The Dough Wife

There once was a baker who lived all alone. He was so lonely, in fact, that one evening he collected all the leftover bread dough from the day and sculpted it into the shape of a woman. He used his fingers to poke eyes and a mouth into her head, but the dough settled and after a few minutes the eyes were just two puckered, shallow dents and the mouth was gone entirely.

“Oh well,” thought the baker. “I suppose a wife who can’t talk is better anyway.”

He left his creation lying on a table in the back room where no one would see it and retired to his apartment on the second floor of the bakery. After climbing into bed he felt silly. Only a fool would call a lump of dough a wife and expect it to cure his loneliness. Shaking his head at himself, he lay down and went to sleep.

The baker woke up a few hours later. There was a soft thumping sound coming from downstairs. The baker rolled over in his bedsheets and thought, “It’s just the wind rattling the shutters.”

He’d almost fallen back asleep when the thumping came again, louder. There was no mistaking this time that it was coming from inside the bakery, and that it was moving toward the stairs that led to his apartment.

“Who’s there?” the baker called. The thumping continued. If it was someone walking up the stairs, they were very clumsy; it sounded like they kept tripping and banging against the walls.

“Whoever you are, you should leave now,” the baker called. “I’m warning you; I’m armed!”

In fact he wasn’t. All he had to defend himself was the lock on his bedroom door.

The thumping reached the top of the stairs and began moving toward his room. When it reached the door it stopped, and then there was a sliding sound. The baker imagined a hand rubbing against the wood, probing it for weaknesses. He held his breath as the rubbing approached the doorknob. Something tried to turn it, but the lock held. Then:

“Mmph mmph.”

The baker grabbed his bedsheets and held them over his mouth. The voice belonged to a woman, but it sounded like a woman who was underwater.

“Mmph mmmphh,” it said again.

“Go away,” replied the baker, shaking behind his blankets. “Leave me alone!”

Something banged against the door. It rattled in its frame. Bang! The wood creaked. Bang! Bang! A crack appeared, and then—BANG!—the door came down.

Before he could see what was on the other side, the baker dove under his covers and began to cry. He cried as something slid across the floor. He cried harder as a shadow blocked the moonlight from his window. He cried his hardest when the blankets were tugged off him.

A pale shape loomed next to the bed. There was a vague impression of human form, but the arms were too skinny and they stretched all the way to the floor where they gathered in heavy lumps. The shoulders sagged away from a head that had sunk and melted into a stumpy neck. Two eyes, black holes in a lumpy face, peered at the baker as he cowered.

“Mmph mm mmmphh.”

The figure sagged forward, threatening to fall apart as it descended on the baker. He let out a scream that lasted a second, and then the thing was on top of him, its formless face pressed against his own. He felt something probing against his lips, pulling them apart, squeezing between his gritted teeth. It tasted like flour.

The baker thrashed, but the weight of his oppressor pinned him to the bed. He tried to scream again, but he couldn’t get any breath, and opening his mouth just made it easier for the thing to get inside him.

Several days later, the baker’s body was found. No one could figure out what had killed him, so an autopsy was performed. The autopsy revealed that his lungs and digestive system were stuffed to bursting with bread dough.

James Colton

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