How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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Story in a Flash

THE SHACK

Swollen blueberries begged to be plucked only in sporadic patches. Soon Rita stripped all the fruit and wandered away from the railroad tracks in search of more. Birds twittered over each other and heat bugs whirled and clicked fast and loud as if anxious, and stopped—dead quiet. Stilled a moment, they began again. Craving quiet time, Rita had chosen to go picking on her own for the first time. She gazed about the perfect August morning: the sun edged higher,  cloud-stripped, the sky expanded. No humidity pressed against her.

Credit: Microsoft Clipart

Credit: Microsoft Clipart

A magnetic energy pulled her further. Stones and twigs crunched beneath her runners. Tall grass tickled her bare legs. She didn’t give her car a second thought. Amongst the trees, an extraordinary mirage emerged. Streaked crimson ponytail stock-still, Rita crept forward. Charming. Is it real? Her eyes squinted and rounded without her consent. In a compact clearing surrounded by a thicket of trees an enormous barrel lay on its side: weather-beaten and sun-bleached, but solid. She breathed in the fragrant scent of ferns even though the enormous tamarack and stately birch obscured the sun. A smaller than average door graced the barrel’s upright lid. On top, a rusted chimney pipe stuck out like a tired blossom stuck into a hat.

Head tilted, Rita circled the structure and listened. She discovered windows on either side, but too high to peek inside. In the back a drowsy vegetable garden snoozed, plants stretching towards the sun.

Am I dreaming? Rita halted and waited, but for what? Swallowing hard, she gripped her half-filled basket, sidled up to the door and knocked as if afraid to disturb the occupant.

“Hello, is anybody there?” No answer. She waited a beat, turned the knob and peaked inside. Wow—Ohmygawd.

She stepped inside, up onto the wide-planked floor. A shelf-like bed hung supported by chains beneath one window, a thin pillow and blanket in place. Beneath the other window, pressed to the wall and on its side, a large cable spool gleamed in the sunlight. A Tale of Two Cities lay open and face down on top. Impressive. Two thick tree stumps, well sanded, had been hallowed out like club chairs. Against the inside lid at the back of the barrel, hung row upon row of floor-to-ceiling shelving. An assortment of mismatched plates, chipped pots and pans, tattered books, colored stones and woven-grass baskets populated the long planks of wood. A scarred pot-bellied wood-stove stood guard over the humble room, its chimney pipe cold and crooked as a one-legged spider.

“I’m lost and hallucinating.” Rita peered right and left and back once more. The logical thing is to sit and wait. “Whoever lives here must come back—sometime.” She munched on her berries, eyes heavy, and climbed onto the bed. Maybe a nap…

* * *

A dark silhouette crossed to the bed with the stillness of a ghost. “Hmm.” A Cheshire smile widened, eyes hooded and akin to a Black Widow with a fly.


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Flash in the Pan X3 – Plus HOT Flashes x3

MH900400574Momma’s eyes flashed fire. Fists on hips and feet planted apart, she hollered, “How many times must I tell you?”

Mark hung his head, his beard wet against his chest. One eye peeked at her as he clutched the carton shamefaced.

“Such a waste of milk dripping down your chin. Say something.”

“I was thirsty?”

“As is everyone else waiting for breakfast. Lucky you only visit once a year.”

Click Flash in the Pan to check out this fiction challenge.

The word limit for Mark is 100 words. I give you 69.

~ * ~

Sarah dug in her purse for the errant twenty-dollar bill wearing a nervous smile. “I know it’s in here. Give me a minute.” Perspiration soaked her underarms. The more she clawed, the less progress her useless hands offered.

MH900341994“Hurry up, lady. What’s the holdup?” an angry voice grumbled behind her.

“Sorry,” she muttered and dumped the contents onto the counter to multiple groans.

“Honey, you left this on the front seat,” Brian called.

In a flash, Sarah scooped up her paraphernalia and ran towards him.

Click Flash in the Pan to check out this fiction challenge.

The word limit for Flash is 100 words. I’ve used 85.

~ * ~

MH900444437“Do I know you?” Pete asked the blue-eyed looker at the subway stop.

Drumming fingers on her purse and tapping her foot on the tiled floor, the brunette shook her head and turned away.

Pete scratched his head. My memory’s not that bad yet. He made a step towards her. She whirled on him. “Look, you’re just not my type, buddy.”

“Sandy?” Pete’s eyes popped. “I never forget a voice. I thought you were dead.”

“Pete? Where did you hear that?”

Click Flash in the Pan to check out this fiction challenge.

The word limit for Type is 100 words. I give you 81.

Hot Flashes

MH900425493A precocious three-year-old climbed from chair to counter, agile as a monkey. Bertie looked over her shoulder grabbing the handle on the cupboard door. She gobbled the chocolate in the blue package, leaving no trace of the Ex-lax she’d stolen.

Check out Hot Flash Trace for this fiction challenge. The word limit is 50; I used 40.

This hot flash and the two following have been inspired by http://mommasmoneymatters.com.

~ * ~

MH900234619Jack stacked another row of yellow Legos on the roof of his castle. He touched his masterpiece with loving hands. Just a couple more, he thought.

His mother walked in. “Jack, is that your eight-year-old potty dance? Get in there, mister.”

The Hot Flash is Dance this time. Again the word limit is 50, but I used 41.

~ * ~

The blonde roamed the aisles of the second-hand store as if lost.

MB900423153“Can I help you, lady?” the cashier called.

Startled like a mouse in daylight, Toni squeaked, “Do you have a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey in stock yet?”

“Sorry.”

Inspired by M3, this Hot Flash is Stock. The word limit is 50. I used 42.