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When the Heart Murmurs

This thing we call a heart that beats persistently in our chests is a sturdy yet infuriating and fragile thing. It functions without ceasing for decades despite neglect and, eventually, age. But a single word can tear it in two. It can deceive us and mislead us. It can cause us to soar into fits of helpless euphoria or sink into the deepest wells of depression.

Voltaire once said, “The mouth obeys poorly when the heart murmurs.”

Sometimes more than the mouth careens wildly out of control when matters of the heart require logical decisions.

But what would we do without it? The world would certainly be a cold and forbidding place.

For this, the month of St. Valentine’s Day, we bring you stories of the heart. Stories of broken hearts, of torn hearts, of crystalline hearts, and hearts lost up the proverbial magician’s sleeve.

First, from Raven Jakubowski, “Sister Margo’s Heart.”

Followed by “Love Letters on the Nightmare Sea,” by Rachael K. Jones.

Next up is “The Magician’s Assistant,” by Paul Crenshaw.

Finally a second-run offering: Shawn Proctor’s “Heartwood,” first published in Anthology Philly, a collection of short stories from Wragsink Press.

Happy Reading and Happy Valentine’s Day. May some kind person bring you chocolates!

Suzanne Vincent

Suzanne Vincent is the editor-in-chief of Flash Fiction Online. That’s what people think anyway. Actually, she’s really a pretty ordinary middle-aged woman packing a few extra pounds and a few more gray hairs than she’s comfortable with. As a writer, she leans toward the fantasy spectrum, though much of what she writes is difficult to classify. Slipstream? Isn’t that where we stick stories when we just can’t figure out where else they go? Suzanne’s first professional publication was right here at FFO, published before she joined the staff: “I Speak the Master’s Will,” — a story she’s still very proud of. While she doesn’t actually have time to blog anymore, she once did. You can still read her ancient posts on writing at The Slushpile Avalanche. Suzanne keeps a house full of kids (3), a husband (1), and pets (too many to number) in Utah, USA. Yes, she’s a Mormon. No, there isn’t another wife. Mormons haven’t actually practiced polygamy since the 1890s. Too bad. She’d love to have another woman around to wash dishes and do laundry.


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