When Graham’s heart cancer had forced its removal, it was it for him, except for a last chance at life: a highly experimental prosthetic heart. And for four months, it has worked, constantly transmitting commands in response to his body’s natural nervous signals to a computer. It, in turn, would regulate the BPM. Monitors constantly beeped, showing the peaks and dips in his artificial pulse.
Four months and one day since the surgery, the lock to the door of Graham and his Grandparents’ dwelling was picked. The valuables off of the shelves were gone. Beautiful statues made of bronze and brass. Antiques and priceless artifacts. The army sword from the year 1600: gone. The battle-worn Crusader helmet: gone.
And most tragic of all: Graham’s computer.
His heart put him into a coma so it could self operate.
Mrs. Suo sat down in her chair with a cup of green tea. She drank it slowly as tears slid down her cheeks. Her grandson was in a slumber he could not be woken from. Her husband did not get home from work for another ten hours, and the paramedics were not able to arrive for another fifteen minutes.
She stared up at the most beautiful and valuable of her decorations which was not stolen, as it was bolted to the wall.
It was a medallion. A long, ornately engraved chain, pinned inside the frame so that the shape resembled a flower, and at its end, a triangle shape with two Seraphim worshiping the center on each side: two wings used to fly, two covering their faces, and two their feet. There was a circle supported by the triangle, with edges to look like a sun. And supported by that was a circular gem, black in sheen, but in it’s back was engraved an eye, so that as viewed from the front, it looked as if it was popping out and watching you. More ominously still, the shape of the crystal would give it the illusion that it was following you as you moved.
She loved It, though she wasn’t quite sure why. Her husband disagreed. Mrs. Suo had found It one day on a walk, dangling from a bush. According to a jeweler, It was crafted from real gold.
Always, the eye would seem to watch, and as it did, Mrs. Suo felt safe, rather than vulnerable under its gaze.
She still felt warmed by its memory as she squeezed the precious hand of her seven-year-old grandson in the back of the ambulance. And when she left him to stay the night in the hospital bed.
Seven o’clock on a Saturday morning, Mr. and Mrs. Suo were up together, getting ready heading out the door. She felt nervous for some reason as if she was on her way to meet a celebrity. Her son with a bionic heart, covered in machines, unable to talk to her, or see her. She began to cry once again and her husband comforted her with a hand around her shoulder.
“Graham is very strong,” he said, “Very strong. He will be perfectly fine. Who else do you know who has no heart and so much spunk?”
She looked up into her husband’s eyes.
“It will be fine,” he said. He put her coat over her shoulders and reached for the doorknob.
The second he touched it, a loud rap emanated from the other side causing them both to jump slightly.
Mr. Suo opened it and met a man smiling an enormous toothy grin while he held a clipboard in his hand.
“Good morning!” the man said,
“No salesmen, sorry.” Mr. Suo tried to sound polite, but he instantly became aware of the rude tone to his voice.
“I’m not a salesman,” he said as he straightened his tie and raised the clip-board to Mr. Suo’s face, “Can you sign here and here?”
Two other men dressed in identical attire wheeled a large cardboard box about the size of a piano bench up to the front stoop and dropped it there with a thud.
Now, the confusion made him angrier. They were going to be late. “S’cuse me, but would you kindly tell me who you are and what this is?
“You had some valuables stolen, I take it?”
“Yes, umm… how did you know that?”
“You accepted the terms and conditions.”
“Terms and conditions?”
“When you filled out the sheet and mailed it in.”
“Cai,” Mrs. Suo interjected,
“Hold on, I’ll figure it out.”
She was about to interrupt him again, then she remembered a magazine. Upon looking, she saw it sitting down on the coffee table right next to a purple mug wrapped up with a pen, sunglasses, and stickers, all bearing the name and logo Dankworth Warranty Service Dealers.
Mrs. Suo opened it to the middle where the stump of a card that had been torn out remained. On that page, right next to an article on composting was the add:
DANKWORTH WARRANTY SERVICE DEALERS
Limited time offer for a lifetime warranty on everything you own.
A one-time payment and we will replace anything damaged or stolen for no charge at all.
Order now, and you can get two tickets to Sunshine Cruises including airfare and meals.
Also a bundle of our merchandise.
Hurry up! Buy now for only $799.99
“Cai, I was going to surprise you with this for your birthday…”
He read the page over quickly.
“Uh… it’s a scam.” He tugged on a handful of what little white hair he had.
“A Cruise would cost more than that in total.”
“But… Mary… It’s a magazine ad.”
The man with the suit standing outside the door interrupted.
“She’s right. You do get the free cruise. Anyways, I’ve gotta go. Take care!”
Mr. Suo confusedly wheeled the box in and opened it with a key. Upon removing the styrofoam blocks, he pulled out two beeswax candles with brass candle holders, two bronze statues of angels, and most surprisingly, an exact copy of Graham’s heart computer worth 8000 dollars.
Immediately, he called them with the card he found in the bottom of the box.
“What’s the catch?”
“There isn’t a catch. You bought a lifetime warranty on all your possessions.”
And he hung up.
That evening, they brought a very weary Graham home, and after speaking with the police, they assured them it was safe for them to set up the computer that was given to them. The fans whirred softly as it booted, and connected itself flawlessly to Graham’s mechanical heart.
Just about midnight, the elderly couple had dozed off in a conversation about their dilemma, and the phone rang.
It was an official from Dankworth Warranty Service Dealers.
“Hello,” he said, not apologizing at all for the hour, “we were granted permission to go through your grandson’s medical records, and we read that his prosthetic heart is an experiment?”
“And how has it worked so far?”
“Fairly good… why?”
“Would you be interested in participating in another experiment that, putting all risks aside, could fix his heart troubles and ensure his health for the rest of his life?”
“What do you propose?”
“You can’t do an organ transplant with a heart; each one is unique.”
“Which is why the experiment requires the creation of a perfectly healthy heart identical to his old one.”
All of the hair on the back of Mr. Suo’s neck stood up as he looked into his concerned wife’s eyes.
“A few years ago, maybe, but top-secret cloning technologies exist today.”
“So you’re saying…?”
“Create a healthy clone and harvest the heart. Yes.”
“I-- I have to go. I’ll call back later. Good night.”
“Good night, Mr. Suo.”
Mrs. Suo looked troubled. “Who was that?”
And he slowly recounted the conversation.
“Should we sleep on it?” she said at last after a long moment of silence,
“You’re considering it?!”
“Well, imagine the chance it will give him! He can be a normal boy again. Remember when he used to collapse? His heart would stop? That won’t ever have to happen again. We will never have to worry about that computer disconnecting. We will never have to worry about a technical malfunction in his prosthetic!”
“Alright…” He stood up. “We’ll sleep on it.”
Seven months later, a clump of Graham’s hair was turned into a replica of him with a solid, strong, and heavily beating heart. Surgically it was removed, and installed perfectly fitting in Graham’s chest along with bits of flesh to cover the spot where the service port for the prosthetic had been.
Weeks of rehab passed, and Graham was not allowed to come home.
The spring days wore on, and Mr. and Mrs. Suo spent every evening sitting on their front porch and watching the city fade tonight with a mug of green tea and cigarette in hand. They each puffed smoke hard as if they were trying to physically blow away the stress.
But the nights were what pained Mrs. Suo the most. She had never liked the dark, but walking through the dark, silent house with all of her ornate artifacts made her feel smaller than ever, especially seeing Graham’s room door wide open, and his bed vacant.
She would get water after she used the restroom, and as she stood by the counter, draining the glass, the Medallion’s eye would hit her. And rather than feeling watched and vulnerable, she would relax, and feel safe.
But tonight was different. It was the first time she had even thought to notice the Medallion since Graham went in for the procedure.
Its glare was wrathful.
Mrs. Suo became disturbed, and after a few minutes of trying to force her mind to find consolation in the Eye, she gave up and started back up the stairs.
Warmth hit her back and she froze mid-step.
The rays of heat did not falter. They stayed simply constant, not growing or diminishing.
Paying closer attention to the room, she noticed that the normal blue sheen the objects gave off in the room reflecting the light outside had morphed into a darker, yet richer shade.
Mrs. Suo turned around and on the coffee table, there was a violet flame the size of a cantaloupe rising from a newspaper. She tried to beat it, but no motion she made caused the flame to react no matter how hard she tried
“Meet Me here at the same time in eight days.”
The voice seemed to come from everywhere. The flame suddenly vanished. Her eyes adjusted, and she saw the Medallion’s Eye staring at her once again. The clock read 1:04.
As fast as she could, she ran back up to her bed. By the time she had gotten there, her mind had already begun to forget what had happened.
Eight days later came fast. Mr. Suo had taken the day off of work, and the couple was hard at work by nine, preparing the house for Graham to come home. They wanted everything to be perfect for him, even if he did go to bed the second he walked in the door. The day before, they were at the hospital, and the whole day, he was doing aerobic activities completely covered in sensors. That morning, they had gotten the call that all was perfectly well, and he was free to come home. The couple was beyond excited to see their grandson who had made history twice in a year.
The day went fast, and as he sauntered in the door, wearing a brand new Minecraft shirt, Nike sweatpants, Adidas sports shoes, and a handful of Get Well Soon balloons (all courtesy of Dankworth Warranty Service Dealers) he embraced each of them.
Mr. Suo sent him off to bed, telling him that they could talk about it tomorrow, and to the surprise of both, he nodded in agreement.
The doctor began lecturing them about precautionary measures and complications some of his medications might cause.
He began drawing his conclusion when his assistant noted that the time was 1:00.
“--Anyways, with all that being said, you can expect him to be really tired in the evenings, and expect him to wake up early and want to be really productive in the mornings.”
“So basically the opposite of normal.” his assistant chimed in.
All four chuckled,
“Yeah, so just keep a close eye on that monitor. It will beep fairly loudly if anything goes wrong. If that does happen, it will notify us as well, and if it’s really bad, we’ll already be on our way. But, assuming that all goes well, a year from today, he can start going without it… what is that?”
He pointed towards a violently glowing pea-sized purple flame hovering in the air above the fireplace mantle, and just below the frame containing the medallion. Once everyone noticed, it slowly floated upward through the glass of the frame and met with the gold structure of the medallion to cause a violent red flame, throwing sparks inside the case.
The four spectators starred at the scene with awe and horror.
And with a sudden burst causing them all to jump out of their skin, the mantle and everything on it exploded in magnificent violent flames. The heat was almost painful. The sight was beautiful and terrible, like a physical manifestation of unfathomable fury.
The Eye of the Medallion now exploded in a ball of red brilliance, now staring seemingly into the souls of each person present there. The stabbing gaze caused them to feel physical pain from the intensity at which it hit them or at least felt like it.
The voice coming from everywhere exploded into the room. This time, rather than authoritative, it sounded mournful.
“The blood that I gave you wasn’t enough, still you take more. This time from the body crafted against my will by the hands of the wicked. You have broken the laws of nature. You challenged the Creator and stole the life of your creation. The Soul that was given to him, though is real, but it was returned to me when you killed the second Graham. Physically the same as the one you love today. Not even buried in a proper grave as an equal to the billions of others, but disposed of as hazardous waste.”
Every morsel of flame suddenly went out, and all four of them stumbled over each other trying to stand. When they did, a subtle, brilliantly white light came from behind them.
A chilly breeze filled the room from the same source of the light, ruffling through their hair.
They turned around and saw what looked like a window into another world. Through it, they saw Graham lying on a stone altar. His body was covered by a thin black linen cloth except for his head and his feet.
And lo! A beautiful woman entered the picture. She was garbed completely in black. With quivering hands, she lifted the cloth slightly to briefly reveal a gaping rectangle-shaped cavity in his chest before he brought it down softly over his head. The thin, glistening silk slowly floated down to outline the shape of his face.
The lady then turned and looked at them. Her face was stunningly beautiful. Her bottom jaw and lip violently quivered as their eyes met. Tears poured down her face. They noticed grooves in the side of her shining face that the tears ran through as if they had eroded the flesh away after thousands of years of mourning. Her hand touched her lips through the nearly transparent black cloth that covered her face. Both of her eyes were as dark as her clothes. The rims filled with tears every time she blinked. She closed her eyes and the vision was gone.
It was dark.
Very dark. They hadn’t realized just how bright the vision was.
Not a soul spoke.
Mrs. Suo was able to force herself to bring her head around to look down the hall and see her grandson lying in bed in his gentle slumber.
Mr. Suo began to shout, and all eyes fell on Graham’s doctor.
The man’s eyes had begun to glow. He began to scream. They began to glow hotter as flames from nowhere burned the delicate tissue, sending reeking streams of smoke into the air. When the flames had consumed every morsel of his eyes, his hands cracked like a hot desert floor and turned into dust, propelled upwards by the wind of their own breath.
And the doctor’s terrified assistant lifted the blind, handless, agonized, and wailing doctor out the front door.
Mr. and Mrs. Suo remained in their spots, completely frozen, ghost white, and unable to move.
After some time, Mrs. Suo looked up at the frame of the Medallion, hoping to be comforted by the eye, but to her surprise, it was gone, and in its place the empty frame.
“Cai!” she said, shaking her husband’s shoulder, “It’s gone.”
He looked up at the frame and sat in thought for a moment.
“Do you think…” Mrs. Suo said, “That it goes where it’s needed?”
“What do you mean?”
“Like providing help to those who need it when they need it, going from owner to owner? I found it just two years ago.”
Mr. Suo tried to force himself to chuckle.
“A Wandering Medallion.”