How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE

#BlogBattle Week 30 – Prompt: Reach


To meet the mind behind this challenge click below:


  1. 1000 words max
  2. fictional tale (or true if you really want)
  3. PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
  4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
  5. Go for the entertainment value!
  6. State the Genre of your story at the top of your post.
  7. Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
  8. Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story, put a linkback to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/orinclude a link to this page in your own blog post(it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
  9. Have fun!

Each winner will receive this awesome #BlogBattle Winner Badge to display with their winning story on their webpage:


I’ve decided to expand last week’s story titled Choices. Read Part 1 here.


“Sit tight.” He thundered past to turn around. The shake and rattle faded with distance, but not for long.

Oncoming headlights of a single car pierced the shroud of hammering rain against her windshield. The wipers quit upright in mid-sweep as if stunned. Steve’s car howled closer behind her and stopped alongside. Victoria bit her lip, but scurried out of her car into the waiting and open door beside her. The stink of stale cigarettes, wet rags, and rancid grease punched her in the face before she shut the door. Phew.

“Good thing you came around the corner close to the sidewalk. I’d hate to push your car in this rain. ” Where to? His eyes roamed her huddled frame without apology.

“The Bradley Assurance Building downtown. Please.”

“Didn’t your mother never tell ya to look the person you’re talking to in the eye? What a scared little mouse you are.” He hooted and bobbed.

The grating voice in her ear over the earsplitting broken-Mack-truck noise gave her a headache. Purse to chest, she withdrew a hand to press against the drumbeat in her head. She sucked in a deep breath through her mouth, snapped on the seatbelt, and drew herself up straighter in the bucket.

“Let’s not talk.”

“Get over yourself, will ya?” He whipped a smoke out of his breast pocket.

“You’re not going to smoke that!”

He smirked and narrowed his eyes. “My car. My rules. Seems to me I’m already doing you a favor—What’s that saying about beggars and such?” He tapped the cigarette tip on the steering wheel and stuck it into the corner of his mouth.

Victoria sank deeper into the seat. Someone’s horn sounded over the cacophony in her head. She peered out the window. The traffic around them had swelled. Rain still swamped the windshield. Whish-whoosh, the wipers labored. Swoosh-whish. The wail of an ambulance drew closer. Steve eased to the curb with the rest of the traffic. He didn’t light the smoke.

“If ya hafta know, I quit for the third time a week ago. Sucking on these babies calms me down, ya know.” He turned to her with a lecherous grin. “You look like a drowned cat…”

She flinched and sidled closer to the passenger door, forehead to the cool window. The ambulance passed and commuters snaked forward again.

“Touchy-touchy. I’m telling ya like it is so you can fix yourself when you get to work.”

“Where are you going? This is the wrong way.” Victoria hated the shrill sound of her voice.

Eyes ready to burst out of her head, she jerked forward, hands raised toward the dash. The seatbelt restrained her.

Steve withdrew the soggy cigarette and shook with silent laughter. “I knew it. You’re a scared little mouse, aren’t ya? I’m going around the block to drop you in front of the building, not across the street.”


“About your car? Want me to take care of it?”

“No-no. I’ll call the auto club. You’ve been more than helpful. Your wife must be worried what’s keeping you. Can’t thank you enough.” The front door of her building came into view. Soggy pedestrians with dripping umbrellas high-stepped around each other in squelching shoes.

Steve flicked on his signal and edged to a sloshing stop and flung his hand on the back of her bucket seat. He jiggled black caterpillar brows at her. “Oh, I’m sure I’ll think of something.”

“What are you—sixteen? It’s a figure of speech. Doesn’t mean what you’re thinking.” She wrenched open the door and stumbled into a river of streaming water searching for any opening along the curb.

“Careful now.” He snickered.

Without a backward glance, she slammed the door and sloshed her way up the stairs joining bedraggled employees rushing through the revolving doors. She charged forward, collapsing her umbrella and squeezed into an already crowded elevator. I hope my presentation goes better than my ride with Steve.

* * *

Dry and warm after a long disheartening day, Victoria curled up on the sofa, a tall Spanish coffee on the side table, a book, and Marmaduke in her lap. The now cold rain riddled the windows as if tired from plunging all day. She stroked the cat’s silky head. He leaned in against her palm and purred in a stupor. Now and again he shivered in delight. “Aren’t you my sweet, sweet boy?” One eye opened to examine her, a look of scorn on his face. He gave a heavy sigh and closed it.

“What’s with you, cat? Little Sarah next door said you look like a cow. You didn’t make faces at her.” The Tom shifted and coiled into a compact rope, paw pressed over his eyes. “A cow, she said. Good point, I think.” She poked the fur ball in a shoulder, but he ignored her.

“What a horrible day it’s been. Don’t let me start about our dreadful neighbor. I wanted to reach over and wipe the smirk off his face. Permanently.”

“Shh. What’s that?” Her knees bounced skyward; the cat bolted to his favorite window. Victoria’s heart hammered in her ears. Tiny hair she didn’t know she had, prickled on the back of her neck. Chest tight, her knees turned to water when her feet hit the floor. Rain fell with a lazy trickle now. Someone or something was poking around outside. Thank goodness she’d closed the drapes. No. The silly cat left an open space when he jumped on the window sill. She grabbed her cell, and paraphernalia, and switched off the lights on her way upstairs.

Nobody’s home next door. They’re at the parent-teacher meeting at the school. What on earth did they have to do with anything?

It wasn’t them she meant. It was Steve. She didn’t trust him.


© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.

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!

62 thoughts on “#BlogBattle Week 30 – Prompt: Reach

  1. Great stuff Tess! Loved the ending 🙂


  2. This one made me tense, you’re really good at this dark suspenseful stuff.


  3. Pingback: #BlogBattle Week 30 “Reach” Entries & Voting | Rachael Ritchey

  4. Brilliant! – … then what?


  5. And that’s what they mean when they say “the plot thickens”. Intrigued. You must continue….☺


  6. Oh yes Part 1 only, this could be a movie. You had me enthralled, excellent Tess. ❤️


  7. hmmm – a different twist than what I expected. I hadn’t figured Victoria to be a scared little mouse. Now she’s set herself up to play the victim.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Very good! Nice to see a longer piece. 🙂


  9. That gnawing little feeling that says the person isn’t what he portrays grows and grows. I know the feeling all too well.

    Beautifully written, Tess.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Gah! I’m completely creeped out with her. Great job having us be in that car with her. (Not sure I want to know how it ends…)


  11. The guy’s someone to avoid. Nice writing Tess.


  12. Love the follow up, Tess…the creepy guy…the suspense…


  13. Tess… I guess my reaction is shaped by my own past… but that’s a damned scary tale. Well done my friend. Well done indeed. Hugs.


  14. That scene in the car is amazing. I felt whipsawed–her fear seemed reasonable, as did his response. What an awful situation.


    • Thank you, Jacqui. Glad you like the car scene. I had no idea he’d be this wishy-washy, nasty character, but he’s fun. Don’t know what’s up with him. I’ll poke around a bit… Maybe find out. ❤ ❤


  15. Tess, you left us hanging…my mind is going in all different directions, many of them not good. Excellent, you drew us in so quickly and I felt like I knew the characters.
    Hope this day is being good to you. 🙂


  16. You must continue this one, the tension is building do not leave us hanging!


  17. Daggone it!!!! Now you have to (please) do a part three!!!!


  18. Tess my shoulders are in my ears! Such suspense and creepy feelings. Now you shall need to write the next chapter!


  19. I love your descriptions of the rain in this. I almost feel wet after reading it. 🙂 The suspense and adds to it to create a tense atmosphere. It woul be interesting to know what happens next. Who, if anyone, is lurking outside?


  20. Wow! Really had me pulled in to this story, Tess! Was enthralled with your detailed descriptions. Great visuals. 😀


  21. Excellent. Great imagery here. I love the line, Tiny hair she didn’t know she had, prickled on the back of her neck. You sure know how to spin a tale!


  22. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Just settled in to browse my favourite blogs and found a great follow on from last week’s blog battle on Tess’s How the Cookie Crumbles.. she certainly knows how to build the tension..

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I don’t blame Victoria. I wouldn’t trust Steve, either.


  24. Oooh, this is getting so tense, you have to do another part Tess! 🙂


  25. You know how to keep a reader right to the end Tess. And then still! 🙂


  26. You have me nervous for Victoria! I don’t trust that Steve, either. Is he the one stalking around her house? *shudders* I think this calls for a part 3.


  27. Pingback: #BlogBattle Week 31- Prompt: Scar | How the Cookie Crumbles

  28. Tess, you know how to keep us all guessing. And now it’s getting creepy…


  29. Pingback: #BlogBattle Week 32 – Prompt: Mars | How the Cookie Crumbles