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A TALE OF TWO HEARTS


Written by Lina Petkova



Copyright 2011 Lina Petkova


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Once upon a world lived and ruled a mighty king. He had a beautiful and noble wife who was expecting their first child, the king’s heir. There was nothing in his world that he loved more than them. When the time came for her to give birth, she went through terrible pains. All night the king paced before her bedroom, his pale face bathed in sweat. In the small hours of the night, he was finally allowed in her chambers. When he saw her gentle face lost in the pillows, whiter than the whiteness of the sheets, his heart sank in his chest like a heavy anchor in a deep, indigo sea. Kneeling at her side, the king drew his lips close to hers. Her faint leaps of breath crashed into his face like broken waves. He closed his eyes so that she would not see the pain that had taken them captive. He held his newborn son in his arms for the first and last time that night. When the new day dawned upon his world, the king stood against it broken and stripped of all he held dear. Since that day, everything changed. His heart grew darker and colder by the day. So did his golden crown until it was as black as the beginning of time, when there was no sun, no stars, and no souls. Walled behind the elusive protection of his impenetrable castle, he had forsaken his people and his land. Little by little, tormented and worn out by neglect, pain and hunger, they turned into dark, airless shadows, wandering the streets like some wretched prisoners of time. The only warm thing they were not stripped off yet was their hearts. They shone through the transparent bodies, their bright redness slowly fading wuthered by the cruel winds of despair. This curse soaked into the trees, the birds and everything that was alive, burning them into ashes. One day, the grey mantle of dense mists settled in over the kingdom. They turned days into nights. Lost in the oblivion of the endless mist, sealed in the deafening silence of their solitary houses, everyone crouched in their beds, their chairs and their corners. Their fading hearts awaited the seal of fate, until one morning or noon or evening, no one could really tell, the sun itself perished. It cracked and it burst into a million pieces that spilled over the frozen land like drops of liquid mercury. The battered hearts took one last beat and stopped like the hands of an old rusty clock, tired of catching up to time. The dying light swallowed the wretched king, his crown blacker and his heart colder than ever. The vanishing sun drops ran down the face of the land like burning tears of pain, sinking into the snow one after the other. All but two solitary streaks, the last tears of the king, flew on the wings of the wind and out of this sad, sad world.

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