Ruth’s Secret – part 1

Ruth's Secret - part 1
Image provided by
Adriano Ferreira @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/adrianof14/

Another short story for you…

It was a glorious Tuesday morning. Shelly decided it was warm enough to have her breakfast on the patio so that she could watch the birds pick at the grass to gather seeds. Even though the day was exceptional, something was gnawing at her deep in her gut. I wish I knew what was bothering me.

The feeling had started last night just before ten. Then she had thought she might be coming down with a cold. She had smothered herself in Vick’s Vapor Rub and went to bed. When she woke up, she immediate went to take a shower. The rub felt heavy and… well… yuck.

She didn’t feel there was any cold coming on. As she sat munching on cereal, she thought about the last time she had felt this same way. It was over three years ago. Her grandfather was ill. Because of his advance age, the doctor couldn’t predict when, if ever, he’d be well enough to go home. He passed on two days later in his sleep.

Shelly remembered crying for hours. It took her until after the old man’s funeral to realize that he was fine where he was now. Once attached to this idea, her mood did a complete turn-around. Now understanding there was more to this universe than just the span of life on this small planet, her outlook on what makes a life worthwhile changed.

Her cereal was getting soggy in the milk. She quickly ate the last of it and went inside to get ready for work.

Walking into the office of gray cubicles, phones ringing, and hushed voices, her working partner peeked around the corner just in time to see her. “Shelly, what’s wrong. You have a wrinkle line in middle of your forehead.”

Once inside their cubicle and sitting in her steno chair, Shelly said, “Aaron, something’s just wrong, but I can’t figure out what it is yet. Did you get the printout?”

Aaron looked at her bewilderingly. “What printout?”

This routine of Aaron’s happened most day. He knew what printout. He was just too lazy to go get it.

She sighed with great effort, stood, and made her way to the copy room. “And he’s wondering what’s wrong with me,” she muttered.

Returning to her desk with the needed hard copy, she sat down with the intention of putting her purse out of sight. She opened the bottom drawer and found an envelope stuffed with hundred-dollar bills. She sat there paralyzed with confusion. Finally, she slammed the drawer shut and put her purse under the desk. She glanced in Aaron’s direction. His back was turned so that he was facing his desk. Chances are he didn’t see a thing.

“Are you going to give me some of that printout, Shelly?” Aaron asked holding out a hand behind him. Without saying a word, she torn at one of the perforations and passes the smaller stack to him.

Shelly tried to work and keep what was in the drawer tucked away in the back of her mind. This part of her job was tedious so her mind would wander to other things, like the envelope hidden away. She would tap her pen on the desk to make herself come back to the task.

When the supervisor came around to see how her subordinates were doing, the sudden appearance caused Shelly to jump. “Ruth, don’t do that.”

Ruth stifled a giggle. “Didn’t mean to scare you. Is everything all right with you two?”

Writing prompt from Today’s Author.

Is this too obscure? You can find part 2 here. 🙂

Part 3 is here. Part 4 is here.

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