The small stone was shaped like a human heart. The longer he stared at it the more he felt compelled to pick it up. In the crowds of people walking through town square he was surprised he was the only one who noticed it.
I could have sworn it wasn’t there before…is my mind playing tricks on me? When was the last time I ate?
The drifter moved out from the alley and swiftly scooped up the heart rock in his hands before disappearing down an adjacent passageway. It was much lighter than it appeared and very warm to the touch. As he cradled it against his chest he could have sworn he felt it beat. Maybe it was just his own heart, maybe his stomach was growling. All he knew right now is that he needed to get something to eat and the marketplace wasn’t much farther down the street.
Placing the heart in his front pocket he moved down the street and through the crowds of people. Several hours, and one satisfying meal later, he had completely forgotten about the little stone. He patted his chest and found that the pocket was empty. Maybe he imagined the whole thing. It had been three days since he last ate and delirium had set in.
The next morning a little boy was heard screaming as he came out of an alleyway, yelling for his mother. Dragging her back to the now gathering crowd he pushed his way through and showed her what he had run from. The body of a drifter lay sprawled across the stones, a large gaping hole where his heart should have been. Laying next to the body was a small, heart-shaped rock.
The more the little boy stared at it…the more he felt compelled to pick it up…