Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2233463
The Revisitation of Ruby
| Unsung Warning Word count 2280|
Â Ruby, a college student, is headed across campus to her dormÂ
On the way, she meets some friends who invite her to a party
She doesn't want to go, so she excuses herself
Back in the dorm, something happens that changes everything
From the confines of her straight-jacket, Ruby relayed her dreams, aspirations, and her reality to the court appointed psychologist. He could tell from the frequent thrashing of her body and the demented screams of her tortured psyche that the memories of past events were replaying in her mind like a broken record. He listened closely to dreamy recitation of his patent's musings.
"No one threatens Ruby McAllister!"
Ruby skittered across the campus, almost in a joyous dance of freedom. Her mood was as light as the air that surrounded her. Classes were over for the weekend and the college "Gods" had gifted her three days of serenity. Stress from the last few weeks of study floated from her being and her nostrils flared slightly, as if giving credence to the pungent aroma of emotion fleeing from her pores. A passing breeze carried the hem of her pink dress lightly in its grip causing her to slow her stride. There was a lilt in her walk and for the moment all was right in the world.
Visions of a warm bath, a solitary glass of wine, and a cozy nap in the sun consumed her thoughts. She pictured herself reading a book just for the fun of it or sitting mindless in front of the television wrapped in her furry blue robe. In her mind, she had already picked out her skin regimen and the color of her nail polish for the pedicure. Ruby was making plans that mattered to no one but herself and involved no one but her. It was pamper time!
As she rounded the corner near her dorm, where the bushes were lush and vibrant green, she heard voices in the distance. The all familiar statue of the bronze stallion reared on his hind legs that she passed each day, obstructed her view. A smile played on her lips at the sight of the horse and the beauty of the artwork. The campus, with its remnants of old and bustling activity of youth, provided a sense of home for Ruby.
She drew nearer to the voices, as she continued her walk. The owner's of the voices seemed to be caught in a rambunctious form of play, where laughter sings a song and happiness spreads to all. For a second, she felt gladness that others in the universe matched her mood, but it was short-lived. Just as she began to recognize the group of people in front of her, Ruby was tackled to the ground by a male running to catch a Frisbee. For his part, the one-hundred eighty pound, broad shouldered attacker was unaware of Ruby's presence on the path. After the surprise attack, she ended up laying two feet from her previous standing position, sprawled out in an awkward puddle of twisted and dirty body parts. The books in her hands had fallen in a heap before her and the boy she knew as Marcus had spilled onto her lap, still reaching for the now muddied Frisbee. Ruby struggled to catch her breath and survey her body for obvious injury. Quickly, she noted she had survived the collision with the all-state football guard, even if her dress had not. The pink and airy frock that had managed to capture her good mood earlier, hung tattered and torn on her small frame.
Marcus jumped up, embarrassed by the mishap. He stood with a sprinter's stance hovering over the girl with a bit of confusion from the hit and words of apology falling from his lips. In an effort at chivalry, he offered his hand to help her rise.
"Are you okay? I am so sorry, I didn't see you."
Ruby waved away the man's hand and stood up of her own accord. A light aching of bone and muscle announced its birth with her movements, and thoughts of the warm bath became even more inviting. She turned to see the group had caught up with Marcus, and circled her in her discomfort. Six mouths agape, twelve eyes wide, and numerous hushed giggles of the uncomfortable scene greeted her. There were feigned efforts at brushing her off and one man busied himself stacking her books neatly in a pile. Marcus continued to voice his sincere regrets, causing Ruby even more agony and a desire to escape the group.
"I'm fine. Quite a run for the gold, you were making!" she chided at Marcus. It was her stunned attempt to lighten the mood of the group's participants.
"Yeah, it was the Frisbee and I didn't see you and I'm so sorry. Are you sure you're alright?"
"Fine, just wish I'd worn my shoulder pads."
Glancing at the faces of the people in the group, she tried to put names to them. With three of the names, she was successful and the other three she mentally hazarded a guess. Brad and Angelo were two guys from her chemistry class, and Monika a girl who lived in the same dorm. Fearful of speaking their names out loud due to her uncertainty, she labeled as Todd, Michael, and Lucy. Marcus, she knew from studying at the library where he worked part time. Placing monikers failed to ease her discomfort at the situation.
"Listen, we're headed to an all nighter, a radical party of immense proportions, The least I can do is buy you a drink for knocking you off your feet. Wanna come with?"
The sorority-studded Monika stepped to the center of the group casting aspersions on the idea by the grimace on her pouting face. The memory of her distaste of Monika crashed Ruby's thoughts. Bile climbed up her throat, as she pondered the woman's fake pose. She knew Monika to be a self-centered soul who refused to share the limelight with anyone.
"Oh, I'm sure Ruby here has other plans for her weekend. She is the studious type always desperate to make the grade. Marcus, she surely wouldn't have any fun!" Monika said, as she draped her arms over the man in a seductive manner.
He stepped casually away from the arms that encircled him, and nearer to Ruby. "No seriously, you should come. It'll do you good and I'm offering to be your date...you know since I already knocked you off your feet."
As an indication of her disapproval, Monika's face reddened and her eyes circled in their orbits. Her arms crossed and her right leg stomped the ground in mockery of the proposal. She grabbed at the stack of books on the ground and shoved them roughly into Ruby's arms. Marcus failed to acknowledge the woman's tantrum and steadied his gaze on Ruby, awaiting her reply.
"Thank you, but I think I'm a bit worse for wear and could use a good scrubbing. You go and have a great time. I had other plans tonight anyway."
Monika stepped between the pair, inserting her perky and perfectly adorned body between them. Casting an almost threatening smile in Ruby's direction, she spoke through gritted teeth. "If you change your mind dear, I wrote my number in one of your books. Be sure to give us a call.' With the efficiency of a seamstress, she threaded her arms through Marcus' like a pointed needle and pulled him away from the crowd.
"Ta, Ta." she called over her shoulder. Marcus threw a shy back-handed wave in Ruby's direction and the rest of the crew ambled behind them.
Ruby stood staring after them, listening to their laughter, and feeling the burn of the remaining bile in her throat. A new feeling of melancholy for what might have been with Marcus and fury for the likes of Monika propelled her on the rest of her way home. She was keenly aware that her feelings of gaiety for new-found freedom had been dispersed by the encounter. Her now tangled auburn hair, smeared makeup, and tear-stained cheeks painted a very different portrait. She fought to return her composure, as she threw open the door to her dorm and tossed her books onto the nearby couch. Ruby began chastising herself for allowing Monika to upset her mood, when she noticed the slip of paper from her book falling to the ground. She stooped to retrieve the hand scribbled note, a momentary glaze of worry clouded her eyes, as she reflected on the words.
"Stay away from Marcus or you'll be very, very sorry!" the note screamed at her.
Ruby clasped tightly to the note in her hand, just long enough for fear to be transplanted by rage. Like a steaming tea kettle, her boiling point had been reached. Only Ruby, could hear the pots warning whistle, for it was an internal signal alerting her sensibilities to tread with care. Situations never ended well if she allowed the steaming vapor to exit the spout. An innocent bystander could easily be scalded by the eruption. Simmering pots offer clarity and thought. Stewing, just a bit, would give ample opportunity for a swift and painful revenge. Monika best beware.
Ruby slipped from her soiled dress and into the tub with quiet thoughts of revenge licking at her soul. She seemed disturbingly unaware of the evil glances tossed about the room and directed at the imaginary image of Monika, who had joined in her respite. Madness loomed behind her glance. Her once bile filled throat was being lathered with a frothy foam of hatred for the woman. She was galled by the audacity of the scribbled threat. Monika's tragedy would stem from never taking the time to know Ruby's capabilities or the means to her end. Monika had mistaken her complacency for weakness and it would serve to be her undoing. Ruby flashed a wicked smile at her reflection in the mirror, as she climbed from the tub, proving the best laid plans were formed in solitude.
Ruby whistled a light-hearted tune while donning the best dress in her closet. She smoothed, primped, and adorned her body. She took time to spice herself with an alluring scent before admiring her efforts. She let out a low rumbling giggle about how drastically her weekend plans had been altered. Reaching for the phone in her purse, she texted Marcus explaining her changed plans for the weekend, leaving thoughts of Monika out of the details, and asking the whereabouts of the party. Sweetly, she framed the text to ensure he got the idea that she was interested in joining him as he had requested.
A quiet buzzing on her phone signaled his reply. The message box held an address, an offer to pick her up, and smiley face emoji. It told Ruby that her message was well received.
"Will meet you there, have a few last minute details to tend to," she typed into the contraption before sending her words into the stratosphere. She left the apartment before receiving a second reply.
She pulled into the Farmers market and rushed to make her purchase. She packaged her buy in a non-descript cardboard box and cradled it lovingly in her arms as she returned to her car. She sped to the grocery store with thoughts of buying appetizers and drinks for the party. Spencer's Gifts and Novelty was her last stop and before long she found herself driving up the long, rocky driveway to the party. She cast a glance in the rear-view mirror and nodded her acceptance at the image before exiting the vehicle.
Ruby choked down her rising excitement, as Monika greeted her at the door. Even with the best of plans as the old Beatle's song reminds, we all need a little help from our friends and for all contest rules to apply the winner need be present to win. The women exchanged cursory sneers at one another as they passed. The many witnesses in the room stopped their opportunity for commentary. Upon eyeing her, Marcus had swooped Ruby away from the crowd to unload the packages she carried. As Ruby would recall at a later time, she portrayed the fairy princess being transported away from the evil queen. And Marcus would be an unknowing knight at her round table,
Ruby graced the table with the food and spirits she had brought, while Marcus poured her a glass of wine. The electric energy of the man beside her temporarily swayed her from the mission. Ruby enjoyed the flirtation of the girl and boy exchange. She let herself swoon at the appropriate times and gushed when necessary. Suddenly and without notice to her partner, she pushed away all thoughts of him and concentrated on the task at hand. When she would put words to her thoughts later during her therapy, and with sudden bursts of clarity, she was aware that this had become the point of no return. Like the whale that swallowed Jonah, any goodness that still resided within Ruby had been whisked away to another realm.
Doctor Smith reread her police confession out loud in an effort to evoke an ounce of contrition for her deeds. "I stuffed the pig's eyeballs from the market down Monika's throat and doused her picture-perfect dress with the blood of the swine. I hung the plastic testicles of a bull that I bought at Spencer's on her earlobes. She was quite the spectacle gagging on the food I fed her."
Instead, he earned only a giggle for his effort. And again, she began to relay her story reliving each gory detail.
Word count 2280