From the salacious strawberry to the lascivious lemon, the radiant raspberry to the captivating cherry, the bewitching blackberry to the down right dirty custard, if you were looking for a good time and had the dough to spend, Bakewell Street was where you headed. Home not only to the licensed brothels and bordellos, if your were looking for an extra ounce of icing sugar or liquor, this was the place to come. Situated on the middle tier, with its own access to the complicated lift system, Bakewell Street was the place for shady shenanigans in Cake Stand City.
Inspector Gache had cut his teeth as a member of the constabulary on this street, rooting out the real crime that lurked underneath the fully licensed operations of the same nature. Mostly his job had become one of protecting the tarts from the more, physical, owners of the various pleasure houses. Well, managers was a more realistic term. Although the mainly puritan and moral crusaders of the top tier lambasted Bakewell Street, as with all money any spent here soon flowed up to the top. Still many years had passed since he had last been here, and although some nodded and waved in greeting, others scurried off to inform others of his arrival.
“Bread, take Muffin and head to the import section. Sniff around and see if you can get a take on who are the players in the illegal silver trade, but don’t push too hard. Let’s not tip our hand quite yet.”
Bread nodded and dragged Muffin away, much to her chagrin. It didn’t matter. He needed information and he knew the real players here would not give it to anyone but him, and even he was a long shot these days. He just hoped his early reputation as a defender was remembered over the other unpleasantness.
He took a seat at a nearby street side cafe, ordering a strong black coffee and nothing else. He was served promptly and politely, saddened to see a little nervousness in the cupcake that served him. He watched the cakes come and go, some openly going about their business, others trying their best to scurry and hide. While sipping on his coffee he locked eyes with a few cakes that would much rather not have been spotted by the Inspector. In the past he would have noted each of them and followed up, but he was not here for that. This was about the Slicer, nothing else mattered.
On his third cup of coffee he noticed that the street traffic started to thin, an unusual occurrence in Bakewell Street at anytime of day or night. Clearly the message of his arrival had reached the ears he needed. When the cupcake server suddenly set two extra cups on his table he was not surprised.
Bakewell Street was run by two individuals. The first to arrive was a ring doughnut, his pink frosting being the only inviting thing about him. He sat down in silence, pouring himself a cup of coffee. KrisBee was his name and he was in charge of the enforcers. Once a contemporary to Gache, KrisBee had decided that the only way to police Bakewell Street properly was to do from the inside. It also meant that his more violent tendencies went from being a real problem to a real boon. What he he lacked in smarts he more than made up for with sadism. That was not to say he was stupid, though he definitely liked to portray himself as such.
After a few moments of silence broken only by the sipping of coffee, KrisBee made a hand motion. Flanked by two smaller jam tarts, in walked Tarte aux Pommes, known as Madame Pomme. To some she was a simple apple tart with a fancy name, to yet others she was a apple tart with a foreign name, to those that knew her she was the Pomme Provocateur, the Queen of Tarts, the apple of your eye. As beautiful as she was clever, she was not a cake to mess with (a lesson Gache had learnt the hard way).
As she sat down Gache scanned her jewellery but found nothing that linked her to the silver tart. Even so he was pretty sure she was linked. She was not the victim, for no serial killer however deranged will kill her first, but she would know the victim. Or the killer. It was a sudden realisation that sent shivers down the Inspectors spine. He asked the question before he even fully knew why, before Madame Pomme had even taken her seat.
“Do you have a daughter?”
“I knew this was a mistake! Kris, rough him up and throw him out. You, send word around and get that awful Bread fellow and that Muffin and throw them out with as much…”
Her orders died in her throat. She reached out and took the silver tart that Gache held out in his hand, collapsing into her chair as she did so. Gache could see her trembling with real fear.
“Did this come from the Slicer?” She asked.
Of course she knew the Slicer was back, no doubt from the Mayor himself. Gache nodded.
“Your daughters?” He asked.
“Is she missing?”
Madame Pomme did not answer, leaving KrisBee to answer the questions.
“She ran off a little over a week ago, supposedly with a Muffin of all cakes. I have searched for her but my reach beyond this street is limited. When we got word of the Slicer Pomme feared you might come.”
“She thought the Slicer might take her daughter? Why? Does she know who the Slicer is?”
“You may consider me vile Gache, but even you can’t think I would keep someone like the Slicer hidden from view?” Pomme said.
He did not. He was missing something here, but one look at Pomme told him she would not tell him what. That didn’t matter. He knew who the next victim was, and also knew she had been missing for just over a week. Gache had never heard of the Slicer kidnapping his victims, so it could be the disappearance was not directly linked. What he did is that he had to find her.
“I need to know everything about her and who she supposedly ran off with. I need to find her, and quickly.” Gache said.
KrisBee looked at Pomme.
“Give him whatever he needs.” She said to Kris. She turned her attention to Gache. “Bring her back safe.”
With that she left, leaving Gache feeling somehow hollow inside. He had no time to dwell on that.
“What now, skip?” KrisBee said.
Gache smiled. ‘Skip’. That was going back a few years.
“Tell me about the owner of the silver tart.” Gache said.