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Rated: ASR · Fiction · Contest Entry · #2196182
Entry into the Sow Don't Tell contest. 898 words based on prompt.
Ruby dragged herself into the kitchen, her eyes half closed. A small T.V. sat on the counter next to the toaster and, out of habit, she reached out and turned it on. A dull blue glow from the screen lit up the room enough for her to see. She didn’t really need to see though, she had grown up in this house and knew every inch of it, every uneven floorboard, every curled up carpet, everything that could trip or hurt exposed toes was deftly averted.

She emptied the last of a box of granola into a bowl, got the milk from the fridge and sat down at the table to eat. As she thoughtlessly spooned crispy, soon to be soggy, cereal into her mouth, she gazed at the T.V. A reporter was standing in front of a hospital. The volume was low and the reporter appeared to be finishing up his report. Ruby looked around, found the remote and turned up the volume.

“No one knows how much longer this will last,” said the reporter, “and now for a quick commercial break,” he continued.

Ruby turned the volume back down as someone who looked like a doctor tried to peddle a medication that, based on a long list of side effects, seemed to do more damage than good. A gentle chime echoed through the house and Ruby glanced up at the clock. It was just past six thirty in the morning.

Ruby stood, a puzzled look on her face, and headed for the front door. She peeped through the hole and noticed a man, dressed in a bright orange shirt walking down the front path towards a delivery truck with obnoxious orange spots all over it.

“A delivery at this hour,” she mumbled aloud, opening the door.

On the porch was a small box, wrapped in plain brown paper. Her name, Ruby Williams, and her address was neatly printed on a label. There was no return address. Ruby bent down, picked up the package, took it into the kitchen and sat back down at the table. She looked at the box and took another mouthful of granola before opening it.

The package contained a book called “The Power of the Mind.” Ruby had heard of the book, it was a best seller and had been featured on any number of daytime talk shows. The author was a psychologist and avid meditation practitioner. Ruby flipped through it, not sure what to make of the strange delivery. Near the back of the book, the pages fell open and a small note drifted out. Ruby watched as the note floated down to the worn wooden floorboards, and like a feather, landed quietly, text side up. She leaned over and peered down at the paper.

As she read the words, Ruby’s body flushed with a cold chill and tiny hairs on her neck and arms tingled. The note was from her mother, her dead mother. It read: Ruby, nothing is what it seems, believe in yourself.

Ruby didn’t touch the note, she left it right where it lay and read it a dozen more times. Each time chills ran down her spine. She studied the writing, the form of the “R”, the tail on the “e”, the loop on the “y” there was no mistake, this was her mother’s writing, but why? and how?

Ruby picked up the book and began to read, hoping for answers to her many, many questions.

Time fell away and Ruby found herself, later that night, lying on her bed, nearing the end of the book. A loud pounding sound snapped her attention from the words on the page. She looked up at her bedroom door. The sound was coming from the hallway. Ruby rested the book on the bed and slowly walked to the door. She turned the handle, opened it slightly and peeked through the crack. At the end of the hall, a window had opened, probably from the wind, and was banging against the wall. Ruby relaxed and headed over to close it. As she walked, a dim light outside the window seemed to grow brighter.

A car maybe, but who would be stopping by this late at night, she thought.

The light continued to grow stronger, brighter and bigger with every step she took. As she reached out for the window, something or someone grabbed her wrist. She gasped for breath and tried to scream.

“She’s waking up, call the doctor.”

Ruby opened her eyes. Her sister was holding her by the wrist.

“Oh Ruby, you’re awake, can you hear me?” she said tears streaming down her face, “someone get the doctor,” she yelled over her shoulder.

Sometime later, a reporter was standing in front of the hospital.

“Some might call it a miracle, who knows folks, but whatever you want to call it, we know that Ruby has come out of her coma. It’s been over a year now and according to her sister, Amy, who has been at Ruby’s bedside for practically the whole time, Ruby gasped and opened her eyes a couple of hours ago. Amy said that she had been reading aloud to Ruby from a book about the power of the mind, a book their mother had read before passing away of cancer two years ago, when she woke up. Amazing folks, what a great story. Now a quick commercial break.”
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