36 comments

Submitted on 08/15/2020

Categories: General

Step 1.

We mold it only out of the best clay. Master told me that all decent hearts are made out of pure, broken hearts, so we use the broken pieces of the Great Heart which is crumbling down slowly at the corner.

Step 2.

We take that piece and burn it, and melt it. Master says no heart is perfect until it passes by the Holy Flame. When a broken piece of Great Heart is completely melted by the Holy Flame, the molding process begins. Got that so far?

Step 3.

This is very important. We have to mold it now. Every heart has its own unique shape, and we follow the design which Master gave us. Right after the step 2, we ask Master what we should do about the design. Then, Master pulls out an old scroll from the shelf and gives it to us. We mold the shape accordingly.

Step 4.

We decorate the pre-heart (that’s how we call them), of course. There are two boxes of jewels in our room. One is called Jewels of Talent and the other is called Jewels of Memories. Ugh, never mind the names. We don’t know why we call them, either. Master marks us the place where we should put them, and we lay the decorations on the pre-heart, cautiously trying to follow the marks.

Step 5.

We put it on our stone tray and put it inside the raging fire. The tray is called Trials and the fire is called Tribulations.  I remind you: Never mind the names. They are just named like that. Everyone except our Master has no idea why we call them that way. After the Trial and Tribulations Process is over, Master brings two tiny bottles of clear liquid. One is called Tears and the other one is called Prayers. Master cools the hot pre-heart with the liquid. Whenever Master pours the liquid on the heart, the heart sizzles and fizzles AND becomes a stronger heart. Master says you can hardly break that heart if it went through the Step 5.

That’s all 5 steps you should know when you’re making a heart (By the way, we never produce it. We make it.), I guess. Our hands tend to be clumsy and unskilled, so Master often grabs our arms and helps us do it right. This is a serious business, after all.

After the heart is made, we pass it to the owners. (We never call them customers. They don’t buy it, right?) We don’t really like those fussy owners. We can’t do things right when they’re nosing around. Some are not satisfied by the design, and requires us to mold it according to their own designs. They don’t know what decent structure of a heart is. They only care about the appearance and don’t consider more important things like its stoutness and capacity. Some refuse to pass the Trials and Tribulations Process because they don’t want their precious hearts to pass through the hot fire. They don’t believe that it is completely safe and that it is for their own good. They carry the unfinished heart in their bosoms and hurry out without a thank you. I bet they broke or spoiled it by now. The owners don’t know how to take care of their hearts. They make it dirty by filling unnecessary stuffs like money or dark desires in it, or just carelessly drop it to the floor. I saw some owners complaining fiercely to Master with broken pieces in their hands. Good thing that our Master is very patient.

But not all of the owners are like that, anyway. Some are very humble and responsible, and they know that Master knows best. Master especially likes the owners who leave their Hearts under Master’s own control. They don’t claim their hearts, and hands it to Master. If they do that, Master becomes very happy and places those Hearts in the shelf, and Master cleanses and kisses it every day. Those Hearts under Master’s control are always clean and shining. We sometimes open the shelf and gaze at the Hearts shining like diamonds, and bless those faithful souls who would be wandering around with feather-light bosoms.

As an apprentice of Master who spent 13 years doing this, I’m now quite skillful at heart making. I teach new apprentices, and often follow Master to the Soul Factory. I can’t tell you about it because Soul is much more serious matter than Heart and I still don’t know what on earth’s happening out there. That’s not very important, anyways. The important thing is that Master trusts me on great things and that’s all I need to know. It’s an incredible thing that I’m not that wretched girl I used to be, but I’m standing here making Hearts. I remember the day in which I came here with tiny fragments of broken heart. I did not complain to Master like other owners of broken hearts did. No, I was too desperate and my heart was too broken to do that.

I gave the fragments to Master, asking if Master can fix it. Surprisingly, Master was pleased with that. Master was pleased even when what I gave was pieces of broken heart. Master was just glad that I left it under Master’s control. My Master asked me to be an apprentice of heart making, and said that the heart will be fixed soon. Master took the tiny fragments of my heart into the small attic in the house, and for 13 years of my apprentice I never heard what has become of it.

“Ting!”

The pre-heart screams as it falls to the floor. To my relief, Master dives to the floor and catches it before it breaks. Oh, look at me. Just like an amateur.

“I’m sorry, Master!” I shout, quickly picking the pre-heart up. Other apprentices turn their heads from the work table and shoot me understanding smile. Master winks at me gaily and nudges me with the elbow.

“Why, have you forgotten your skills, Anna? I don’t think you’re old enough to retire,” Master whispers to me.

“I was just thinking,” I whisper back. “If you can teach me how to mold my own heart. Do you remember the pieces I gave You 13 years ago?”

“I’m molding it in this very moment, dear,” says Master, smiling.

“But You’re just talking to me right now!”

 “I don’t need to be at only one place in one moment, right? That isn’t a law, well, except for me.”

That’s a thing I never knew. Well, I’ll never know enough about Master.

“So will You teach me?”

“Come to the attic right after you finish this, alright?”

I nod.

I creep cautiously through the stairs, with my heart (I mean the physical one) pounding. I’m finally going to learn how to mold my own heart! What will my Master teach me? How many steps will that process have?

“Come in,” a soft voice echoes inside the door. I open it and come into the attic. Master is sitting in front of the glass container. Puzzled, I sit beside Master.

“Your heart, child.”

I draw closer to the box container to see what’s inside. There is a pot inside it. The pottery is made of clear crystal, so transparent that I can’t see it at the first sight. As the sunlight pokes the box containers, thousands of tiny rainbows dance on the surface of the pot.

“I’m forming it this instance.” Whispers Master again.

The pottery isn’t completely still. Its mouth is squeezing and twisting and its body is swelling and shrinking. Ripples form on the surface and mouth as the pot shakes like fish’s lacy tail.

“What is it doing, Master?”

“Growing. It is learning how to grow and shape itself.”

“Well, how to I form it, Master?”

There is a dreadful silence. The crystal bulges and bursts out. The small pieces of crystals form tiny shapes of people and trees and moon and houses. The crystal river slithers gleefully around the room, and transparent horses gallop around us. Suddenly, the pieces of crystal gather together and disappear to the container. The crystal pottery is still squeezing and swelling inside it.

“Nothing.”

“Hmph?” I gaze at Master, widening my eyes.

“Do absolutely nothing.”

Is Master joking?

“That’s not-“

“That’s the most difficult skill an apprentice can learn, Anna. Leaving it all to me and doing absolutely nothing.”

So we sit there, silent and peaceful. Doing absolutely nothing. I’m learning how to do it before my crystal heart bulging and shrinking in front of me. Some day it’ll be perfected and it will shine like other Hearts inside the glorious shelf. But until then, the new heart making process should continue.

Step one.

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36 comments

Doubra Akika
12:31 Aug 15, 2020

This was so amazing! I loved the step by step instructions and the line that Roshna pointed out was also my favourite. The ending was also amazing! Very beautiful job!

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Jn Park
12:38 Aug 15, 2020

Thank you! I'm so happy you liked it! :)

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Doubra Akika
12:39 Aug 15, 2020

I really did!

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Roshna Rusiniya
07:33 Aug 15, 2020

This was brillIant Jen! The other story was good but this just awesome. Love how it started, step by step instructions. Love your choice of ‘skill’ too. Great dialogues. My favourite’ Leaving it all to me and absolutely doing nothing’. Very well-done!

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Jn Park
08:02 Aug 15, 2020

Wow, thank you very much Roshna! It means a lot coming from you. :) I tried to put some emphasis on that word. I'm very happy you liked it!

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Roshna Rusiniya
08:09 Aug 15, 2020

You are very welcome! Keep writing! :)

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01:14 Sep 19, 2020

Woah, such a creative story! Like, wow, I’ve never read anything like this. The step-by-step tutorial was really fun to read, as was the whole interesting story. I have NO idea how you came up with this amazing, original story, but I loved it! Keep writing!

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Jn Park
02:39 Sep 19, 2020

Thank you very much Samara! :) I'm glad you found it interesting.

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Andrew Robinson
17:20 Aug 26, 2020

Hello Jn, and thank you for this lovely story. The narrative that you styled for this piece is clever - reminiscent of an ancient re-telling (I almost imagine an oral recitation from a wizened Elder) - and the characters are immediately endearing. Similarly effective, your story oscillates easily between fantasy and parable. Looking forward to more!

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Jn Park
08:25 Aug 28, 2020

Thank you very much! I'm glad you liled the character-I didn't quite design them from the beginning, but I tried to convey my honest feelings through them. Thank you again for your kojd words! :)

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Charles Stucker
08:38 Oct 01, 2020

A creative take on the prompt. The apprenticeship certainly seems long enough- thirteen years and she is still not done. It comes across like the master is divine and she will always be learning because she is mortal. Good voice and style, excellent pacing with just enough tension. I enjoyed how her heart was unfinished even after 13 years. It was the medium resolution option. Not fully done, but not ruined and start over. Naturally, she goes back to working as an apprentice...

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Elizabeth Inkim
16:30 Sep 26, 2020

Fantastic prose and storyline! The dialogue was definitely my favourite part, from your writing style I think that you would really enjoy some of my stories, particularly 'And I am a creator at heart' and 'Auditorium Antics'. I would love to know what you think, so be sure to leave a comment! P.S. If/when you decide to read any of my stories just know that all of the characters and locations belong to the same fictional universe; everything’s interconnected, just not told chronologically. So if you have a favourite character, they'll pro...

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Jn Park
10:15 Sep 27, 2020

Thank you Elizabeth! I'll definitely check out! :)

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D. Holmes
17:51 Aug 17, 2020

Such a beautiful story! Loved the Trials and Tribulations part. Also, great use of word choice here: "By the way, we never produce it. We make it." "Produce" reminds me of mass production and conformity while "make" suggests artisanship and taking the time to craft a labor of love.

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Jn Park
07:29 Aug 18, 2020

I'm so glad you pointed that out! I wanted to make sure that the readers will not think that it's a factory with hundreds of paid workers; no. I wished that they would imagine several young apprentices learning how to craft the amazing art. Thank you very much for reading the story thoroughly and looking through my exact purpose of word choice! It's always encouraging when I find that the reader have the same thought with the one I had when I wrote the story. :)

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D. Holmes
02:12 Aug 19, 2020

It definitely adds to the meaning of this piece! Glad I could hop on the same wavelength as you :)

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Rayhan Hidayat
11:10 Aug 17, 2020

I LOVE this, wow! :O This is a one-in-a-million take on the prompt, just so unique, might be my favorite one so far! The part with the customers tainting their hearts in different ways was very nice, those were awesome allusions to real life. Now I could be wrong, but this story seems to be a metaphor for having faith in a higher power--and I think you pulled that off beautifully if it is. Awesome stuff, keep it up! :D

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Jn Park
11:48 Aug 17, 2020

Thank you very much for your kind comment! :) It's an honor for me to hear such positive comment from you! This story is up to your interpretation, so there is no wrong answer. I actually wrote this based on my meditations on the Bible and prayers, so I'm even more glad that you liked it.

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Rayhan Hidayat
12:19 Aug 17, 2020

I guess that’s my interpretation then! 😝 Well done, your meditations really paid off haha

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Shiza Ali
10:03 Aug 17, 2020

Mesmerizing story!

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Jn Park
11:05 Aug 17, 2020

Thank you! :)

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Shreya S
09:56 Aug 17, 2020

Wow! This was very different from what I expected from this prompt. I love the whole concept and plot of the story!

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Jn Park
11:05 Aug 17, 2020

Thank yoy very much! :)

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Chris B
16:08 Aug 16, 2020

Interesting direction of writing a story. I love it. You’ve don’t a great job of writing a story that doesn’t follow traditional norms.

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Jn Park
07:12 Aug 17, 2020

Thank you very much! :)

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Yolanda Wu
01:25 Aug 16, 2020

I love how you really captured the prompt. And as people have said before, the step by step instruction was a nice touch. I like how the ending mirrors the beginning. I really enjoyed reading this story! Amazing work. :)

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Jn Park
01:43 Aug 16, 2020

Thank you so much! I'm so happy you liked it:)

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Barbara Burgess
15:16 Aug 15, 2020

Wow, what a fabulous and intriguing story. Absolutely brilliant idea. Well done.

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Jn Park
01:44 Aug 16, 2020

Thank you very much for your kind comment! :)

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Lily Kingston
13:46 Aug 15, 2020

I love this! It’s such a creative take on the prompt and I love how you described the heart-making process. It’s so cool how you wrote different reasons based on the owners for why their hearts aren’t complete and how that affects them. Keep up the good work and keep writing!!

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Jn Park
14:00 Aug 15, 2020

Thank you so much! :)

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Jn Park
12:51 Aug 15, 2020

By the way, you might have noticed that I never used pronoun when addressing Master. Yep, I did it on purpose.

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Tariq Saeed
08:24 Aug 15, 2020

Good attempt.

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Jn Park
08:37 Aug 15, 2020

Thank you! :)

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Rhondalise Mitza
02:54 Aug 15, 2020

This reminded me a short stop motion film I love and rewatch almost every week. I'll send you the link because they are both such beautiful pieces of art and I hope the world appreciates them as much as I do. https://youtu.be/YDXOioU_OKM

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Jn Park
03:04 Aug 15, 2020

Oh, thank you very much! I'll definitely check it out. ;)

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