Melissa looked from the gaping wound in her chest to the still-beating heart in her hand, and said, “Fuck.”
To which the heart replied, pulsing with every syllable, “Hello to you too.”
Melissa screamed and stumbled backwards, dropping the heart like it was burning hot. As she tripped and fell on her bed, the heart bounced on the floor.
And stayed there spurting blood rhythmically.
“Okay, that wasn’t a good start,” it commented in its high-pitched voice. “Look, I — what’s that sound?”
That turned out to be the cat, which jumped from behind the armchair with an ear-splitting shriek and landed over the heart, surfing on it to the other side of the bedroom and leaving a trail of blood on the floorboards.
“No! Midas! NO!” shouted Melissa, grabbing the cat by the collar and pulling him off. “Bad kitty! BAD KITTY!!”
She carried the cat to the door, opened it a little and threw it out. She slammed the door shut and leaned on it, wishing for just a few seconds of silence so she could ger her head straight and —
“I think I like kitties better when I’m hiding safely behind your organs,” said the heart, beating nervously fast.
Upon hearing “organs”, Melissa looked down at her chest. Her ribcage was exposed and had a fist-sized hole on it.
“That’s easily fixed,” said the heart cheerily. “It doesn’t even hurt, does it!”
“I’m dead, right? I just died.”
“Nope, I just needed a little chat. Can you pick me up off the floor? I wouldn’t like to take any germs into your thoracic cavity when I go back.”
Trying not to think about how exactly that whole “going back” thing was going to work, Melissa stumbled over to the heart and tried to pick it up, but it kept slipping.
“For fuck’s sake, girl! Just wrap your fingers around me!”
Melissa gritted her teeth in disgust and grabbed the heart. Blood slid down her hand as she moved the disgustingly spongy thing to her bedsheets as quickly as she could.
“I don’t get it,” said the heart as Melissa wiped her hand clean on the sheets. “There’s five liters of blood running in your veins and you can’t get a little on your…”
She finally lost her patience. “Look, what the FUCK?!”
The heart skipped a beat.
“Okay, I get it,” it said. “You’re confused. This is not a normal occurrence. You’re afraid you’ll drop dead any moment now. But relax, I’ll just be a moment. Why don’t you sit down?”
She scowled at the heart. Then she angrily grabbed a chair, dragged it loudly to the front of the bed and sat with almost enough force to push the legs of the chair into the floor.
“First off,” said the heart, “I should say you have a hell of a scream. You screamed your heart out! Hehehehehe. Get it? Get… okay, sorry, just trying to lighten the mood a little.”
“Get to the point.”
The heart sighed. Seriously, the heart sighed. “Very well. This is about your boyfriend Kevin.”
“What about him?”
“He’s breaking me.”
Melissa just stared blankly.
“He’s breaking me!” it repeated. “Me! Your heart!”
“How so? I like him.”
“Stop lying to yourself. What has he done for you lately? And by lately I mean the last year.”
“He… well, he’s my boyfriend!”
The heart shaped itself in a way that somehow resembled a sarcastic eyebrow.
“Really. I thought boyfriends were supposed to care for you, to love you, to give you attention! And yet, you’re always the one who calls, you’re always doing the things he wants, you give him blowjobs and he doesn’t eat you out…”
“Oh, that’s not something you should say to your heart…”
“How can you talk about these things?! It’s personal!”
“I’m your heart, woman!” it shouted, hopping up and down with every word like a wounded frog on amphetamines. “When he said ‘I love you’ for the first time, what was the first thing you remember feeling?”
The memory came back to Melissa instantly. She felt a sting of nostalgia and let out a small chuckle, looking away at the window and listening to the crickets. It was so melodramatic the heart had to hold back the urge to laugh.
“You,” she answered. “Beating faster.”
“Yes. And you were in love with him then,” the heart paused, and bitterly added, “and so was I.”
Melissa looked back at the heart, bleeding on the bedsheets. It was beating very faintly now, sad.
“No, I don’t anymore,” it clarified. “And you don’t either.”
“I do!” she said, her eyes glistening.
“It hurts, doesn’t it? To say that?” it insisted. “Because you know it’s a lie.”
She grabbed a pillow and covered the heart with it. In tears, she stormed out of the bedroom, slamming the door so hard it was amazing it didn’t break the frame and open to the other side.
The heart rolled its eyes. As much as it could with no eyes.
“Three, two, one…”
There was the sound of a door opening, and then the pillow was taken off and tossed aside. Melissa sat back down, wiping her wet eyes with a handkerchief.
“Go on,” she said weakly.
“Well, not much else to say,” muttered the heart. “You’re staying with him out of habit and a faint hope he’ll go back to what he used to be.”
“He’s still what he used to be,” said Melissa. “But me and him, you know, as a couple, are not.”
“He didn’t snore back then…”
“Okay, except for that.”
“And the first orgasm of the night wasn’t the last orgasm of the night, and that orgasm took more than thirty seconds to…”
“And that, yes.”
Melissa just stared sadly at the blood-covered floor. In an attempt to show affection, the heart hopped from the bed to her lap. This showered her in blood, but the intention was nice.
“Look,” it said, “you’re wasting so much on that guy. You deserve better.”
“What if I don’t find someone else? What if I’m lonely?”
“C’mon, Lissa. You’re pretty. They’re MEN. They’ll find YOU.”
“Isn’t that generalizing a bit…?”
“ALL MEN ARE PERVERTED BASTARDS.”
“It’s my job to remind you of that when your brain tries to convince you otherwise.”
They just stared at each other, the heart waiting for a decision and Melissa thinking of one. Some minutes passed quietly.
“So,” she said, “what do you want me to do?”
“What? That’s it?” said the heart. “An eternity of thinking to ask ME what to do?”
“Look, you’re the one with all the advice, aren’t you?” said Melissa, annoyed.
“I thought it would be obvious by now. You must break up with him.”
“Shit,” she muttered. “And how do I drop this on him…”
“Send him an e-mail.”
Melissa widened her eyes, horrified. “What?! An e-mail?”
“Yeah, you know, type up something nice and poetic. Or failing that, just a ‘fuck you’.”
“You don’t break up by e-mail!”
“Didn’t he congratulate you for your latest birthday via text message?”
Melissa blushed. “… yes.”
“So fuck him. And on that note, I really should go back.”
“Yeah, I was wondering how that would work…”
“It’s simple, really.”
And without warning the heart hopped from her lap and into the hole in her chest. She let out a little shriek. The hole closed by itself like it had never been there. That was pretty much the only thing the heart cleaned up, since after it hopped all over her bedroom, it now looked like a crime scene.
“And for my sake, woman,” said its voice from within her thorax, muffled, “stop eating fast food.”
# # #
Submitted for the 11/09 challenge, “Heart.”
This story was written in response to the prompt, Melissa looked from the gaping wound in her chest to the still-beating heart in her hand, and said, “Fuck.”
Andre actually submitted three stories for this challenge, and all of them were excellent, so I’m going to run all three! Watch this space. To see more of Andre’s work, check out his site.