How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE

#BlogBattle Week 51 – Prompt: Trace


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Genre: Humor

book-2869_960_720 Pixabay


She snapped shut the laptop. It’s now or never.

Decision made, Lisa grinned. Excited fingers combed through short chocolate brown hair. No freelance work on the calendar. Either way she would have cleared it. The day looked more promising by the second. Coffee pot. Check. Popcorn from the previous night. Check. The stillness in the apartment sang to her. Heaven. Armed with refreshments, she padded to the Easy-boy, grabbed a blanket, and cranked up the footrest. The dozen or so novels laced in dust on the side table soon landed in her lap. A white cat with long silky hair jumped onto the foot support. “Mozart. Lonely sleeping alone?” He padded over her ankles and knees. Lisa scooped all the books but one, returning them to the table. The cat settled in her lap, stared into her face and purred. From habit, she caressed his soft head. “I don’t remember this one.” Chin on folded paws, he relaxed, one eye watchful. “Crow Creek, it’s called. Look. Bird silhouettes streaking across a cobalt sky. A remarkable cover. I don’t recall…”

Lisa’s hand snaked toward her coffee mug. Book propped against the cat she slurped the hot liquid and turned to page one. Mozart raised his head, bumped against the offending nuisance. “Settle down.” The mug returned to the table, she moved the book closer soon lost in the story.

The idea had been to pull up stakes long ago. Both still single, Zero and younger sister Nelda couldn’t agree how or when. They had been born in Crow Creek, but the population had dwindled from 100,000 to a quarter of that. The Zika virus had wiped out both parents and half their relatives. How does anyone leave them behind, alone with no one to visit their gravesites?

* * *

The store window looked real. She squinted over her shoulder. Dozens of bicycles and riders whizzed by on the tree-lined street. Birds chirped. The air smelled clear as crystal mountain air. Not one motor vehicle in sight. Nothing but quiet as if someone had muted the sound on a movie set.

She became aware of persistent knocking, pounding on wood. “Lisa. Open up.”

Spinning round, she saw no one, but recognized the voice.  “Lisa. What’s wrong with the cat? Open up.”

Her sister’s persistent voice gave her a headache. I must be dreaming.

“Why is the cat howling? Are you okay? Bang. Bang. “I’m calling the super. The poor cat.”

She heard it too, but far away. A cat bawled and bawled. The ratty slippers were hers as were the red leggings and fleece man’s plaid shirt she’d picked up at the flea market. She had dressed for a cold February day that morning. Now the sun’s heat sent rivulets of perspiration everywhere. A bump against her elbow sent her stumbling. Lisa squeezed her eyes tight. This was real. It hurt. She massaged the tender spot.

“Sorry. You all right?”

He leaned in, grabbed her shoulders, and steadied her. They were eyeball-to-eyeball. Blue-gray eyes searched hers. “Where am I? You can let go now.” She brushed invisible fluff off her shoulders and arms.

“You don’t know? How’d you get here?”

“I asked you first.”

Lips pursed, he let out a low chuckle. “Crow Creek.” Hands shoved into pant pockets he rocked forward and back. He made no secret of sizing her up, cooler then she by far in his T-shirt and tan shorts. “Aren’t you hot in that?” he said pointing with his chin.

“Wha-at? Not possible.” She pulled the front of her shirt away from her skin, shaking it and looked around again. “Doesn’t anybody but you talk around here?”

“Lady, slow down. Which? Crow Creek or your shirt?”

Lips pinched together like a lipstick-eaten hyphen, she glared at his chin, resisting the urge to look into those eyes. You’re enjoying this far too much.

“You have a name?”

“Do you?” She poked an index finger not quite to his chest.

“Manners, manners. You want help. Be nice.” He toed the cement walk. She moved closer to the shop wall into the shade.

* * *

A door slammed into a wall somewhere far away. “Lisa!”


“Mozart. Where’s my sister?” Mya leaned forward. He backed away, yowled and flew down the hall to the bedroom. “Lisa?” She checked the rooms one by one. The bathroom door open proved empty as well. Something caught her attention. The laptop lay closed on the sofa table. Closed. Closed? She scrutinized the living room and the Easy-boy: the forever stack of books, a mug of cold coffee and a book face down on the carpet. Odd. No trace of Lisa, though.

“Everything okay in here?” The super hovered in the doorway, changing feet, a frown chiselled on his face.

“Sure. Lisa must have forgotten we had a date and stepped out. Thanks. I’ll wait.” He had already disappeared before she finished. How’d you get to be super? Unhelpful…

* * *

“Since you won’t play fair. I’ll introduce myself first.”

Lisa rubbed her temples. Her sister’s voice called and called from some distance. The buzzing in her ears sounded like a hornet’s nest. Hot. So hot. “Water. Is there water around here?” Eyes closed, she leaned against the shop wall.

Arm around her shoulder, he helped her inside the store. “Maggie. A tall glass of water please?” He nodded at the couple customers who turned in curiosity. The bookstore owner placed a cool damp glass into her hand where she sat in the armchair on the far side of the counter. “Anything else I can do for you?” The man drifted in and out of her vision behind the Maggie character.

“I wanted to celebrate this leap year with my nose in a book. I don’t often have time. It appears I’ve leaped into the story Instead.” Cool glass to her cheek, Lisa leaned around the woman. “Tell me your name isn’t Zero.”

To be continued…

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles.

Image from Pixabay: No attribution required.

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!

72 thoughts on “#BlogBattle Week 51 – Prompt: Trace

  1. Wow! Time/place travel…I am totally hooked.


  2. This one is super Tess. To be continued indeed.


  3. This is a frightening concept considering the horror story I’m currently reading!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Good one, Tess! It better be continued. Can’t just leave us the bookstore, not knowing! Have a great writing week! Elizabeth


  5. I think we’ve all dreamed of suddenly living inside of a book. Great story! Now I wonder what genre the story is… Can’t wait to know more!


    • Me too. I have no idea. If anyone figures it out, please tell me?
      I can’t wait either. This is virgin territory for me Olga. Thanks so much for reading. Sally is the inspiration for this story. I wanted to take the day off to just R.E.A.D. ❤ ❤


  6. Great story, Tess. Waiting… waiting…


  7. I love this. I always feel a little like this when I read a book, so it’s so gripping to read a story where the person actually physically finds themselves in a book. A little bit of danger mixed with wish fulfillment, it’s exhilerating!


  8. I’m trying to turn the page of this computer, it won’t work! I love the concept!!!! Waiting for more, as always Tess. ❤ Love your stories!


  9. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Teresa Karlinski​ with another terrific piece of fiction… Looks like 29th of February can hold some surprises… to be contintued.


  10. Oh my! How often I’ve wanted to disappear into the pages of a book 😀 Love it!


  11. A portal fantasy! That’s new ground for you–well done. I’ve been turning over a classic magic talisman story in my head. Sometimes it’s fun to explore an old form and see what can be done with it. Looking forward to seeing how it unfolds. 🙂


    • Thank you, Cathleen. I had no real direction in mind. All I wanted to do yesterday was read for the day, or at least for one solid hour. Nope. Nada. No way. Then I stumbled into this. ❤ ❤
      I'm looking forward to seeing how it unfolds as well. Because I'm not that familiar with this (what the heck genre should it be?) genre, I have a couple ideas, only hope they'll pan out. o_O


  12. This is wonderful, Tess. I love stories like this. Oh please write the next chapter quickly!


  13. Great job. I look forward to more.


  14. Wow Tess, you’ve managed a time shift brilliantly – but then you would, wouldn’t you?!


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  16. “sigh” Fingers crossed. 🙂 ❤


  17. What a terrific start! Can’t wait for more. XO


  18. Clever play on leap day, and I liked mentioning of Zola virus.


  19. Oooh good one, Tess. I love the idea on being sucked into a book. I’m looking forward to the continuation 🙂


  20. Tess, how cool is this one! What a wonderful story line. Love this one and can’t wait for the next chapter, even if I am slow to get here.

    Absolutely love this line ‘ lipstick-eaten hyphen’. You are simply getting better and better.


  21. One of those be careful what you wish for situations. I love to get ost in a book but I’m not sure I wuld actually want to “be” in some of them. 🙂 Great piece, and I look forward to the next part. 🙂


  22. You got me with your first sentence – fancy a writer getting brave enough to shut her laptop! 😀 Having said that, I know very well about getting lost in a story I’m reading – longing to hear more about what’s going to happen.


  23. Oh yes, we await with anticipation oh mighty teller of great stories )


  24. What a gift. Good job!


  25. What a fab story! You are such a good writer Tess and you have a wild imagination!


  26. Nose in a book, leaping inside a story, this is how I want to spend Leap Day! 🙂


  27. Fun twist of a turn here, Tess! 🙂 I can’t wait to see what you do with her Leap day leap! ❤


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  29. This is such a compelling story, Tess, a wonderful concept too, I am just about to dive into part 2 now! 🙂


  30. Love this new turn you’ve taken, Tess, and will wait patiently for more. 🙂