Bleeding Hearts
by Courtenay Schembri Gray, 31st October 2022

I got the beetle ring through the post. “Clang clang,” went the letterbox. I put it on

my middle finger—fit perfectly. I threw on my coat and left for the city, a duffle bag

around my body. I read Kafka’s diaries on the bus. I started to feel heavier; I was the

bug on my back with nowhere to turn. My thighs had been stitched back together a

billion times, and my eyelids were clinging on by a cliff’s edge. I broke into the

hospital wing where they keep the organs for donation. I stole a beating heart, and I

slept beside it, envisioning the person it belonged to laying beside me. When it

stopped, I breathed air back into it, and when I got hungry, I ate it whole. It plugged

my throat like a baby in a test tube. Lungs not expanding, I started pounding. Fists

on the cabinets, the doors, the television set, and even they fell on the floor. There we

all were, overturned on our backs. Little ghosts scattered across the floor like chess

pieces, chipped and neglected. Foot against the strings, the bleeding heart kicked its

way down the chute into a bath of bile. A forest fire escaped the churlish line of my

mouth, burning holes into the carpet.