” Miss Venka! “
The stangers, a middle aged couple were as pale and watery as the sunlight that was filtering through my somewhat clean windows and into my small cool sparsely furnished sitting room.
I didn’t use it often because I don’t do much entertaining.
He rose from the settee and put his slice of cake- I noted with dismay- on the end table to his left.
She stood and set to her slice of cake next to his.
The portrait that hung behind them looked down in disapproval.
Then the tall thin watery couple both reached out to me with their pale bony hands and smiled, ” It’s so good to meet you at last Miss Venka ” they both said together.
” I see you enjoyed the cake- ” I waited for them to introduce themselves.
” Oh. Pardon us. Britta.” The woman said with tears lighting up her eyes ” Britta and Rasmus Rundstrom.”
” We hope you don’t mind . The man who answered the door invited us in. He told us to make ourselves at home. And then he left. Just like that. Well, we saw that delicious cake and the plates and forks.” Rasmus began the thought and then Britta finished it:
” We honestly couldn’t help ourselves.”
I sighed and shrugged. ” It’s fine really” I said not meaning it.
Our compliments to the baker Miss Venka.” Rasmus said ignoring the ice in my voice.” It was quite delicious.”
I ignored his compliment.
“That was my Father at the door. That Devil. He should have offered you some tea and almond cookies instead of leaving you with just that cake. It’s terribly sweet. The cookies would have been better.”
They didn’t say a word. They stood there expectantly.
” They’re imported.” I added. ” They’re quite good.”
I walked over to the sideboard where my now butchered cake was sitting.
I took up the cake knife and wiped it clean on a napkin.
” So what do I owe the pleasure of this nice…” I looked down at my cut up cake and sighed. ” Visit.”
” We’ve heard that you are a wonderful baker Miss Venka. Your sweets and pastries and cakes are famous.
I was confused. ” Famous for what?”
” From what we’ve tasted, it’s true.” Rasmus went back to the table and picked up his slice of cake.
He plunged his fork into this partially eaten slice and took another bite.
” It so sweet it touches your soul. It overwhelms your senses…” he sang out.
I stopped him before he went over the edge and lost his sanity.
” Thank you. I took the plate from him and sat it down on the little table. ” But I don’t cater events. I don’t bake for other people.”
” We can’t persuade you?” Britta asked. ” Are you sure? Money is no object and we are having a very important party. Your cake would be the highlight of the evening.”
” Very sure. I’m sorry. But my answer is no.” I said.
” I’ve never tasted anything so fine. It touched my soul Miss Venka. Truly. It’s the finest cake I have ever tasted.”
I thanked my guests and saw them out.
Then I went to the kitchen, which is light green and empty all but for a set of knives hanging from the wall and a single chair in the middle of the room.
I walked to the back of the kitchen and opened the door that led down into the basement.
” That was my favorite cake!” I yelled down into the darkness.
The door pulled itself out of my hand and slammed shut with a bang.
I walked back into my sitting room, which was dark now and a little chilly.
There were two new soulfully delicious cakes sitting next to my beautiful cake which fully restored to its uncut state.
I sighed and rubbed my eyes in relief.
I did not wonder if Mr and Mrs Rundstrom would be back, begging for more cake.
I did not wonder if they would ever question why they offered to give up their souls to the Devil himself for another bite.
I did not wonder if my Father who lives in my basement would take them up on that deal.
He collects souls the way other people collect stamps.
Of course. I don’t collect souls for the Hell of it, like my Father who is trapped in his old ways does.
I dabbed a little frosting from one of the new cakes on the tip of my finger and touched it to my tongue.
I closed my eyes and swooned a little.
I put them to better use than that.