How the Cookie Crumbles

Life in the fast and slow lanes after SIXTY-FIVE

#BlogBattle Week 46 – Prompt: Indian


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


  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.


Attic Window Pixabay

Along Came Polly

Grace rolled up her sleeves. Where to start? The attic had twenty years of dust hugging every surface. The deep footprints she made reminded her of an old horror movie with no idea which one. She knotted a kerchief over short, auburn hair. Even this slight movement stirred a cloud of fine powder. A roaring sneeze shattered the spooky silence. Eyes stinging from the force of the unexpected eruption, she covered her face. No point putting off the inevitable anymore. She’d put the job off for weeks already. Moving day loomed large. So much to do in six short weeks. Grace uncovered her face and sneezed again. “Maybe I should vacuum first.”

The Kirby, too heavy to lug up and down the ladder, she loaded the old canister model into an orange plastic leaf bag, heaved it over her shoulder and mounted the ladder again. Good idea, but was there a plug? The low-watt, naked bulb hanging on a cord wasn’t much help. She scrambled down the rungs again for a better bulb and flashlight.

No matter how careful, she stirred gagging clouds in her path. The bulb, too hot to change, Grace flicked on the flashlight and ground her teeth. More slow work. Feathery cobwebs clung in clumps in the corners, undulating as she passed the light in columns over the wall surface. No plug on the first wall, nor the second. She stamped her foot, realizing too late what she’d done, and choked on particles of stirred up dirt, again. Shoulders slumped she wanted to give up. “Work with me,” she said with clenched teeth to the watching shadows. A distant sound from downstairs caught her attention. Head cocked she froze to listen. The muffled dong of her doorbell called to her. “I’m coming,” she said aloud though no one heard and grinned to herself. A reprieve. Down the ladder, she plunged fast as her throbbing legs carried her.

“I’m coming.” She wrenched open the door. “Polly—what a surprise. Come in. Come in.” Her sister, a fuchsia overnight bag at her feet, smiled wide, and threw open her arms. Grace blinked, chin tucked over her sister’s shoulder. “Your timing couldn’t be better. I finally made it to the attic but haven’t accomplished a thing today.”

“Isn’t that the reason you invited me?”

Grace stood back. Squinting, she studied the face before her. “I did? When?”

“A month or so—I think. I wondered what you’d find after all these years… If my missing diary might be in one of the boxes.”

Grace chuckled. The back of her hand erased the frown lines from her forehead. “I remember. Funny, I finally made it up there the day you decide to come. How long can you stay?”

Polly clutched her purse and luggage. “As long as you like. Phew. You smell like dust and mouse droppings. Tea first.” She dropped the small bag by the closet door and kicked off her sneakers. “Traffic was brutal. Seems the whole world is either going to the beach, cottage, or a driving vacation.” She swooped down the hall to the kitchen as if she lived there. “Supposed to be high eighties by the weekend.”

Grace already had cups out and the kettle on. The kitchen smelled like a bakery. A batch of cranberry bran muffins cooled on the counter from earlier that morning. “Guess we better put a dent into the junk upstairs before the heat hits. Muffin?”

“How’s it up there today?” Polly ran a hand through her mud-brown hair. “Like the cut?” She turned her head this way and that.

“Lovely.” Grace reached over to stroke the springy curls. “Dark and dusty. I found a plug up there for the vacuum. Hope it works.”

* * *

The plug worked fine. The women vacuumed and wiped down every surface with a dampened cloth. Polly wasted no time digging around inside boxes. “Why don’t we take some of the more interesting ones downstairs to poke through at our leisure?”

They worked in silence, the howl of the vacuum between them. Polly whooped over the noise. Grace switched off the power. “What?” Her eyes grew enormous.

Polly approached her sister. In each hand, she clutched two golf ball-size balls, all striped red, white and blue. “Remember these? Indian rubber, right? How many could you juggle? Three—no—four at a time.”

“Four. I must have been about nine? You wanted to sell tickets for a show starring yours truly. Already a wheeler-dealer at six.” A faraway look in her eye, Grace grabbed two balls, tossed one to the floor and snatched it as it sprang past her shoulder.

“Wheeler-dealer me. I wonder could you still do it?”

Grace shrugged. “Tennis balls were better for juggling off a wall, though. These babies kept punching me in the face until I acquired the proper feel for them.”

Polly giggled. “Remember the night Mom thought you’d been in a fight when you showed up with a black eye? She didn’t believe you blinked and slam!”

“It hurt like… Hey we’re done here.” Grace dropped their find into her apron pocket. “Pick a box. I’m curious what we’ll find—maybe even lovesick Polly’s teenage diary. Come on.”

To be continued…

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles



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!

68 thoughts on “#BlogBattle Week 46 – Prompt: Indian

  1. So much story in the characters. There should be more. I want to know what’s in the boxes. Why is the sister moving? How come the other sister can stay as long as she wants? I used to have a Kirby and can vouch for being too heavy to take up a ladder. Nice job Tess.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m with John. Beautifully told Tess.
    We had “Super balls” … they sound like about the same thing. Could easily give you a black eye.
    Thanks for this tale. Mega hugs!


  3. I couldn’t get past all the spider webs–there hadda be a spider in there somewhere and that would stop me cold. I just finished another book about a dusty, webby attack that had to be cleaned. That’s all the ‘horror’ genre I can read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 😀 😀 I’ve never had an attic, nor been in one, but have been curious to see one (only in the movies). I assume they can get all icky if you don’t ever visit them. I don’t like cobwebs and dust either. Yuck.
      Thanks for the visit and for reading, Jacqui. Always a pleasure to talk with you. ❤


  4. Well done! Loved it. 🙂


  5. As always Tess you transported me right to the attic. I can’t wait to hear what else they find. There is another installment right? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tess, love the story. I’m ganging up with John and Teagan. Keep it going! What do they find in those boxes? Sister secrets? The window photo is perfect! 💛 Elizabeth


  7. As I’ve been doing similar de-cluttering i got right in there with this story!


  8. Pingback: #BlogBattle 46 “Indian” Entries & Voting – Chronicles of the Twelve Realms

  9. We all want more, Tess. Masterfully engaging and atmospheric.


  10. You are amazing Tess. I’m left waiting, as always, for the rest of the story!


  11. Great story, Tess, so many questions there. Hope to hear more.

    It also reflects a bit of a nightmare for my husband and his siblings…going into that attic of 65 years of collections by his parents. My mom bought a Kirby, when the family could least afford it. Wow… you have stirred up something here. Thanks. 💖


    • I’m thrilled I stirred up something. I suppose we all need to weed and sort sooner or later. I promised myself I’d get to my junk, for the extra space in my storage area, but also so my daughter won’t be stuck with the job. I Haven’t done it yet. Last time I moved was seven years ago. I carted a whole bunch of ‘stuff’ I haven’t seen in years. o_O

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Lovely Tess. This is a story you could take such a lot further.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx


  13. Brilliant, Tess. When Hubbiy’s parents passed his sister filled ten skips of hoarding – but nothing as the memories you bring back for these two characters. More of them please. By the way, we have a Kirby – heaviest vacuum cleaner I ever bought – just means Hubby has to use it!


    • Thank YOU, Judith. I moved seven years ago and carted along ‘stuff’ I haven’t seen in years. Mean to weed through them but still haven’t. 😀
      My Kirby weighed a ton too. I don’t use it anymore and am surprised it came to mind when I wrote this story. o_O


  14. A nice, genteel story. I was expecting a more horrific tale because of the one line: ““Work with me,” she said with clenched teeth to the watching shadows.” Perhaps you intended mild suspense to contrast the otherwise mundane act of cleaning?


  15. Hmm… I don’t remember doing any of that…

    Lol just kidding, great story Tess 🙂


  16. Nice–I was feeling for your characters. Who hasn’t had a job like this? And it always seems like something goes wrong. 🙂


    • Thank you, Kathleen. Sooner or later we DO need to do a job like that. When I moved here seven years ago, I just brought all my ‘junk’ with me. Have been meaning to sort through it (can’t remember what it is anymore), but haven’t yet!
      If something’s going to go wrong, you can bet it’ll happen to me. 😀 😀


  17. It makes me glad we don’t have a huge attic 🙂 Great story


  18. I liked this story, Tess. ❤
    At first I thought it might be a horror story. In truth, I'm glad it wasn't. I've gotten so I enjoy the stories of life more and more.


  19. Oh the attic! What could be in those boxes? A great reminder of those red, white and blue rubber balls. Great story as always Tess! 🙂


  20. Funny and well told. No attics, but reminds me of my fathers basement when we finally cleared it out. Felt like miles, no maybe acres of boxes with deep mysteries. Loved how you told this one Tess, the sisters and their hints of childhood together. I hope you will come back to them.


  21. You have a wonderful ability to leave us wanting more, Tess, although at the same time perfectly satisfied with what we’ve read. Thoroughly enjoyed as always, Tess. 🙂
    Hope this day is treating you kindly. 🙂


  22. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    The usual great story from Tess Karlinski in the #blogbattle weekly challenge.. amazing what you find when cleaning out the attic.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Attics are almost magical. It’s where my oldest daughter heads to whenever she comes home. We found a few interesting things there after we moved in. Of course the house is crawling close to 100 years now I expect. Thanks for sharing your story, Tess. It’s always a delight to read your work. 🙂


  24. Sweet story. Combing through old memories and finding things you’d forgotten can throw up all sorts of things. I enjoyed reading it. 🙂


  25. You have made want to go up in my attic! Nice work Tess – always enjoyable!


  26. I was at Donna’s Blog Party and dropped in here for a visit. I stayed after reading this delightful story. 🙂


  27. Such a sweet sister story. 🙂 I love your descriptions. Always feel like I’m there.


  28. I felt like I was right there with them, cleaning away! My family recently did this before winter came. Quite a mess of dust and dirt, oh my!


  29. Attics are such mysterious and fascinating places! Interesting setting for these two, and a great character study of the relationship between sisters. 🙂


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  31. I loved this, Tess, and wondered what they would find. Would never have guessed Indian rubber balls in a million years! I’ve grown out of my childhood fantasy of having a home with an attic. They always sounded like magical places.


  32. Thank YOU, Christine. I’m super pleased you enjoyed the reference to rubber balls. Yes, I have always had romantic notions about attics though have never had one. ❤


  33. I read the 2nd instalment before I got around to part 1. I managed to sneeze twice while reading this. Ahhh – the power of suggestion 😉


  34. Ha ha. I know. I hear the word dust and I seize up and sneeze my head off. Surprised this worked on you.:-D


  35. You are very talented. 🙂


  36. Pingback: #BlogBattle Week 48 – Prompt: Chasm | How the Cookie Crumbles

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