by Valerie Christie
It is evening, and as I walk in the garden I can feel a coolness in the air, which is so refreshing after the stifling heat of the day. I walk slowly, stopping occasionally to smell a flower, or to look at the rapidly darkening sky. I look up at the moon and the stars, and this reminds me that I am not alone in the universe, and that there is more to life than I could ever imagine.I pause in front of a statue, one of several which are dotted about the garden. It is of an angel, and it always seems to me as if she is deep in thought. I often wonder what she would say if she could speak, and what secrets she could tell about those who have walked in this garden in the past. As I stare into her stone eyes, my attention is drawn to a soft ticking sound. I around, wondering where the noise is coming from. Not from the angel herself, that much is clear, but its source must be somewhere nearby. I look about me, and as I do so I become aware that the sound is coming from under my feet. Gathering up my long velvet skirts, I kneel down and realise that the soft tick tock I can hear is coming from the depths of the earth. Pulling off my gloves, I start to dig with my hands until I realise that this approach is futile, and I return to the house to find the small silver trowel my grandmother left to me. When I return, I find my task much easier. As I dig down into the soft brown earth, the steady tick tock becomes louder. Although it is quite dark, the moon provides enough light for me to see by, and eventually I find what I have been looking for. It is small, appears to be made of metal and is in the shape of a heart. I gently pick it up, and as I brush the dirt off I see that it is light in colour, larger than I first thought, and as I touch it the heart seems to tremble. I sense a sadness emanating from it, and I wonder how it has come to be in the ground, and why it trembles so much in my hands. There must be a reason why this heart has been buried, and why I have unearthed it. I must explore it further. Although the moon is bright, there is not enough light for me to see all that I want to, so I carry the heart indoors, into the drawing room where my brother Edward is sitting by the fire, reading a novel. As I enter the room, he looks up at first, then rises to his feet as he sees that I am holding something in my hands. 'I found this in the garden,' I tell him, as I hold out the heart. 'It was in the earth, under the statue of the angel.' He takes the heart in his hands and begins to examine it, turning it over and then holding it to his ear so that he can hear the steady tick tock. 'It's very finely made,' he says, as he looks at it closely. 'I haven't seen anything as beautiful in a very long time.' He looks at me 'Emily, the heart is trembling.''I know,' I say. 'I don't know why.''Can we find out?' asks Edward.'I'm not sure,' I say carefully. 'I think the heart is afraid, but I do not know if we can find out the reason why.' I look at my brother, and notice how thoughtful he has become. 'The heart is above ground now.' he says. 'Whatever secrets it holds will become clear in time.'
I am a theology graduate, history geek and yoga enthusiast currently living and working in Belfast. I enjoy writing short stories and I blog occasionally at https://bluevelvetjacket.wordpress.com/
Pieces Inspired by this Image
'Dancing to a Different Drummer'
'The key to my heart'