With a gentle touch she strokes each heart where she has placed it in the chest to ensure it is still warm and beating and that all of them are still accounted for. Sometimes they just vanish into thin air when she isn’t looking.
It is a burden, she thinks to herself. No one knows quite what it means to look after them all. A sad smile curves her lips, wishing didn’t help, nothing did. Every so often another heart would be added to the collection for her to care for, making it her duty no matter how much she protested.
People are so careless with their hearts, she thinks and sighs. I never wanted any of this, but now I am stuck. Another sigh escapes her lips and, her duty done for another day, she leaves the room of hearts.
She had so treasured the first heart given to her a long time ago, but she had since come to realise that people are reckless when it comes to matters of the heart; no real thought goes into choosing the right caretaker and often it meant nothing. However, she could not and would not take the matter lightly. Hearts need to be tended to and looked after or they will wither and die, not unlike a garden.
Maybe that is why she has added the mosses and ivy and the pond to her room of hearts, to make it more like a garden and herself a gardener. Just another way to deceive herself of what she knew.
Each heart added to her collection is like a vampire, not sucking her blood but a little of her soul and will to live. Not every heart, the first one still nurtures her with its sweetness and innocence, but the others, given to her without a thought and true commitment, each and everyone a promise broken, are vampires, all of them.
Yet, here she is tending to them.
She locks the door and hangs the key around her neck again. The chore behind her done for another day, but there will be tomorrow and the day after, until one day she won’t be here any longer.
It could and should have been so different. There should be only one heart for her to tend to and to nurture her, but when things go wrong, they usually go really, really wrong. So now there is this whole collection of hearts, all of them without the meaning they should have had for one special person and with happy-ever-after suspended until eternity.
The heart collector goes to her bed holding the key around her neck on its blue ribbon and wishes, wishes so hard for something to release her. She falls asleep dreaming of a world shaped like a heart and a song on the wind and a loom.
To be continued….
© Sybille Sterk
Do not copy or publish this in any way, shape or form without my written permission.
Another instalment in my Secret Keeper Series.
The Story so far:
The Secret Keeper
The Secret in the Wall
The Secret in the Wall Part II
The Secret in the Wall Part III
The Secret in the Wall Part IV
The Secret in the Wall Part V
The Story Weaver
The Secret Keeper, Part II, Pandora
The Secret Keeper, Part III, Alexandra
The Secret Keeper, Part IV, Chosen
The Secret in the Wall (Part VI) and The Secret Keeper, Part V, A Promise Kept
The Secret Keeper, Part V, Black Orchid
The Secret Keeper, Part VII, The Naming
The Secret Keeper Part VIII: The Beast
The Secret Keeper Part IX: Old Friends