Welcome to the December edition of First Monday Free Fiction. To recap, inspired by Kristine Kathryn Rusch who posts a free short story every week on her blog, I’ll post a free story on every first Monday of the month. It will remain free to read on this blog for one month, then I’ll take it down and post another story.
Since it’s December, it’s the perfect time to post a holiday story. I have quite a few holiday stories available, but this time around, I have chosen The Bakery on Gloomland Street, a holiday novelette in my Hallowind Cove series about a quirky seaside town where strange things keep happening.
So follow along as baker Rachel Hammersmith and and Paul MacQuarie, two newcomers to Hallowind Cove, prepare to save the town from a holiday menace via tasty holiday pastries and fall in love along the way in…
The Bakery on Gloomland Street
A Hallowind Cove Christmas Story
At Christmas time, Hallowind Cove, the little seaside town known as the harbour of the weird, was even weirder than usual.
For starters, the fog, which enveloped the town about three hundred and forty days per year, tended to blend with the Christmas lights that the residents were putting up all over. And as a result, the entire town was plunged into an unearthly neon Technicolor fairy tale glow.
What was more, winter was also the time of storms, when gale-force winds buffeted the coast and the harbour and caused the waves to crash against the cliffs. Most of the time, the storms only brought rain, torrents of it drenching the entire town. But sometimes, when the weather conditions were just right, the storms also brought snow, blizzards of it blanketing the entire town in a cloud of white.
And when snow, storm and fog met the magical glow cast by the Christmas lights that bedecked the entire town — well, that was the time when truly magical things could happen.
Rachel Hammersmith hadn’t been long in Hallowind Cove. She’d arrived at the height of summer, on one of those rare few days when the sun was shining and there was not a single wisp of fog. On days like these, Hallowind Cove looked just like any other charming seaside village with gingerbread houses, quaint little shops and a marina where people with more money than sense and the urgent desire to invest said money in luxury yachts could moor their boats.
Rachel had arrived on one of those yachts as a passenger, invited for a sailing trip by a client who’d hoped to get into her knickers. The client didn’t get what he wanted and threatened to fire her firm, but in the end that didn’t matter. For once Rachel had laid eyes on Hallowind Cove, she was lost, hopeless enchanted by the gingerbread houses and quaint little shops and the fairy tale atmosphere of the whole place.
Walking along Gloomland Street — and the name really should have tipped her off — Rachel had come upon the sweetest little bakery on the corner of Gloomland and Mistcove Street. The display windows were full of elegant gateaux, frothy cupcakes, delicious looking cookies and other pastry delights, so Rachel entered the shop and promptly felt as if she’d stepped through a timewarp back into the Victorian era.
“Good morning, my dear. What can I do for you on this lovely summer’s day?” a woman in a starched white apron greeted her from behind the mahogany bakery counter.
“I… I’m still deciding,” Rachel stammered, completely entranced by the marvellous pastries on offer.
“Of course, my dear. Just let me know when you’ve decided. Would you like a coffee, by any chance? Or maybe some tea?”
“Coffee would be nice, th… thank you,” Rachel had stammered.
This story was available for free on this blog for one month only, but you can still read it in The Bakery on Gloomland Street. And if you click on the First Monday Free Fiction tag, you can read this month’s free story.
Check back next month, when there will be a new story available.