Nadia’s Heart, Part One
by Wendy Altshuler
GENRE: YA Fantasy Horror
When an amnesiac girl who thinks she has been born without a heart utters a prayer, she is met by a mysterious angelic stranger from her forgotten past. Together they embark on a journey to recover her removed heart, but enter into battle with an Evil Voice on a rampage to remove the hearts of an entire generation of children - and replace them with stones.
In the center was an ice sculpture of about fifteen feet high. It was a beautiful castle shaped like a mountain surrounded by a spiral road, much like the one they had been traveling on. One could not tell if they were stairs, or crevices neatly arranged, which led up to a tiny set of double doors. Some of the men exited with clubs to approach the formation.
“Don’t touch it,” Jasper said in a hushed voice.
And then a strange thing happened. For Nadia, and the others too, after having looked at Jasper, and then back at the model castle, thought that it had grown, if ever so slightly. It was larger. Clearly it was, and each of them checked their standing to see that they hadn’t sunk into a dip. But it was not only taller, it was wider and bigger all around.
And then it happened again. After looking up from her boots, Nadia jumped, and Jasper rose, moving out of the sleigh and pushing the men back, staring up at what was once a scale model, but what had now become big enough for a child to enter. It was big enough to look real, lifelike, as if they were giants and this building — it was clearly a castle now, the details of the steps and entrance taking shape — were coming to life. Even the road was strangely familiar. Indeed Nadia thought she could see parts that they had traveled on, no matter how vague. There was the rocky path at its beginning, and an empty clearing, much like the one they stood in now.
It was no use trying not to exchange glances, for they were all startled, and no one spoke. But the more they did so in their surprise, the more the castle grew before them, until it was a towering monolith, and they were but specs at the foot of its stairs. By now it had stopped growing, or so they thought. One could not be sure, but this seemed to be the case, as they looked around and over the cliff.
Looking up the glittering, cold, sparkling stairs, some of the men had gone up a few toward the entrance. Others were examining its smooth blue green surface, smooth enough to look slippery. They were met with Jasper’s arm as he made his way to the front, protective, along with Georgeonus. The night was lit up by moonlight, but the moon was hidden in the haze. Nadia looked at the dogs, large like wolves now, and their faces were different. They had settled down against each other. Some yawned or cleaned their fur. Others brooded. Running up the stairs, Nadia followed behind Georgeonus and Jasper. The rest of the men were close behind.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Wendy Altshuler is a writer-producer who explores myth in new media. She writes fantasy novels and creates works in stop motion animation. Her credits include award-winning screenwriting and WGA-accredited representation. With a degree in psychology and a Master of Arts from Columbia University, Altshuler documented the work of international choreographers and wrote and produced regional programming. Her short plays have been performed at Boston Playwrights' Theatre, at regional schools and most recently, Puppet Showplace Theatre. Altshuler's young adult book series has been hailed as "emotionally moving, uplifting and wholesome," and "spirited and haunting. . .with much symbolism and beauty."
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