How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE

#BlogBattle Week 32 – Prompt: Mars


To join  and / or meet the wizard 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:


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Part 4

Sporting a practiced smile, Victoria smoothed Sylvie’s brow. “Sleep.” She straightened like an automaton and headed for the door. Hand on the jamb, she glanced over her shoulder. Good. The girl’s breathing sounded steady and even.

Heart strumming like a Spanish guitar, she sprinted down the hall to the kitchen. A car door slammed. She seized her purse and coat off the chair, but froze when a key slid into the lock and Steve bounded in, but halted with a jerk at the top of the steps, a foot suspended in mid-air. Cocky as a barnyard rooster, he plastered on a smirk.

“To what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?” He wiggled bristly black brows pantomiming the likes of Groucho Marx of vaudeville and slapstick fame.

Clearing her throat, Victoria proceeded to throw on her coat. “Maybe you should first ask where your wife is. She’s at the hospital with the baby.”

“What’s wrong with my son?”

“All I know is he has a high fever and won’t stop crying.” She bit her lip. With the little contact she’d had him, she’d never looked at his face. She did now, startled by his puzzled voice. He had that suave dark look about him Latin men exuded, but on him it came off as arrogant. A curl hung down his forehead adding to the Sal Mineo look she’d seen in old movie magazines her mother still hoarded.

“Your wife took a cab to Emerge. I’ll stay with the girls if you want to find her.”

“I wouldn’t mind spending more time with the girls either.” He crossed burly arms across a broad chest, leaned against the door frame, and snorted.

“Keep your tone down.” Fists clenched till her nails cut into her palms, Victoria listened for activity from the bedrooms. “It’s the least I can do as repayment for the other day.”

“Cozy. Already we’re exchanging favors. What’s next? Christmas cards?”

Mouth flapping like a fish out of water, words failed her. Victoria slapped her purse and tried again.” What is wrong with you? Where have you been living? Mars?”

Steve rocked back on his heels squinting down his nose at her. “Little Miss Perfect has all the answers.”


“I got a wife needs me.” Nostrils flared, he blew a noisy breath. Color rose in his cheeks as he spun away and down the stairs in a huff.

Victoria fanned trembling fingers against her breastbone. What’s his problem? This has to stop.

Lost in thought, muffled voices dragged her back to the present. Whipping off her coat, she tip-toed towards the sound. Talking, then laughter. Sylvie wasn’t in her bed. Victoria gasped, a fist to her mouth. By the light of the half-opened bathroom door, she made out two forms in Sarah’s bed, her older sister’s head on her shoulder while she mumbled in her sleep. Mesmerized by the sleeping twosome, she remembered three sisters cramped in a bed during her own youth, out of necessity not choice.

She dared peek into the bathroom mirror and shrank back. She might as well be naked: face pale as a ghost without her usual makeup and lips bloodless and grey as a corpse. Instead of crying with humiliation, she hastened to laugh inwardly. This is last minute after all, an emergency.

Back in the kitchen, she paced, looked around for a book, a magazine. Anything. The wall clock above the art-cluttered fridge showed 9:15 p.m. She flicked on the light in the living-room. A stack of movie magazine littered the coffee table. She laughed out loud. Carol and her mother were cut from the same cloth. She grabbed the heap and settled into a kitchen chair. First, tea called to her.

Victoria checked the kettle, plucked a mug from the drain board, and rummaged in her purse for the Ziploc bag of teabags she carried. The kettle shrieked. She poured the water and jumped sky-high at a disruptive jangle. Water spilled all over the counter. Oh great! It buzzed again; the ringing insistent. She threw a tea towel on the flood and followed the noise.

“Hello?” She stretched and twirled the black cord around her fingers. “How’s the baby?” Victoria let go and watched the rubber covered wiring spring back to its original curly shape. “Wonderful news—yes, he left here about ten minutes ago.” The clock on the fridge wall read 9:33 p.m. “See you soon.”

Victoria cleaned up the wet mess on the counter. The tea cooled past her liking, she drank it anyway, rinsed the mug and returned it to its last place. The magazines returned to the coffee table, she dropped into a kitchen chair to wait already checking her cell for missed calls or messages. Nothing. A yawn reminded her how long the day had been.

A distant, but building drone, fragmented the silence. Soon the noise drowned out the steady tick tock of the clock. A car door slammed, and then another. A murmur of voices outside and then inside the kitchen. The baby asleep, Carol smiled wide, eyes shining. Dressed and prepared to flee, Victoria squeezed her arm as she headed to the door.

“Wait. Don’t go yet. Back in a sec.”

Steve gave her a darting gaze and disappeared down the hall.  Victoria shifted her weight and admired the floor.

“Would you like tea and a sweet?”

“Maybe another time. You must be tired. Goodnight.”

Nerves dancing a rumba, Victoria hastened down the drive. She blew out a breath unaware she’d been holding it. She slipped her key into the lock.

Nothing turned. Nothing touched. Nothing moved.

She stomped on the rubber door mat and flapped her hands.

“Problems?” The nasal voice dripped with sarcasm over the low privet fence, separating their properties.

To be continued


© 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!

45 thoughts on “#BlogBattle Week 32 – Prompt: Mars

  1. This series is sooooooo good! You always captivate.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. More good stuff, Tess. Good cliffhanger too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Here I am on the edge of my seat again Tess. Love your writing!


  4. How did you manage to make me hate him so quickly? 😉


  5. I do love your descriptive s it makes the story so much more enjoyable…


  6. This is so good, can’t wait to see where you take it 🙂


  7. Tess, you’re out of this world — awesome as always. Looking forward to part 2. Mega hugs!


    • I’m tickled you’re enjoying my little series. I finally succumbed to expand a story. It’s hard to organically fit in the week’s word. I don’t know how you do it with three. Thank you for visiting and reading, Teagan. ❤ ❤


  8. Who doesn’t love a good Vilian story, you are doing so well Tess. 😊


  9. All caught up with parts 1 – 3, Tess. Great story, can’t wait to read how it ends. I enjoy hating this guy too. Impressed with the way you take the word prompt and work it in.


  10. This better be continued. It raises more questions than answers. Pretty soon, saying ‘Where have you been–Mars?’ will mean a whole lot more.

    Well done, Tess–again!


  11. I love how you build these chapters, the character builds. Steve is quite the…well I don’t have a polite word. Can’t wait for the next one.


  12. Pingback: #BlogBattle Week 32 “Mars” Entries & Voting | Rachael Ritchey

  13. Oh, the one you love to hate. Nice job with him–dialogue, description. What a creep. What I’m wondering is what she’s going to do about him…


  14. I don’t know what to make of Steve. He do something nice but so darned gruffly.

    Love this story, Tess. ❤


  15. Lots of stuff under the surface in this one, lots of tension, which makes us want to know more (which is natural for me, nosy Parker and all).
    You’re so good at stringing us, Tess, I read it and then look around the page as if I’ll magically find more…but soon, right?
    Thanks and hope this day is treating you well. 🙂


  16. What the heck? …… what’s up with this guy? Why do I feel like you’re toying with us? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Your writing is very influential on us all, feeling the unease around the creepy guy. We await Madame Cliffhanger. ❤


  18. everybody loves to hate a good rouge ^_^

    love the descriptions Ooooh and this line because. …..”A stack of movie magazine littered the coffee table….” because well in my story features a coffee table with magazines and so that whole part the looking for something to read/do, anything ❤❤❤❤



  19. Ooooh. Thank YOU. These blog battles sure are fun ❤ ❤ ❤


  20. Okay….I’m prepared to fully dislike this man, OR to be fooled and be glad he isn’t a total cad……


  21. Very good. And amazing how you can manage to fit the word in…


  22. I’m interested to see which way you’ll twist this–whether the neighbor will be proved a villain or vindicated. 🙂


  23. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Part four of the brilliant thriller that has been created by the queen of flash fiction Tess Karlinski.. talk about being on a knife edge..

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I loved the little detail about the tree girls sleeping in on bed out of necessity. Little things like that really give an insight into the character. Looking forward to the next one. 🙂


  25. “face pale as a ghost without her usual makeup and lips bloodless ” I know just how Victoria feels, that’s totally me! 😀
    Steve…I’m not sure whether to be creeped out by him or be in awe of his eyebrows and burly arms. 🙂 Either way, I’m glad Victoria made it out in one piece! Will be waiting for next week’s encore.


  26. Thanks so much. Face pale and lips bloodless is me as well. 😀 😀

    The last segment will be posted this week. Hope the ending is agreeable. 😉