Riddle Heart

Art, Fantasy

Riddle Heart (470 words)

“You know what you have to do,” said Jack.

Philadelphia hesitated. He was right, she did know what she had to be. It was just too incredible. A fairy’s arbitrary favor and blessing, cursed prince turned outlaw, and a quest through a fantastic maze Philadelphia would never have believed existed, all ended here.

“You’re not scared, are you?” asked Jack. “I may be cursed, but I won’t curse you if you set me free. I promise.”

He was teasing her. That was his way. He wasn’t like any prince Phil had ever imagined. He wasn’t so tall or strong, and if he was handsome it was despite convention, long-lashed dark eyes and slender gracefulness. His mouth always had that funny angle in it as if he were ready to smile. That angle was a little tense right now, a little uncertain.

Phil hesitated. She had made it this far, and this was the vision that was symbolic of his cursed heart, a neat little stone cottage that looked very brave under the stormy clouds of black magic. She had the key and if she opened the door, the curse would be broken. He would be free.

The key fit perfectly in the lock. Before she turned it, Phil stopped.

“Can you do it?” she asked.

Jack stared at her. “Who? Me?”

“It is your heart,” said Phil.

His surprise flickered in his eyes. “I don’t know. I…”

She gave him the key.

Jack turned the key in the lock and the door swung open. A cool breeze stirred the flowers in the open field, and like a fresh blessing and hope, sunlight flashed through the angry clouds. The fierce wind drove the shadows back and Phil squeezed her eyes shut, holding on to Jack against the weather.

When she risked opening her eyes, everything was still.

“Is it over?”

Jack nodded. There was a new light in his eyes, a strange one, standing there on the doorstep.

“Would you like to come in?” he asked.

Phil’s heart jumped. She couldn’t help it, knowing what he was asking. She had never been invited into someone’s heart before. She wasn’t sure how long this vision would last, but when Jack turned inside, she followed him.

***

Written in response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. Check it out!

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