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A Future Mistake - Chapter Three

by LZPianoGirl


Last Line: “And just as fast as everything had stopped, there was a large blue flash, and everything went black.”

Word Count: 2,133

Chapter Three

“Well, you can’t fire me because I quit!” Ruby yelled as she chucked her nametag to the ground. It was cliché, but she was too angry to think of anything better than that. She had put the Bible in the fiction section as a joke, but unfortunately, her boss didn’t find it very funny and fired her, saying that was “the last straw.”

Mr. Parquada simply rolled his eyes and resumed stocking the shelves. Ruby stormed out of the building and rented a bike to ride home. She didn’t feel like walking the hour home or hailing a cab today. She rode in a straight line down the street until she reached the edge of Central Park, where she turned right.

As Ruby passed the coffee shop, she felt something vibrating in her pocket, so she stopped.

"Ruby Thompson speaking," She replied as she walked into the coffee shop.

"Heyyy Ruby!" The person on the other end exclaimed, "It's Dennis!"

"Dennis!" Ruby smiled for the first time all day. Dennis was Ruby's favorite cousin. Granted, he was the only one even remotely close to her age, but they still had some common interests and talked often. She sat down in an arm chair in the corner of the shop, "Did you get a new phone?"

"Yup. Thought it was time to replace it."

"Your old phone was hardly a year old!" Ruby said, and Dennis laughed on the other end, "Anyways, how are you?"

"I'm great! Super great!" Dennis paused for a moment before continuing, "Guess what?"

"What?"

"I'm coming to visit you!"

If Ruby had had a drink in her mouth, she would have spit it out, "Excuse me?!"

"I thought you'd be happy to see me."

"I am! I totally am." Ruby lied.

"You don't sound happy," Dennis said, "Look, Rubes, I haven't booked a hotel room yet. I don't have to come."

"No, no, no, you can come," Ruby rubbed her chin, "I'm just really busy with school, and softball, and the play we're putting on in July. Plus I need to find another job!"

"I can help you!" Dennis exclaimed, "And I can go to your games and help you practice!"

"I appreciate it, but-"

"No buts, Rubs. I'll come next Friday."

"Dennis, I have finals and-"

"I won't be a bother! I promise."

Ruby sighed, "Alright. See you then."

"Bye!" Dennis exclaimed before hanging up. Ruby put her phone back in her pocket. How was she going to handle Dennis coming over? Ruby exited the shop and resumed biking to her apartment, but before she arrived, it started raining. Luckily, Ruby always kept an umbrella in her backpack. She pulled it out, opened it, and continued.

About two minutes from her home, a man in a polo shirt passed by Ruby, "Watch out for the weirdo up there."

Ruby stopped and faced him, "Excuse me?"

The man pointed in the direction he was coming from and repeated what he said, "Some messed up chick in an old dress."

Ruby hesitated a moment before responding, "Um, thanks for warning me." She continued biking. Ruby was expecting a random woman to come and jump on her, but thankfully, that didn't happen.

Ruby turned the corner and saw the lady the man had warned her about. She wasn't weird at all, just out of place. The woman was hunched over, sobbing hysterically, holding her hands to her face. The only thing that seemed weird from a distance was her Victorian-era dress. The thing looked like it came right out of "Little Women."

But the closer Ruby got to the lady, the weirder the woman became. She was mumbling something in between her tears and was shaking uncontrollably. Ruby spotted a bag that seemed to be from the same era as her dress near her feet.

Ruby hopped off the bike and approached the lady, "You alright, miss?"

The woman didn't respond. She just kept on crying. Ruby asked her again, but received nothing but nothing but silence.

Ruby cleared her throat, "I like your dress, miss."

The woman took her hands off her face and looked up at Ruby. She would be pretty if her face wasn't so tear-stained, Ruby thought. The woman managed to squeak out, "Thank you," before looking down and continuing to cry.

"Do you need help?" Ruby asked. She had to ask again to finally receive an answer.

"Where am.." the lady stopped to blow her nose, using a cloth handkerchief, "..am I?"

Ruby couldn’t help but laugh, “You’re in New York, miss!”

“No, I am not!” the woman started crying harder.

“Yes, you are. The Empire State Building’s just visible over there.” Ruby pointed just above the building on the corner, where the spire of the Empire State building could be seen.

The lady didn’t respond. It had started to rain harder and harder, and Ruby began to worry about the poor woman, “What’s your name?”

“Why do you need to know?!” the lady yelled. A person across the street began to stare.



“Because I want to help you. Now, what is your name?”



“Why are you showing me compassion?” the woman yelled again, “Are you working with Mr. Flinnbaker? If so, I will absolu-”



“Miss!” Ruby exclaimed, “I have never heard of a Mr. Flinnbaker and I am trying to be nice! Now, please, tell me your name so I can help you!





The woman crossed her arms and sniffed, “Abigail.”



“Excuse me?” Ruby leaned towards Abigail and cupped her hand around her ear.

Abigail frowned, “It’s Abigail! Please just help me!”



“Of course,” Ruby said, “I’m Ruby.” She held out her hand for Abigail to grab, but Abigail slapped it away and stood by herself. Ruby picked up Abigail’s bag with one hand and carried the umbrella in between them with the other.

Abigail was crying the rest of the way to Ruby’s apartment. Ruby could hardly believe what she was seeing and doing. Why would someone wear a dress like that, with a matching bag, in the rain? And why was she crying?

Abby couldn’t think. Well, yes she could, but she didn’t want to. It only frightened her. This Ruby girl told her she didn’t know who Martin was, but something told Abby she was lying. Ugh, Martin. That dirty bastard! He tricked her into taking that train and now she didn’t know what to do, where she was, or how she got onto that bench. All she had was a letter, but she hadn’t read it yet.

Ruby opened the door to the building. Her apartment was on the ninth floor, so they would have to take the elevator. Abby watched curiously as Ruby pressed a button, then let out a small gasp as the huge metal doors opened.

“How did you do that?!” Abby exclaimed as Ruby walked into an elevator.

“Do what?”



“Open those doors!”



“I pressed the ‘open’ button. How else would I open it?” When Abby asked what it was, Ruby added, “It’s an elevator. Are you stupid or something?”

“Stupid? I am certainly not stupid!” Abby was on the verge of crying even more, “But that is not an elevator and I will not be deceived into thinking it is!”



Ruby snickered, “Then what is an elevator, m’lady?”



“It carries things up and down in factories and they do not look like that!”



“Welcome to 2019, Abigail,” Ruby said, “Now, I’ve been holding these doors open for you. Could you just get in?”



“2019?” Abby gasped, “That’s not possible.”



“It is very possible.”



“I can’t believe it! Are-”



“Just get in the damn elevator, will you?”

Abby sighed and took one step into the elevator, then paused for a moment, then took another step. Ruby let the doors close behind her before pressing the “nine” button.

When the elevator started rising, Abby backed into a corner. Ruby just watched and asked, “Are you sweating?”

Abby looked at the screen showing what floor they were on, “What is that?!”

“Do you ever stop asking questions?”

“What is that?!” Abby repeated. She was crying again.

“I told you, you don’t have to cry.” Ruby opened her arms and motioned to the inside of the elevator, “this is an ele-”



“No, that!” Abby pointed to the screen. It was at seven now.



“That says what floor we’re on. My apartment’s on nine.”



“Oh.” was all Abby managed to say. The next five seconds until the doors opened were filled with silence. Once the doors did open, Abby was quick to dash out of the elevator, and Ruby followed behind her.



“Well, this is strange,” Abby said, looking around the hall.



Ruby sighed, “What now?” She was beginning to regret bringing Abigail home.

Abby ignored how rude Ruby was and continued, “Usually there is not one big hall connecting the rooms of a house. I prefer things to be more open!”



“You think I own this whole floor?”



“Why, yes. Do you not?” Abby replied, “I suppose only one side could be big enough to live in.”



Ruby laughed, “Are you serious?” When Abby said she was, Ruby pointed to door 904, “I own that. Heck, I don’t even own it.”



Abby opened her mouth to speak, then closed it and waited for Ruby to open the door. Ruby pulled out her keys and unlocked the door, “You coming?”

Abby slowly walked into the room, but stopped at the end of the door. Ruby followed behind her and turned on the lights. Abby gasped and darted about the room.

“What is that?!” Abby exclaimed when she saw the oven.

“The oven,” Ruby said. How did she not know what an oven was?

“You’re lying,” Abby said. She bent down and tapped the glass, “What’s inside?”



“It cooks food. You put the food in and-” Ruby started to explain it, but Abby had already moved to the next object that piqued her interest. This time it was the Alexa.

“What does this one do?” Abby asked, holding up the black tube. She pressed the volume up button and smiled when it lit up. She started to press the volume up and volume down button repeatedly, amusing herself with the lights, “What a lovely little tube!”



“It plays music, tells jokes, it can turn on and off the lights, all sorts of things,” Ruby explained, “Hey Alexa!”

Abby screamed and dropped the Alexa when it responded with, “Good afternoon, Ruby.”

“Don’t do that!” Ruby scooped up the Alexa and placed it back next to the couch, “Watch. Hey Alexa! Turn off the lights!”



The lights shut off and Abby screamed again, “What is this sorcery?”



Ruby told Alexa to turn the lights back on to see Abby crouched down on the floor, crying yet again, “Are you OK?”



“No! I am most definitely not OK!” Abby replied.

“How come?” Ruby asked. She was super confused. What was even happening?



“How come?!” Abby stood up and faced Ruby. Her face was still red from crying, “I’m upset because I don’t know where in hell I am! All I know was on a train, there was a huge flash! All I have is my things, a letter-”

The mention of a letter grabbed Ruby’s interest. Maybe it would explain why Abigail was so bizarre.

“-and I am so, so scared.” Abby continued to cry. Ruby sat down next to her and wrapped her arm around Abby’s shoulders.



“Hey, it’s alright, everything will be fine.”



“Are you sure?” Abby asked.

“I’m positive,” Ruby lied. She took her arm off of Abby’s shoulder and pointed to a door past the couch, “Now, I’ll get you some water and you can go rest. You can use that bedroom.”



Abby picked up her bag, but Ruby quickly took it out of her hands, “Why don’t you just take what you need and we can unpack when you wake up?”



Abby agreed and set the bag down on the table. She opened it, pulled out an off-white nightgown, and closed the bag, Ruby grabbed a cup and filled it with water before handing it to Abigail.

“Thank you,” Abby said meekly, “for your hospitality.”



“It’s no problem.” Ruby responded. Abigail turned and entered the spare bedroom, slowly shutting the door behind her.

Ruby waited about a minute before reopening Abigail’s bag and rummaging through it. She had to find that letter!

Ruby could have gagged. The smell coming from the bag was truly rancid. Finally, Ruby pulled out a plastic bag containing a white envelope. It was the only clean thing in her bag. It had “To Abigail Strinbrall” typed on it in black ink. Ruby opened the plastic bag and ripped open the envelope. She unfolded the letter and began reading.



What could this tell her?


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Mon Oct 05, 2020 5:24 pm
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LordMomo wrote a review...



Momo here to review! Let's get started!

To begin, I love it! I'm sorry this review is late, I had started writing it, but never finished it. But here it is! OK, onto the real review, shall we?

She sat down in an arm chair in the corner of the shop, "Did you get a new phone?"

A period instead of a comma after "shop". This happened again in the work, so if you want me to point them out, feel free to PM me.

"I'm coming to visit you!"

If Ruby had had a drink in her mouth, she would have spit it out, "Excuse me?!"

If he's her favorite cousin, why doesn't she want to see him?

About two minutes from her home, a man in a polo shirt passed by Ruby, "Watch out for the weirdo up there."

This isn't typical NYC behavior. I would know because I live an hour away from the city and been there a million times.

The thing looked like it came right out of "Little Women."

Little Women would be italicized instead of quoted in this case.

Abby couldn’t think.

Put more space between this line and the previous one to show there was a POV change.

Ruby opened her arms and motioned to the inside of the elevator, “this is an ele-”

this should be This here. That happened again again in this work, so if you want me to point them out, feel free to PM me!

This time it was the Alexa.

Wait, when did we transition to Ruby's point of view? Abigail wouldn't know what the black tube was called.

The smell coming from the bag was truly rancid.

Maybe we could get a bit more description here on what it smells like?

That's it! Keep writing, I can't wait for the next chapter!
Momo




LZPianoGirl says...


Thanks for the review! I appreciate it!



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Sun Sep 20, 2020 2:16 pm
IcyFlame wrote a review...



Hey LZ!

Making sure I'm caught up with this one for when you post your next chapter :)

“Well, you can’t fire me because I quit!” Ruby yelled as she chucked her nametag to the ground. It was cliché, but she was too angry to think of anything better than that. She had put the Bible in the fiction section as a joke, but unfortunately, her boss didn’t find it very funny and fired her, saying that was “the last straw.”

This is a wonderful introduction to Ruby as a character - she's got a sense of humour that isn't always appreciated and she's certainly very fiery! She'll be a great contrast to Abby's character.

"Ruby Thompson speaking," She replied as she walked into the coffee shop.

Nobody's said anything yet, so maybe use answered instead of replied.

She sat down in an arm chair in the corner of the shop, "Did you get a new phone?"

I'm guessing she makes this assumption as she doesn't recognise the number? Maybe you could add a sentence to explain that otherwise it seems like an out of the blue thing to say.

If Ruby had had a drink in her mouth, she would have spit it out,

Love this!

She wasn't weird at all, just out of place.

You and I both know that's true, but maybe Ruby needs more information before making this decision?

But the closer Ruby got to the lady, the weirder the woman became.

Ah, better!


The woman crossed her arms and sniffed, “Abigail.”

As we're getting this part from Ruby's POV and she didn't hear, it would make sense to just say that she mumbled something. We're seeing the world through Ruby's eyes right now and if she didn't hear, neither did we!

Abigail was crying the rest of the way to Ruby’s apartment.

I think we're missing something here about how Ruby decides to take Abby home with her. Maybe we could see some of her thought process? Especially as she was just thinking that this woman was weird. And there's nothing about her inviting her over, perhaps for a cup of tea and to dry off? I think that interaction would help to bridge the gap well.

Abby couldn’t think. Well, yes she could, but she didn’t want to. It only frightened her. This Ruby girl told her she didn’t know who Martin was, but something told Abby she was lying. Ugh, Martin. That dirty bastard! He tricked her into taking that train and now she didn’t know what to do, where she was, or how she got onto that bench. All she had was a letter, but she hadn’t read it yet.

Apart from this paragraph, the whole of this chapter is written from Ruby's viewpoint so it's a little jarring to suddenly have a section from Abby's! Perhaps save this for the next chapter?

Are you stupid or something

Considering she's been so nice to her up until this point, this seems a little out of character.

Ok, so I love that we've had these two meet at last! This chapter had some really great parts (especially when Abby freaks out over Alexa) but I think there are some parts that could do with a bit of tweaking. For me, it's mainly the fact that Ruby brings Abby back to her apartment without so much as a discussion. She lets her lie on her bed and goes through her stuff without so much as a second thought? It seems Ruby has a very trusting nature but she lives in New York... surely she can't be so naïve as not to try and get some answers out of Abby before showing her where she lives?

Other than that though, I really enjoyed this and can't wait for the next part! Feel free to tag me when you post new chapters :)

Hope this helped <3

Icy




LZPianoGirl says...


Thank you so much! I will definitely work on the part where Ruby takes Abby home. I also need to work on making sure Ruby comes across as a jerk, because in the next chapters she is pretty mean, so... I'll have to fix that. Thanks again!



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Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:15 am
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EternalRain wrote a review...



Hi LZ!

Ooooh, so we're introduced to main character #2 ! Ruby seems like an interesting character. I feel like I remember you mentioning she goes to NYU in one of your posts/descriptions about this and I'm really excited to see how student-life Ruby will compare in her interactions with from-the-past Abby.

One thing that threw me off a little in this chapter was how willing Ruby was to take Abby in! I guess it shows that she has quite a caring disposition; HOWEVER, there's always soooo many weird people in New York that I think New Yorkers tend to ignore people often (at least, from what I've heard of New York). I also don't think it's the safest idea for Ruby to invite Abby to her apartment especially because she was acting quite weird. That's just sorta a nit-picky plot point I had.

One other comment I have is about the perspective switch. Throughout the beginning, we're in Ruby's perspective, but it changes all of a sudden to Abby, which was a bit unexpected. I think it could be nice if there were alternating perspectives in chapters, or maybe just smoother transitions between perspective (and in longer chunks throughout the chapter) so things don't get too confusing.

I LOVED Abby's reactions to everything though. I thought they were very realistic (I mean, if I were traveling to the future from her time period, I would be going nuts over an elevator too!!!). I also was a fan of the intro to the chapter; after the intensity of what happened to Abby last chapter, the normalcy in Ruby's life was a nice contrast.

Anyway, I think that's all I have to say for this chapter! REALLY looking forward to more.. can't wait to see how Abby will react and adjust to this "new world".

Peace,
~EternalRain




LZPianoGirl says...


Thank you so much Rain! I think I will add a bit inbetween Ruby spotting Abby and deciding to take her in. Maybe watching her for a bit or something. Idk. Again, thanks for the review!



EternalRain says...


Good idea! And you're welcome! :)



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Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:50 am
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Stormblessed242 wrote a review...



Hello, Stormblessed here!
Great chapter! I love time travel stories, and this is definitely keeping my attention.
There are a few nitpicks I have besides the ones InconspicuouslyAlpacaing said, but they are minor.

The first is that the space between the lines in the dialogue. The reformatting of this site can be a little wonky, so make sure all the lines are spaced the way you intend.

Did you get a new phone?"

"Yup. Thought it was time to replace it."

"Your old phone was hardly a year old!" Ruby said, and Dennis laughed on the other end, "Anyways, how are you?"


How does Ruby know that Dennis got a new phone? Just pointing this out.

"Excuse me?!"

So, usually when you punctuate like that, the exclamation point comes before the question mark, since it is, ultimately, a question.

I do hope you plan to go back and explain how Abigail ended up here, alone, with only her bags and a letter (which I would assume is from Martin.)

Other than these, this was great and I can't wait for the next chapter!

Hope this helped!
Stormblessed242
Image




LZPianoGirl says...


Thanks for the review! Ruby didn't recognize the number that was calling her, so after she found out it was Dennis, she assumed he got a new phone.





Understood, but make sure you specify that!



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Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:00 am
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IconspicuoslyAlpacaing wrote a review...



Greetings and salutations, friend!

I will admit that I'm going into this cold, but I might just have to go back and read the rest of it! You've got an interesting premise, and what appears to be a good story going as well. I only have a couple critiques to give you.

The first and most major criticism would be the constant and abrupt switches in the perspective the story is told from. While switching perspectives isn't inherently a bad thing, when there is no indication that a switch has happened, it will typically become confusing and jarring to the audience. Personally, I feel that this entire chapter could've been written from Ruby's perspective, but if you really want to have multiple changes in one chapter, mark it with some kind of visual separation so you don't throw the audience in blindfolded. Another, much smaller critique related to this is that in these lines:

The woman crossed her arms and sniffed, “Abigail.”



“Excuse me?” Ruby leaned towards Abigail and cupped her hand around her ear.

Abigail frowned, “It’s Abigail! Please just help me!”


The reader technically shouldn't know Abigail's name in this chapter until the second time she says it, as this section was told from Ruby's point of view, and she doesn't know Abigail's name yet either. It would make a little more sense written along these lines.

The woman crossed her arms and sniffled, muttering something Ruby couldn't quite understand.

"Excuse me?" Ruby leaned towards Abigail and cupped her hand around her ear. The woman frowned with annoyance.

"It's Abigail!"


My second critique is that in a few of the paragraphs, your sentences are a little too similar. It's a little hard to put into words, so I'll try to explain it like this. Ruby did a thing. Then, she did another thing. Then, she did a third thing. (I have no idea if that made any sense, but I tried.) This isn't present in all of them, but where it is, it makes the reading experience feel fairly dry and repetitive.

This next one is a little nitpick-y, but the spelling of Dennis's nickname for Ruby changes from 'Rubes' to 'Rubs'.

Lastly, and this is another nitpick, but in these lines;

The only thing that seemed weird from a distance was her Victorian-era dress. The thing looked like it came right out of "Little Women."

You refer to the characters' fashion in 'Little Women' as being Victorian. The infamous story takes place in the U.S. during and after the Civil War. While this technically takes place during the time period of the Victorian era of the United Kingdom, the fashion in Little Women, to my understanding, is not Victorian, as it did not originate in the UK. Although come to think of it, this could also be illustrating Ruby's lack of interest towards history, if that's meant to be a part of her character.

I sincerely hope this review was helpful, and I hope you keep on keeping on!

-Connie




LZPianoGirl says...


Thanks for the review! I really appreicate it!




Treat all disasters as if they were trivialities but never treat a triviality as if it were a disaster.
— Quentin Crisp