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Wanted Bread or Alive

Excerpt from the Diary of Marie Dieudonné – Marseille, France

14th December, 1912

Dear diary, I am practicing my English today so please be patient.

Céline was late today after class, she had promised to take me to Rue Saint-Ferréol to look at dresses for the wedding but she wasn’t anywhere nearby. Around the corner, there’s a little café I like to go to and study sometimes, so I thought I would go there but it was closed. Found myself in front of a patisserie I’d never seen before. Picturesque as it was, I don’t know how I’d never noticed it.

The smell of fresh bread was overwhelming, so I stepped in. Just a bar with stools facing the window out on the street and the counter, with racks and racks of fresh bread. There was a young man behind the counter and he looked so sullen, eyes so lifeless and skin almost grey. I asked him if he was alright and he answered with a very strong Italian accent if I wanted some bread. So I said, yes, I wanted some king cake. He shook his head slightly and coughed. I asked him if he was alright again but he ignored me, slumping slightly and leaning on the counter as he asked me again if I wanted some bread.

The baker came out, a tall man with a fantastic mustache, and pushed the boy away into the back. The man asked me if I had been helped. I asked him if the boy was alright and he said “yes of course, he’s fine.”

Something about his manner felt aggressive and rude, he was probably Parisian. I said I would like some king cake and as he got one for me, I asked him if the shop had been there long. “No, ma bouchée, we have just opened this very day!” He handed me the king cake in a small paper bag but refused my coins when I offered.

“Come back and bring your friends, we have many wonderful pastries!”

I barely suppressed a shudder; I couldn’t shake the feeling he was threatening me. I left and waited for Céline, opening the bag to taste my king cake, and finding flies in it! I shook it out and looked at the pastry, it was black with mold. I couldn’t believe it. Un mec louche. Never going back there.

Excerpt from the 14th December, 1912 issue of Las Provincias

Police are investigating the disappearance of a young Italian boy last seen in Barcelona, entering a French style pastry shop that has since also disappeared. The boy’s name is Salvadore Andolini and his family was visiting the city during the holidays. Mrs. Andolini, the boy’s mother, said he went into the pastry shop yesterday at noon to buy some bread for the family’s picnic. When he hadn’t joined the family in the park after twenty minutes, Mrs. Andolini went back to the shop and found it abandoned. Multiple witnesses have confirmed the pastry shop being present and then merely disappearing.

Anyone with information should contact Inspector Marcos Alessandri at the Barcelona Police Department. The man is French with a large curled brown mustache in old fashioned sort, who was seen dressing in baker’s whites with a large top hat.

Excerpt from Mortfield Industries Documents for Anomaly S-1103

Anomaly is a nomadic predatory bakery. Anomaly presents as a small French style patisserie called Pain de Vie operated by a tall man with 19th century facial hair. The man does not exist, it is a projection maintained by the bakery. The only living beings who have been seen in the anomaly are its victims or those trying to buy bread.

The anomaly travels from city to city in mainland Europe, moving in an unknown manner the minute a victim is chosen. The intended victims must eat the bread given away by the anomaly and then they vanish along with the anomaly. From collating reports around the same time as the disappearances, it appears the anomaly absconds with their victim forcing them to work at the counter.

Over a period from one to two days in duration, the victim is drained of life – appearing progressively sicker and exhibiting greying skin and delayed cognition. When a victim has outlived its usefulness, the anomaly makes use of the individual as ingredients for its products. Operational personnel have observed a series of mechanisms housed in the rear of the bakery structure that grind a body down to its constituent elements, and dry out the remains. This process repeats until the remains appear similar to flour and is used as ingredients for the anomaly’s pastries.

Based on its behavior and duration of observed instances, it is estimated that nearly fifteen thousand individuals have been absconded and consumed by the anomaly. Its movements are unpredictable and impossible to trace as of writing. A map of recorded instances is available for research personnel to reference on request. Containment methods are completely unknown. Identification and neutralization are of the highest priority.


Grigori Karpin

Ignota IronShears


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