How the Cookie Crumbles

Life in the fast and slow lanes after SIXTY-FIVE

#BlogBattle Week 45 – Prompt: Dive

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To join  and / or meet the wizard behind this challenge click below:

http://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/

Rules:  

  1. 1000 wordsmax
  2. fictionaltale (or true if you really want)
  3. PG(no more than PG-13Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
  4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered aroundthe theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
  5. Go for the entertainmentvalue!
  6. State the Genre of your storyat 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 link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/or include 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 the awesome #BlogBattle Winner Badge to display with their winning story on their webpage.

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Goldilocks?

An unusual number of parked cars clogged the street in front of her apartment. Sandy grumbled and turned left twice to the underground garage, at the back of the building. She reached for the remote but it wasn’t on the visor. “Where the…?” An impatient car horn sounded behind her and inched forward closer. She tapped her horn back at him. Wait. The driver laid on the horn again like there was a fire.

Though early spring and breezy, Sandy’s armpits soaked through her light jacket. Blinking in concentration, she pawed the passenger seat, in the crevices, and on the floor. No luck. Her head snapped at the thump on her driver’s window unable to identify the face bent towards her.

“Open the window.” A man’s voice growled the words, and pixel by pixel, she discerned a human face: short clipped beard, mustache, angry brown eyes, nose skimming the glass. “Well?”

She snapped into action and cranked the handle a couple times. “Sorry. I’ve misplaced my remote. Let me in with yours and I’ll be out of your hair.” She wound up the window, forced a smile and set her hands on the steering wheel. Eyes bulging, he threw his hands into the air. Muttering something colorful, he slapped the window again, and stomped off. Heart racing like a thundering locomotive, her focus on the garage door, Sandy gripped the steering wheel. The double-door creaked and yawned open. Without skipping a beat, she lurched forward and around the corner to her designated spot.

Parked, then out in a flash, she noted the remote on the floor on the driver’s side. She dashed towards the trunk, grabbed her parcels and raced to the elevator. She did not intend to share the pleasure of his company in such a cramped space. Before the door slid shut, a hand plunged to the button on the wall outside without success. Muscles tense and rigid, Sandy shrieked and watched the door slip to its final destination. “Yes!”

The elevator stopped on the third floor. Sandy grasped the handles on her shopping bags and backed into a corner. Old Ma Murphy, as the the tenants called her, tapped her way into the elevator, the splitting image of the famous Einstein. “Hello, dear. Don’t you look a fright. Everything okay?”

Sandy raised a clutch of bag handles to her chest and exhaled. “Sure. I’m good. Had a tense moment with a nasty driver.”

“One reason why I never took up driving, especially these days.” The door creaked shut an inch from Ma Murphy’s behind. She poked her cane at the scruffy carpet. “Mrs. Swain is home from hospital. In need of pleasant company, she said. Going to make her tea.”

Sandy glanced at the red floor numbers. Creak. Creak. They stopped on five. Old Ma Murphy pointed the stick at her packages. “Ever wonder if you spend too much money on nonsense?”  She said, “Tsk-tsk,” circled round and shuffled out, shaking her head. “Young people these days.” The door scraped to a close and rocked upward taking its sweet time to the 11th floor.

Her floor was empty.  Already smells of early suppers cooking reminded her she’d forgotten lunch. Dropping the bags in front of 1105, Sandy fished for keys in her purse. She came up empty. This isn’t happening. It’s not happening. Hairline damp, she stamped her foot and tried again. Teeth clenched, fingers fumbled and clawed. They closed around the key ring. A door slammed in the hall, but she didn’t look up. Instead, she stabbed the lock and pushed the door with more force than intended.

Inside, she leaned against the closed door, eyes and ears on alert. Something odd hung in the air. A sixth sense held her back, wary. There couldn’t be anyone else in the apartment. She’d made enough noise to wake up the dead, hadn’t she?

The kitchen on her right, she tiptoed inside. No one and nothing. Why is it, she wondered, when you think an intruder might be in your house you don’t run for help? Instead, you choke on your heart, crossing fingers no one’s there. She grabbed the meat cleaver off the counter and almost called out, ‘Is someone here?’ Stupid question. Would an intruder answer, ‘Yes, me, the intruder.’ Living- and dining-rooms clear. Nothing worth stealing anyway.

Short of collapsing from tension, Sandy crept down the hallway. Had she shut the bedroom door before going out? She turned the knob with exquisite care, and pushed in the door, not allowing it to slam. The hair on the back of her neck prickled. One door left: the bathroom. She listened. Not a sound. A strong aroma of orange blossom bubble bath enveloped her.

Beyond terror now, Sandy wrenched the door open. A body took a dive beneath the bubbles, red-painted toenails trailed in the air. She’d recognize them anywhere.

“Clarisse. What are you doing here?” Hand thrust in the water, she shoved the head down, panting and collapsed on the floor. “How’d you get in?”

The body popped up, short hair clinging to scalp and face, gasping for air. A pale hand swept across her eyes and over her forehead, teeth gleaming like piano keys. “What a way to greet your little sister. Don’t you check your texts? We’re celebrating your promotion.”

“How’d you get in?”

“You gave me a key, silly.” Clarisse arched ink-black brows and rolled her eyes. “I buzzed and buzzed until a cute guy with a beard and mustache let me in.”

Sandy dropped the cleaver and covered her face. “You almost gave me a stroke.”

“Drama queen. Out—and then it’s your turn. We have a double date tonight.”

“Who? Not…”

Clarisse wiggled wet eyebrows.

The End

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

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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!

67 thoughts on “#BlogBattle Week 45 – Prompt: Dive

  1. Another tense one Tess. Good job. I know how this person felt. Always a hassle when you can’t find something you know is there.

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  2. That is such a common occurrence–can’t find an opener and an angry motorist has no patience. Now, next time it happens, I’m going to think of this story and cringe.

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  3. Tess there you had me on the edge of my seat again! The goosebumps are now fading from my arms. Sheesh girl you are going ot give me a heart attack one of these days. 🙂

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  4. Tess, you are so good at this scary stuff!

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  5. Tess, this is such productive, informative and well detailed!

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  6. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Teresa Karlinski​ with one of her tense pieces of fiction.. had me looking over my shoulder. thanks Tess

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  7. I couldn’t help but smile at the line ‘red painted toe nails trailed in the air’ all the tension was quickly released with that line. great story..

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  8. Our minds love to go to dark places first.

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  9. Great tale Tess – almost made me slip off my branch reading it 😀

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  10. Ha! That would be about my luck. Well done Tess. I was scared to death and standing right there with her. Mega hugs!

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  11. So very well done Tess! And won’t that date be fun!!!

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  12. I’ve had days like that. This was extremely enjoyable. 😀

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  13. Great tension built and never let up … even the ending! Poor, poor Sandy.

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  14. Wonderful suspense with this one. Enjoyed it. And I loved this line: “pixel by pixel, she discerned a human face”.

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  15. Sounds like the little sister is a force of nature.

    Great, suspenseful story, Tess!

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  16. I enjoyed that Tess. The ending was great after all that tension! 🙂

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  17. You have an amazing way of putting us right into your story, Tess, right there, I love it. Thank you. 🙂
    Hope this week is treating you well. 🙂

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  18. Oh you minx, you got me all tensed up!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Great imagery. In particular I loved the part that described the sisters teeth “like piano keys.” Very nice.

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  20. Your stories just get better and better!!

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  21. Oooh. Rapid fire tension and then the mystery at the end. Great story!

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  22. Tess, I had to read fast to find out what happened! Great tension build-up ! You’re a master at end “twists.” Chryssa

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  23. Nice suspenseful moment on top of a tense set up. Well done on building a mood. 🙂

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  24. Another great almost spooky piece Tess. I love your suspense, you never disappoint! 🙂

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  25. Whew! That was tense! Nice one, Tess 🙂

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  26. What a great one Tess. Isn’t it amazing how all the small things add up and create in our minds a terrible outcome. I love how you do this. Wonderful.

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  27. Great sense of atmosphere and menace. You’d make Hitchcock proud.

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  28. Brilliant it was a great slow build of stress and strain .
    Really enjoyed it! 🙂

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  29. Great tension. was waiting for that angry driver from the beginning to show up again. But you kept it unpredictable. Good job. 🙂

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  30. Great Tess, was engaged right till the end. Love your style!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. The little sister is the culprit! You had me guessing on that one. 🙂 I’m not sure if she was brave or not for searching the house and not calling the police.

    Like

Some things in life are complicated. Let's keep it simple.

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