One of the most gorgeous bloggers I know, Kate from Punch It In has given me the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award.
I am honoured and know I am supposed to tell you a few things about myself as a result of getting the award but when I got it this story popped into my head and wouldn’t leave. So here it is – a little bit of a sweet yet twisted tale.
Thank you, Kate. You are awesome!!
Everyone thought that Sugar was sweet. She dressed like she was, in her various shades of pinks. Her blonde hair shone golden in the sunlight. ‘You’re just like Grace Kelly was in the 1950s,’ people said. ‘All technicolour gold.’
Her sweetness was accentuated by her career choice; apt, some said, an obvious predisposition, said others. Sugar could see their point, after all, she was a confectioner.
Sugar hadn’t become a confectioner as a deliberate means of underlining her name; the truth was she liked sugar, there was no getting away from it. She spent her days making Russian toffee, nougat, chocolate fudge, caramel fudge, French jellies, coconut ice, peppermint creams, butterscotch, honeycomb, vanilla cream toffee with pods sourced from Madagascar, chocolate orange truffles made with the highest quality Belgian chocolate, her new best seller Irish chocolate truffle fudge, pralines, sugared pecans and the perennial favourite, caramel apples.
Sugar liked making treats from sugar. She packed her goodies in crisp paper bags coloured lavender and coral, enjoying the look on the buyer’s face when they couldn’t resist, not even making it out the door before they untied the bow she adorned each package with and breathing in the smell of the sweet, sweet sugar.
Sugar. If you had it you always wanted more. If you didn’t have it you would go to any means possible to get it. It made the world go round, spinning all schmaltzy and euphoric on its sugary axis.
Everyone thought that Sugar was sweet. But she wasn’t. Not deep down. Sugar had a dark side, like a good cup of muscovado, left to brown too long on the stove.
Women came to Sugar, to her room out the back of the shop, to buy Sugar’s special sweets. Personal orders only.
They didn’t need to tell Sugar why they wanted the back room sweets; she wasn’t coated in that much syrupy goodness that she couldn’t see the certitude in their eyes. The same dark anguish was there in her own eyes.
Sometimes Sugar dreamt of Cerbone, especially when the night winds slipped under the eaves and made the old slate roof slide about on itself like someone using a flint to sharpen a knife. She had loved him. She had hated him. He had made her lose sight of the essence of herself with his caustic, saturnine mouth and those brows of his, always surly, curled for battle. And his fists.
Cerbone liked fudge. Dark chocolate fudge, so bitter it was almost savoury rather than sweet. She put a few drops of vinegar in it to break up the richness and he couldn’t get enough of it, guzzling it down the way a monkey devours a tray of fruit. He was a monkey. Had been. She would have called him an ape if it hadn’t been so insulting to apes.
Sugar wouldn’t have thought of the poison if she hadn’t found the dead cat. Pure black like onyx, stiff at the back of the storeroom. Above it, ethereal in its web of power and dreams, hung a spider, blacker than the cat, blacker than the shadows, blacker than the thoughts in Sugar’s head; a single drop of quivering poison glistening on its belly.
Sugar let that spider stay in the storeroom, fattening it up on flies and moths, gathering the drops of poison that oozed out of its belly into tiny crystal bowls she sealed with muslin and greaseproof paper.
Cerbone had been the guinea pig. ‘Try this new fudge,’she said. ‘Bitter Swiss Chocolate. So good it will make your head spin.’
And make his head spin it had. One bite and he was twisting on the floor the way a lizard’s tail does when it is shed. It took him three minutes to die. Only three. Sugar didn’t even have enough time to dissolve the gelatine she was using for her Turkish Delight.
One drop was all it took. Smaller than a tear. Sugar could bake the poison into anything. And it worked every time. A quick death mimicking a heart attack. The poison was undetectable, even after an autopsy. The sugar covered everything up with its all-consuming efficiency.
She’d buried Cerbone in the cellar below the storeroom. She liked to walk about on top of him in stilettos sharp as bayonets, torturing what might be left of him with the smell of the sugar. The sugar he’d loved.
Sugar’s business thrived. She was asked to write articles for Vogue Food And Living and Confectioner’s Monthly. Sweet Things with Sugar, she called them. Her espresso mascarpone truffles were the talk of the town. Her almond and chocolate marshmallows were to die for. So people said.
Sugar knew that they were right. She’d reached that conclusion long ago. There was only one way to die after all – sweetly.