Ruby's Diary

Ruby's Diary

A Story by Aurafiex
"

Curiosity can be deadly... sometimes.

"

Life in Saint Arcadia’s Boarding School was dreadfully boring, for nothing out of the ordinary ever happened here. Facing this sea of the mundane, I tried to find my way in the world as a growing teenager. Sadly, neither the thrill of games and sport nor the solace the bible study group offered fulfilled me in the slightest. Not even the promise of lasting friendships and acceptance gave me purpose, as had it seemed for many of my peers. Even excellence in my studies became an eventuality and a given, the pursuit of knowledge to derive satisfaction becoming drier with each passing semester.


Truthfully, I have always preferred to be alone, a good book being the only company to want for. It has been so for as long as I can remember, and moving away from my hometown and family to study here did little in changing that.


Perhaps it was this mentality that led me to Ruby. Well, that wasn’t actually her name, but rather one that I coined from her long, flowing hair that always seemed like a wave of scarlet roses. Sporting smooth skin and striking features along with bandages that concealed her eyes, she appeared a blind angel, a sacred tome of purity in hand much like the delicate goddesses of ancient mythology who watched over the living.


I had found her sitting alone at a secluded table in the communal garden during one fateful lunchtime. Far away from the bustle of sports and games and gossip, she appeared to be in a realm of her own, the entirety of her focus upon writing on what seemed to be a diary of hers.


A leather-bound tome of sorts, its cover and pages were creased with age, giving off an antique flair, much like a family heirloom. And despite the bandages covering her eyes, she was always busy writing into the book’s pages, a pen always in hand like it was an extension of her arm.


Curious I was about this spectacle, and thus I had approached her, hoping to peek into the book’s contents without her notice. Somehow though, she sensed my approach, and with a blushed face and a nervous giggle, she shut it away from my prying eyes. Only when I gave up my inquiry did she reopen it, continuing her studious scribbling as though I was never there.


Ever since that fateful day, I took to spending most of my free time with her, the both of us silently engaged in literary pursuits of our own. After all, I had long been disillusioned by the vapidity and shallowness of my peers who cared only for cute boys and fashionable apparel. Ruby, who possessed neither of these loathsome traits, was to be my new best friend, despite our interactions being limited to simple nods and nervous smiles at the other’s presence.


Pleasantries aside however, the whole idea of her writing into that diary of hers boggled my mind. After all, just exactly how could someone deprived of sight read a book, let alone write in one? If anything, it made me constantly wonder, even as I studied and read alongside her, just what exactly she wrote about within that diary of hers.


Perhaps it simply held her inner thoughts, an outlet to express her in such a big world. Maybe it was a book of poems, dedicated to oblivious sweetheart, who was no doubt a lucky person. Either way, curiosity welled up within me, if only just to know.


A simple answer from her lips would have sufficed, even if it was but a lie, but she would never tell despite my greatest efforts. Frustratingly enough, the only clue of an answer was hidden away by a nervous smile and a reddened face whenever I tried to press my agenda. Facing this, I could not help but feel a tinge of resentment, for it seemed as though Ruby saw me with some measure of disdain, considering me unworthy of her trust.


Still, if she ever opposed my presence at her table, her body language nor mannerisms did naught in showing so. After all, rarely did she ever regard the presence of me or anyone else with anything but lukewarm indifference. She seemed completely detached from the world, her diary and she seemingly tethered to another realm of existence.


Ultimately, it wasn’t what she wrote that interested me, but rather the whole secrecy of it that intrigued me to no end. You see, I have always prided myself on discovery and inquiry, the pursuit of knowledge itself being its own reward. And to be denied the chance to know was simply maddening. An obsession it was, but it was an obsession I embraced with a passion unlike any other, the spark that gave zest to an otherwise meaningless life. All in all, I just wanted to know what Ruby had within those pages, of what was so valuable that she had to hide from everyone with such secrecy.


I just had to know.


And one day, as if the heavens above heard my pleas for revelation, I saw Ruby’s diary sitting alone on the table, its owner seemingly nowhere around. Knowing this, I felt my hands shaking with sweat, as if sensing my anticipation. Was this my moment of truth? It seemed too good to be true, and yet, it seemed to be so.


Without a second thought, I picked up the leather-bound tome, fondling its cover in triumph at the coming revelation. However, as I ran my fingers around its leathery surface, I felt my blood freeze up.


I did not want to acknowledge the sensation, but it felt as though I was fondling someone’s arm.


Resisting the revulsion to drop the book, I opened it, goaded on by some morbid curiosity to find the truth like a moth to a poisonous flame. The onus was now upon me to find the truth. Was Ruby some kind of deranged killer under her silent visage? My mind was set awash with delirium, morbid thoughts and even darker theories constantly gnawing at me as I turned the cover over to the first page.


Peering through the contents of her diary, I was greeted by increasingly nauseating stench of rotting meat. However, that was the least of my worries, for the pages were home to frantic and incomprehensible scrawling that was anything but English. Said scripture was seemingly a caption for numerous morbid sketches and almost-lifelike drawings of alien-like entities.


Possessing vaguely humanoid gaits with bodies like that of beasts, they appeared like the monsters of ancient legends, ghoulish and evil. Their anatomies seemed too improbable to the point of insanity, much like the deluded ravings of a nihilistic madman, and yet, something inscrutable about their poise made them seem frighteningly material, like they could at any time leap out from the fleshy pages and tear me apart with their reeking talons. Perhaps they were the gods worshipped by the men of old, however, these degenerate creatures were drawn to be poised in prayer, engaged in some kind of alien ritual unbeknownst to anything ever witnessed or read of in all my years of learning.


Shivering, I could feel my mind scrambling with inhuman curiosity to make sense of the morbid spectacle unfolding before me. In fact, just the mere sight of this ghastly scene made my eyes twitch uncontrollably. I tried to blink away the discomfort, however, page after page of these maddening sights made the pain more acute, as a teething agony began to take root within my skull.


I wanted to look away and throw the book aside, as any perceptive human being would in the face of terror and madness. Alas, I could not, for some compulsion within denied me this rationality. Each page, while maddening in their strange contents, had an enthralling air within that dared me to continue onward, as though a reward for my perseverance lay ahead. Perhaps, it was my thirst for knowledge that drove me onward, the very thing that spurred me to excellence, was to be my downfall. But then again, it may very well have been the whispers of unfathomable madness nudging me towards a horrifying revelation.


Regardless, as I reached the middle portion of what seemed to be an endless grimoire, I laid eyes on what seemingly was to be the loathsome god of the degenerate men. An unfathomable sight unlike any other, nothing in the world, not even the horrifying contents of the pages before, could have prepared me sufficiently. Sporting a faceless visage with what seemed to be an infinite multitude of leering red orbs; its anatomy was demented and ghoulish beyond any form of rational description. After all, how could something have so many eyes, and even more eyes and maws concealed within those unblinking crimson irises?


At this point, I could no longer control my discomfort. Screaming at the top of my lungs, I clutched my eyesockets with both my hands, clawing desperately into them in an attempt to excise what I had seen from my mind. Only after everything had turned from sanguine to pitch black did I stop, my body sprawled all over the table from fatigue, my joints and face paralysed by a sensation pain that was rapidly enveloping me. My surroundings now stung with the scent of copper, and I could feel my uniform become increasingly drenched with a sticky liquid that reeked of fresh blood.


Even so, I could not stop screaming, for even in the darkness that was now my sight, they still called out to me, gibbering and howling rabidly, demanding things, damnable things, all in which they chanted in their inhuman tongue. Everything within this horrifying tome seemed so inhumanly unsettling, such that my mind could not ignore the insanity within those accursed pages despite my utmost efforts to rationalise everything I had seen.


As I tried in earnest to rationalise and fathom everything I had seen, I began to feel pangs of envious hatred towards my schoolmates, whose ignorance I had so arrogantly shunned in my self-made illusion of superiority. Of whose vapid lives I had dismissed in favour of life dedicated to reckless curiosity. I knew now that blissful ignorance, the greatest gift bestowed upon the human mind by whatever lurking deity fathomed our existence in this dark, uncaring universe, was the only thing protecting us from the horrors that lurked beyond the mind’s eye. Sadly, my curiosity had caused it to slip irrevocably from my grasp, a sanctuary lost the moment I laid eyes upon Ruby’s diary.


And now, having beheld these terrible wonders for myself, no longer was it a matter of “Why?”, but rather a question of who would be eaten first.


“Help.... help me....”


“Shhh...”


It was then, as I sat adrift in this seemingly endless void of my own insanity, that I felt Ruby speak to me for the first time. She spoke with a tenderness and passion unlike any other, as though we were lovers for a thousand lifetimes. Whispering into my ear, I felt her beside me, sheltering me from the tides of mania with her calming words, making the pain I felt no longer exist nor matter in the slightest.


“Don’t be afraid.”


“Take this, and tell it everything you see. You need it more than I do now.”


As she said this, I felt something being placed into my trembling palms. Leathery yet smooth, it felt like holding someone’s hands in mine. This time however, I held it firmly in my grasp, caressing its fleshy pulp with loving care.


With the book in hand, I no longer shivered, nor did I ever need to feel the urge to scream, for I knew now that my sanctuary lay securely in my hands.


Opening the leathery cover with loving care, I flipped to an empty page, continuing Ruby’s work as if the diary had always been mine. I felt my hand pick up a pen from the table with an almost inhuman instinct, as if it was always by my side, waiting for me to take it.


“Good luck, my friend.”


And now, it was time to write. Such was to be our fate, to record all the terrible wonders that we alone have come to behold, that the world would join us in beholding their wondrous splendour.


© 2016 Aurafiex



The first mistake
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Author's Note

Aurafiex
Hi!

Do let me know what you think! If you've enjoyed this story, do check out my book on the Amazon Kindle Store, The Best of Aurafiex - A Short Story Collection.

Buy it now at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GX7EVLC

Have a nice day!

My Review

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Reviews

You succeeded in getting your readers scared, nice piece!

Posted 11 Months Ago


Aurafiex

11 Months Ago

Thanks! Do check out my other stuff too!
I'm scattered today, unable to write a comprehensive review of this story, so I'll lean on another reviewer who took pains to enumerate comments below . . . I agree: I found myself wanting to know more about Ruby herself (but I also realize this is a story about the diary & I can accept that). I really enjoyed the originality of your overall idea & I think you did this concept justice with your treatment. Nice pacing in gradually going from why the narrator is restless & curious, then describing the association between the two ladies, discovering the diary left unattended, & so on. I also might've preferred a little more animation & description, upon looking inside the diary for the first time. You described this discovery well, but the horrors found within the diary could've lasted longer.

Posted 11 Months Ago


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AUU
1. "Neither the thrill of games." Games is vague. It could mean a laundry list of things.

2. I like how arrogant the POV is.

3. Where did the character move from? It might seem unimportant, but even the smallest details of a character's past can provide more nuisance.

4. You do a well job informing the reader that this character is an outcast, by their dismissiveness over their classmates.

5."Perhaps it was this mentality that led me to Ruby." I don't follow this sentence. Are you referring to the character being bored?

6. A nitpick. "Sporting..." Hmmm, this verb seems a bit redundant. It's also colloquial, which might be an odd fit for the POV you've been presenting. I've used it as you do, but it dawned at me that it's entirely useless way of describing a person. More appropriate to describe a thing.

7. "Appeared," is a filter word, and redundant. You can use such words, but for readers to feel better connected to a character's POV, it helps to remove them. Actually sentences can be stronger for it. "She was a blind angel."

8. That said I really enjoyed the description of Ruby, it's very creative. I especially like the "goddesses of ancient mythology" comparison.

9. "I had found her..." This was a bit of a little bump for me. Maybe just get rid of that "had," and use simple past tense?

10. "A pen in always hand..." I thought this part of the sentence was awkward. It might be the "in."

11. "...like it was an extension of her arm." Great imagery.

12. Curious I was about this spectacle, and thus I had approached her, hoping to peek into the book's contents." I feel as though you did well in establishing that the POV is curious about the book, and the beginning of this sentence is not needed.

13. "Only when I gave up my inquiry." What did he say?

14. "in literary pursuits of our own." This might be an opportunity to round out this POV. What literary pursuits? Is the POV reading, writing? What are they reading or writing?

15. "...shallowness of my peers who cared only for cute boys and fashionable apparel." This line was a hiccup for me. Not because it wasn't well written, it was, but because it was the first time I questioned the POVs gender. This might not be important to you, but as what happened to me, readers who read for entertainment silently build images of POVs, and what you did was destroy that foundation. More clarification would be appreciated.

16. I'm a little unsure how the POV could spend their free time with Ruby and not see the contents of what she was writing/drawing. If you sit at a table with someone who has a book, you can very easily look at that book and see words or images. Was Ruby somehow blocking the POV's view of her work?

17. "despite my greatest efforts." I'm curious to know what the POV's efforts were.

18. It's very telling how socially rejected your POV is that they are entirely uncaring for why Ruby is blind, and why she wears bandages over her eyes. Well done.

18. You do well in building up the POVs curiosity. It's very forewarning. Curiosity killed the cat.

19. I like the POV reasoning of why they are so curious to see what Ruby was writing, but it does more telling than showing. The struggle is much more inside, than it is outside, and reading it, I felt a disconnect with the fervor of it all.

20. "Seemingly nowhere around..." is another filter word.

21. "Felt my blood freeze up." Felt is a filter word. If you got rid of it. "My blood freeze up," you'll notice the oddity of the sentence in that the story is being told in present tense here.

22. "...as though I was fondling someone's arm." That's a very telling sentence. I'm curious why you chose arm instead of some other body part? Like a face.

23. "Was Ruby some kind of deranged killer under her silent visage. My mind was set awash with delirium, morbid thoughts..." I like how you opened with a thought instead of telling us the POV had morbid thoughts.

24. So since the POV is describing the drawings, there is a heavy use of filter words. I feel as though they entirely can be cut out.

25. Very vulgar imagery though! Loved it!

26. Although you use the word alien and ghoulish more than once. Both of these words are at odds with each other because of their so well known media-infused significance. They're loaded words. Alien=green men, ghoulish=supernatural. Maybe that's your intent?

27. "Alas, I could not..." Alas is an odd fit here, it's a soft word, and kind of let up on the tension of the scene.

28. "...crimson irises..." it's a nice touch giving colors to what one would expect to be a monochromatic drawing. Very supernatural.

29. The punishment at the end was well earned.

This story reminds me of Lovecraft's work with a mix of modern folklore. I liked it. Although, as others have pointed out, I think there is an inherit flaw to the story's setting being a school.

It raises more questions about Ruby than it does the book.

Why does this blind girl scribble in a book all day at a boarding school? Does she go to class? Is she passing classes? Did it recently come in her possession? One would think if she clawed out her eyes at a boarding school, the first thing that would happen would she'd be admitted to a mental institution. Why haven't any adults, or classmates become concerned over her lifestyle, at a religious boarding school no less? And why is there no reaction from the other students. Is the POV and Ruby even in the cafeteria anymore? You lose the scenery midway when you talk of Ruby and the POV becoming unassured friends.

Then there is the back and for with tenses. Upon completion I understood that this was a tale of the POV explaining what happened to them, but within the text you slip back and forth between present tense, simple past and past perfect, so that made me think otherwise.

I would also like to comment on the lack of dialogue. At first I was put off by it, but I enjoyed the finality of the dialogue towards the end. The story felt more suffocating for it.

Thank you for letting me read you work. Best of luck.





Posted 11 Months Ago


Aurafiex

11 Months Ago

Thanks for the review!

Well, to answer some of your points, the bit about the pen alw.. read more
Hello Aurafiex,

Great job with the short story. It was interesting, as was your characters and dialogue. Nicely done!

Kind regards,

Schatzi

Posted 11 Months Ago


LOVE! This was fantastic! Although I agree with some previous reviewers, some grammatical and vocab errors aside, love the idea and execution. Great job! Had a rather O. Henry-like feel to it. As a side note - in the very first line, I believe the word you were looking for was "dull", rather than "droll". (As droll tends to mean funny...). ;)

Posted 1 Year Ago


Aurafiex

1 Year Ago

Thanks! That said, I don't really get the mention of grammar errors. Do you know of any that you can.. read more
The entire story was great but you lost me when the girl started clawing at her eyes, not that it was bad, its that there might be a continuity error from the readers perspective. For example where the hell where the other students while our protagonist was mutilating herself and how did Ruby manage to get to here first, finally and most importantly why did they just leave her alone after mutilating herself. I am not trying to throw your story down the drain and in hindsight these little things can be edited to your own delight. On a whole I really did enjoy the story from beginning to end so keep up the great work.

Posted 1 Year Ago


Aurafiex

1 Year Ago

Thanks! I guess you're right, which is why I've tried to place more emphasis on the whole secluded t.. read more
That was an amazingly written story. Definitely very intelligently written with great pacing. Tension building is something that can plague a writing and bog it down with irrelevant rambling, but you didn't have any of those problems. I was hooked all the way through and just as curious as the main character. Which, as you promised, definitely has it's consequences! Excellent.

Posted 1 Year Ago


Aurafiex

1 Year Ago

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.
I enjoyed your story. As the others have pointed, there were a few grammatical errors, but nothing that really impeded my understanding or enjoyment of your tale. I really like your use of descriptive language - it certainly adds to the chilling tone and atmosphere of your story, as well as keeps the flow going. I never felt like your story lagged or got bogged down any, which is an easy trap to fall into with darker writing, so it's great that you managed to avoid that pitfall! Thank you for posting your story!

Posted 1 Year Ago


Aurafiex

1 Year Ago

Could I trouble you to list the grammar errors so that I can edit them? Thanks!
Ethan Chase

1 Year Ago

Sure! In the very beginning, "fledging" should be "fledgling." I'm also not sure if "the pursuit of .. read more
I really enjoyed reading this story. It is a very interesting work of art. I especially agree with the subtitle as curiosity can be deadly sometimes. I, too, found some grammatical errors but they were very minor (e.g. in one of the story's paragraphs, where it says "An obsession it was, but it was an obsession I embraced with a passion unlike other,..", I was thinking that maybe you could add the word "any" in between the words "unlike" and "other" so that it reads "An obsession it was, but it was an obsession I embraced with a passion unlike any other"). Other than that, your story was awesome. Keep up the good work and good luck in your future endeavors. I look forward to reading more works by you in the future.

Posted 1 Year Ago


Aurafiex

1 Year Ago

Thanks! And yeah, that was a typo. Fixed it. Thanks so much for spotting it!
Desirée Tolliver

1 Year Ago

You're very welcome :)
This was a very intelligently-written and engrossing story. I caught a few typos but nothing with the story itself. I tried to make a note of the typos, but I lost their locations, sorry.

Posted 1 Year Ago



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Added on July 6, 2016
Last Updated on November 7, 2016
Tags: Ruby, Diary, Horror, Eye, Scream, Demon, Evil, Monster, Truth, Revelation, Short Story, Eldritch, Lovecraft

Author

Aurafiex
Aurafiex

Singapore



About
I've published my first book of short stories, so, if you're looking for a rich reading experience or a short story fix, do check out The Best of Aurafiex - A Short Story Collection. A link for it .. more..

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