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Blackberry Tart

by  Laurence

Posted: Saturday, September 24, 2011
Word Count: 556
Summary: Week 374 Challenge

The cottage filled with the delightful aroma of baking. Grace had a reputation in the village for her cooking. She would spend many hours picking the fruits of the hedgerow.

‘That’s a bit hot,’ said Grace to her cat curled up next to the Aga; slightly overweight from all the treats. Grace placed the fruit tart on the scrubbed table and smiled at its rich golden colour.

‘Cooee,’ shouted Norma.

‘Come in dear. Cup of tea?’

Grace and Nora were life-long friends. They had helped each other through thick and thin.

‘It’s your Stan’s anniversary today,’ said Nora.

‘That’s right love, he sat down at that chair, finished his meal and dropped dead. What a way to go,’ she smiled. ‘He never wanted to be a burden.’

‘He was a fine man, Grace. I remember all the help you both gave me when I was ill. Stan would spend hours sitting next to my bed when I was so delirious.’
‘That was Stan, kindness to everyone. Would you like another cup of tea? How about a piece of blackberry tart? It was Stan's favourite.’

‘I thought you would never ask,’ smiled Norma.

Grace cut a large slice and placed it in front of Norma.

‘I won’t be a minute,’ said Grace.

Norma finished the tart and began to feel a little queasy. Her vision began to blur.

‘Grace! Grace! Help me!’

Grace rushed into the room as Norma slumped to the floor clutching her stomach. ‘Please Norma don’t leave me.’ The ambulance took Norma to hospital. She looked in a terrible state. The paramedic promised to get someone to call her when there was any news. Grace looked about the kitchen, ‘Today of all days, Tiddles,’ she said to her cat stretching and yawning. ‘Here have some tart.’

Grace was sorting out the sitting room when there was a knock at the door.

‘Mrs Grace Hancock,’ said a police officer, ‘Could I come in?’

‘Yes of course. Is it Norma? Is she alright?’

The police officer removed his cap as he was shown into the sitting room.

‘I believe Mrs Norma Talbot had something to eat when she visited you today.’

‘Yes, she had some blackberry tart. She pops in most days and we have a natter over a cup of tea and something to eat. I am well known for my cooking.’

The police officer smiled at her. ‘I need to see the tart.’

Grace shows him into the kitchen and points to the plate on the table.

‘What type of berry is in this tart Mrs Hancock?’


‘Are you sure?’ said the officer poking the contents with a pen and smelling the tart.

‘Of course pick them at the bottom of my garden.’

A number officers arrived to search the garden and several samples of her fruit were removed along with the remains of the tart. Once everyone had gone she decided to make a cup of tea and wait for the news about Norma.

‘Well this has been a funny day Stan,’ she said looking at his photo on the wall, ‘You loved your food. That police officer said I had not used blackberries but the berries of something called deadly night shade. Ah well an easy mistake to make they both hung over the fence. Tiddles ? Tiddles where are you?’