Do you like cupcakes?
Murder was a source of amusement. It gave him a sense of euphoria as he watched the life bleed from the eyes of his victims. The way his victims screamed was simply delicious, just like cream cheese frosting on a red velvet cupcake. From those very sounds, he could taste sweetness that rivaled sugar. Cutting into the flesh, while those screams filled the air, made his slim body shudder in absolute ecstasy. He moaned. To think such sin could bring him so much bliss and pleasure. His breathing quickened into pants as he carefully moved his knife, skin peeling from muscle as blood reached up and kissed the blade. He paused and smiled at the face twisted in terror and pain. Bringing up the knife, he gently caressed the wonderfully defined cheekbones, giggling as blood left the cold blade for the faint heat of life.
Chapter 1: Chrysanthemum
The rain pelted the sugar-spun windows and slid down the marzipan windowsill before resting on the gumdrop bushes. All around, the buildings were coated in dreariness, except one. The owner of the sugary windows stood tall with pride in all its pastel glory, flourishing its white accents and puffing out its minty green front door, decorated with a single wooden sign painted in baby blue beckoning the passersby with the word “open” written in cursive. The windows glowed besides the door and held intricate displays of sweets upon white stands with dark yellow ribbons and recently cut snapdragons wrapping around the stands.
Inside of the bakery, creamy tiles and peachy walls added on to the quaint charm as the plush Victorian chairs surrounded light oaken tables in a warm embrace. Display cases were on both sides of the cash register that stood in the center of the back. The display cases held macaroons, Danishes, fruit tarts, pies, and other sweets that glistened with temptation. On the back wall, large menus contained several drinks and specials in chalk.
Hanging from the ceiling were fairy lights shining down on the creamy tiles with a soft light as gentle songs played by music boxes floated in the air and danced with the aroma of freshly baked goods. Two doors, one in the rightmost corner and the other left, were the color of candy cane. The door on the left led to the restrooms while the door on the right led to the kitchen.
Humming along to the song twinkling from the speakers overhead, Charles busied himself with the arrangement of his confections, deciding which color ribbons he should use or which flower would best compliment his sugary concoctions. He would glance out into the street every so often, in search of a familiar face, only to sigh when it did not appear. His mop of unruly red curls was encompassed by a fiery halo, courtesy of the lights shimmering above, while his brown eyes dulled with disappointment.
Taking out his pocket watch, the glass reflected his smooth face, the color of light beige with freckles sprinkled predominately across the bridge of his nose. Nearly 3 o’clock and his poppet had yet to come by. He put away the watch and fiddled with his lavender bow tie. “Poppet always comes at this time,” he bemoaned, sniffling as time flowed past and his poppet did not come in.
Outside, the rain lightened and the sun peeked through grey clouds. People began to fill the streets and Charles attended to those who came into his bakery. At least he could drown his thoughts in work. He scampered around to take orders and deliver the requested items with a smile pasted on his face. Dragonwell with a slice of cheesecake and Darjeeling with a slice of pumpkin pie for table three while table eight desired Assam with a lemon cupcake with vanilla frosting. He really should hire some employees.
The door opened as he placed down table eight’s order. Straightening, he wished the occupants of table eight a good meal and hurried over to the newcomer. “Welcome to Confection Connection,” he exclaimed, “Please take a seat anywhere. I’ll be over in a jiffy!”
“Grazie,” the man waved off Charles and sat in the corner. Charles shrugged his shoulders and continued to work.
The man watched, magenta eyes containing amusement, as Charles moved around, a scrawny pastel blur of merriment. Brushing his brown russet locks back, he glanced at one of the many display cases. A beautiful tiramisu cake sparkled underneath the lights. Charles soon blocked his view of the beauty. “Sorry for the wait, dear. Now, what would you like?”
“That tiramisu cake right behind you,” he replied. “Maybe in a box to go?”
“Alright, please meet me at the cash register,” Charles moved to get the cake. The man got up from his chair and stood before the register. He watched Charles place the dessert in a box and pushed the brass buttons on the register. “Your total comes to £49.72.” He took out his wallet and paid, glancing at Charles’s smile with indifference. Charles’s brown eyes shone with unhappiness. Oh well, not his problem. He took the cake and left, humming to the tune of Ninna Nanna.
Charles continued to work and heaved a sigh when the bakery was empty of customers. It was ten, the time to close shop. Poppet hadn’t showed up at all. “Perhaps something came up. She did tell me that her mother was in the hospital,” he muttered. “Poor thing, I hope she’s alright.” He walked up to the door and flipped the open sign to close. “I might as well check on the special ingredients.”
The tree leaves were shades of gold and copper as they fell to the chilly earth. Fall had finally set in after months of rain and now, the sun was peeking out from the grey clouds. Soft breezes swept by and Evangeline smiled as she heard a rather satisfying crunch underneath her boots. The sidewalk’s normally grey hue was now coated in warmer and livelier colors.
Ahead, the Thames River hospital stood, gazing towards the sky as if reaching for heaven. The large glass windows reflected sunlight, giving it a celestial glow, as the shadows curved around it, giving it a rounder shape. Evangeline hurried towards the entrance, noting the increase in cars in the parking lot. “There’s more than it used to be,” she mumbled, pulling her coat tighter.
The interior of the hospital was brighter, blindingly so with the fluorescent lights beaming down on the pale white tiles and walls. Steel bars encased the windows and glinted, while the doors were pitch black. Ice-cold air blasted from above and it looked more like a sanitarium than a hospital. Maybe this is what the ninth level of hell feels like, Evangeline thought, her body shivering and trembling every moment she stayed in the hospital.
She continued her journey and followed a path that had been long ingrained into her mind. Room 444 was past this corner. Before long, door to room number 444 materialized. Evangeline opened the door and light spilled out, gentler and kinder than the ones overhead.
“Lina? Did you come to see your maman?” A serene voice filled the air and Evangeline felt the familiar lump form in her throat.
“Oui, I’m here, maman.”
Her mother sat on the bed, her long brown hair pooling by her side, and green eyes twinkling with mirth. However, her white skin seemed paler than the crisp sheets of her bed, bags settled permanently underneath her eyes, and she was not as vibrant as she had been in Evangeline’s childhood memories.
“Come, come, take a seat.” Her mother gestured to the chair that never left its place by the bed.
“Yes, maman,” she murmured, sitting down and smoothing out her pleated black skirt.
“You never wear anything above your knees.”
“Hm?” Evangeline paused, clasping her hands above her crossed legs.
Her mother sighed, “You were always so proper, so polite, so private, and so very obedient. I suppose it was because we raised you to be a lady.”
“Father says that I am you, just more ladylike.” It was true. Evangeline and her mother were physical carbon copies, to the tips of their wavy brown hair, to the tips of their small feet. However, while her mother smiled with a brilliance that rivaled the sun, Evangeline did not display any emotion other than a faint polite smile of a doll’s. It was much easier to say that Evangeline took after her mother in looks but took after her father in personality.
“There have been a string of disappearances lately. It’s near the bakery you like so much,” Evangeline announced.
“Oh really? I suppose it has been in the news as of late. Do be careful the next time you visit Charles –though you should bring him over so I can chat with him too.” Her mother began to grin, wiggling her eyebrows.
“I suppose I will ask. It will depend on his schedule.” Evangeline shrugged and glanced at her watch.
“Is it time to go already?”
She nodded and stood, before waving to her mother on her way out. “I’ll see you sometime soon.”
The chill in the air had gone up and once more, Evangeline pulled her coat tighter across her body. The streetlights glowed in the dark of night, as she walked. Footsteps sounded on the frozen cement, footsteps other than her own. She paused. The footsteps continued. Relaxing a bit, she continued to walk to Charles’s bakery.
Her focus shifted and she thought of how to ask Charles to visit her mother again. Was it even worth the inescapable embarrassment? Was she even close enough to Charles to ask him? The first visit was entirely coincidental; she was going to visit her mother when she bumped into Charles, who at the time was visiting his younger brother.
He had insisted on seeing her mother, because he had “wondered where his best customer had gone.” It was odd, even if her mother had frequented his shop. She remembered nodding and leading him to her mother’s room. His enthusiasm had irked her. He had bombarded her with questions and banal topics, never-ceasing his chatter even when they had arrived and greeted her mother. If anything, he merely added the older woman in their one-sided conversation and he positively beamed when she answered one of his infinite questions in a poor attempt of shutting him up.
Why did she even try? Other than the fact that the woman she called mother burned a hole in her head and sent a message with her eyes; be a lady and stop ignoring the bloody chipmunk. Dratted woman sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. She should have learned to keep to herself long ago.
Evangeline paused in her thoughts and looked up. The door to Charles’ bakery gazed back at her, making the hair on her neck stand up. It was unnerving to be near him. Bracing herself, she reached for the door and walked in.
“Charles,” she called, eyes flickering to the childish decorations littering the building. It looked like a Rococo painting mashing with reality in a god-awful bakery. Not that she say that to Charles’ face, she valued her life for the time being.
He had yet to appear like the small pastel devil he usually was. Her body stiffened when she heard humming. Humming would be considered cute in a way but the way it rang up to her location was creepy. It was as though it came from one of those horror story monster children as they skipped down the hall, covered in blood and bits of pink tissue.
Pushing the thoughts of horror movies to the side, Evangeline seated herself on a plump chair near the door. She might as well wait for Charles to come to her. Tapping her fingers on the unnaturally clean table, she glanced out of the window, watching as the streetlights flickered on. “Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin. You never come out the way you came in. You ask for water, but they give you gin. The girls say no, but always give in. If you’re not bad, they won’t let you in. It’s the damndest city I’ve ever lived in. Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin. You never come out the way you came in,” she muttered, flashes of women dancing underneath similar looking streetlights in another time.
“You know, poppet, it’s not polite to curse.”
Her body jolted as she swung her head back, eyes widening a fraction as she gazed upon Charles. He stood in front of right beside her, the faint lights casting shadows upon his face. Lord, his eyes seemed like coal-burning with hell fire. Heady and dark, yet aflame with determination.
She straightened her back as she schooled her features into a blank stare. “I’m not interested in being polite or heterosexual, Charles.”
The flame in his eye was extinguished in seconds. His shoulders sagged as he cleared his throat. “Er, is there something you needed Evangeline? My bakery has already closed.”
“Mother wants you to visit her,” Evangeline stated and stood up from her seat. A vague sense of victory filling her as he took a step back. She moved around him and went towards the entrance, not giving him a glance back. “That’s all.”
She exited the bakery of pastel hell and strolled down the street, careful to not walk underneath the street light completely. A soft chuckle left her mouth as she thought of Charles’ shocked face when she had left. It was amusing to see his Cheshire smile wiped off his face and replaced with that human expression instead.
Then she bumped into a rather warm torso and her chuckling stopped. “Mi scusi, bella. Are you alright?” The voice was deep and velvety, caressing her very cheeks with those words. A rather olive colored hand lifted up her head by her chin as the other hand rested on her waist. She said nothing as a smirk curled on the man’s lips. Narrowing her green eyes, she gazed into his own, the color of magenta. His eyes twinkled as he swept his thumb over her bottom lip. “Oh? Not saying a single thing, bella? Am I so good-looking that you’ve become speechless?”
“I’m not interested in men who use cologne,” she huffed, shoving him away. “I am sorry for bumping into you. Goodbye.” She waved him off and quickened her pace. The man laughed at her retreating form before muttering about an Italian nightclub and a dancing fox.
The words were most likely rubbish, she thought. Evangeline turned the corner and let her feet carry her home.
A vase of white lilies sat on her coffee table, bathed in the light of the television buzzing with news. Evangeline tied her robe and perched on the arm of the ivory couch. Her eyes glanced from the news reporter to the clock. It was almost three in the morning. She slid into onto the cushions and relaxed as several infomercials appeared.
Eyelashes fluttering as a salesman threw a blender out of the window, Evangeline yawned and curled up.
Her eyes were shut even as her brain registered the sound of a camera going off. However, she thought nothing of it. It could have been just another infomercial after all. Her breathing deepened and Evangeline was in the world of dreams.
Upon the television screen, the news reporter cleared her throat and gestured to the audience. “And written in the victim’s blood was a chilling message; Alice found the White Rabbit. It seems that the killer has an obsession with the Lewis Carroll’s famous Alice in Wonderland. Yet, who could this “Alice” be? Is it the killer? Or is it a game where the killer retells the tale in a string of murders? Stay safe everyone and goodnight.”
~The first step to any murder is to have fun and be yourself~
Follow the White Rabbit?
Hybristophilia: sexual attraction towards psychopaths