The Shine of a Sinful Heart
By Ximena Escobar
Her small chest woke her; the heart rattling inside it. Like an alarm clock palpitating in secrecy, until the time came that she could no longer ignore it. She searched for the key in her pocket. She inserted it into the small brass lock. The smell of raw flesh slithered from under the lid, stirring her self-adoring hunger.
One by one her sins, embedded jewels in the breathing mass of her heart, stared at her like glowing eyes. Seven sins twinkling; seven sins winking like guardian angels of darkness. One for every day of the week, amulets for the lurking threat of each dawn. Each a treasure kept secret, so she wouldn’t have to defend them.
She watched it beat like a throbbing wound, a fish to swallow whole, eat to expand her being—wear like a heavy medallion and without the minutest ounce of guilt, with all the pride and shamelessness, stamp the weight of her uniqueness on this earth.
Beauty looked back at her in the mirror. The shine of a sinful heart like the dawn of a new reign. The glow of young eyes uncreased by a bitterness which, thanks to her immorality, she’d chosen not to taste—even if she had every reason to make a passion of her dissatisfaction, because everyone has reasons. Where, oh where, would she be without her sins? Scathed knees of childhood lingering under the denim; so many times she’d apologised to God for disagreeing with him.
She brought it to her ear so she could better hear it; her nose, so she could better smell it. Rubbed the slimy flesh on her lips, licked the delicious aroma of a rupture. Thanks to her sins, shiny forbidden apples of wisdom, she was alive! A dagger in a huntsman’s hand, she’d known to wrap her legs around him that a poor boar couldn’t escape the bloodied fate she gifted him, when its heart replaced hers on a queen’s dreadful plate … Sinking her teeth into its rawness, blood spilled on the stone like a ceremonious farewell of her imprisonment.
She found herself coughing, swaying like lamb on a man’s shoulder. She let him slide her down onto his chest, place a kiss of forever on her lips. But as their faces parted to contemplate each other, a spark that wasn’t in her eyes before, a spark at the forefront like an incoming train, shone in his mirror eyes. She’d never looked so beautiful … A happily ever after would never suffice her.
Ximena is writing short stories and poetry. Originally from Chile, she is the author of a translation into Spanish of the Broadway Musical “The Wizard of Oz”, and of an original adaptation of the same, “Navidad en Oz”. Since late 2018, she has published over 100 short stories, poems, and drabbles in various publications, both print and online. She has a degree in Communication Science, and lives in Nottingham with her family.