The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer, Part One: The Baker 30

Secret Table, Short Crime Fiction Books

Serial Fiction Novel

‘I understand, perhaps tobacco and tea are not enough. It is time for you to meat Harry.’ Said he handing a little black envelope, the size of a business card.

‘What is that?’ He took it and immediately was surprised by its weight.

He opened the envelope and pulled out a black cast iron plate inscribed with gold symbols. It read ’66 Church 10pm’. He glanced back and forth between Archibald and the card.

‘That is odd, explain!’ He pleaded.

‘You can go any night, alone. The rest is mystery. You will find out only if you go.’ He stood up and started for the door.

‘I need more control! Not a fancy brothel!’

‘You are still very much in control, you just don’t know it. If you were not I would be here more often. You disapprove of many of the people that surround you. You have the power to remove them from the equation. Meet Harry, he will provide more insight.’ He left.

The Baker held the piece of metal, smelled it, banged it against his desk. It was solid and from what he had heard the man behind it was at least as solid.

He decided to walk to 66 Church that very night. To his surprise the address led him to a rusty, weeded, industrial block of the street. A narrow deep arcade showed the doorway with the number 66 spray-painted on the wall in gold. He grew skeptic and was about to turn round for he didn’t see a doorbell. The arcade was covered in graffiti and smelled like piss. The heavy metal door appeared as an unmovable fixture. It was dark and deserted enough for fear and paranoia to creep in his heart.

Before he could execute his retreat a high shattering metallic sound came from inside, a latch. The door began opening slowly. He stepped back with dilated retinas and doubt on his face. The dim yellow light of a gas lantern flickered on the threshold.

‘Mr. Baker, please come on in.’ Deep and shredded voice ushered.

The weight of the iron card in his pocket reminded him of the seriousness of this organization. The start of the evening proved to be most exciting. So he went in. The door closed behind him and a middle-aged gentleman showed him down a narrow hallway. The gas lantern was the only means of cutting the pitch darkness. Its gentle sway and flicker were pleasing. They reached another door the lantern carrier opened and closed behind them.

‘Your ticket please.’

He fished the iron card from his pocket, stared at it for a moment and handed it to him.

‘The Baker himself.’ He grinned.

Anton looked right in his eyes a little puzzled but not surprised this time.

‘Follow me sir.’ He went on cordially.

There was no furniture, the space was dusty with spider webs and the walls were pealing. The room turned into another hallway with the same rusty appearance. Then they reached yet another metal door. All the doors they went through were the only fixtures that were newly installed and highly secure, intimidating. Every time he heard the massive latch his guts rumbled. The last gate opened and they were outside on a back street. A car was waiting for them. The usher let him in the back and took the wheel.

The windows in the back were tinted so he couldn’t see the outside. The ride was short. In less than ten minutes they were climbing into what proved to be a parking lot. The car doors opened and he was let out in front of a yet another massive metal door that immediately opened.

The mood was different, still dark but clean. Two rows of stone carved thinkers’ statuettes were holding burning candles on each side of the hallway. It smelled of leather, tobacco and whiskey. The door behind him closed and the one ahead opened. He walked through it to enter a dimly lit smoking lounge.




Photograph by Jonny Clow

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