This story brought to you by the fact that I kept misreading Lilfluff’s prompt “a baker” as “a banker.”
The old bank smelled delicious.
Of the village that had stood here before everything had collapsed, seven buildings remained and seven new ones had been constructed from the wreckage of the old.
In the center of everything, the bank was an anchor, not a window broken, not a tile out of place. It had withstood storms before. It would withstand more than that in the future.
And in the middle of the bank, Geraldine Atwater and Clementine Smith had built their ovens.
They kneaded bread on the old marble counter-tops and stacked it for display on the check-signing stations. They took deposits of money or trade goods or ingredients and gave receipts in bread and rolls and pastries, anything they could figure out how to make with what they had.
They’d gone back to the old traditions: The brewery hadn’t stood, but they’d rebuilt it, and they used the yeast from the brewery for their bread. The area was littered with millstones and old museum replicas of mills. They’d used them as a blueprint for a new mill, right next to the bank-cum-bakery.
The area had never stopped farming. They had to borrow from the Amish and the Mennonites to get things back to an old-school way, but they traded with everyone they could still reach, and in the end, Gerry and Clem had enough for their bakery, and the town had enough to eat.
Today was a special day, and today they were baking up a storm. The ovens had been fired since three hours before dawn and now, the bread for the village and the rolls for their sandwiches baked, they were twisting up the braids and the swirls of a grand confection.
Today marked three years since their first loaf had been baked in their new oven. And it marked three and a half years since the day they’d all stepped out of the Great Storm.
The bread sculpture wouldn’t show the storm, though. Four feet tall and seven feet long, the sculpture would show hands. All of their hands, the whole village, the Amish, the Mennonites, the crazy hermits up the hill. Hands, and a mill wheel, and the framework of a building being pushed into shape.
“Should we call it Thanksgiving, do you think?” Gerry twisted the gnarled knuckles of Eli Schneiderman’s old hands into the dough in front of her.
“Nah, that already means something. Call it…. Call it Friendship. No. Community Day.” Clem added a line of cinnamon to the millwheel. “The sweetness of a true community.”