Its essence will consume you fully before you realise it. 

A nightmare. 

A never ending battle.

A looped hell that burns the surroundings of your tainted heart.

And yet, its honeyed soothings whisper the promises of fortunes beyond our measly imaginations.

For Catherine, an up-and-coming baker with a heart full of gold, swirling in a life filled with caramel-candied sweets was determined.

Not only was she an aspiring baker, she was also an experienced witch. Her tantalising smirk and the edges of her sharp black-coated nails were enough to distinguish her from the majority of other witches. She was what she would describe as “special”. 

However, many of her fellow witches disagreed. They viewed her as a pushover, a people-pleaser, and overall an excessively accommodating creature. Albeit the constant microaggressions thrown her way, Catherine persevered and started her bakery shop known to all as ‘Enchanted Delights’. 

Business was relatively slow, with only a few passing witches taking pity on her and visiting her humble bakery. On most of the other empty, lonely days however, Catherine could only fare with a sorrowed heart from how little her business was thriving. A few pennies, a mere handful of coins was all Catherine would get out of a full week’s worth of selling. 

These experiences left Catherine with an empty soul. She sought other avenues to maintain her passion, to find a reason for pushing through, but all was in vain. In the end, only one fate remained for her: Catherine closed up shop in the valley she considered her home, and trudged hill after hill with only a backpack filled with delights that she hoped were enough to convince every other species of her baked goods that were scrumptious and decadent with rich flavours. 

To think I was even trying my best with them.

A strangled sigh escaping her lips, Catherine hauled her backpack over her shoulder, wincing slightly from the pain coursing through her shoulder blades as she hiked through the thicket of the forest, its menacing howls encompassing the entire greenwood. Eventually, the eerie sound of a child’s laughter echoed from one end of the forest to the other. Slowly, inch by inch, Catherine hastened her step, tripping over her feet before scrambling up again, ragged breaths creeping up her throat before she eventually pushed her way out of the woodland; pressing a hand against her chest to calm her excruciatingly beating heart. 

Breathe in… and out.

Breathe in… and out.

Catherine’s eyes swept across the foreign territory she was in. Pin-drop silence followed her as she noticed shadows— all different sizes ranging from petite to muscular. Thankfully her conscious mind was swift enough to distinguish the shadows as an unexpected group. 


Catherine had no qualms against such beings, however, an inkling of fear crawled its way into her. Holding back a cough from overexertion, Catherine wobbled on her feet as she stood up with what she had hoped was a friendly smile etched on her face towards the overtly sensitive creatures. They closed in around her, curious and suspicious expressions present on their faces. Even so, the humans introduced themselves as villagers of a humble village that was trying its best to care for the sick whilst maintaining their standing in the world.

Catherine’s heart clenched at the villagers’ ordeals, making her mind up in that instant. She proposed starting up a local shop offering a selection of goods with magical properties. 

“Please… let me help you!” she pleaded, her eyebrows dangerously knitting themselves close together, eyes on the verge of tears.

The village chief raised an eyebrow at Catherine’s avid interest. “And why would you help? Why do you feel the need to do so?” 

“Because I want to. It’s not out of this arrogant expectation that I can be of help to everyone. It’s just… I want to continue doing what I love, baking and sharing my goods, and hopefully making someone’s day a bit brighter while I’m at it,” she explained, her hands clasped. “Please. Give me a chance.” 

The village chief’s gaze lingered on Catherine before a defeated sigh escaped from his lips, his furrowed eyebrows easing up. It was a nice sentiment, a small glimmering sliver of hope where she believed she could make a change. 

Catherine perked up when the village chief eventually agreed. Her now mended heart was ready to do everything in its power to bring some hope and joy to the small village with her bakery. 

With a warm heart and a knack for baking, Catherine began baking and assembling more of her magical treats. Each passing day filled the witch’s heart with high spirits, her happiness soaring through the roof any time a customer bought her baked goods. Catherine had learned over the weeks of the name of the village she resided in – Misthaven. It had truly been a haven, becoming a new home to the outcast witch. 

Most of the villagers would come to try her ‘Enchanting Eclairs’; shimmering pastries that had subtle glittering undertones as though the moon itself was dancing upon its surface. Each one was infused with magical essences that held properties to cure certain ailments. 

At the same time, Catherine had many other pastries to share, including mystical scones to spellbinding macarons that proved to be just as famous. Her bakery shop, Enchanted Delights, was gaining even more customers, especially from the village she was residing in. An influx of humans from other towns or villages also found their way to her shop. Even creatures like ogres, dwarves and nymphs visited every now and then to buy her delicacies and support her business.

Despite all her hard work for the village, Misthaven’s positive enchantment soon began to wear off. The bakery started growing more unpleasant along with Catherine’s moral compass. The charm that surrounded Misthaven and Catherine soon began to fade away into an unclear fog that was a fantasy of what it had been.

Catherine’s greed started seeping through into her very being. Her once gleaming smile soon shifted into a sinister smirk, and her razor-sharp teeth that once was viewed as a quirky charm were now fearful to the villagers. Everyone feared that one day, those teeth would snag and crush innocent flesh and bones.

Through her business, Catherine started extorting the village of their funds. She became greedy and increasingly demanding with every passing day, wanting more and more without any valid reason. Rather than the brighter future she promised, the witch brought even more damage to the village’s economy than anything had done so before. 

Her experience in sorcery and callous disregard for the villagers’ wellbeing led to her destroying the lives of many — whether that be the Misthaven villagers or those from towns or regions further away. 

The once charming streets grew emptier, and despair hung heavily in the foggy air. Many villagers had left, taking anything they could with them. Any remaining villager was caught in a knotted web of broken promises and fractured dreams, with nothing waiting for them except a tragic future.

Misthaven had once held a harmonious power,  but Catherine’s gluttony and greed towards wealth meant that the villagers had been subjected to blackmail of their funds in exchange for any effective medical aid. Now, shrouded in uncertainty, the village’s faith in her bakery along with herself was tarnished. 

Catherine left the village with a heavy heart. Her once perfect heart soon began to tear open; the stitches that were almost invisible started to reveal a blackened pit of doom within.

From an outcast in her coven to a widely beloved witch, she had once again regained her status as an outcast. This was enough for Catherine to be consumed with devastation and fury towards herself.

What had happened? Where did it all go wrong?

Somewhere within her a seed of doubt had sprouted, perhaps it was her subconscious stopping her from transforming into a fully fledged monster.

With no home left for her to run to, Catherine found herself left in ruins. The state she was in was far from ideal, though she started to believe she deserved every bit of harm that came her way. Atonement for her sins? Unfortunately, her infamy had spread loud and wide. No one would ever extend a helping hand for her again.

Written By: Lavanya

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