How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas

Have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year;

Pockets full of money and a belly full or beer…or wine if you prefer.  

Can it be five days till Christmas already? I popped in to wish my special friends in Blog World a Merry Christmas, a fabulous holiday season, and a Hap-hap-happy New Year. Here’s an Oldie but Goldie for a sing-a-long to put you in the spirit of the season if you need a nudge. I do. We have no snow and it’s warmer than usual for December.

Credit:   ChristmasTimeTV

My granddaughter dressed my tree this year, and even put the lights on—her first time at not yet twelve—because I’ve had tendonitis for the past six months and needed help. She took it a little easy on the ornaments, but the results are a colossal success and I’m grateful she was willing. This means we’ll have less to take down before my trip to Vancouver three days after Christmas. (Can’t let the cats have too much fun while I’m away or maybe cut themselves on broken bulbs, though they’ve been good as long as I took away the tree skirt).

Do you know anyone born on New Year’s Eve? This particular sister I’ll be visiting has missed birthday presents for 60 years.

Credit:  Sarah Robinson

I had no idea my cat Dickens, adopted last January, had FIV and gingivitis. I found out about his health conditions when I took him to the vet shortly after adoption. He’s lost so much weight in the past few days, I took him to the vet two days ago. He’s lost more teeth and his gums have been a bloody mess.  He’s on pain killers and antibiotics now and already his coat looks less mangy today. How I hate forcing kitties to give them medication. On the other hand, it’s a bonus not to bleed to death myself while fighting with them. The pain meds are thick enough to smear on a paw, but the antibiotics are thin as water and he’s not forgiving.

Dickens is the tan one; Lady G. is brindle.

Dickens is the tan one; Lady G. is brindle.

November had me chained to my desk. I’d participated in NaNoWriMo though I hadn’t registered. At the last moment, a friend challenged me and unprepared, I dove in, thinking no way would I complete the task ahead. Had it not been for Karen, I would have given up by day ten—my first brain drain–but she, the competitive type, kept me at it because no way was I pooping out first. Now I have a book of short stories to edit in the New Year and maybe, maybe, I’ll complete that circle too. I tell you to stay accountable. November paid off much better than last summer had workwise.

If I had not had your kind and generous support all year, I have no idea how I might have moved forward towards my long-time goal: indie publication. Thank you. Thank you for the jab in the ribs whether you had any idea or not. I could not have done anything without you, my supportive community, and I plan to return the favor again soon in 2016. I have been mostly absent since the summer, but it has been worth it. I appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness, each and everyone of you.

It’s been an unusual, but exciting year for me. Thank YOU.  Thank you. I had no idea what a wonderful world I’d entered when I began blogging four+ years ago. I am close to 500th posts. Close, but still a few to go.

 

Credit: gabychest

Or maybe you’d prefer a more honkytonk version:

Credit:  TheChiefEmperor

Happy New Year!

Hip-hip-hooray 2016

Hip-hip-hooray 2016

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#BlogBattle – Week 25

Check out the originator of this challenge at

#BlogBattle

The rules are easy:

  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 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!

~ * ~

This week’s prompt:  Legumes

Genre: General Fiction

Tonight’s Canning

What a life!

“You all can finish up. I’m going to start supper.” With one swipe of a sleeved forearm, Annie wiped perspiration from her brow and shut off the tractor.

She had done it all during her younger days, and thrived on the heat, an aching back and sore muscles. Nowadays, ten hours at a stretch were too long—heck, even eight hours were too much. The extra padding she carried now might have something to do with her discomfort, but then shouldn’t the fact she was now shorter and closer to the ground make up for it?

Weary to the bone, she trudged towards the house. Wide-brimmed hat cast off, she swatted the air to disperse the thicker dust off her face. “You’ve been a stinker today,” she said to the sun. In answer it sagged like an orange-yellow egg yolk down a white-washed, gleaming wall. “This old sack of bones needs a bath and a tall glass of lemonade.” An old border collie raised her head from the floor of the wrap-around veranda, barked once and lowered her muzzle again, eyes hazy but attentive.

“Been a trying day in the shade has it dog?” Annie laughed at her wit, a coarse sandpaper sound, and slapped a knee with her straw hat. Hauling on the wood railing, she hoisted her squat frame up the steps, stopping to pet the old dog. Pepper took this as an invitation. “Come in then. The water in your bowl will be cooler inside.”

With a sigh, she scanned the basket-cluttered counter of legumes: soybeans, butter beans, regular bush beans, all awaiting canning before she laid head to pillow. Pepper swayed on arthritic hips, shuffling towards the tempting water bowl, but slurped with energy and gusto. The old stone farmhouse was cool inside, and shielded its inhabitants from the relentless sun, but not when the oven was on. “Go to it, old girl. I’m going to cool myself.”

* * *

Annie returned clean and refreshed. Sleeves pushed up, she made no unnecessary movements. She had deposited three whopping chickens in the oven on slow heat after lunch. Their doneness fragrant in the air, she smiled and relaxed. Potatoes and carrots peeled, she husked fresh field corn and readied a deep pot. Soon elbow deep in beans and pulses while supper cooked, she hummed a tuneless ditty. The dog snored and passed wind beneath the wooden table. Steam swirled over the stove from the enamel water bath canner. Annie wiped her drenched brow and overheated face with a fresh towel. Dishes and cutlery in a plastic crate, she then set the table outside beneath the maple where the temperature had dropped as the sun dipped lower. Where is everybody? I’m starving.

As if in answer, ten workers—three of them teenage girls—plus her husband and two sons straggled across the yard. Though they had running water in the house, all heads and necks dripped water from the handy water pump around the corner to the house. “What’s to eat, woman?” Her silver-haired husband grinned and exchanged a one-two boxing maneuver with his adult son. The younger of the boys punched his father’s arm and raced to the table where he didn’t sit, but hovered.

The men whistled and hooted and picked their spots, but younger son and the girls followed Annie into the kitchen for the food.

“You all enjoy. I need to finish tonight’s canning. Lots more needs doing tomorrow.”

“Annie. At least take time to eat.” Her husband caught her arm as she swept past. “You need a break. For me?”

“In a minute, okay? The jars need to come out of the bath. I have more two short batches tonight.” She patted his shoulder and proceeded towards the veranda swinging her hips like a much younger woman. Whoops and howls followed in her wake.

Pepper had slipped outside unnoticed. No longer capable of taking the stairs, she poked her snout between the porch’s railings whining for attention from the diners. “Don’t worry, precious. I haven’t forgotten you.” Annie leaned over with effort to pat the black head. “Hold on, girl.” The door slapped behind her. The relaxed comradery around the outside dinner table continued. Someone had plugged in the lanterns against the diminishing light.  “You want pies, come and get them when you’re ready.”

The dog fed and sprawled on the porch outside, Annie focused on her work. She continued to remove the processed jars. The next batch was ready for blanching and freezing this time. Perspiration dripped into her eyes. The tongs for lifting required more concentration now. Her required reach seemed higher and felt heavier with each jar she removed. She swiped a hand across her forehead. Three more jars to go. Her arms leaden and wrists straining, Annie struggled, determined to finish.

A spine-chilling scream quashed the joviality outside. The tinkle of shattered glass. A loose chair sent crashing. The scream other-worldly, never-ending. A heavy thud…

Father and sons tore up the stairs.

The dog howled as if scalded.

The End

What are pulses?

http://www.pulsecanada.com/food-health/what-is-a-pulse

~ * ~

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.


34 Comments

100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week 156

100wcgu-72

Check out:

https://jfb57.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week156-2/

Prompt this week is the picture below + 100 words

100 WordChallenge 156

Prompt: (Photo credit: Thomas Zimmerman)

Tornado

Jake gawked over a shoulder and grasped his grown son’s arm. After the suffocating hush, the rumble unsettled him. The funnel growled towards them—furious, voracious, writhing.

He hollered above the roar not unlike a jet engine. “We need a hole, a ditch…” Will scanned the field and pointed to the shack. “No.”

“…no choice, Dad.” They hit the ground and crawled, grasping dirt and weeds, battling the force of the punishing wind. “Root cellar!” 

Wind whooshed through the matchstick structure. “Ewe.” Will puked. “What died in here?”

“Tuck facedown into the wall, son. Cover your head.”

 * * *

“You okay, Will?”

 

© 2015 Tess and How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.


36 Comments

100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week 155

This challenge is open to everyone. Check out the rules below:

https://jfb57.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week155-2/

This week’s prompt:  … as time passes… + 100 words

100wcgu-72

Another Broken Heart

Samantha’s mother held her hand, breathed deep.

“My Granny Gracie prayed with each phone call and mail delivery. The letter arrived with good news five years too late.”

“What happened to her, Mom?”

“She died of a broken heart. Granny held on till the letter’s arrival, but she already lay at death’s door. For some, as time passes, love fades like a summer rose, but not for her.”

“Where had great grandpa gone so long?”

“They thought he’d drowned on the Titanic, but he’d sustained a brain injury and suffered with amnesia for years. Her funeral almost finished him.”

“Another broken heart.”

“Shattered.”

The End

 

© 2015 Tess and How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.

 

 


50 Comments

#BlogBattle Week 10

Anyone can join. Check out the rules below:

http://rachaelritchey.com/category/weekly-entries-to-blogbattle/

This week’s prompt is …loop…

Threw Me For a Loop

I answered the ad though details were sparse. The 30th of May loomed large. A guy needs to have a place to stow his stuff. Carting it around in my car wasn’t my style and living out of a suitcase even less. Even cheesy motels added up to serious money in short time. Six-thirty worked fine, the creaky voice had said. I hadn’t given it much thought afterwards, but the voice had almost put me off.

* * *

The place stopped me in my tracks. I threw on the brakes and melted a couple inches of asphalt and overheated the tires. An unfamiliar neighborhood, this. I double checked the circled house number in the folded newspaper ad. Yup. The roadway mailbox read 1002. A perfect match! I smiled for the first time in maybe three months, my freshly shaved skin taut across my cheeks. Today my luck might change. Maybe. The turn-of-the-century mansion rose above rich green lawns surrounded by bountiful flowers of every color. Like a red jewel, it glittered high on the hill at the end of the driveway, each side safeguarded by young pines saplings. The lane seemed shorter than I’d thought.

The closest neighbors were a couple empty lots wide on either side. I suppose at one time older buildings had been torn down and the lots abandoned. I hauled myself out of the car and put on my suit jacket. It appeared nobody was home. The stillness, except for the twitter of birds, and the buzzing of bees, struck me right away. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. City air didn’t smell this good. The sweet scents of almost country cleared my head. I zigzagged up the crumbling cement stairs and rang the doorbell. The sonorous chimes echoed deep inside. I waited, back to the door, the imperfect, weed-riddled lawn yawned large.

My cell read 6:32 p.m. I leaned on the doorbell again, longer this time. Once white and perfect window frames begged scraping and fresh paint. Thuds and shuffles, unhurried, but steady, advanced towards the door. Afraid to scare whoever opened the door, I stepped back grazing my ear on the flaked paint.

Two locks turned, a chain slid through a chamber. The door opened a crack wide enough to display an shadowy eye. “Yes,” a reedy voice said.”

“Oh, hi. I’ve an appointment with Mrs. Alexander-Cook. We talked on the phone this morning? Name’s Talbot—Mike.” I almost pitched forward for a handshake but figured this wasn’t the time.

“Yes, you’re that young man. Come in.  Come in.” The inch gap widened and I slipped inside. So many windows at the front of the house. Leaded glass I presumed. “Follow me. We’ll sit in the parlour.” Thud. Shuffle. Thud. Shuffle. Her short steps dragged along the hardwood floor. I checked for rubber marks of her cane but found none.

As an impatient guy, I had the urge to pick up the bird of a woman and carry her in the hope we’d arrive before I turned forty. Paintings decorated the short hall walls. I thought I recognised a Matisse, A Woman Reading. It had to be a print. Who hung something of that value out in the open?

“Sit anywhere you like, Mike. A glass of lemonade perhaps. I took the liberty… Tell me about yourself.”

“Thanks. Can I pour for you Mrs. Alexander-Cook?” She had to be wiped after that painful shamble. How old might she be? Maybe a hundred? I half-filled two glasses and handed her one.

“Thank you. You sound a thoughtful young man.” She settled into a champagne sofa chair, brocade, and tucked the cane between the cushion and inside of the chair, feet inches off the floor.

I took a swallow. I hadn’t realized my thirst. “S-o-o-o good.” Even for a guy who enjoyed his brewskis, this tasted like ambrosia. I opened my eyes and caught the old lady scrutinize me, wearing the most divine smile, the brightest twinkle in her eye. For a fraction of a second, I recognized the beauty she had once been. The picture threw me for a loop. She wasn’t a hundred after all. Though her hair was white as cotton and face creased, her skin radiated pink as she blushed.

“Sorry Mrs. Alexander—“

“You can shorten it to Cook. Easier, don’t you think?”

“Okay. I’m 34, a soon-to-be divorced father of a four-year-old boy. I work downtown at Elliot and Elliot Engineering in Research and Development. For the past three months, I’ve moved from hotels to motels all nastier than the last. I’d held out hoping for a reconciliation, but my soon-to-be ex-wife refuses to reconsider.” I cleared my throat. Damn, how long would Christie’s unwavering alienation burn this raw? What about Junior and me? I squirmed in my seat.

Mrs. Cook raised an open palm, fingers curled and disfigured. “I’m 79 and have been a widow for almost five years. My children want to sell this house because I’m too old to live alone. Imagine that. My children treating me like a child.”

“I’m sorry Mrs. Cook. Does this mean—? I’m handy and enjoy fixing things, sanding, painting, keeping busy. Could work, right?”

Eyes aglow, she reached for her cane and slid her tiny frame out of the overstuffed chair. “Don’t you want to see the rest of the house? What if you don’t like it?”

Mike jumped out of his chair, placed their empty glasses on the coffee table tray and grabbed it. “Lead the way Mrs. C. Oops. That slipped out. No disrespect. Honest.” His ears bloomed scarlet, but Mrs. Cook giggled, a sound not unlike a gurgling spring.

“By the way I still enjoy cooking and am good at it. Do you like to eat?”

End

© 2015Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.


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#BlogBattle Week 9

Rachael Ritchey is the originator of this challenge

The prompt is …bun…

To join in click:  http://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/

Bun?

Sylvie plonked the groceries on the floor. Clunk. She shrugged off her coat in a rush and headed to the kitchen. Halfway, she made an about face, hung her coat in the closet and grabbed her shopping.

Her cell spun on the counter, but she ignored it while it vibrated in circles. Purchases stored, she put on the kettle and dropped into a kitchen chair. The Thompsons and Millers weren’t due until seven, she had time to change her planned dessert. I should bake something special tonight, but what?

The kettle clicked off. She sighed and rose to make tea. The aroma of herbed roast beef filled the kitchen, Mr. Crockpot, her ever faithful helper, hard at work again. She peeked through the glass lid and gave it a loving pat. Okay, five minutes—maybe ten—and I’m off to set the table.

***

Half an hour later Sylvie laid out fresh clothes and headed to the shower. She frowned into the mirror, turned this way and that, smoothed faint lines around her eyes and caressed her temples, covering hints of gray threaded through mousey brown hair. Time for a color. Forty-one in a month. Imagine… Stop!

As always, the front door clicked open and slammed shut at exactly six o’clock. Sylvie smiled and rushed down the hall to meet her husband inserting an earring on the way. Arms outstretched, she rushed to embrace him.

“George, darling.”

He let out a bark of laughter, eyes aglow with surprise, and caught her in his arms.

***

At 6:51 p.m., the doorbell chimed. “I’ll bet my favorite shoes that’s my mom and dad. Always first. Always early.” Sylvie arranged pots on the stove in readiness for turning on during cocktails.

“Mom and Dad Thompson. Come in, come in.” George kissed his mother-in-law’s powdered cheek and shook hands with her new husband, who had been blessed with a head of dense cloud-white hair. Before he’d dispensed with their coats, the doorbell announced another arrival. “Mom. Dad. Come in.”

Sylvie tossed her apron on a kitchen chair and joined them, waving them into the Great Room. The still bare fields and garden were spectacular through the entire outside wall of windows.

“How are the twins doing at university?” her mother asked.

“They’ll be finished in less than two months and have to face the real world,” George said, a faraway look in his eyes. “How about drinks?” He rubbed his hands with zest. “Same as usual for everyone?” Nods and echoes of agreement ensued. The grandparents settled into their established seats. The women sank into the sofa facing the garden and the men into Easy Boys across from them, foot rests raised at once.

General greetings exchanged, George delivered drinks on a tray and raised his glass. “A toast to our health at this happy gathering.” Glasses extended, nodding and hear-hears resonated around the room. The seats too far apart, only the grandmothers clinked glasses.

“Excuse me one moment.” George disappeared around the corner. Upon his immediate return, Sylvie sprang from the hard-backed chair of choice and exchanged a glance with her husband. He presented a white plate to the room. “Look what came out of the oven.”

“What’s this about done? Gun? What did he say? Her step-father cupped a hand to his ear and squinted at his wife.

“He said nothing of the sort,” she said, eyes twice their usual size, one hand grazed Mrs. Miller’s lap. They both stared at Sylvie.

“I said, look what I found in the oven.” George grinned from ear to ear tipping the plate several degrees.

His father scratched his chin, wiry salt and pepper eyebrows squished together. He studied the faces around him. “So?”

George set the plate on the coffee table and wrapped an arm around his wife’s waist. They grinned like children with a secret. Sylvie leaned her head back against his shoulder. Both grandmothers gaped at each other, then back at their children while their spouses sat perplexed.

George’s father shifted in his seat. “Will somebody say something? What in heck’s going on?”

“How do you feel about this, Sylvie?” Her mother leaned forward, blinking, voice soft and hesitant.

“Mom, I’m fine—ecstatic. Aren’t we, George?” He nodded and they rocked side to side in unison.

“I need another drink.” His father raised an open palm. “No, I’ll fix it myself. Haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.”

“Dad,” George said, his voice subdued. “We’re having a baby.”

His father’s brows shot heavenward. “Why didn’t you say so in plain English?” Empty glass in hand, he hugged his son and placed a resounding smooch on his daughter-in-law’s forehead. “Do the boys know? Bet they’re excited.”

“You’re the first to know.” George said. “I only found out an hour ago.” He suppressed a smile in his wife’s hair.

Both grandmothers shook their heads and heaved themselves off the sofa to join the hugathon. “So, it’s like starting all over again,” said her mother to Grandma Miller.

George’s deaf step-father scrambled out of the chair and raised his glass. “What are we celebrating?”

“We have a bun in the oven,” his wife shouted in his ear over the melee.

“We do? Take it out before it burns.”

They all roared with laughter. He joined in too though he still appeared confused.

End

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.


36 Comments

Roses (part 2)

Click here for Part 1 (one week ago)

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Roses

April gazed at the flowers, sightless. Caramel somersaulted across the floor like an orange tumbleweed when the tissue kissed the floor. April woke from her reverie and regarded the cat at play. She held the box away. “What shall I do with you? Too pretty to throw away—who sent you?”

The cat gave up on the shredded paper mess. Meow? Eyes luminous black slits, he stared up into her face. An ear twitched and he cocked his head. Meow?

April blinked and squinted at the cat with recognition this time. “How late is it? Haven’t I fed you yet?” Still gripping the box at arm’s length, she spun toward the kitchen. “Come on.” He galloped ahead and pitched into his empty bowl by the fridge. April waved the box back and forth as if glued to it. At last she dropped it on the table with a kerplunk, then rubbed palms on her trousers. The cat wove back and forth around her feet as she filled his dish.

Hands on hips, April studied the table again and nodded.

She arranged the roses in a crystal vase Henry had given her long ago. With the tip of her forefinger, she caressed a stem. Oh, Henry, I—

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony interrupted Caramel’s vigorous crunching. April jumped and retrieved her cell. Leaning against the black granite counter, she pursed her lips. I don’t know who this is. She put it down in a rush as if it had seared her hand.

The cell resounded again fifteen minutes later. Jittery, she picked it up. The same number flashed on the screen. As well, there was a message from her lawyer she hadn’t noticed before.

Part 3 Next Time

 

© 2015 Tess and How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved

 


65 Comments

100-Word Challenge for Grownups

Check this out:

https://jfb57.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/10”0-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week149-2/

Prompt for this week: …April… + 100 words

100wcgu-72

Roses

Fingers chilled, April worked her forehead hard. Will this day never end? Caramel rubbed against her ankles; she ignored him.

Meow?

Urgent pounding startled them both. April froze, hand splayed at her throat. Miaow! The cat bounced into the air like a Billy goat and tore down the hall. Go away.

Curiosity won. She peered through the peep-hole. A florist’s box? She scooped the narrow box and slammed the door. Yanking off the top, she tore into the tissue. Long-stemmed white roses. Oh, Henry. April’s tears splattered the buds.

No. A drunk driver killed you. Five years, today.

“Then, who? Why?”

 

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess and How the Cookie Crumbles


53 Comments

Tailspin (Part 2)

Tailspin Part 1 is here

 

“You ‘usband…gold mine …Mon Dieu…accident…”

The words were muffled. Not an accident like Smitty’s daddy. No. Not my daddy. Please God.

“My Everett? Where he is per favore?”

Médecin d’examiner… I go home, wait news.

Grazie. grazie.” My mother’s voice cracked.

Mrs. Fournier flung the bedroom door hard in her haste towards the front door. I don’t believe she saw me. I reared back though my legs were leaden.

“Ma, Daddy’s going to be okay, right?”

“Shhh, Bella. No worry. Want nice glass milk? Where Caterina?”

“She’s—in bed—still sleeping. Mrs. Fournier put her down for her nap.”

Ma paced from kitchen to living-room to bedroom and back. Over and over again. I leaned on the windowsill, with one eye on the clock and the other on the road. I peeked at Ma now and again. Smitty and Franco were nowhere in sight. The floor creaked and complained in various spots beneath Ma’s endless wandering. I already knew each one by heart.

 

Twenty-eight stomach-churning minutes later, a taxi pulled up in front of our house. I’d only seen one once before. “Ma, why is a taxi here? Aren’t they for rich people?”

She made an awful noise. And then, I saw him.

“Ma’s forehead glistened; her face white as my sister’s new diapers. She grabbed my hand, a strangled cry lodged in her throat. She stumbled for the door like Frankenstein tugging at my arm, but I let go and rushed ahead. I dashed outside and down the stairs. A soon as he unfolded himself from the backseat, I exploded into his arms and almost knocked him over. He swayed against the car to catch his balance. I noticed the cane but it didn’t register. “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy…”

“I’m fine. See. Just a limp and a scratch.” He withdrew his bruised arm from the sling. With the other, he leaned the cane against his hip and reached into his pants pocket. I’d forgotten about the taxi.

Nien. No pay, Ev-rrett. We drink some beer soon, yah?” Mr. Schmitt, the driver, winked at me before he coaxed the taxi up the dusty street and out of sight.

Daddy hobbled towards Ma. I hung onto his jacket sleeve as if he’d vanish. Ma sagged against the doorway framework and slid down in slow motion, into a heap of clothing and useless limbs. She might have been a rag doll left propped against the doorjamb.

Her eyes fluttered. Claw-like hands covered her face and she began to wail, the sound sorrowful and lost. It reminded me of the loon’s cry on our lake: eerie and mournful; haunting and tragic. It was the kind of wail that made me feel helpless and more scared than I’d ever been in my whole life.

Daddy patted my shoulder and leaned over Ma. I let go of his sleeve. “Olivia, come inside. I. Am. All. Right.” He leaned hard on his new cane and extended the bruised hand. His voice came out in a hoarse whisper like he’d swallowed sandpaper, each word enunciated the way a person would with a mouthful of cotton. He cleared his throat several times. He reached for Ma’s lifeless hand and tugged. Rivers of tears zigzagged her cheeks; eyes staring, forgetting to blink. Her mouth quivered; hungry eyes devouring every inch of his face.

Caterina began to bawl. What timing. She was the baby and knew nothing about the accident. I knew a little and I wanted to shriek too.

I couldn’t leave yet. “Daddy?” My throat hurt to talk. “You won’t ever go back to that mine again, will you?” I committed to memory this tower of a man with a greed new to me. I don’t think he heard me. I wanted to stay, but my sister now howled. I rushed in to calm her though I had more important worries. I felt older than the eight-year-old girl I had been earlier in the day.

My Daddy had made it home—home in one piece. This time.

Smitty’s Daddy would never come home again. My Daddy made it home. Today, we were lucky.

###

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


70 Comments

100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week #165

You are welcome to participate at any time, click below:

https://jfb57.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week-5/

This week’s prompt is …the suitcase lay open… + 100 words

100wcgu-72

BUCKLE UP

“What are you doing?” Dolores sagged against the doorjamb.

He ignored her. The suitcase lay open like a guilty yawn.

“Charles? Talk to me.”

Rubbing his ear, he exhaled. “I’m in serious trouble—”

“You—?” Her fingers clutched her throat.

“I’m leaving.”

“I don’t understa—”

He sighed. “The name’s not Charles.”

Flushing, she chortled. “I know who I married.”

“I’m not your husband. I’m his brother.”

“He has a brother?”

“Had. My brother’s dead.”

Dolores dissolved into the floor. “I killed him two years ago.” He snapped the case shut and stepped around her. “Over you.” He paused. “I’m sorry. Forgive me.”

 

© 2015 All Rights Reserved by Tess and How the Cookie Crumbles