Because I have a few half-completed blog posts fluttering around on my Blogger dashboard, and I am uninspired to finish any of them at the moment, and because it’s been awhile since I’ve tempted you with a bit of my novel-in-the-works, and because I’m lazy, I’m giving you another peek into Ruby’s world.

I hope you like it.

Chapter 8

Ruby pedaled, her boots wobbling double-time as she raced the clouds home. Big splots of water hit her head, and the downpour let loose just as she rode into the driveway, soaking her before she pulled into the open garage. An old blue pickup stood there, the hood agape. Ruby’s father, Dominic Fortuna, leaned over, a work light in one hand and the other reaching into the greasy depths of the engine.

“Dad!” Ruby shouted, excited and out of breath.

Dominic, surprised by the clamor, jerked his head up and hit it on the hood.

“Ouch! Oh, hey, kiddo, come give me a hand, wouldya? Here, hold this light.” He looked at her, noticing her fat lip. “What’d ya do, crash your bike?”

Ruby shrugged.

“You alright?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

Ruby grabbed an old towel off his workbench and wiped the rain from her arms. Stepping on a stool, she took the light and held it above the engine. Her dad still wore his grungy work clothes, sleeves rolled up, and he smelled of machine oil and metal filings. She leaned over and sniffed.

“What’s the matter?” He asked, “I smell?”

“Nah,” she said, “I like it.”

“Hmmph. You’re the only one. Your mother says I stink.”

“Well, you do, kinda, but not in a bad way. You just smell like you.”

He laughed, “Thanks, kid.”


He had both hands somewhere under the air filter and struggled to loosen a bolt. “Yeah?”

Ruby hesitated. It was one of those moments where she would usually chew on her lip, pondering the right way to say something she probably shouldn’t. But this time she just felt the fat swollen lip and tasted the fresh wound. She’d raised this question a thousand times before, and it never went over very well.

“Are you sure we can’t have a horse?” She closed her eyes and held her breath, bracing for the answer.

He exhaled in exasperation, and gave the response he’d given every other time he was asked, “Yes, Rube, I’m sure.”

“But Dad,” Ruby complained, “I just saw the most beautiful horse I’ve ever seen! Anyone’s ever seen! She’s from Ireland, and she belonged to some crazy Gypsy aunt of Molly’s, and Molly doesn’t want to keep her, and she has long white hair and these beautiful blue eyes and she’s perfect!”

“No, Ruby.” Was all her dad said.

“She looks like a Unicorn!”

Dominic wiped his hands on an old oily rag and took the light from Ruby. “I don’t care if it looks like the Queen of England, it’s a horse, and we’re not having any horses here. Period. Not your grandfather’s horse, not Molly’s horse, not any other horse you see on any given day. Now stop bugging me about horses. We don’t got the time, the money, or the room for a horse.” He wiped his brow, and closed the hood of the truck.

“End of discussion.”

That was that. Ruby knew when her dad said “end of discussion,” that was the end of the discussion.

She scowled at him and stomped into the house.


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