Goodness

Goodness is often overlooked and easily forgotten. It seems humanity is consumed with and focuses their every day life and thoughts with the selfish and evil ways of the world. With what is so easily made more important in the corrupted and dazed eyes of people today, it’s not hard to believe that they have failed to remember that goodness is praying for others, allowing your best friend to cry on your couture shoulder, skipping parties to reminisce with your 82 year old grandmother, being DD at your favorite bands show, advising your friends to change their mind about the stupid mistake their about to make, giving the enemy the benefit of the doubt, selflessness, sheltering the betrayer, taking a lost dog home, scoring a goal for your little brother, sending cards the months before, during, and after Christmas, making time when there isn’t time, not asking for gas money (not just asking for rides places either), going above and beyond, loving to the moon, further, then maybe back, offering to give the last slice of pepperoni pizza away before snatching it for yourself, letting your parents know how everyday was at Coachella, teaching little league- after practice, honesty in everything you do, taking the bullet, practicing what you preach, and overall being intentionally moral in your decision making. Goodness is something that should be prided over, but is naturally meek and humble; therefore it is shoved to the back of the line of our everyday thoughts and memories. It’s a shame to say that it’s food for thought, when realizing that a great deal of us complain that the world is a place full of malice, distrust, and despair, but goodness is so rarely recognized and practiced.

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Curtains

Abracadabra commonly causes my disappearances.
I am a magician, and although I’m skilled with the gift of wondrous fascination, I bare no audience.
It’s solemn that any commoner comes out of their way to my performances; It’s typical that I preform on my lonesome.
Even so, I wish my non-existent, hopeless, and devoted, would pray for me to reappear as much as I pray for them to.
My prides and joys are incomplete without them for there’s no meaning, purpose, or will, and without that,
I am no magician.
I long to be known, I crave to be sought after, and tirelessly advertise my talents, but nobody ever truly arrives and stays for an encore.
Tickets go unsold, seats accompanied by particles of dust, the theatre of my heart consoled by only cobwebs and their makers.
But the show must go on and so must my agony.
Like magic, nothing grand seems to really be altruistic, consistent, or genuine.
So abracadabra, I will disappear once more, and my fans will never shed a tear.

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Dead Insides (Pt. 1)

10 a.m. and for the 2nd week in a row I’ve missed school. I stretch my arms slowly and rub what is now, for the first time in my life, my bald head. My fingers meet air as I run them through my non-existent hair, a past normal routine for myself. It used to be like waking up and saying to myself “good morning, you’re still beautiful”. I’m still not used to this. My head throbs, and my brain is melting. Quite literally. More things I guess I need to get used too, more things that the mess has caused. Before I had to buzz off my locks, a great majority of people in school would call me Rapunzel. My hair was a prized possession of mine and the mess ripped yet another one of my greatest qualities from my grasp. If I had gone another day without just getting rid of it, I would have looked like a psychopath that anxiously rips their hair out or maybe a cancer patient. Clumps and clumps of my hair would just fall off my head, and sometimes you could see the skin follicles on the ends of them. Due to such massive hair loss, it would cause my scalp to bleed and blessed me with a plethora of scabs as well. I was beautiful before the mess happened. I was an eighteen year old goddess and there’s no doubt that I was considered a queen of my peers.
My Name is Rorie Questin, short for Victoria, and I was a senior at Rolling Hills Highschool and about to graduate before the mess happened and ruined everything my life had to offer.
Boys adored me, I was head cheerleader, I dated the star quarter back, I was the center of all rumors, and every teacher adored me. I was every cliché, popular, high school girl and truthfully I wore the title like a shiny crown upon my bleach blonde head. I loved my life. I got away with everything, and I mean everything. Hypothetically speaking, going from queen to freak show wasn’t exactly in the agenda.
Get up Rorie, I had to concentrate extra hard these days. Simply getting up in the morning was a challenge because my body was beginning to become naturally slow now. I pushed myself off my fluffy white bed and in the most pathetic way possible, gimped towards the bathroom to get ready for nearly the 93rd day that I’d been living like this. It had been 3 months since well.. the mess. The mess, the mess, the mess.
As I gimped about 20 feet across my hardwood floors I contemplated if I actually wanted to turn the lights on once I entered my bathroom.
Rorie, you were fearless before this, turn on the god damn lights for Christ sake. My fingers start quivering and my stomach feels as if it has an ant hill congregating inside it as I raise my hand towards the light switch. Exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale.
“Click”.
One look at myself and I start heaving like a cat does when it had a hairball stuck within the depths of its belly and my eyes flood and tears rush down my face. I’m hyperventilating. Not only am I bald and scabbed, the muscle in my right side of my face is beginning to droop, and if I’m guessing correct, I believe I swallowed a tooth of mine in my sleep. And I’m not one of those freaks that still have baby teeth as a senior in high school, that was my adult, permanent upper left canine tooth. I start wailing uncontrollably, and my body decides to give up and I collapse on the floor. The room begins to spin and vibrate at the same time causing me to spew a thick, green, acidic substance out of my mouth and nose. “What the fuck is happening to me?!”, I screamed as loud as my vocal chords could possibly humor me for because the spew nearly burnt them to nothing. The mess.
I had no other way to describe it. It left my life a complete and udder mess, thus that is the name this situation, originally called ‘my life’, has been renamed.
I can remember the day it happened as if it was happening all over again. The memory takes me over like a possession and often when I think of it I begin to scream and my eyes recede into the back of my head. It’s terrifying, for both myself and the unlucky bastard that’s in my presence. My teeth grit so hard that they ache and causing migraines that feel as if someone is grinding gritty stones on my temples for hours on end. I am the literal and physical definition of a shit show.
My home nurse hears my cries and finds me crippled and nearly lifeless lying on my bathroom floor like a dead baby bird that’s just fallen out of its nest. Horrified at the sight of me in my bright pink, furry, pjs matted and soaked in my own spew she gags because the smell is almost suffocating and the site is unbelievably pitiful.
“Come on sweetheart, let’s clean you up”, she cooed like my mama bird even though everything in her being told her to run away fast.
“Don’t even touch me”, I growled back.
Why did I need her help? I knew what she really thought. I knew she was only doing this for a pay check. I knew. I tried pushing myself up and the room began to vibrate, the fluorescent lights traced trails, and the acidic green lava shot back up my throat and straight onto the floor.
“Please Rorie, let me help you!”
“I SAID DO NOT TOUCH ME.”
The nurse stared as a human would stare at the remainders of road kill and her eyes began to grow wider, her jaw slowly widening. I knew that face all too well. Memories rushed back through my head as I lay limp in the acid on my hardwood floors. It was fuming steam but my body froze and convulsed as my eyes started to recede into the back of my head. Not again, please not this again.
***
“God, specialty lunch again? You’ve got to be joking me”, my best friend Darien squawked as we stood with disappointment amongst the assembly line of students waiting for their meal to slop onto their tray. Specialty lunch was a Wednesday cafeteria normal at Rolling Hills; nearly everybody hated it, even the lunch lady. If you ate it, it was considered the same as eating a palate of shit, and my friends and I were the girls who would make your life a living hell if we figured out.
“Oh my dear god”, Darian opened her crow mouth once more, “Please, get a good look at Samantha Marqie.”
If there was one word I could use to describe whilst staring at Samantha, it’d be failure. Samantha Regan Marqie, was a know-it-all, sniffly, weakling, and it made me disgusted that people like her shared the same air as me. The girl had never done one thing to me, I just didn’t want her wandering around my living space. She was a nobody to most, but you could almost always catch her being the butt-end of almost all of my ring of relentless jokes; and sure enough, there Samantha was, shoveling down a plate full of specialty shit, waiting to become my target.  I immediately left the lunch line and Darien puppy-dogged behind me after sniffing out the situation, and now about to receive her treat.
“So Samantha,” I inquired curiously, yet demanding ” Do lick your dog’s butthole too, when you get home?”-que laughing cafeteria. It was like someone flashed the “Laugh now” sign, during a live sitcom  show.
“No,” Samantha replied as a mouse  and squinted at the floor.
“Do I look like Quazi Moto, Samantha?”,  I was playing house cat.
“No”
“Then quit looking at the floor while I speak to you”, and I ate her up.
The cafeteria was riled up now, yelling profanities at Samantha, whistling my name, throwing trash in her direction. I sucked in the air of accomplishment, and then the most beautiful thing happened, I could see them arise in the corners of her eyes, welling up and glistening in the flourescent lunch room lights like diamonds, and a small smirk rose on my face and they traced down her cheeks. Tears, glorious, glorious, tears. These were the moments I lived for, to watch someone’s soul crumple up into their stomach, and watch them  slowly begin to hate themselves. And the tears, oh the tears were so magnificent. Now it was time to end this and put my signature on the entire ordeal. Closing in on her personal space, and with my lips almost grazing her earlobe, I let these words flow out of my mouth and into the very center of her ear and core of her being, I whispered
“I hate that people like you are alive on this earth,” My breasts now lightly pressing up on her shoulders and long blonde hair resting ever so perfectly along her back, “Someone should put a bullet right through your head.”
Mouse swallowed.
Samantha stepped over the bench side, snatched up her rolling backpack, and raced for the cafeteria doors.
“Oh, Samantha you forgot your plate!”, I yelled out the doors. I guess you could consider it as the closer to my stand up act for the day. I left with an applauding crowd of followers, and a satisfied lunch room full of degenerates. I was queen.
***
A few days later, I had realized that Samantha wasn’t attending school, it had nearly been a week since she was there and picking on some of the other socially crippled creatures of Rolling Hills wasn’t nearly as satisfying. It wasn’t long before I figured out her wherabouts though through a desperate sophomore who wanted to be part of the “elite” peers. Deal was that if she found out the cause of Samantha’s unattended school nonsense, she’d be able to try out twice for cheer squad if she screwed up.
“So, what’s the deal?”, I pretended to be enthusiastic.
“Uhmm.. well, I found her wandering around the woods with her dog. That’s the only thing she’s really been up too.”, the sophomore reported nervously.
“wait, what?”, this was confusing.
“Honest I swear, Rorie. She was just looking around the woods and having her dog sniff on an old racoon tail. What a freak right?”, she tried to reassure me that she was doing her job.
I let out an elongated sigh, “Ok, you can go now”, and I shooed her away with dismay and a flick of my wrist.
Nature walks? Seriously, she had to take a week off for the woods? Heads were going to roll whenever she decided to show her face around again. Sure enough a few days later, the wheeling of her enormous, pregnant, book laden, boulder of a backpack could be heard from any corner of the school. There was no doubt that I was out for blood, and about seventy-five percent of the school knew it because heads rotated from left to right as I stampeded down the hallways.  I was a fighter jet plane, and I had just found my landing post.
“Where have you be-“, I started to say, but was interrupted because something was stranger than normal about Samantha. I glanced over her with irritation as normal, she was hunched over into her bottom locker halfway, back curled up, and one of her forearms suction cupped to her chest; her skin was paler and looked sticky and shiny, like she hadn’t taken a bath for a few days, she definitely smelt like she hadn’t.
“God, you are more of a disappointment than normal, but I gotta admit Samantha, this takes guts to come back the way you have”, I  was only beginning my reign. My words could have sliced a human being in half, I couldn’t imagine the condition of her self-esteem.  I shot at her with adjectives, metaphors, and a description of my hatred for her that would have made any normal human being check themself into a psychiatric ward. Puffing up and down furiously, her chest started convulsing and her breathing fastened in just an instant. While continuing to word murder her, I started laughing- rather sooner than later I figured out that this was a mistake.
Like a flash, Samantha stood completely straight up from her locker, too quickly in fact. Her eyes were wide, bloodshot, and had a milky film over them that looked me dead in mine. Her mouth foamed, and foamed emmensly  leaving droppings of small puffs of bubbled spit onto the tile of the locker room. What used to be Samanthas long curly red hair was now what seemed to be a tangled chopped up, worse edition of the chucky doll, mess. My skin crawled and I wouldn’t have been suprised if it was about to leap off my body and run away. I was in complete and total shock, frozen in front of hundreds of students and one very demented and tormented human being.
Samantha said one thing to me in her defense. Out of the countless times I had destroyed her in front of the general public, she said one thing that will haunt me for the rest of my life.
“Look. LOOK AT WHAT YOU DID.”
My eyes bulged, my breath left my lungs, and the very next second Samantha sprinted towards me sank her heinous, piss colored, teeth into my forearm, and broke my skin. Blood rounded the outskirts of her mouth, and the foam melted over my arm as I screamed in agony and fainted.

End Pt. 1

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Burnt

“Love is a cruel thing! Isn’t it Jamie?! Accept his love Jamie!” my psychopath grandmother screamed at me as I quickly walked down my oak wood stairs towards the front door.
“Shut up!”, I weakly yelled back because frustration clouded my mind from any other response.
I couldn’t take it any longer. I wanted to make this all stop and just get lost. I wish my parents would have left me on the streets as a child instead of with this insane, narrow-minded, prune of a woman. They could have at least warned me that she was batshit crazy. ”SLAM, CLICK-SNAP, BANG BANG BANG” went my anger as I closed the door, locked it, and let my fist pound it’s exterior all in one fit of rage. I let my forehead rest on fresh wound of the door, and took a deep breath. She is utterly out of her mind. What other kind of woman reads bible scriptures to you whilst throwing dinner plates straight at your face? Oh that’s right, only my crazy grandma. Funny thing is, that’s not even the worst of it.
I’ve been dealing with this since I was five. My bible thumper grandmother, Suzan, took me into her thin, veiny, cold arms one winter night when my parents went on vacation to the Virgin Islands and never came back. I will never know what happened to them because Suzan refuses to tell me why ”Satan ripped them from my grasp”. Ever since that dreary december, Grandma has subjected me to both physical and mental abusement through ”the holy word”.
I cursed every step across my wooden porch and grabbed way of transportation out of this hell hole home. I hopped on my chariot, my grace, my getaway train of a bike, and rode away and listened as her still screaming, crooked, voice disappeared in the distance. Finally, peace a quiet.
I rode to a 7/11, and dug some change out of my pocket. I was due for a cherry slurpy. I went inside, grabbed the largest cup they had, and filled it to the brim with delicious, red, liquid sugar. I grabbed a straw, and used the mini shovel half of it to give my tastebuds a little teaser before I paid for this gas station luxury. Instant gratification.
“That’ll be 79 cents”, says Rodney the cashier. Rodney was stoned out of his now half melted mind; and if it wasn’t for the fact that I knew the price by heart I would have never been able to tell what words seemed to somehow slither out of his mouth. I laughed as I picked through my pocket change. This made my night a bit better. Laughing at other people’s stupidity was one of my favorite things to do. I like any other frustrated, hormonal, emotionally unstable, teenager, hated humanity. As I picked through dimes and pennies, something glorious caught the corner of my eye. It shined in the fluorescent light of 7/11 like it was heaven-sent. It was a lighter.
“how much for one of those?”, I questioned.
Rodney forced out a “I don’t know man” which actually sounded like “i dunnnnooo maaahn.”
“I’ll give you a dollar”.
“Yeeeuhhh”.
I waltzed out of the dirty gas station flicking on and off my new shiny purchase. There was infinite amount of fun a 17 year old boy could do with a lighter, but I was just happy flick away. I sat on the curb with my slurpy, in a trance with my plastic prize. It was almost like a little light of hope for me. If my grandmother knew I was both playing with fire, and sipping liquid candy, she’d ring my neck. Quite literally. The sweetness reminded me of a not so fond memory of myself being forced to stick my fingers down my throat to puke up my sins after bringing home jolly ranchers from school. “THE ONLY SWEET YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE IS THE LORD.”, her voice rang in my mind as if it was yesterday. Anger slowly creeped it’s way back into my being and I buried my head in my arms.
“The Virgin Islands are probably lame in winter”, I muttered into the crossed sleeves of my black sweater. Now disgusted, I trashed my slurpy, hopped on my bike, and rode home. She’s probably waiting. I pushed my peddles and dreaded what awaited me back at the house. As soon as I arrived I put my bike back on the side of the porch, and quietly opened the door. The house was dark, and chilling. Being that a great majority was wooden, placing one foot in the wrong position caused it to groan and eek. It was as if the house was dying, or constantly whining. Maybe it was just as sick of being there as I was.
I took one step and ”EEEEEERRRRHHHHHEEEEKKKK”. I had already screwed up. Lights flashed on in Suzan’s room and my instincts immediately told me to make a mad dash for mine.
“JAMIE? JAMIEEE.”, her demon mouth squealed.
“GOODNIGHT.”, I yelled in hopes of her not coming out of her room.
I briskly walked up my stairs, down the hallway, and through my open doorway to my room. I had my door removed because I apparently didn’t need privacy. If I was doing anything outside of the 10 commandments, she wasn’t about to let it slide. Not that I could even if I wanted too. My room was completely barren. No computer, no television, just the bible and dated 1980’s furniture. Yeah ok grandma, I hope that you don’t catch me jacking off to Philippians 2:18.
I fell on my bed, and listened for her light switch to turn off, waited about 15 minutes in silence and supposed that she had fell asleep. Laying wide awake staring at the ceiling, I just flicked on and off my lighter again. Hope. I racked my brain of all the things I hated about her and I could not think of one good thing to counter it. I had to get out. Seventeen Years was enough. Get out NOW Jamie. Now or never. This was about to happen. Sitting up, I placed my feet on the cold floorboards and grabbed my school back pack. I packed the majority of my clothes, my toothbrush, and some cash I had stashed away to get me a bus ride and if I was smart enough with it, food for a month. As quick as it seems, I walked out of my room confident and feeling as if this was the smartest decision I’ve ever made. No creaks, no squeals of the floorboards, I just walked. I opened the front door, closed it, and grabbed my bike wheeling it off my porch, as soon as my feet touched the sidewalk I felt instantly liberated. Something was missing though.
No? I had remembered everything I’d ever need? I took the lighter out my jacket pocket and flicked it on hoping it would give me some sort of idea as to what I was forgetting. Something screwed up popped into my head, and then it clicked. It was as if my inner demons were released.
She needed to go.
Flick, goes my lighter. My feet lead me to the back garage where I knew she kept a gallon of emergency gas in a small red container and they lead me back the front where I doused the entire wooden porch in it. It was as if a separate entity was in control, because there was no unconvincing myself of this. This town didn’t need to suffer her existence any longer and I sure as hell didn’t need the scare of her coming to look for me.
Flick. Kneel. Light. Walk. Hope.
I hopped on my bike, and felt satisfied. I was ready to start a new life, even if it meant completely from scratch. Almost by habit, the 6th commandment popped into my head. “Thou Shal not Murder” and I thought to myself,
Going to hell was going to be completely worth it.

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Nightmares

I trace the outskirts of his hands with my finger tips, and my pupils fixate on every precious movement he makes. He is dreaming and I hope he dreams of me, although it’s most unlikely. Am I dreaming? No this is too real. I know this to be evident because everything in this room reflects him as a person. Band posters, the plain white sheets strewn across his bed, clothing (both dirty and clean) scattered across the floor. It’s too good, this isn’t a dream. I’m staring at the very creases of his lips, and as every time I’ve seen him, they look absolutely beautiful when the light pours onto them. Did he invite me over last night? What does it matter, I’m here right? I’m half naked, sunken, into this beautiful creatures mattress and I’m questioning how I got here. The Man, boy rather, that I’ve drempt of since middle school is sleeping right next to me at this very moment, and I’m inquiring as to how I came into his quarters? I’m too stupid for my own good sometimes.
Stop Sara, you’re living your dreams. All those nights of caressing your pillow and pretending you were holding onto this boy, they weren’t just dreams. You just fulfilled them. Well, a little more than fulfilled. Kudos to me.
The street light from outside creeped it’s way through the blinds and found it’s way across his bare back and the sheets. Once again, I thought this was just too good to believe. I had to restrain my hand from pinching myself, this wasn’t a dream I wanted to wake up from. What I did need though, was a cigarette. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen between us after all this, and it was beginning to trigger my want for nicotine. I don’t know how, but a boy who barely knew me slept with me, probably never speak to me again, could feel ok. Yet I know his entire life from simply staring at him from a distance through middle and high school,and this situation is beginning to eat at me.
Stop Sara, go smoke your cigarette.
I quietly sit up to the best of my ability, yet his bed springs still let out an obnoxiously loud groan. I grabbed a large t-shirt from the floor, throw it on, and make my way to the balcony. His small, bachelor pad, of an apartment has the luxury of wooden floorboards, yet it looks like it’s been about a year since anyone has at least swept. The aroma of the apartment seems to be B.O. and axe, but it didn’t take me too long to figure out that it was just the shirt I was wearing. Honestly though, I woudn’t be surprised if that was just the natural odor of this hot mess home. Counters, tables, and furniture look like they’ve been decorated with dirty dishes, cigarette butts, and dog hair. This part I wish had been a dream. I must have really been drunk earlier to not have noticed any of this when I first arrived. I cracked open the sliding glass door and the mildly cold, blissful, atmosphere of the balcony welcomed me. I stretched and reached for my cigarettes I’d left out there from earlier on the ledge. I slip a cigarette between my lips and come to realize I forgot my lighter. Nothing is more frustrating.
I open the sliding glass door, step back onto the dust encrusted floorboards, and make my way back into his room. I don’t even make it to his hallway though before I feel like something isn’t the same. The house seems different, empty, unnerving. As I make my way down the hallway, I can see through his doorway, that he’s no longer in bed. A little startled, I stop in my tracks.
Stop Sara, he’s probably in the kitchen, or the bathroom. Either way, I need my lighter. I briskly walk into the room and scan for the baby blue lighter I had just bought earlier. The light that once looked lovely upon my sleepy dreamboy, now seemed to be slightly eerie. I begin to rush, I could really use that cigarette. Rummaging through piles of clothes, I become conscious of the fact that I had left it in my purse sitting on his lazy boy chair. Goosebumps raise although I only take a few steps from the bed pick my purse up from the lazy boy.  ’Wallah’, the lighter is right there. Out of sheer habit, I flick it on and like every time, the flame seems to amaze me and a small smirk raises on my face. All seems to be right again and I flick it off, but strangely out of the corner of my eye, something odd seemed to appear. I flick it on once more. It’s my shadow, it’s abnormally large and is becoming larger. Warm air reaches down my back, and my instincts tell me to turn around.
My eyes can’t be processing this. This isn’t real. “Donnie?!”, I scream out of confusion and utter terror. Did I mention his name was Donnie? It is him, and his flesh is literally crawling from underneath. His once beautiful lips have turned cracked and the sides of his mouth are now ripped fully from side to side leaving his jaw limp and hanging. Donnies arms and legs are moving and cracking as if he is shattering his bones with every step he takes. Stricken by fear, I am paralyzed and it doesn’t take more than a few seconds for him to grab me. Dear God, the stench that’s coming from his skin makes the t-shirt I’m wearing smell like roses. I want to cry and throw up at the same time, but my body only allows me stare in disbelief. He is an absolute monster and it’s sadistly comical that once again, I cannot seem take my eyes off him.
His nails dig into my shoulders, and his eyes begin to roll into the back of his head. Large sores begin to appear all over his body. Donnie, the boy I’ve loved since the 6th grade was touching me in every way I did not want him to touch me. Although he was a crippled mess, whatever seemed to have possessed him gave him incredible strength. Donnie snatched me up like a human does to a small dog and gripped me tight. Shaking profusely, I knew that moment I wasn’t going to make it out of this apartment alive tonight. He let out a low, raspy, moan type “Saaaraaaa”, as I was held still as a statue by his disgustingly crooked arms. And right before he threw me against the wall, I broke my neck and died, I thought
“well, at least he knew my name.”

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The Adventurer and Olive

T here once was young man, who lived amongst the unruly adventurers of the ocean. He docked a stone throw from the sea, and was fond and familiar with everyone within his village. He was good for a laugh, and was almost always eager and willing to be amongst his kinsmen. He was tall and handsome for such an explorer. This man was known among the people as Jack. His soul belonged to the wind, for he could never stay put, but was always on some kind of minor, yet exciting expedition. When the people spoke of him, smiles instantaneously raised the corners of their mouths in both envy and contentment to hear of such stories of uncanny wit. It seemed as if everything he could ever want was just within his reach, but he still could not help but feel an aching within the deepest crevices of his heart. This deeply bothered him, so he packed his satchel, and set out on yet another travel.

This journey was different; he concurred gruesome sea monsters, met the oldest and wisest of wizards, swam with the fairest mermaids, and still his heart shriveled within his chest. He only hoped that during this journey of his that he would find that one thing to fill that void. As small as it may have been, it bothered him like the small and constant dripping of water on one’s forehead. He searched farther than he had ever gone. Weeks passed, and finally Jack decided to return to his homeland. He trudged his feet and with every step the void ripped deeper and deeper. It wasn’t until he reached the very outskirts of his home that he collapsed from the poisons within his heart. His skin color turned grey, and the rip in his chest was now not only apparent, but gaping. If one was to remove his shirt, you could see straight into the very cavity within his sternum that held his now small and withered heart. The man had done nothing to deserve this, for his only wish was to find happiness.

A day had gone by and Jack was still lying in the sand right besides the ocean. Seagulls surrounded him and the storm from the previous night had left him encrusted with seaweed and sand. Gasping his last breaths he laid there and wondered what he had ever done to feel such agony and pain. What demon had possessed him and crumpled his heart? What witch had cast such a curse on him? As he began to draw his last breath, a young woman named Olive saw him from the corner of her icecap blue eyes and rushed to his aid. She knew from the first sight that she could just let him go, so she picked him up to the best of her ability, placed him in her wheelbarrow, and wheeled him across the sands to her home upon the docks.

She stumbled in with the man up on her shoulder and gently laid him in her bathtub. The tub was fairly large and was her prized possession. Due to it’s abnormally large size, it fit him almost perfectly. The man was giant compared to this small meager mouse of a girl. She had only hoped that she was not too late to help him. She peeled off all the seaweed, and realized that his shirt had sunken into his chest like a blanket cast over a wide hole. Not only the need to help him, but her curiosity, persuaded her to undress the man. Olive instantly shrieked at what could only be a giant pit in the man’s chest. She hardly could recognize his heart for it was barely beating. Looking into his face and his beautiful eyes, she felt both mourning and love creep deep in through her ribs and into her being. The woman knew what she had to do to save him. She scooped out the sand and seawater within his bloody chest and took out a knife and her sewing materials. She took out the raison that was once the man’s heart and safely placed it in a jar on her kitchen table with the lid open so it could breathe. Stabbing the knife into her upper torso and cutting a portion out, she took half her heart, and had sewn it into his chest. Finishing what she had started, she’d sewn and closed up the hole in his chest, but left a flap of skin open just in case he’d ever want his old heart back. Gazing into his eyes, she saw them recede into the back of his head and his eyelids began to close. Had she miserably failed? No, impossible. Delicately, she placed a blanket over the naked man so she wouldn’t startle him with touch of her skin. She placed one leg into the bathtub and placed the other carefully on the other side. Sitting now on top of the man’s body, Olive slowly leaned over and pressed her ear up against his newly sewn up chest. Plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk. A smile raised on her face, because she knew she had saved him. Now it was time to let him rest, yet the girl could not bring herself to leave his side. He was a complete stranger, but to her, he was her lost soul and it was her duty to make sure that he made it out safe and sound.

Days passed, weeks, and the girl still watched the man slumber. Jack’s skin was no longer grey and the stitches in his chest were almost completely healed over. Olive tried to keep herself on task and in her routine, but some days could not help but stare at his rough skin and trace the space between his fingers for hours upon hours. With every moment she felt herself become infatuated with this complete stranger. She could tell that he was an explorer of land and sea from the handheld telescope, the mermaid scales he’d collected, and the salty seawater drenched maps that he’d kept in his satchel. This man could have been a murderer that drank the blood of unicorns, but with every day he spent in her bathtub, she fell deeper and deeper in love with him. It was a year past the day Olive had stumbled upon Jack on the stormy beach. The day was coming to an end and Olive was sweeping the porch when she heard a large THUD come from within the bowels of her home. She rushed inside, raced to the wash room and found the giant explorer no longer in the bathtub, but collapsed on the floor. He raised his head and stared directly into the eyes of the woman who had nursed him back to health. Wobbling to his feet, trying to regain his strength, Jack stood up, introduced himself, and awkwardly but immediately thanked her for her gratitude and kindness she’d shown him the day he suffered. Olive was speechless, she’d waited a year for this man to return to life, and now finally the day had come. Tears instantly flooded her eyes. The explorer looked to his right and found his clothes and the jar with his repaired heart inside. He looked down at the flap the woman left for the returning of his own heart. He opened the flap and stared directly into the face of the half heart the woman had given him. Pumping his blood, and keeping the oxygen flowing in his lungs, this woman who didn’t even known him sacrificed her own heart for his well-being. Curiosity burst through his being and he stumbled outside and dwelled at the night sky. He could tell it was exactly a year from the day he felt his heart beat it’s last pulse, because moon’s alignment was off and some of his favorite stars no longer burned as bright.  Jack returned inside and took the woman by her hands and with great sorrow and gratitude, asked her for whatever her heart desired. He would go to the end of the earth and find his way back to repay the woman for the things she had done for him. Olive was too humble for her own good though, she softly blushed and looked the man straight into his eyes and told him the only thing she had wanted him to do.

“All I ask of you great adventurer, is that you forever keep the piece of my heart inside your chest, for it no longer belongs to me and I fear it never will. If you do this for me, I could die right where I stand a happy woman.” Awe struck by such a reversal of terms, Jack stared into Olives face with wonder. She was crying, yet the largest smile was stretched across her face. The moonlight poured in through the bathroom window and onto her soft face. Her eyes glistened as tiny tear droplets emerged from the corners of her eyes. Jack started to realize that the woman in front of him was a marvelous sight.  Olive wiped her face with the shoulder of her sleeve, leaned on her tiptoes, and kissed the adventurer right on the cheek.

“I feel you in my heart, and I don’t even know you”, She started, “and since the second I found you on the beach, I knew your heart was longing for something. So I gave you mine so you would no longer have to suffer.”

Jack grabbed Olive by the waste and kissed her straight on her lips long and hard. He was overcome by such a happiness to know that she had ridden him of the aching and pains he had once endured. It was as if lightning had struck him. But as amazing as this moment was, the young man knew that it would not last long. His soul belonged to the wind, and soon enough, he would be out on yet another exploration. Jack begged Olive to come along with him, but she was too small and to kind to witness such gruesome and risky adventures. Cut off an ogre’s head and she would try to sow it back on out of sheer compassion for everything, both good and evil.

A few days passed and they spent them happy and in love, but it was time for the young man to set out once more. As a departing gift, he asked her to keep his old heart because he knew it would be in good hands. They would never forget each other, because they had been a part of one another for some time now. He kept her heart inside his chest and soon both their hearts grew full again.

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