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art by Jason Stirret

Sweet Justice

Melissa Mead lives in upstate NY. You may have seen her stories in DSF before. She's a member of SFWA and Codex, and her Web page is carpelibris.wordpress.com. Go to Twisted Fairy Tales to read the other stories published so far in Melissa's series.

"May I help you?" said the store owner to the old woman.
"Do you sell industrial-strength candy, young man?"
"We certainly do!" Hans came out from behind the counter, beaming. "We also carry five grades of structural gingerbread, from Light Gold to Dark & Spicy. If you'll follow me..."
He led the woman into the warehouse, pointing out load-bearing lollipops, candy cane trusses, and sugar shingles.
"This is our Do-It-Yourself section. If you're building from the ground up, you can get flour in fifty pound bags, sugar in twenty-five, and brown sugar by the brick, dark or light."
His customer sniffed. "Adequate. But I've got the basic house already. I'm looking for something to pretty it up for when the kiddies come over for dinner. Decorative bits."
"Frosting? We carry Royal Icing by the gallon. We're also running a special on fondant siding. Half price on installation."
"That's a start."
"We do piped-on trim, wafer cookie shutters..."
"Keep going."
"Also landscaping. Crushed rock candy paths, lemonade fountains, lollipop trees, stick candy fencing. Let me show you our catalogue."
While she read, Hans tried to avoid looking out the window, or at the telephone. His fingers itched. The old woman turned the pages with agonizing slowness, muttering and sucking on her teeth. Finally, though, she closed the book and glared at Hans.
"Mighty expensive. Twenty silver for sugar windows?"
"You could try Big Bad Wolf's Dens and Dining Rooms, but he's mostly about furniture."
"Fine. I'll take five gallons of green icing, six of purple, a truckload of peppermints..."
Hans took down her order, and her name and address.
"Thank you, Ma'am. We'll send someone right over."
Once she left, he took a deep breath, counted to ten, and picked up the phone.
"Sis? It's Hansel. Tell your sergeant to send a squad over to Hungry Hollow, pronto. We've got another one. Yeah, just like ours. I dunno, must be some kind of syndrome or something. But you've gotta admit; better to catch 'em before they open that oven door."
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, March 27th, 2013
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