.....02b

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Another course assignment. In this story the goal was to surprise readers expectations.


02b

 

Ruth pressed the lever and watched the pane of glass slide down into the car’s door frame, it’s small motor—humming. Cold raindrops hit her forehead.

 He leaned over her shoulder and touched her index finger lightly before pulling the lever in the opposite direction, closing the window once again.

“Careful.” His palm moved to her cheek and he turned her face toward him. The edge of his white tuxedo shirt impressed against her skin but his touch was gentle, a—caress. Somehow it reminded her of the Dionaea Muscipula, the—Venus flytrap he kept in the lab and the way it softly closed on its prey.

“Perfect.” He examined her with a smile and brushed a lock of her hair.

Ruth moved her hand and caressed his cheek, mimicking him, and his smile broadened. She could feel the tiny bristles of hair on his chin—5 o’clock shadow.

“Nought, eight, nought, five, two thousand twenty seven, nought, two, b”

“Yes.” He replied.

The car slowed.

“Victor?” He looked forward at the driver’s seat although there was no physical driver sitting there.

“Sorry, sir,” many small speakers throughout the car projected the voice so it seemed to come from everywhere at once. “The main road seems to have flooded.”

“Take the pike then. But make certain we arrive on time. We can’t be late.”

“Yes, sir.”

Ruth watched out the window as the car turned around. Pools of dark water covered the ground. The darkness outside created a reflective surface on the glass. She could see the top portion of her wedding dress lacy against her skin—Queen Anne neckline.

 

It had been her first choice.

He had narrowed the options to seven. 

“Choose,” he’d said.

The shop assistant showed Ruth how to flick through the 3Dpros to examine each wedding gown separately, or how to hold and flick to compare two or more dresses simultaneously. She knew he watched her closely, so much of her attention was on him as she ran through the projections. She detected his small intake of breath, the subtle widening of his eyes when the image of her wearing a low cut dress—the dropped v neck—had appeared. She pretended to study it closely but had analyzed him instead. When she was certain of what she’d seen, she’d flicked to the next dress, the Queen Anne.

“This one.”

“Are you sure?” He’d asked.

She’d looked at the assistant. “Yes.”

“You’d look beautiful in any of them.” He’d thought the choice did not matter.

To her, choosing the dress unlocked something inside, a secret doorway, a second voice she had not known that she possessed. 

She had not chosen the Queen Anne to spite him. She—loved him. She’d chosen the Queen Anne to test the boundaries of choice. To explore the act of selection.

It had been—exhilarating.

 

 

“Are you nervous?’

His voice shifted her focus and she saw his face reflected in the window next to her own. She said nothing.

He watched her the way he always did, as if she were something beyond this world. “Just wait until they see you. Those doubters will finally eat their words.”

Ruth traced the mirror image of the gown’s lace front with her finger. The glass was cold to touch, 48.2 degrees Fahrenheit, 9 degrees celsius. The cold surface urged her to press her cheek against it to feel the chilling sting, even to emerge from the metal car into the wind, mud and rain. To stand in a great black puddle, look up into the sky and blink away the shock of each cascading raindrop against her open eyes.

“You are a miracle,” he said.

Nought, eight, nought, five, two thousand twenty seven, nought, two, b

 

Before the dress, all the decisions had been his.

At times he’d seemed to allow her to choose, but only ever if her choice had coincided with his own. She’d learned early on to predict, to judge. Ruth knew what he wanted from her, so she gave it to him.

 

The car raced along the pike. She calculated the distance. They would arrive at the ceremony soon. Although the rain pelted the windshield and drum beat against the roof, the probability for an accident was low.

Nought, eight, nought, five, two thousand twenty seven, nought, two, b

 

From the moment she’d opened her eyes, lying on the soft bed in the fluorescent-lit lab, facing his worried expression, even her name had been his decision.

“Nought, eight, nought, five, two thousand twenty seven, nought, two, b. Ruth,” he’d said. “Marry me.” 

And she’d accepted.

 

The car began to slow, having come to the hub of the town. The sky here had lightened and the rain had decreased. Everything looked clean, glistening—rainswept.

 

I do. I do not. There was no real choice. He had written it into her code to do so.

Secretly she thought of herself as the code, her code, the very center of her existence, her—soul. Knowing her true name gave her power. With it, Nought, eight, nought, five, two thousand twenty seven, nought, two, b, Ruth could deactivate herself, loose herself, infect herself.

She turned to look at him. He leaned forward excitedly waiting for the moment when the destination would come into view, when he would reveal her as his wife-to-be, his—masterpiece.

She could not not love him. Her program demanded that she did.

The car pulled up to the curb in a space left vacant for them directly in front of the cathedral.

“We are here, sir.”

“Thank you, Victor.” He squeezed her hand and smiled once again. He exited the car and began to walk behind it, making for her door.

The only choice she had, the only real choice that she alone could make, was to delete the code. Erase 0805202702b. Erase herself.

The doubters lined the covered walkway to the cathedral, their faces straining to catch a glimpse of her through the window. The clouds had parted in one place and a stiff stream of afternoon sunlight sifted through. He opened her door and held out his hand.

“Ruth,” he said. But she could no longer hear him.



Submitted: May 25, 2019

© Copyright 2021 Kevin Michael Smith. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

AdamCarlton

I think it does that. But could we delve deeper? If she could not not love him, then what was the drive to erasure? A deeper compulsion against compulsion? This seems.. interesting. Worth exploring.

Sat, May 25th, 2019 4:14pm

Author
Reply

Thank you for reading, and I also agree. Your words have really helped.
Thanks again

Sat, May 25th, 2019 9:19am

hullabaloo22

As Adam says, this is certainly a story you could develop much further. The realization that the code left Ruth no choice, maybe led to her self destruction. He really sounded like the ultimate in control freaks. Very readable, great job!

Sat, May 25th, 2019 8:08pm

Author
Reply

Thanks Hulla. Your thoughts and time are always appreciated. I will return the favor, I have just been extra busy lately and haven't had much time to really read... but soon I will visit your page and see whats new.

Sat, May 25th, 2019 11:38pm

Xialadon

Well this is probably your best story so far. Excellent use of language, of the description of the environment and of her feelings.

I agree with the others on the fact that this could be explored even further, maybe even be the basis of a possible novel.

Well done!

Fri, June 7th, 2019 7:40am

Author
Reply

Thanks for the read, my friend.
There is a second part I completed called Adam (02b part 2)
which explores the character in a different way.

Fri, June 7th, 2019 2:46am

Obscure

So she deactivated herself because she couldn't stand the inability to 'not love', which she thought to be worse than the inability to love? Having such a deterministic view on the matter could definitely do that, and then if she thought everything was pre-determined she would probably believe she didn't have a choice shutting herself down, not that she could do anything about it. It's quite the conundrum, and one I've often thought about with our own species when considering genes and environment.

The thing I would like to know more is why he created her in the first place, is he looking for the perfect love, or is he creating her to show her off? Is it a business idea?

A provocative piece and I enjoyed the way you told it, the reveal came at the right time and the ending was done just right, there are some small errors but none that detract from the enjoyment of the piece.

Mon, June 10th, 2019 10:45pm

Author
Reply

Thanks for your thoughts. I am so happy to hear that the reveal felt right since that was the main focus of the exercise.
There is another version in which she changes herself just slightly so that she accepts her fate but becomes someone new. Not sure which I like better.
Anyway, thanks for reading.

Mon, June 10th, 2019 10:13pm

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