No. 522

Mr. Delainey stumbled slightly as the bullet passed through his impeccable gray jacket and into his heart.

Normally, the wound would have been a killing one, but the heart is a strange thing. If it is never used, it dries up, becoming shrivelled and useless. Thus was the condition of Mr. Delainey’s on the day of his attempted murder.

The bullet smashed into the organ, blowing the heart into a fine dust, and came to rest in the cavity left behind. Mr. Delainey put his hand on his chest, more worried about his suit than his health. He was not yet aware of the unfortunate method of his salvation.

The doctors couldn’t see any of this on their x-rays. Tests were inconclusive, and it was assumed that the bullet had merely missed doing any major damage. The suit and skin were mended, and Mr. Delainey was sent home to go about his business as usual.

 

It was many years later, when Mr. Delainey was stepping out of the front doors of the opera house, when the true extent of his injuries became apparent.

A woman, strong and confident, was exiting a car at the curb. She intrigued Mr. Delainey in a way he’d never felt before.

But his heart, destroyed so long ago by neglect, was no longer present, and no longer able to sustain Mr. Delainey’s newfound feeling.

He felt a searing pain in his chest, and fell to his knees. His vision began to fade as the woman rushed toward him.

She reached him just as the bullet completed its work. He lay, sprawled on the marble steps, a broken and tragic figure.

Not knowing what else to do, the woman kissed him gently on his forehead.

Mr. Delainey’s eyes snapped open, and breathe roared back into his lungs, because the heart is a strange thing. However damaged it may be by disuse, it will always be healed by love.