At least we’re making some of our money back with the cocoa money,” Becka grumbled.
“A special thank you to the ladies of Sit a Spell for their donation,” the mayor announced, and the speakers squeaked, making people cover their ears. “… for the scary ice sculpture.”
The Grundy double was captured in perfect form, forever set mid scream, at least until it melted.
The real Mrs. Grundy glared at them from a bench where she sat eating a rather long churro.
“I still don’t understand why she went to all that trouble of creating a double just to bake cupcakes,” Becka said.
Abbie gave her an incredulous look. “She wanted the prize for herself.”
Becks shook her head. “There was no prize.”
“We won,” Abbie whispered. “We won.”
Today’s contest / giveaway is for TWO readers!!! Winner’s choice of one ebook from Hildie’s Amazon catalog, even her newest — the first book in the Guards of Clan Ross series, ERIK!
There are a few ways you can enter to win…
For a chance to win… follow on BookBub, join Hildie’s facebook group Hildie’s Historical Hotties, or sign up for her newsletter.
Comment “done” or “already following” to officially enter.
Contest starts today, and our two winners will be chosen from all eligible commenters at the end of our event. Winner will be chosen, then announced in our wrap-up post on November 1st.
Check out the Kick-off post HERE to see the full list of authors participating in our 2022 Halloween Flash Fiction Blog Event. Links will be added to the main post each day when that author’s story goes live. Each post will include the inspiration image from a DeviantArt creator, the story, and the contest/giveaway info.