Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Samantha And The Pieces Of A Heart Chapter 4: Feelings Lost In Time

Since Siri was no longer of use to Samantha, she decided to retrace her steps and return to Dr. John Rationale’s house.

It took her a little while, but she soon found her bearings and was happily on her way to the good doctor’s house.

“Ah, Samantha. Good to see you again. I’ve been expecting you.”

Dr. Rationale had anticipated that Siri would run out of instructions eventually. Fortunately, he already knew the next steps. He made out a list in a notebook with complete specifications on what Samantha should be looking for. With that, Samantha thanked the doctor and went on her way once again in her solitary quest for the heart pieces.
“Let’s see now… according to Dr. John’s instructions, I should look for someone who can’t accept the past and wants to change it.”
Samantha scratched her chin and raised one eyebrow. After pondering it a bit, she decided on a course of action.

“Well… that old house at the edge of town is definitely a thing of the past.”

With that, her next destination had been decided.
After walking for a while, Samantha arrived at the gateway to the place.
The gates were rusted shut and there was actually enough room in-between the metal bars for a girl as small as Samantha to just slip through – which she did.

It was a large, sprawling 3-storey mansion with large white fluted columns by the doorway. There was a long walkway leading to the house itself with gardens on each side that might have been beautiful once. Now, they were just overgrown with weeds and vines.
Samantha felt an eerie chill as soon as she took one step inside of the gate. It was supposed to be daytime, but all of a sudden, the sky grew dark and it was almost as if the entire estate was shrouded in darkness. A place lost in time to eternal night.
This was different – very different from anything that Samantha that encountered before. Nevertheless… clutching her three pieces of a broken heart, which were now tied up neatly in a drawstring bag that Professor Rationale had given her, tightly to her chest, she pressed forward.
With the ominous atmosphere surrounding the mansion, one might expect something dreadful to jump out of the bushes in ambush at any time, but nothing of that sort happened and Samantha soon found herself in front of the mansion’s doorway. The entrance was protected by a well-worn set of hardwood double doors. There was a bronze knocker in front which surprisingly had not succumbed to rust.


Samantha knocked twice and there being no answer, she promptly let herself in.

Upon entering the house, the interior was like an antique shop. The stained glass windows allowed just enough light to filter through for one to see inside. There were vintage wooden dolls, music boxes and antique furniture with intricate hand-carved wooden designs. All of which had not been covered with anything to keep the dust off. It was almost as if the owner of the mansion was expected to return at anytime. Actually, it seemed more like the owner of the mansion had always been there.

“Ah, greetings! I see we have a new guest. Welcome, dear child.”

“Oh, pardon the intrusion.” Samantha did a curtsy as she said this as an instinctive response to the stranger’s extremely formal way of speaking.

The lady of the mansion descended gracefully from the spiral staircase in front. Samantha was quite certain that she was the lady of the mansion because there were no other ladies who resided in this mansion, at least not from what one could observe. Also, she introduced herself as such.

“You may refer to me as Lady Antoinette. I am the lady of this mansion and currently, the only resident… but perhaps, not for long.”
“And I’m Samantha. Pleased to meet you, Lady Antoinette.”
 Antoinette was a petite figure with long, flowing hair that just about reached  down to the tip of her knees and wore  pure-white summer dress that was neither too flashy to be garish nor too revealing to be considered immodest. In short, everything about her, including her smallish face and sharp eyes just seemed to fall into place. If Samantha could think of one adjective to describe her it would be…

“Perfect… I mean, I am perfectly sorry for intruding like this!”

“Ah, pish-tush. Do not be. You are hardly unwelcome here, my dear.”
In an instant, the lady of the mansion had closed the distance between herself and Samantha. Quite an impressive feat considering that the spiral staircase was probably a good 5 meters away. Also, the lady had not done anything extremely physical such as jumping or running towards Samantha – which would have been easier to understand. In fact, she just seemed to flow from the staircase, to the ground and towards Samantha and these had all happened in an instant.
Still, Samantha was not one to raise a fuss about things which she could not understand – for indeed, there were a lot of things that she did not understand.
“You see, this mansion only opens its doors to guests who are welcome.”

“But you must be mistaken, I just let myself in.”

“Not at all, there can be no mistake. If the doors have been opened, then you are a guest of this mansion. That is all. The mansion only opens its doors to guests who are welcome – even if I am repeating myself with this statement.”

“Wait, then would that mean that there are other guests inside of this mansion.”
Antoinette’s eyes narrowed and a thin smile cracked from her lips.

“Yes, there were.”

“Eh, past tense? Does that mean there are no more guests right now?”

“As I have said, right now, I am the only resident of this mansion. Although, it was not always this way. You see, this mansion opens and closes its doors only to guests whom it deems worthy. As such it works both ways…”

Antoinette prepared some tea and invited Samantha to sit with her as they talked. Whether that tea set and the tables and chairs which she had sat on were always there or not was a complete mystery as Samantha herself never noticed them before. In any case, it was a fact that they were there right at that moment.

Meanwhile Samantha took a step back and made some hasty steps towards the double doors from which she had entered the mansion. She wanted to check something. Grabbing the doorknob, she twisted it firmly and then began to pull back with all her strength. As she had expected, it would not budge.
Samantha weakly walked back to where Antoinette was. The lady had finished preparing tea for the both of them. Having nothing else to do for the moment, Samantha took a seat right next to Antoinette although she refused to drink the tea offered to her.
“Now then, the mansion only opens its doors to those who are worthy – as such, it also allows exit only to those who are ready to be reunited with the outside world. In other words, this mansion exists in a place outside the effects of time itself. Even if a hundred years were to pass, you and I would still look the same – and so would the rest of the mansion; forever untainted by time.”

“In other words, eternal life?”

“That is one way of putting it. With that aside, the mansion only opens its doors to those who have lost their path in life. Perhaps you would care to share your story, Samantha?”

“Let me get this straight. I haven’t given up on getting out of this place just yet… but fine. For now, I can tell you my story.”

And so Samantha told Antoinette everything. From the start of her journey to find a heart up to how she eventually found her way into the mansion.


Antoinette clapped her hands flamboyantly. Coming from someone else, it was an action that would have reeked of sarcasm, but it seemed extremely natural for someone like Antoinette to the point that one would think that she was born just to clap her hands – which of course, was not the case.
“That was such an inspiring story, Samantha… now, if you will hear me out, I will tell you my story.”
Samantha nodded.
“Now… where to begin… ah yes, first of all let me tell you about my husband and I. It was a long time ago and you might call our relationship one that was written by destiny. We were practically made for each other and were extremely compatible from the start. It’s not like we had promised destiny to one another, but I had always thought that this would be the case…

It happened when I had our first and only child. She was a pretty young thing and… even though, I was never good with children, it was almost as if she had charmed me from the start. Did you know? The first thing that she called me was “big sister.” I have no idea where she might have picked that up from, but that is exactly what she called me. My husband insisted that we correct her, but I paid no heed to him. Personally, I found it quite charming, would you not say?”

“It is definitely different.”

“And as the child grew, the more the distance between I and my husband grew. It was as if my world was reserved only for my daughter and my husband was just an annoyance that I had to deal with everyday… this was what I truly thought at that time.

And of course, he realized this as well… because how could he not? I was not even trying to deny nor hide it.

At some point, I stopped thinking about him as my husband altogether. I thought of him as something less than human – a cockroach… yes, an annoying cockroach who just happened to live inside the same house as my daughter. Something… to be crushed beneath my feet… oh, do you find that image disturbing? Nevertheless it is the truth.”

Antoinette continued.
“My husband became fed up with my coldness towards him. One day, he confronted me about it just as I had tucked my daughter into bed. I did not feel like holding back, so I told him honestly how I felt – absolutely everything… but what I did not expect was that my daughter, who was not yet fully-asleep, would hear me calling her father a cockroach.
Then, without warning, I felt it. The sting of her tiny hand against my cheek – she had slapped me. She was a mere child about your size, so she could not muster much strength. Nevertheless, it hurt me. It hurt me deeply, much deeper than if someone had stabbed me from behind and twisted the knife over and over to prolong the agony. It hurt me so much that I tore out of the house screaming in agony.

On that night, I must have looked like a lunatic. No, perhaps I had lost my mind long ago… was it really such a sin for me to love her so much?

But…  that was when I first came upon this mansion, when Its doorways first opened for me. And I have been the lady of this house ever since. I’ve watched countless lives come and go since then. Young, old, people from different walks of life who have lost their path – they always end up in here. And of course, when they are ready to leave, the mansion always opens its doors. It has always opened its doors twice for everyone… except me… now then, that is enough talk for today. You must be exhausted from your journey here. I will show you to your room.”

“Sure thing… Lady Antoinette, but one more thing before we go.”

Samantha jumped off the seat and onto her feet.

“Don’t you think you’ve done enough here?  You love your husband AND your daughter as well, don’t you? You should just go back and apologize… is what I think.”

Antoinette was taken aback by Samantha’s words. Of course, all who knew Samantha, the real Samantha and not the “girl without a heart” would know that such a thing was quite normal for this child.

“That is…” Antoinette stumbled back three to four steps, having lost her composure.

Like a camera flash, white light entered the mansion as the double doors stubbornly creaked open.
“It’s open… Antoinette, this is it! Your husband and daughter are waiting for you! Let’s go!”

“They… are waiting?”

“Sure they are! You’re sorry for what you’ve done right? You’ve spent enough time within this mansion! It’s time to go back… go to them! … come with me…!” Samantha held out her hand before her host.

“I…I…” Antoinette slowly but surely took Samantha’s hand in hers – a hand that was slightly smaller than her own – one that reminded her very much of someone she still held very dear to her heart.

“Yes, let us go, dear child. It… may be time to leave this place. Ah yes… but before that…”

Antoinette tore off a small piece from the top of one of the mansion’s ornately sculpted chairs.

“I think this will suffice… for your ‘piece of a heart.’”

Samantha stared intently at the piece of wood that Antoinette had given her, and then she closed her eyes and clutched it close to her chest before placing it into her drawstring bag.

“That makes four pieces… I’ve still got some ways to go, but I’m getting there.”

Suddenly,  she felt a light shove push her from behind and before she knew it, Samantha was outside the mansion again… however, Antoinette was no longer with her.


Samantha banged on the doors

“Antoinette! Why? I don’t get it!” She shrieked.

“You wanted to apologize, didn’t you? Why couldn’t you come with me! Who knows when the mansion’s doors will open again? Why didn’t you come out to meet them when you had the chance?”
“Because…” Antoinette’s weak voice could be heard from inside… no, perhaps this had always been her true voice unembellished by any pretense.

“Because… I’m not quite ready… Samantha, it would be nice if the world worked in such simple ways as you seem to imagine, but it’s not always like that. Happy endings don’t always happen just because you wished hard for something, no – not even if you worked hard for something.”

“But you had the happy ending that you wished for right in front of you! Why couldn’t you just accept it?”

“I wasn’t ready… Samantha. I- don’t know when I’ll truly be ready, but when that time comes, I’ll surely come to meet them again and of course, we will see each…”

And her voice trailed off. Whatever forces that separated the mansion from the rest of the world – frozen in time, had taken its full effect and Samantha was alone once again.

“Fine then… if that’s how you want it, then it’s fine, Antoinette.”

And thus, Samantha gained the 4th piece of a heart. She walked off with a smile knowing fully-well that someday, the doors would open for Antoinette once again – even if she would not be there to witness it.

To Be Continued



  1. I loved this chapter. The setting reminded me of Alice in Wonderland with Samantha as Alice and Antoinette as the White Queen. There was such an enchanting atmosphere throughout this chapter and I was absolutely enthralled by it.

    1. Thanks~! Also thanks for your input and encouragement as I was writing this story.


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