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Nathan Gemmell

Nathan Gemmell, Author of Ruby Crab Nathan lives in the Derbyshire Peak District in the UK. He lived with his parents and two sisters and in 2019 he successfully moved into his own flat.

He is a young man with high functioning autism.

He struggles to speak his thoughts and feelings; he finds it difficult to meet and socialise with others. Writing enables him to express himself, to verbalise his thoughts and feelings.

He is caring, he has a great dry sense of humour, and he is very creative.

He enjoys writing imaginative short stories that incorporate some of his personal feelings and his past adventures. He also enjoys building clay and plasticine figures. He gives these figures individual names and character back-stories and then he writes short stories about them.

He attended a mainstream school but he found school difficult. His classmates were extremely supportive, but children from other years and classes not so much. Despite this he continued to attend every day and he was given an award for the pupil who had made most advances in his secondary school.

He tries to not allow his autism to stop him from fulfilling his dreams. He has travelled widely and has even swum with sharks.

This is Nathan’s first book, about one of his characters. The name ‘Ruby Crab’ comes from his birth stone, Ruby, and his zodiac sign, the Crab.         

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Ruby Crab by Nathan Gemmell

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Ruby Crab by Nathan Gemmell Bored, dreaming of a different life with adventure, success and family… Well, that’s just around the corner, but the path to our dreams is never straightforward.

Nat lives a mundane and solitary life. Day after day, nothing changes; he wakes up, goes to work, eats, then sleeps—and it all starts again the following morning. Always he dreams of a better life and to find someone to care for and to love.

Then, one day, he finds Ruby Crab. She is a beautiful childlike creature made of pure ruby. She has been abandoned! A refugee, Ruby Crab exists in a society in which she does not belong.

After spending a lot of time together, they develop a loving father-daughter bond. Will the world continue to reject her existence? Will society accept their connection? Will their love for each other prevail in this world—or in another?

Word Count: 10200
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon
Price: $2.99


Ruby Crab

Chapter 1

Day by day my life was mundane, uneventful, with a humdrum job at a corner store that paid very little. It seemed as though I had no future. My daily routine was predictable: I woke up, ate, worked, slept, and dreamed of a better life for myself; one with adventure, fame, and—more sentimentally—the start of a family. The days were so alike that the years passed unnoticed, and while there were moments of bliss, they were outweighed by the rest. Once in while something compelling happened such as meeting a distant relative or an old friend I had not seen for a while. Or I would get lucky and earn a bonus at work or run into trouble like an angry stray dog or a small-time thug desperate for money. Other times I would play games or watch videos on my laptop. However, nothing compared with making up stories about the Furries in their own land and writing them down. I hoped those stories would one day make me rich and successful.

The street I lived on was run-down, grim and boring. What had once been lively and colourful now looked like a dystopian future. And the heavy rain and grey clouds only made it more depressing. There weren't many jobs left and the fields were poor and dying. I had never seen my town in its prime, except in pictures. My family and friends lived there once, when the place was special, before they all went away. In their postcards they wished I could have been happy growing up. Obviously, I wasn’t. I told myself that one day things would change; I would live my dreams, make a lot of money, go down in history, live in a mansion and never have any problems again. I liked to visit the past sometimes when I felt there was no future. It seemed that sweet nostalgia was all I had left.

My old school, for one thing. I gazed out over its fields where I played as a child. I also went to parks where I used to have fun as a little kid. And I liked to go out into the wilderness, as I hated urban life with its torn-down and vandalised buildings. There were windows that had been smashed and boarded up, and trash littered the streets. Not many people were on those streets so I could not say I had much of a social life. I could not blame the old locals for leaving. Typically, a person on this street would be an urchin in a sleeping bag surrounded by empty bottles, or a delinquent loitering at corner shops with no business there other than harassing the customers and throwing rocks at passing cars. I envied those who had been able to move out while the buildings were still tall and majestic and the lawns were bright and colourful, and the roads and pavements were not cracked and chipped.

Writing my novels helped me a lot, for I escaped the pressures of reality and created a different experience—one less drab, with new adventures all the time. I got inspiration from the dream I had for myself, the perfect fantasy. But in the end, it was just a way of getting my hopes up before I snapped back to real life and I was at my lowest point again. As creative as my stories were, people did not seem at all interested in my work and I achieved little success. I found myself envious of my own creation with its lovely visuals, the likable characters, and how they lived such charming, good lives in a world of perfect harmony; one day I vowed I was going see it. My house had paintings of this beautiful world beyond my home. The two best pictures in the house were ones I had made. One was of an ocean: a coast and the Riviera where I hoped to live one day. The other was a magical place with a forest and a small city filled with lovely cottages, mansions and castles that I had made when I was little. I was already drawing Furries before I wrote about them. They all lived in this beautiful land called Furry Island. Sometimes I wished I could live amongst them, in a land of enchantment, adventure and new friends and kin. One character I really liked was a cute little crab made of ruby inspired by my horoscope, my birthstone, and the daughter I wished I could have. She would help heal this ordinary life and I could hold her close, protect her and feel the true joy, the joy of being a father.

It was autumn when my life began to change for the better. I had just finished my shift and was lucky enough to get another small bonus, but that was nothing compared to the surprise I was going to get that evening. I was walking home with some groceries, and when I arrived, I found a bundle in a basket on my porch. I looked down and saw something red and shiny sleeping in the blanket. Inside was something not human, a cute little girl made of ruby. She looked like the crab girl I used to draw, except this one was clearly an infant. I moved slightly closer to the basket and when I did, I accidentally nudged it with my foot, and she awoke. After yawning she began to look around and then she noticed me. Those large bright rose-coloured eyes stared curiously up at me and made me melt inside. I noticed she was starting to shiver; it got pretty cold this time of year. So, I knelt and picked her up, holding her firmly to my chest. She continued to shiver in my arms but then my body warmed her, and she calmed down. The cuteness of it all made me smile more than I had done in years and she smiled back. I tickled her and she started giggling adorably, making me feel more sweet pleasure. Then she playfully held me round the neck with a strong grip, causing me to choke; her surprisingly large claws were almost as big as her head. I didn't mind, though. I thought it was amusing, and she was just a doll.

Bringing her in, forgetting the milk and setting her down on my bed, I found a message buried in the bundle telling me her birthday, her name and how to care for her. I decided that until something happened, she would just have to stay with me. That evening I put her down to sleep, but she was feeling so lonely I decided to snuggle with her. After a while I was about to get up again when I felt a strong hold around me. I decided to stay with her a little longer; no matter how much I tried I didn’t seem able to leave. I could not even use the bathroom. But that was okay; I didn't mind being taken hostage by such a little cutie. I'd say I had Stockholm Syndrome, a condition where captives form a psychological bond with their captors. Having her cuddled up next to me made me grin from ear to ear, her head resting on my shoulder as she fell asleep, one of her claws creasing my torso, my emptiness and despair all numbing away. For the first time in many years my life seemed worth living.

The following few months were amazing. She brought such love and joy to my life. I take pride in how much I molded her. She learned quickly to walk and talk, and I taught her to read and write. The pictures on the wall now included her first steps, the first bath I gave her, Ruby and me playing games together, our embraces, her first solid meal, and one with her on my shoulder doing a selfie.

Previously, time had passed slowly. I looked forward to making a resolution every New Year and getting a fresh start. Now, though, it seemed that it had gone by quickly. We celebrated her first birthday by spoiling her with many sweets and toys, and I ended up buying her a marzipan cake by accident. I hate marzipan, but Ruby loved it and ate up the whole thing, literally diving into it. She was such a mess when she was done, getting marzipan all over me, that we took a bath together. We had fun splashing each other and she giggled a lot as I tickled her toes while cleaning her. Afterward I put on a nightgown and wrapped Ruby in towels, and we huddled up on the couch and watched Sesame Street together. Ruby loved Kermit the frog, Julia and Big Bird.

At night I read her to sleep with an old Disney book I’d kept in storage. My attic was filled with my old toys from my early childhood, and she enjoyed playing with my old cars and teddy bears.

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