How the Cookie Crumbles

Life in the fast and slow lanes after SIXTY-FIVE

#BlogBattle Week 8

46 Comments


This week’s theme is: Madness

To join, Check out http://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/

Madness

Mickey prowled the house. She paced from room to room, flicked through all 60 TV channels. Nothing interesting after another rotten day at work. I can go to the gym. No, don’t want to.

She hadn’t realized how graveyard still her house had become till her cell intoned the tinny version of a Rolling Stones top hit. Having wandered into the kitchen, she peered at the wall clock. Probably a telemarketer at 7:00 p.m.

An excited voice droned into her ear before she managed a hello. Yanking the cell away, she made a face and sighed. “I can’t understand a word. Can you slow down? Please” Working fingers through straight cinnamon hair, she prowled the length of the room.

A few words jumped out of the garbled rush, “…cruise…skill…question…”

“No thanks!” Her voice hung in the air, loud and ugly, as she flipped off the phone. “Why’d I pick up the darn thing?” She threw herself onto the sofa, limbs loose and sprawled like a rag doll.

She sat up. Attentive. What’s that? At first Mickey thought she’d imagined the faint sound. A baby crying? None of her neighbours were associated with any. She waited, then jumped up rushing to investigate outside the front and side doors and the windows open to the cooling May evening. The dead-end street remained silent. Empty. Lifeless. Waiting. Waiting for what? Stop it! Back and forth she strode down the hallway from the living-room to kitchen and back again. Listening between floor creaks.

“Meow.”

“We do not have a cat.” A laugh simmered in her throat and she set it free till she cackled, beside herself. Wiping aside tears, she opened the front door again. Nothing on the porch or on the road. No cats anyway, which wasn’t unusual. The two old ladies with cats lived further up the short street and kept them housebound.

This is crazy. It’s as if a cat’s in the walls. She laughed again but didn’t sound merry at all. Ears plugged, head light, her heart bumped and ground.

“Meow.”

Mickey yanked the broom out of the cleaning cupboard and poked about the kitchen beneath the chrome table and chairs and into all the empty corners. She continued through the bedroom, dining-room, living-room, and even the bathroom. She listened at the walls careful not to scape an ear on the white stuccoed living-room.

“Meow.”

Where is the darn cat? Slashing her broom like a saber, she tore up the L-shaped stairs to the second floor. Inside empty closets, in half-decorated bedrooms, around and behind unpacked boxes she poked and crawled. Nothing. Down the stairs and two short flights more to the basement she raced. Lights on, she surveyed the rec room: burgundy carpet and orange couch. Bleh. No turning down free anything thanks to her husband.

A basement window stared half-lidded. The only one without a screen. Open. The only one not painted shut. Stupid. Stupid. Up on the milk crate beneath the window she’d last opened it, Mickey removed the supporting pole and latched the window shut. “All quiet on the subterranean front.” She giggled, a nervous vibration. A cleansing breath in and another one out, then another; her heart slowed to a steadier beat. Laundry-room. Check. Furnace room. Check. Closet. Check. Behind the bar. Check. “No cats and no mice. All is quiet. ”

The broom back in the cupboard, she realized night had fallen. A glance at the clock announced 10:15. Wow, over three hours gone. Is this place haunted or what? Work tomorrow. Bedtime calls. I’m talking to myself now?

***

“Meow.”

Wide awake, Mickey had no idea if she was dreaming or not. Heart thrashing like a revving rocket, her eyes shot open. She couldn’t breathe. Where are you? What are you? Lightheaded and limb-rigid, she drew in air a silent gasp at a time.

“Meow.” The tone sounded angry and much too loud and close.

If it’s real, I bet the darn cat’s on the window’s ledge. Almost confident the cat yowled on the other side of the screen, she leaped out of bed. Hands swift behind the curtain, she wrenched the window pane down.

Miaow.”

“Shutup-Shutup.”

“Meow-Miaow.”

Hands over ears, Mickey shut her eyes and clenched her teeth. “You’re driving me crazy.” She grabbed her alarm clock-radio, pillow and blanket and slammed the bedroom door headed for the sofa. Sleep did not come. The plaintive meow persisted although weaker. She tossed and turned until the alarm jarred her into consciousness and onto the floor.

***

Tony sauntered in after his night shift as she finished applying mascara. “I’ve never been so happy to go to work as today.”

“Uh-huh.” He appeared tired as he kissed her on the cheek and headed towards the kitchen.

“Wait. I have to tell you— This house is haunted or something.” She rushed through the details until breathless.

Brow furrowed, her husband stared at her long and hard from the door jamb he leaned against.

“What? It’s madness, isn’t it. You think I’m crazy?”

”I hear it too. Wait here.” He flung the bedroom door aside. Mickey watched one-eyed around the corner as he pushed back the curtain. He roared with laughter, a belly laugh so deep he almost growled.

He called over his shoulder. “Come here.”

“Why?”

“Come here. You’re going to pee yourself.”

“Like I didn’t all last night?”

“Meow.”

Tony stretched out a hand towards her. “Come on,” he said shaking with mirth.

“Ta-da.” His eyes grew large and he rushed to catch her as Mickey folded into the floor.

A cat pinned between the inside window pane and the screen glared back with dark, curse-hungry eyes. “Miaow!”

#

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Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

46 thoughts on “#BlogBattle Week 8

  1. Enjoyed this – first thing I’ve read this morning

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  2. Pingback: Madness #BlogBattle Week 8 Entries & Voting | Writing Rachael Ritchey

  3. Haaaa! My eye started to twitch, I could hear the miaows in my head. Very hilarious ending!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If this was a real competition you’re a winner!

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  5. Miaow… a nightmare… well written…

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  6. Madness it certainly is and with a cat it is scary.. great enjoyed this.. 😉

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  7. Ha! I was waiting for the supernatural!!!!! 🙂 This was MUCH better!!!! THat’ll teach that cat!!!!!

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  8. Cats can drive you nuts! This was hilarious.

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  9. Well, at least the house wasn’t haunted. Of course, given how angry the cat is, Mickey just might get haunted yet!

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  10. Oh, that poor kitty. Great story Tess. Having Mickey consider that her home was haunted put real spice in.

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  11. Tess… Well written as always.

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  12. Couldn’t imagine where this was going..but great ending 😀 😀

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  13. Poor kitty!!!

    “She giggled, a nervous vibration” …. and poor Mickey on the verge of madness.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What a story. Look what you do when you get more than 100 words–amazing. Tess.

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  15. Loved it! I was hooked within moments, Tess! 🙂

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  16. My heart raced along with every word Tess. I really did think she was going mad. That must have been one irate pussy cat!

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  17. Haha! Fun ending! Love the description of her mad dash through the house! That poor kitty! 🙂

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  18. Loved this… Poor cat though! You ate a brilliant storyteller 😉

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  19. Hhaha~ This was great! I wasn’t expecting such a funny ending at first! Poor cat though.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Nice comic relief after the tension. 🙂

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  21. Thank goodness I have a dog, although he’s frightened of cats.

    I wonder how that cat got stuck there? Poor thing. Nice ending and good that Mickey finally found out where it was coming from.

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  22. Fantastic story! It reminded me of The Tell-Tale Heart (but that might be because of my feelings toward cats). 🙂

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  23. Glad the mystery was solved in the end. Wonderful story Tess, as always ❤ 🙂 🐻

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  24. No real cats were used for experimentation between window pain and screen. ❤ ❤ 🙂

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  25. Oh, Tess, you had me worried! I’m so glad there was a happy ending for everyone, but it was quite tense for a while!

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  26. Tense is g.o.o.d. Madness is tense. Thank you for picking up on it. I’m always happy when a plan comes together an a reader gets the feel. {{{hugs}}}

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  27. Poor Mickey, and poor cat! Graet story. i enjoyed the mystery of where the meow as coming from.

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  28. Thanks so much! I appreciate your reading and comment. I’m pleased you enjoyed the read. 🙂

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  29. Great story! I kept wondering if it was all in her head, poor Mickey, but there really was a cat. This was fun to read. 🙂 Can a cat get stuck in a window? it wouldn’t surprise me if they could.

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  30. Oh that poor cat! Clearly Mickey was not a cat lover, or though it seemed. Great use of the word madness. Also, I was really drawn to the fact that you described her hair as “cinnamon” in color. I liked that a lot.

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  31. Happy to have caught up with this. Great story!

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  32. Tess, you are the woman! I saved this piece of fiction until I had a few minutes to read it since it is longer that the stories you generally write. Well done! I hope you continue to write the longer stories (in addition to the short flashes) because you bring a lot of good stuff to the table. I liked the tension, I liked the way you had the character determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, and I especially liked the ending. Good job, girlfriend!

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  33. Thank you much, lovely Kate. Your encouragement means the world to me. ❤
    Need to blog less and write m.o.r.e. I have so many unfinished projects so I added another one…Go figure. 😮

    Like

  34. I have two of them and I forget they’re cats. Instead they’re like naughty two-year-olds: Lady Gaga and Dickens. 😀 😀

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