And the Queen of Hell will come to rule the Earth, and everyone will love Her.
A Heart Child
The black market was closing. The last sellers and buyers clustered behind an out-of-business toy store in Brooklyn, where the road smelled of trash and the subway trains that ran high above the street rattled the loudest. There were no children for sale at this hour. The last and least important bits of the day’s tidings were hastily sold.
“There’s been a dance kid born in Queens this morning.”
“Hell, who needs a child gifted in dancing?”
“But it’s right around the corner. And the parents haven’t hired any security.”
Monies changed hands.
Everyone was stealthily watching two bulky men who were not selling or buying anything. The slightly shorter man of the duo held a large four-wheel suitcase, and the slightly taller one, wearing a trench coat and a black fedora hat, gripped a gun. They did not talk. They had the letters DH tattooed on their right cheekbones.
Cars honked in the street, and somewhere far off a police siren howled.
A woman entered the alley. Neither tall nor short, she wore a pixie-cut blond wig like a ski hat: pulled down over her ears and forehead. Her shoulders were wrapped in an oversized faux fur coat that made it impossible to guess her real proportions. Her eyes were hidden behind a pair of dark sunglasses.
The men with the DH tattoos looked up at her simultaneously. They didn’t say anything, but the woman answered them nonetheless, “Yes, it’s here, the child.” She nodded at a rather small purse in her hand. “And the money?”
The black market sellers and buyers stopped even pretending they were still trading. They held their breaths and listened. All of them had wondered if the suitcase held money, but it was such a big suitcase. No child was worth that much.
The man with the suitcase lightly swung his burden. “Yeah. Ten mil. Wanna count?”
The fedora hat man puffed. “Wait, bro. I don’t think…you know what.”
The bro clearly knew. “Lay off it, man. We talked enough about it.”
“Oh, yeah?” The hat man jabbed his gun in the direction of the woman’s purse, a fake brown leather affair with an ugly brass zipper. “This kid…how do you know it’s gifted in what this gal says it’s gifted? Yeah, sure, two dream guys told us it’s legit, but what if they are in on it? Ten mil is good money even split three ways.”
The bro shook his head. “I said. Lay. Off. It.”
The hat man didn’t. “And where did she even get that kid? Sure, Bones…I mean, not Bones…I mean, I never said your name, okay? Anyways, we bought death kids, time kids—pricey kids, yes, but those gifts can be priced in. But this…a kid with this gift…who would sell it? It’s like selling the Almighty!”
The people in the alley inhaled sharply. A heart child had been born on earth? That was some tidings to sell.
The woman in the fur coat stepped away from the two men. “Fine. The deal is off.”
Bones shoved the suitcase after her. “No, no, take it. Give us the kid.”
The woman grabbed the handle of the suitcase, then handed him the purse.
“Are you at least going to check if it’s actually a kid and not a pile of rags?” the hat man asked his partner.
Bones unzipped the purse, and there, swaddled in several disposable diapers, lay a newborn, its face tiny and pink and its delicate white hairs tangled. It slept.
The woman suddenly, as if in a paroxysm of a strong feeling, clasped the hat man’s arm. “It’s a girl,” she said. “A girl.”
The hat man, unsure what to do with this information, scratched his temple. “And? You want to give us a discount for that or what?”
The woman spun around and walked away, wheeling the suitcase along the cracked, rot-smelling road.
The hat man followed her with his gaze. “If this kid is really a heart, I’ll eat my damn hat.”
The hat remained uneaten for the next fifteen years.
Fifteen-year-old Ever can't create worlds or raise the dead, but she can make people believe she's able to do it. She can make people worship her, follow her, die for her. And that is not something she should do, in the opinion of her boyfriend Fox. Not unless she wants to turn evil.
But as the two try to escape from the people who kidnapped and imprisoned them, Ever starts doubting Fox. Should she really never use her talent? Maybe doing it just one time won't hurt…
BUY LINK: AMAZON
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Helen Rena loves reading and writing novels. And short stories. And flash fiction. She has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, and a vast collection of books and green bottles. She is still not sure why green bottles. She lives in Southern Oregon with her husband and two children. Please visit her at helenrena.com.