The small square kitchen breathed of sugar and spice sweetness, which was my favourite scent. Though only just, as I loved the aroma of damp, earthy leaves and trees on a crisp mid-autumn morning, the most. Twirling the golden toffee around the last of the red apples, I hummed along to the Monster Mash. My body and feet moved in time with the beat, my slippers slapping. I stopped my hands to ease the toffee and apple apart. The strands snapped and I beheld my creation.
Glistening like gold under the kitchen lights, I set the toffee apple down on pale blue side plate that was cover in hard yellow sugar glops. Checking the pan, I saw there was just enough left to get a second coating. Glancing to the right at the almost ready toffee apples, I went to the oven behind me and peered in at my last lot Halloween gingerbreads.
The timer went off. Grabbing gloves, I opened the door and pulled the tray out. The smell of hot ginger and cinnamon biscuit dough hit in the face. Smiling, I put the tray in the only gap left on the work top and inspected the different shape gingerbreads. There were three bats, two spiders, two witches on broomsticks and three ghosts.
‘They turned out pretty good, better than the last three lots,’ I said.
Letting them cool, I second dipped the last apple and sang along to the Time Warp. Setting the apple with the others, a soft meowing tickled my ears. I looked over at the back door and cat flap as my small black cat, Midnight, popped through.
‘Hi, kitty!’ I called.
Midnight looked up at me with large green eyes and meowled loudly.
‘You hungry? Where you been, huh? I missed you this morning.’
Midnight responded with a few mews.
I moved and got him some food. He curled around my legs, rubbing his head against my jeans. As soon as his bowl was filled he lowered himself over it and began eating nosily. Leaving him to it, I tided up and filled the dishwasher for the third time. My IPod cycled through some more Halloween themed music and I joined in with the lyrics I knew.
Washing my hands and slipping off my apron, I searched around the kitchen for my phone. Finding it on the little wooden table, I pulled out a chair and pressed it on. It was almost four PM and I had two text messages. The first was from my dad, telling me he had fixed my poor Mini car, Herbs, and the second was my best friend, Dawn, checking how I was getting on. I replied back to her first, letting her know in shorthand that everything was fine and there’d be enough sweet dishes for the party tonight.
I called my dad, ‘hi. I just got your text. Sorry I was in the middle of making toffee apples.’
‘Hello. Oh, okay, that’s fine,’ his soft fatherly voice spoke.
‘So, can I come and get Herbs?’
‘Yeah. He seems to be running fine again now. Are you going to come in the next hour? Just I was going to go out and pick up that cooker for Mrs Dwight.’
‘I can do that. Then I’ll have time to load him up too. I’ve baked too much….’
My dad laughed, ‘send some of it my way.’
‘I shall do. I’m on my way then.’
‘See you soon.’
I hung up and stepping into the tiny corridor that joined the kitchen, living room and stairs together. Going up and into the first room on the right, I dusted my jeans off and dug another purple t-shirt out from the draw. Switching tops, I put on my dolly shoes and grabbed a purple knitted jacket. I crossed back over the stairs and around into the bathroom. Double checking my chestnut hair and face for flour etc, in the mirror, I let down my hair and put it back up in a neater ponytail. I also add a touch of pink lip balm.
Looking back at myself, I muttered, ‘you’re working too hard, Becks. Those bags are getting bigger and your cheeks are too red.’
I poked my face and debated putting up some makeup.
‘No. No time. Got to get Herbs and then ice those cookies.’
Going downstairs again, I saw Midnight looking up at me as if he was waiting to hear where I was going. I petted him, told him I’d be back soon and to eat the rest of his food. He meowed loudly and stayed put, as I grabbed my bag and left.
Outside a chilly breeze was brushing against the windows and playing lazily with fallen leaves. I walked with my back to it, taking in deep breaths of the wonderfully smelling air. I heard children laughing and talking loudly from a back garden across the road. Crows and other birds called from the rooftops and I couldn’t help but think that it really did feel like Halloween today.
I walked the twenty minutes to my dad’s house and got that nice familiar ‘home’ feeling. My dad was standing between his car and mine, leaning against the sky blue gate. He was checking his phone and sensing he was about to call or text me, I called out a loud hello and hurried over.
‘I’m here. Sorry had to change tops,’ I explained.
‘It’s fine. The brakes are fixed now. Here’s your keys,’ he said and passed them to me.
‘Thanks, so much. I’ll bring the leftovers tomorrow and we can have a post- Halloween party,’ I suggested.
Dad shook his head, ‘you be safe tonight okay? You mother had a bad habit of spell casting and mixing potions on this night….’
A bit my lip and looked down as my thoughts rose up about mum.
‘Seems you’re too busy with your baking right now to bother with all of that again. The shop still going good? Money alright?’
I nodded, ‘yes. It’s all good and under control. We’re planning Christmas stuff now. You should call by sometime.’
‘Maybe, maybe. I should go.’
‘Oh, okay, thanks again. I’ll see you tomorrow.’
We hugged, kissed cheeks then got into our cars. I waved to him and let him drive off first. I drove home, my thoughts still on mum.
To Be Continued…