I was suddenly so happy to go at the end. And then as the chain progressed, I wished I could have gone first. I mean, I can't compete with Avon-calling knights and the emotion of a ballad.
Nevertheless, I did what I always do. I pressed forward. Wrote something. Couldn't figure out how to put the heart in it. You see, the loverly Ms. Verday said this: Ready? This week's topic is going to make all your writers out there have to...WRITE! I want a short story people. 100 words, 300 words, 500 words, 1,000 words - whatever you're comfortable with! The only requirement I have is that the theme of the story have something to do with HEARTS. Someone stealing someone else's heart. Someone pining away for true love. A thief of hearts... Go wild!!
Yeah, wild all right. Her inspiration came from a poem Kate posted on her blog a while back.
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."
I have to say that I am not the world's biggest poetry fan. But when Kate posted that, I printed it. So I can see where Jess got the inspiration. Abi posted before me, and Terri will be dazzling us with her hearts tomorrow.
So on to my story. I tried to write something light and funny and quirky and YA. Yeah, that didn't work. It sounded so forced. Sometimes the quirk just doesn't flow from my fingertips. Other times, I'm a hoot without even trying.
It must have been a dark day, cuz this is what I ended up with. It's 465 words, which I must say is a new record for me. I don't think I've ever written anything under 500 words before. Not even a blog post! LOL.
A Single Moment
He leans against the door. Waiting. Always waiting. For the most part, he’s gotten used to the waiting. The hypnotic scent of popcorn wafts down the hall. Every office should have a popcorn maker. He congratulates himself for suggesting it. Wishes they could have more time to use it. Really enjoy it.
Rich yellow light bathes him, the color of golden honey, the color of surprise and joy at a birthday party, the color of the popcorn. She’s coming.
He hears her heartbeat before the door opens. Tastes it. Breathes it into his soul.
He craves it.
If only the delicious woman in the crisp business suit didn’t have to die.
He waits across the hall. Watches.
She eats popcorn. Laughs.
The yellow light blazes to orange and he knows he won’t have to wait much longer.
Still, he hates to end her life. Surely she has a family, people who care about her, things she wants to do before she dies.
They all do.
And so he waits. His heart doesn't twitch.
Her heart beats with life, with ignorance.
And she’s going to die.
People pass, blurs of color that don't blend with the pulsing tangerine light. Only minutes now.
He’s running through a list of possible explanations for her death when it happens.
The sound is loud, even to him. Especially to him. Enough to set the little hairs on the back of his neck on end. Screeching metal, like that train wreck he waited through last week. Shattering, then moaning of wood, glass and steel.
It all comes from behind the closed break room door.
Screams cover the trembling walls. Phones are dialed. Tears fall. The door won't open. Smoke curls up from the gap at the bottom, and he breathes it in, recognizing the greasy calmness of machinery.
He abandons his post across the hall. Her pulse is thready now, barely strumming in his senses.
He needs it. Wants it. Through the oily smoke and honey-colored light, the soothing blanket of her heartbeat fades.
He passes through the wall and finds her on the floor. Thick, wet smears of red drown her. As does the car that has plowed through the side of the building. Un-popped popcorn kernels float in the oily river issuing across the hardwood, spilled from the now-mangled maker.
He kneels. Reaches down. Cradles her soul, enveloping it in the golden warmth of her pulsing heart.
It calms him. Becomes part of him. Welcomes him.
As she relinquishes her hold over life, he sends her home, his heart full and alive and beating for a single moment.
Later that afternoon, the aroma of fresh-cut grass drifts on a lilting breeze. On the park bench, his senses painted green and lush, he's waiting. Always waiting.
So...whaddya think? Tell me anything, but don't tell me you don't like present tense. It is my new love. I *heart* writing in present tense.