Melissa looked from the gaping wound in her chest to the still-beating heart in her hand, and said, “Fuck.”
“Mummy, you promised you wouldn’t swear anymore.” Penny said.
Melissa looked down at her daughter, and back at the organ which twitched one last time, before stilling. “You’re right, baby girl. I did say that, but this is a special occasion.” She handed the heart to her little girl, and watched her skip off with the organ clutched in both hands. There was less blood than she would have thought; almost none, in fact. She stitched the wound closed while her daughter went about her business. By the time Penny returned to her side, there was no evidence of anything out of the ordinary. “Did you hide it?” she asked.
Penny nodded. “I did, mummy. It’s…”
“What did I tell you, Penny dear? You can’t tell anyone where it is, not even me.”
“Yes mummy. I still don’t see why.” her daughter said, twirling her index finger in her long blonde hair, and peering around distractedly.
Melissa took her daughter by the hand, and pulled the toddler into her lap. “I don’t need that heart anymore, baby girl. I have you. You’re my heart now.”
“And now you’ll never die?” Penny asked, her voice quavering with what sounded like fear, but Melissa knew from experience was actually jealousy.
“That’s right, and when you’re old enough, and you have a daughter of your own, you’ll be able to do the same.”
“I love you, mummy,” her daughter said. The words meant nothing to Melissa. She remembered a time when they would have meant the world to her, but things change, and sacrifices must be made.
# # #
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.”