Practice Makes Perfect

Click the pic for the original challenge. Written for Ermilia’s Picture It & Write.

Smiles had twisted her dimples into view countless times. Tears had washed her cheeks as many. Meaningless gestures of emotion, Ruby thought. Hours she had practiced them in the mirror. Hours over years, wrenching expression from the bowels of apathy, regurgitating it for her reflection in mock display. For how long now? Since she was a child anyway. And for what? Every minute she spent alone dared her to deny it.

Cosmetics masked her face as rehearsal masked her soul. Yet, it was as if somehow they could all still see her. Whatever terrible imperfection lurked inside her, making her hideous, it didn’t show on her face. It didn’t alter the pageantry she portrayed. The mirror made that plain. No harmonic belied the lilt of her voice. Her perfumes were divine. Yet, they saw it, or maybe they sensed it.

But Kyle, at last was different. Kyle loved her. Every smile, every twinkle in her eye, each nuance of each mood must be perfect for him. Ruby watched helplessly as a veil of fear fell over her. I am perfect, she fought. But the words were distant, as if they were whispered, from another dimension, a world where doubt didn’t prey and the loneliness didn’t torment.

If Kyle was like the others, it didn’t matter anymore. He was hers now at least for tonight. She smiled and her reflection smiled with her.

“He’s here because he saw something in me no one else saw,” she whispered.

Her perfectly rehearsed reflection believed the words. She set the mirror down and with it the crazy world of shadows it emanated in her mind. One last deep breath, and she turned and entered the bedroom.

Kyle lay peacefully on the bed waiting. Ruby smiled at him and walked to sit by his side. “I love you,” she whispered, running her fingers gently through his hair. Kyle stared up at her in silence. A thin smile rested on his lips and she leaned to kiss him.

“Kyle…?” she sat up. “I… I can’t tell you how much it means that you believed in me.”

His expression didn’t change. A photograph of a perfect moment, she thought.

“You probably won’t need this anymore,” she said with sweet apology on her voice. “May I?”

Still his expression didn’t change.

She slowly drew the knife out of his stomach and admired the tiny hot spring of crimson following obediently as the blade led the way from his punctured heart.

“You would have stopped believing in me, you know,” she said, wiping the knife on his shirt. “I couldn’t let that happen.” She paused for a moment and then giggled. “You do believe that don’t you?”

Kyle stared back at her with his photograph gaze. Of course he believed her. Her guise was perfect! Ruby took the knife back into the other room. She laid it carefully in front of her. She picked up the mirror, and with it the crazy world of shadows it emanated in her mind. The knife glistened, the only remaining light in Ruby’s darkness.

“You believe I love you, don’t you?” she asked. “Promise me you’ll never see me the way the others do.”

© 2012 Anne Schilde

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About Anne Schilde

Image "Webster's Kiss" © 2011 Anne Schilde Thanks always for reading! ♥
This entry was posted in Stuff... cuz I like to write stuff! and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Practice Makes Perfect

  1. Nanda says:

    Woooooooow!
    Nice stuff here, flower!
    It gave a shiver when I found out what was going… Well done!
    And this phrase: “Cosmetics masked her face as rehearsal masked her soul. ” is just masterpiece!

  2. Ermilia says:

    Hah. Nice choice of the name Ruby. I liked how your story was so dark as well. While yours included the mirror I like that it didn’t focus on it either. Well done, Annie. Thanks for contributing this week to Picture it & write!

    – Ermisenda

    • Anne Schilde says:

      I totally asked Brittney to give me the two names and married myself to them. 🙂 If there was a way to convey this without the mirror even being mentioned, I would have. I’m sure there’s something there with balloons… haha, maybe with a dart too.

  3. joetwo says:

    Here I was reading what I thought was a lovely love story and then you went and got a knife involved. I should have known better. Keep up the good work.

  4. deanabo says:

    terrific writing. I really like your writng style.

  5. Compelling and wonderful descriptive, “Meaningless gestures of emotion…Hours she had practiced them in the mirror… from the bowels of apathy… regurgitating … for her reflection,” and … then
    and Kyle’s “thin smile …” I had threads of psycho lightly playing alongside this piece except that Kyle was Antony Perkins and his mother was Ruby. Thank you for it. Randy

  6. rumpydog says:

    Whoa! That is fantastic!

  7. Thu says:

    Wowie. So unexpected, but clever subtle details.

  8. Kat says:

    I totally didn’t see the knife coming, Ruby gave me the creeps! 🙂 Great read.

    • Anne Schilde says:

      Thanks, Kat! I think this is my first murder. I’ve dreamed some others, but they just sit in my notes. Most of my recent twists have been more light-hearted, but this picture was really dark and I’ve been kind of depressed lately.

  9. “Promise me you’ll never see me the way the others do.”
    Doesn’t seem to be much chance of that happening…! 🙂
    Great story, well told; surprising twist, which for you seems as natural as water off a duck’s back… Well done to you, Anne…. 🙂

    • Anne Schilde says:

      Hehe! Thanks, Carolyn. If I say too much, the men with the white coats will come for me. The thing about twists is they aren’t really. They’re parallel worlds.

      You get up in the middle of the night, tired, but you drank water before bedtime even though you were told not to. You don’t like getting in trouble for peeing the bed, so you get up and find your way to the bathroom quietly in the dark so as not to alert anyone that you were drinking water before bedtime. You sit down to pee, half asleep, and suddenly you wake up to warm wetness and you realize you’re spending the night at your friend’s house. You’ve only found your way to where the toilet should have been if you were at home, and instead you are peeing on their kitchen chair.

      Wouldn’t it be amusing if you were peeing on a duck?

  10. yazrooney says:

    What a psycho. Ruby I mean! What a great story, Anne. I wasn’t expecting the knife bit. Thought it would be all lovey dovey and romantic. But then you always do this sort of thing. Thanks Anne!

  11. Marian Green says:

    Wow. I missed this when you first wrote it… I’d been worried about you. Turns out you’re alive and well and slaying with your words. Chilling in the best of ways!!!!

  12. Anna says:

    Oh my God, this is unbelievably dark. I love it to the point where I’m shaking a little bit from exhilaration… I am so insanely jealous right now about how amazing you are as a writer!

  13. kushalmehta3 says:

    This post is great, Anne. Loved reading it.

  14. Brilliant! What a twist, it was all so dark yet so … beautiful! I would never have thought it’d end like this.

  15. dedazzred says:

    wow. I’d been told you were great, they failed to mention how profound, beautifully dark and, certainly in this case, very relevant and masterfully written. Perfect, thank you for sharing.

    • Anne Schilde says:

      I got a recommendation? That’s so cool! I write lots of different stuff, so only dark sometimes. It’s that time of year. Thanks always for reading! ♥

      • dedazzred says:

        yes, i guess it is that time of the year…we love the same ruby(s), is all-a fella that goes by a different four letter colorful acronym, making it a very relevant poetic piece. Nice to meet you, Anne, most call me ‘red.

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