He lived halfway up the mountain, in a sturdy log cabin. The villagers saw him occasionally when he came to town for supplies. His trips to town were the only time that he was ever seen. No one ever saw him in the forest that reached halfway up the(more) mountain. Nor did they see him wandering the road that split the town in half. They would only see his back as he hauled away his sack filled with who knows what. None dared approach him, as he gave off an air of hostility. His constantly shifting eyes, his muscled frame wound tight, ready to spring into action at a moments notice. There were rumors, as there always was. Some suspected him of being some demon, as his icy blue eyes sent chills down whomever fell under their gaze. Others suspected him of being a murderer in hiding, his thick arms crisscrossed with scars and ending in hands that had seen heavy use could certainly be used as evidence for this assumption. Those that did not see him as a killer or a demon saw him as a madman, unhinged due to some unfortunate event, maybe it was his scraggly hair and unkempt appearance led them to this thought. They were all wrong, yet they were all right. The man was a demon, his comrades called him as such on the battlefield, as he cut down his foes mercilessly. He saw himself as a murderer, a glorified executioner wrongly lauded as a hero. His days of fighting had also brought him nightmares, filled with the cries of the dying. All that was left was a shell of a man, who lived halfway up a mountain, who occasionally went to town for supplies, who had cold eyes and a cold heart.(less)
He knew he should feel something. People had strong reactions to these sorts of situations, but not him. Not ever.
The blood on the ground reminded him of sangria, the thick, red kind with the orange slices floating in it; and the woman next to him wa(more)s a wreck, screaming and crying as if she were in physical pain. Why? The man was just a stranger- some guy crossing a busy street. Now he was dead. So what? People died everyday, especially when they weren't paying attention. He couldn't understand what the big deal was.
He stepped over the body and pushed his way through the gathering crowd as sirens pierced the air. The corner grocery was not far. Maybe the oranges would be on sale.(less)
There's an ancient pagan religion that worshiped beating hearts. For the Losodi tribe in now Kenya, the "lub-dub" sound was sacred. They believed God had placed his voice, an echo, into every warm human heart. And after every new birth, village elders would line up, and place their ear(more) one by one over a new baby's breast. It was their culture's way of welcoming God into their lives once again.
Until Lilith. Born premature, and due to a lack of oxygen, her heart was irregularly formed. So irregular, the elders couldn't hear her a heart beat.
Right there, in the pregnancy hut, the village had their first political crisis. Only hours old, the tribe was split over Lilith - some members wanted to kill her right away, claiming she was of the Devil. Others were uneasy - especially after seeing her mother, Diodra, pleading hysterically.
The hard-liners won.
Lilith was strangled as Diodra watched screaming.
After killing the baby's died, the villagers did not know how to see themselves anymore. Had they done the right thing?
Most thought there were no good choices. But they decided to returned the corpse to Diodra and give her privacy and closure. They left the hut as Diodra mourned.
She squeezed, hugged, kissed, cried, and poured her every being of her love into her suffocated angle.
And miraculously, Lilith awoke.
Her cry pierced through the air, and the straw walls of the pregnancy hut.
The elders were terrified. The cautiously approached Lilith's and felt her breast. Her heart beat was now strong, and full of life and vigor - and at that moment they realized that Lilith's un-beating cold heart was holier than warm ones. (less)
They tell me opposites attract and I am overjoyed for I am warmth and fire and red and you are a brisk blue chill. I am eager to know you, eager to share your story and mine and you are just as excited as I. For a while we(more) are intertwined, limbs and lives wrapping around each other's as we lie on your couch and watch tv or slide down the hill in my back yard to land in a laughing heap above our shared sled.
You are my best friend, maybe my only friend, and I am at peace with your presence in my life where others would chafe. You seem to need me as much as I need you. You call me by name, give me nicknames and warm looks and favors. You call me your best friend.
I can't help but wonder how if I was the best you left me cold at the promise of someone new. It is months before you return to me, but by then you are too late. Where your cold had brought me to room temperature, in your absence I managed a more characteristic heat that threatens to scald you if you dare to touch me again. You are unafraid. I am bottomless, and my heart tries desperately to sink to the farthest reaches of my depths when I look to you.
You are no longer my best and only friend. I have yet to relinquish you, but I will not hold so tightly to you again. It took such stark abandonment for me to realize that though I can reach my fingers through your ribs and cup your soul gently in my hands I cannot warm your cold heart.(less)