Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

Two for Tuesday #24 – Ruby Amis

with 2 comments

I really struggled with Andy’s Two for Tuesday Challenge last week. The non-standard prompt was really difficult. It’s a long time since I sang a nursery rhyme and the ones I can recall all involve the mutilation of small mammals – Three Blind Mice, Hickory Dickory Dock. So I cheated and went with a children’s story instead. I hope it’s obvious which one. This has an awful ending because I ran out steam, so please make suggestions for improvements.


Standard Prompt:
cellar door

You have lots of creative leeway. The limit is 200 words.

Non-Standard Prompt:

For this week’s alternative prompt use a simple child’s rhyme as a plot device much like Agatha Christie did in works such as Ten little Indians or A Pocket Full of Rye. As per usual with the Non-Standard Prompt there is no word limit (to allow for more in depth explorations) but there is a minimum of 200 words.


Ruby Amis (~700 words)

Ruby had been waiting for this date for ages. She was so excited about finally getting to meet Jed that she’d gushed all about him to the waiter who’d shown her to the table. How she and Jed had been in touch by email and text for weeks before moving on to that all important phone call. Then they Skyped and tonight, after all those weeks of gazing lovingly through the medium of a screen, they were finally going to meet each other in the flesh. The waiter had smiled solicitously.

‘He probably thinks I’m a right fruitcake,’ Ruby said, quietly to herself after she’d ordered a glass of water to have while she waited.

But what did it matter what others thought? Jed was so delicious-looking, and his voice was like pure chocolate. In fact, it was probably hearing his voice down the phone that had sealed the deal. She’d fancied him as soon as she saw his photo, but his dulcet tones were irresistible.

She was dreaming, imagining how wonderful the evening was going to be, when she became aware of a man standing at her shoulder.

‘Ruby,’ he said, ‘it’s wonderful to meet you at last.’ He leant forward and kissed her cheek. ‘You smell divine.’

‘Jed?’ she said quizzically.

‘Oh come on, don’t say you don’t recognise me.’ He sat down opposite her and spread his arms.

Ruby thought hard. Their last Skype conversation had been only days ago.  ‘Sorry,’ she smiled, ‘your webcam must be at an odd angle. You look different.’


‘Just different.’

This was not going as planned. Ruby knew people exaggerated online, lied even, but she’d been watching Jed on-screen for months, and yet he looked nothing like himself.

‘Come on now. Don’t be shy. Say what’s on your mind. We know each other so well.’ He stretched out a hand across the table. ‘You can’t offend me.’

That was something else the webcam hadn’t revealed, how hirsute he was. And what had happened to his voice? Where had the smooth luxuriousness gone?

Oh well, she thought, here goes nothing. ‘It’s just that, well, your nose seems a lot larger in reality than on-screen.’ She’d couched it as best she could. Even though he’d said she couldn’t offend, she wasn’t sure there hadn’t been a hint of challenge in the statement. And she couldn’t very well tell him his nose seemed to fill half his face.

His eyes, those cute little blue ones, were suddenly huge and dark.

Really,’ he spat and grabbed a glass of water from the table. He gulped it in one then slammed the glass down.

Ruby glanced about to see if there was anyone close by. There wasn’t.

‘Well, that’s great. I mean – You – Just great,’ he growled.

She wasn’t having this. ‘What’s happened to your voice?’


‘Do you use a voice modulator or something? It used to be really smooth, now it’s pure gravel.’

The eyes grew, the mouth opened, at first in shock maybe, but then anger got the better of him and he bared his teeth. They were monstrous; horse-like, and stretched his lips to pencil lines. She was surprised his mouth had been able to close over them.

Ruby stood and started to back away. ‘I think this was a mistake,’ she said. ‘I’m leaving.’

‘Oh no you – ‘ but Jed didn’t get to finish. The waiter appeared, putting himself between Ruby and Jed. The arm that had been reaching to grab Ruby was turned back on itself as the waiter propelled Jed to the edge of the restaurant and through the wine cellar door.

‘You can stay in there ‘til you calm down,’ he said, turning the key.

Ruby stood awestruck, mouth gaping as she heard Jed howling to be let out, his hands scraping at the door. She shut her mouth slowly, shrugged and smiled weakly. ‘Amazing what you can hide online,’ she said.

‘Isn’t it just.’ The waiter smiled, then looked at her more seriously. ‘Look, I don’t mean to be pushy,’ he said, ‘but I finish in ten minutes. Fancy buying me a drink?’

‘Sure,’ she looked at his name badge and frowned, ‘Nimrod, I think that’s the least I can do.’



Written by Sarah Ann

September 10, 2013 at 8:27 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Well if this is you struggling, I couldn’t tell. What fun. At first I was thinking Cyrano or Pinocchio with the nose reference, but the the big eyes and teeth. Ruby should have been a tip at the beginning but I am only on my third sip of coffee. A great retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. And of course you seamlessly worked in the standard prompt of Cellar Door. Another triumph!


    September 11, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    • I’m glad you found it fun. I’m still not sure it’s not a bit weak. Glad Ruby wasn’t too much of a giveaway. And I’m happy you thought the prompt worked in seamlessly. I wasn’t convinced.

      Sarah Ann

      September 11, 2013 at 9:39 pm

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