Matters of the Heart

Jessica Verday started the QueryTracker Blog Chain topic this week.  To my delight, it was a creative writing project rather than our usual fare of personal writing process disclosure.  

She began the assignment with a poem written by Stephen Crane she discovered quoted on Kate Quinn’s blog.

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said: “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter-bitter,” he answered;
“But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart.”

                                          -Stephen Crane

The challenge Jess assigned was to write a short story–in my case, very, very short– 250 words.  The only stipulation was that a heart must be a feature somewhere in the story.  The post preceding mine is Terri Rainer’s. Thank you, Terri, for suggesting the title for my little story.

 

bleeding_heart-18111

 

The Offering

Crimson drops splatter the stark white surface. He blinks back tears and consciously slows his breathing to keep his hands from shaking. So much at stake. No room for error. No, this won’t do at all.

He realizes he must apply what he knows about her in order to succeed.  She loves the sunshine and is afraid of dark places. Her favorite color is green. Yes.  That’s it!  The answer was here all the time. He washes his hands and the swirling water fades from red to pink to crystal clear. He has removed all evidence.  She will never know. 

 Barely able to contain her excitement, she peeks under the lid of the box.  She reaches in and wraps her fingers around his gift.  One of many, but it caught her eye. This heart wasn’t like the rest of her offerings.  It was misshapen, as if hacked out in haste.  Ripped out, perhaps?

She glances across the room at him and he lowers his eyes.  She loves his shyness.  After turning the heart over in her hands several times, she examines the others in the box.  His heart is by far the best.   Her favorite.  It is crafted from green construction paper with “Be my Valentine” penned in black crayon.  Although his name isn’t on it, he’s the only person in second grade who knows her favorite color.  Her own heart feels pinched as she holds his and watches him pick red tempra paint from under his nails. 

 

Heather Dyer is next in this chain.  Click here to read her story.  

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13 Comments on “Matters of the Heart”

  1. Christine Fonseca Says:

    I love this Mary…nicely done.

  2. H. L. Dyer Says:

    You sneaky thing. =)

    I am no help to you with titles, as I am overtired and drawn to the punniest options.

    Love this, though. 😉

  3. Terri Rainer Says:

    I must be a warped individual, because here I was, picturing a nice gory mess! Just enough description to let your mind run away…great job!

    How about “The Offering”? Probably lame, I know, but it’s all I’ve got.

    🙂 Terri

  4. marylindsey Says:

    Oooo. “The Offering.” I like it.

  5. Elana Says:

    Oooh, nice. I had to read it twice (and that rhymes!), but I loved it. Um, titles? I threw mine in at the last moment because everyone else had a title. So I’m of no help. 🙂


  6. How about “A Heart of a Different Color” for the title?

    Nice twist here! Not what I expected at first.

  7. marylindsey Says:

    LOL, Sandra. Cute title.

  8. Michelle Says:

    Loved it! I was all set for a gooey gory delight and got a sweet tug of the heart strings instead 😀 Excellent!


  9. Like, Elana, I also had to read it twice just to see exactly how I was led astray the first time. Awesome twist ending, and a superb story. Bravo!

  10. Annie Says:

    Awesome, awesome! My brain was all, “Which way is she going with this?”
    I liked the details of the water changing to clear as he washed his hands, and better yet how she noticed him picking the red paint from his fingernails.

  11. Suzette Saxton Says:

    LOL! Great post, Mary. You had me going too! What about a title that is some sort of play on “your heart is in my hands” ???

  12. Alicia Says:

    What a fun piece of flash fiction! I started the scene picturing a grown man washing blood from his hands and planning some sort of strange ritualistic bit of magic. Quite entertaining to see where the piece led in the end. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  13. Kat Says:

    How cute! I love it.


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