Within my clockwork heart that beats according to the frequency of whispers the car tyres mutter to me, there is a vein that pumps real blood.
Sieved and prepared, the muscle that will soon be implanted in my ribcage is meaty and disgusting but it will bring life, they say, it will give you happiness, they say.
When it’s done, the surgeons exit the white room, leaving me to come to, stranded on the electric bed, body already closed and sewn tight. I wake up, eyelids weighing too much, lasers violating my eyes.
I can feel it beating against my ribs like a panicked hen that wants to escape its too small cage, and it sends jolts of pain up my chest. I flex my hands, all my muscles are brought to life and I take one breath.
It makes no difference, this heart. I would gladly have my clockwork one back or this one put in the mechanical coccoon in order to keep it safe.
I talk to the psychologist who tracks all anomalities in my post-surgical behaviour about it. She says this heart will make me more human. The vein could not have been left alone. It needed a muscle to keep dancing.
I once cast a spell over the clockwork heart to make it invincible, in case my body was shredded to pieces. She claims it has been destroyed and I wonder how. I miss the iron and steel lodged between other organs, I miss the soothing reassurance that no cancer would assail it.
She is lying. All of them are petty liars. I see my heart in the laboratory, it is trapped in a glass case. I steal it one day and stash it in my bag.
Ghosts oft converse with me now. If being human means being haunted, then it must be a terrifying experience.
When I shut the blinds or open them to greet the day in my hospital room, my new heart changes its beating frequency and it responds to emotions. I sit on the bed, horrified at first, then I get used to it over the course of days, months, years.
The clockwork heart I place in the attic and dust it once a week.