“Mom, where did you get the recipe?!”
I shouted into the phone. Panic edged the words and shook my fingers. That only made the fluttering in my chest grow. My eyes darted around the room.
Scraping sounds came from behind the door.
Silence came. Mom hadn’t picked up the call yet. I shouted too early. Stupid! I pressed the phone in harder, heat wafting between it, my hands, and my cheek.
On the little corner desk in front of me, the edge of the recipe note flapped upward once. Yellow notebook paper with neatly-inked words down it. Just like you’d find in a housewife’s recipe book.
Except for the symbols.
Why hadn’t I seen the symbols before?
I’d woken up two nights ago with an urge to bake. You know the midnight urge to use the bathroom? Like that, and just as strong, but for baking. I practically ran into the apartment’s kitchen and started.
A few hours later I’d completed a batch of the softest, tastiest chocolate chip cookies I’d ever made. Straight from Mom’s recipe. My roommate and I devoured almost all of them that morning.
He brought his girlfriend over after classes. We smoked a bowl together and ate more…all but one of the remaining cookies. They were amazing. Best I’d ever had.
But the next morning I found more cookies on the counter. A full dozen, freshly baked.v
I hadn’t baked them.
I called for my roommate. He didn’t answer. I haven’t seen him since then. His car’s here, and nobody on campus has seen him. Or his girlfriend. They just vanished.
I threw the cookies on the counter out. But this morning they were back. More this time, maybe 3 dozen, all piled sloppily on one another.
What was happening??
I pulled the recipe note from where I stashed it with the others. Not sure why, but it made sense at the time. Check the notes. That’s what we do in classes. This time though, the note had something to show me.
Symbols on the page. Tiny weaving symbols, dotting the note, curled in the spaces between letters, peeking from the edges of lines. I must have seen those before…didn’t I? Why didn’t I remember them?
“—yes? Who is this?”
“Mom! Oh god. The recipe Mom, the one you gave me when I left for college. Where did you get it?”
“Oh! Hello dear. The recipe?”
“The cookie recipe!”
“Oh, that! Yes of course. I got it from Grandma’s old spell book.”
The scraping came harder against the door.
“Mom?! What spell book?’
“…oh. Oh dear. I shouldn’t have said that.”
“What the hell Mom?” I could feel my heart hammering faster.
“Well, I didn’t think this would happen so soon. But don’t worry, the insurance is all arranged.”
Something wiggled under the door’s bottom. I stepped on it without thinking. My shoe came away sticky with chocolate.
The door bowed inward once as something heavy slammed into it. Then again. My mouth went dry as desert sand.
“I never wanted children,” my mother’s voice pronounced in my ear. There was a relish to the words. A thrill.
The door’s frame cracked. More pounding made it quake. It would give way any second.
I looked for an escape. My heart pounded in my ears. The window! I ran over to it. Cookies covered the sill. Some flapped up and down like jaws opening.
The door burst inward. A tsunami of cookies roared through, crashing over me.