Cora Cordium

An Excerpt

"Cora Cordium"

A Selected Work of

Short Fiction

Written By:

Heatherlie Allison 

Some said that her breath reeked of blood. The iron-musk of it. Some said that, indeed, blood was what she bathed in, source unknown, blackened by the bone char of screech owls on moon-filled nights. Some said that on those nights, she dined on not only the unquestioning heart of lamb, but on the heart of children. Her favorite: the aching heart of the caterwauling pubescent. As it went through its changes, as it reddened and ripened, crackling, oozing, spilling forth exudations of verb and matter—the heart—ever profaned by its own biology, so too she would reek of its benefit. 

 

It was said as it was seen—or unseen. Who could say otherwise? 

 

All eyes on peripheral streets edging the town’s vital structures, from the high-steepled church to the wide-rambling bank, would follow her steadfast clack, the strong swifting of her hips, timing impeccable, to the town center once a month—the butcher shop—where the butcher had said it himself that she would buy up all the heart in stock: pheasant heart, deer heart, wild boar, and so on.  

 

“Some call heart the cheap meat,” he commented once when inquiring about her purchase with a nervous laugh before shining his cleaver. But she responded “with a black-as-tar-eyed glare unbroken,” he said, “otherworldly, not of our kind.” She fingered her packages “almost lovingly, cradling like a mother cradles her babe,” he relayed to his patrons. 

 

“Heart is of the Devil and Heart is of the Divine. There is nothing cheap about it, Sir.” That was all she said in return, her voice cadent and clear.