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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2236561
Show Don't Tell Contest
1156 words
Thriller/Suspense/Love/Romance


My life was quiet and dull until I met Ruby. I spent most of my time on campus in the science labs checking experiments and grading papers, very exciting stuff enough to get me to fall asleep before noon.

“Hi Ruby, how are you?”

“I thought you’d like coffee and a snack. After all, you’re working hard and need fuel for energy.”

“Thank you. Are you busy tonight?”

“Not really, I can change a few things.”

I’ll meet you here at 6 and we can grab a bite, ok?”

“Sure thing.”

My heart almost jumped to Mars. I was all nerves, jitters, and tingles. After all, usually, I was the one without a date. Wow, I almost can’t believe Ruby actually agreed to spend time with me. She was the talk of the campus, smart, great personality, and had the looks too. Clenching my fists and raising my arms in triumph I almost jumped when one of the assistants came in abruptly invading my moments of excitement and joy.

“How’s tings?”

Alright, I’m almost finished here.”

No rush, I’ve got time, my assignment isn’t due for a few weeks.”

“That’s what they all say, then they’re frantically rushing to get things submitted on time, good luck.”

I returned a few minutes early to the lab because I didn't want to be late. Ruby wasn’t late yet, but I was disappointed to find she wasn’t waiting for me.

“Ruby, where have you been, I’ve been waiting for over fifteen minutes?” Trying not to act and sound irritated and upset, I stood stiff as a board and stared at her intently, not a real good idea, but I couldn’t help myself.

“Sorry, I last-minute task came up, you know how it is professor.”

Well then, we’re off, I’m taking you to a great place, wait and see.” Now I understood what it was like being on top of the world and beyond. All these years I miss this and…oh well.

We had a great time, but she seemed preoccupied. I couldn’t figure out the what or why but it seemed a bit strange and even eerie. Ruby was different. Looked the same, but somehow,…how was she different?

We parted at the lab and I settled in to finish working on a project that was due to be completed a few days after Halloween. That must be it Ruby was probably thinking about Halloween. Maybe we could go to the Halloween party this weekend. I will ask her.

Rushing across campus I almost ran over Ruby. Panting and gasping I barely got “stop.” out of my mouth.


Yes, professor, how can I help you?”

“Well…would you attend the Halloween party with me this weekend?”

No, I have a lot of things to do.”

She could have pricked my balloon with a pin and I would have fallen down hard like a bolder. My day dragged. I was crazy and out of sorts, and my mind wandered all over the place usually focusing on Ruby and flitting about a little then back to her again.

My work for the week still wasn’t done, yet the party beckoned even though I had nobody to attend with me, oh well. Strolling along and taking in the scenery I noticed the lab in the science building was bright as a sunny day. Before I could stop myself I was headed to the lab while my mind was raging at the fool who left the lights on. So much for the party, guess I didn’t really want to go anyway.

As I reached to open the door, Sounds of concern and deliberate calculating within the conversation could be detected in their voices. Quietly stepping inside, with blood rushing like it was rush hour, I waited to see what was happening. About a dozen students maybe more were gathered around a table hunched over something blocking my view.

My mind raced back to my earlier conversation with Ruby. She had stuff to do, where and when? Where was she? Did she have anything to do with this? Why were these students gathered here this time of night?

Creeping closer and stretching to try to see over some shoulders, I only saw feet…feet, what? My mind spun out of control, and shook, knees almost buckled, and my body was ready to reach for whoever this was and get them away from here.

“What are you doing?” I didn’t sound like me. The group jumped and look like they had been caught robbing the U.S. treasury.

Um, um, pro…professor, we’re working on our semester science project.”

Seeing a human on the table was … I shook, and stammered as my brain went numb. They were working on a human, What? How could this be? It’s against policy to do this kind of experiment.

Move please, let me in there. What on earth are you people doing?”

“Our science project for the semester professor.”

“You’re not allowed to…”

Anger began to well up and burst forth all over the lab. I was ready to make certain these crazy students who decided to use a human for their science project got what they deserve, then... I saw…Vivid, clean, and no doubt I saw…

The students had Ruby laid out on the table. doing what, who knows what for what reason, these people should be expelled. I’ll see to it they are expelled and brought up on criminal charges. They can’t do this, no they can’t, not to anyone, especially to Ruby. Why Ruby?

“professor, you should sit down, you don’t look so good.”

“No, what are you doing to Ruby, what did she do to deserve this?”

“Well…um…We..um…

I was sick, what had they done?

A few students moved away from the table which allowed me to have a closer and a much better view. I stared, not believing my eyes as I watched a student unbutton the blouse. Removing the bra, he gripped the flesh and parted it. I finally understood the scene. My Ruby was gone. She would be no more forever and ever. We would never ever go out together again. I was crushed, broken, divested, and shocked beyond anything I could have ever imagined possible.

Ruby lay on the table completely immobile, unfeeling, and looking very dead.

After standing there for minutes, frozen and numb I turned and started to leave.

“professor, we’ll take good care of Ruby.”

I couldn’t get the sight of this discovery out of my mind. It would haunt me for the rest of my days.

Ruby lay splayed open revealing sophisticated electronics, advanced computer hardware, and other materials designed to assist in motion and stability. She was I had to admit the best robot that had ever been build on this campus.

PROMPT NOV 2020: Choose one of these genres
Science Fiction
Love/Romance
Thriller/Suspense
GIve your protagonist a goal.
Establish why the goal matters--these are the stakes.
Establish obstacles to achieving the goal.
Use the goals, stakes, and obstacles to establish, increase, and resolve tension.

6192 characters, 1156 words. Readability level: 11-12th grade student.
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