Short Story Title: Ruby – A Night Portals Short Story, Season 2
Author: Ernie Howard
Publication Date: October 1, 2020
Available On: Amazon as an eBook and as a paperback
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Victor and his wife Sara went to high school together. His childhood friends Scott, Mary, and Chuck also live in town and one by one, all of them have gone missing. Ruby also went to the same high school with them and they all knew her too.
Now a grief counselor, Ruby consoles people and it appears that she’s just doing her job. For some vague reason, Victor thinks Ruby murdered his friends! Suspicious, Victor decides he needs answers. What will happen to him once he finds what he seeks?
This short story is really creepy and the mystery at the center of it all kept me guessing. Ruby presents as nice and kind. But I got that sense of dread that there’s something just a bit… off about her as well. I just didn’t know WHAT that something was. However, once I did know, the conclusion exploded with a sound and fury that overwhelmed me with its power and darkness. There was no way that I was expecting what was revealed.
Ruby is a fully realized character in her own way as I got to know her better. Victor’s friends were also fleshed out nicely and I could appreciate the sincerity of their friendship together. I could also feel the nostalgic tug of their shared high school years. The impact of their deaths on Victor was palpable.
I don’t know how this story crawled into my head and took up residence there. All I know is that the shivers lasted for a long time after I finished reading it. It’s an electrifying tale that built its suspense up with little clues to draw you in and then adds it all together into a superb and satisfying conclusion.
Finally, if you have an Ouija board, I would bury it deep in my closet after reading this, if I were you. That thing is just bad news.
This story is the third “episode” in season two of the author’s Night Portals series. Like the “Twilight Zone” or “Black Mirror” television shows, each one is united by its dark theme only and can be read separately without having read any of the others from season one.
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Previous Indie Athenaeum book reviews about stories by Ernie Howard include “We Are Mist – A Night Portals Short Story,” “Ding Dong Ditch – A Night Portals Short Story“, “The Pool – Omnibus Edition“, “Bus Stop: A Short Story“, “On Holiday with an S.O.B“, “Gramps: A Time Travel Short Story“, “Night Portals Boxed Set – Books 1 – 8“, “Melody 8 – Book One: The Day of the Song“, “Melody 8 – Book Two: The Musical Witch of the South” and “Melody 8 – Book Three: A Sound for the Deaf.”