a story about a tin man on a red quest

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If I Only Had a Heart

a story about a tin man on a red quest

The wizard told me I had come all this way for nothing. I did not need a heart, he said, for I had what I sought the whole time, and anyhow, it would only get in the way.

But then I heard a beat... How sweet! Fear sang through his body, red thunder pulsing hot and heavenly in the muscles of his chest. I placed my hands on his rib cage.

"When a man's an empty kettle, he should be on his mettle," I sang. "And yet I'm torn apart."

He begged me to stop as my grip tightened, at first puncturing skin and tissue, then splitting gristle and bone.

When I placed the throbbing prize into my chest cabinet, I realized he was right. Before, I was powered by my need, by this missing piece of myself. But This meat only made me feel sad, regretful.

I don’t know how you humans do it. How having something could hurt so much more than needing it. I suppose I should have known.

If I’d only had a heart.


Short story written by Peter Chiykowski

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Story prompt taken from a photo by CJ Dayrit