Through nobody’s fault, I found myself in a state wanting to submit an entry for the 3-minute fiction contest on NPR with an afternoon to spare. Add a production problem at work, 2 unbathed children playing with mud and a hose in the backyard, and a hungry family to the mix and you have the components for story-telling complete. Obviously, I was using all of this as a perfect excuse to not sit and write something. But the husband would hear nothing of the sort and shoo-ed me away to write. The theme was to write a story in which a character finds an object that he or she has no intention of returning.
I wrote out more than a few stories. I had almost decided on this one, but the daughter was so disgusted by the story, that she would not let me send it in. I have written a good many stories for her age group over the past few years and she has always been my trusted reviewer and critic. I love discussing my writing with her. Sometimes, the insights she offers can only come from a child her age and yet seem far more reasoned than I had supposed from someone her age. So, I honored her and did not send this one in, but decided to put it up on my blog instead.
The Lost Heart
This story is about a young girl called Fibrill who found a heart. A human heart.
The object repulsed her, but she bent down and picked it up anyway like she usually did. This time, a longing engulfed her. The mass felt alien to her hands, but she persevered. She could give it to her mother and maybe that would make her happy. Yes that was it. She ran with the heart in her hands. She was running along the clouds as fast as her legs and the dead weight of the heart would allow her to. But the heart was not dead yet. It was still pulsing and throbbing.
As she burst into the kitchen through the back-door, her mother looked shocked. “What is this?”
“A human heart! A human heart….can you check if it is alive?”
“Oh dear. I wonder who is missing it. Give it to me.” said her mother rushing to her side.
Her mother touched the edge of her nose. She saw the familiar transformation as her nose turned blue and the electric blue from her nose tip spread to all the nerve endings in her body. “Fibrill! Give me the heart right now. There is still hope left.”
The shot of blue pulsed through the heart and Fibrill’s inside, but this time Fibrill did not part with the heart. It was her heart now.
The man, whose heart it was, lay limp on Earth below.
The daughter did not know the word, but I told her that the word she was looking for was ‘Morbid’. Her expression said it all. Never one to hold back, she said, “Amma – you usually write things that make people happy, how could you write this?”
“Didn’t this make you happy?”. I love needling her.
“No way! This makes no one happy. A heart is lovely – like this! ” she said indignantly and drew me a heart on a post-it note. I must say that is the way I like hearts too. Beautiful and full of throbbing love.
Please let me know what you think of the story.
PS: Ideally, I would have loved to finish the story differently, but the requirement was to have the person not return what they found.