Stone Telling

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Their Hearts Like Lock and Key

by Grá Linnaea

Each of their hearts was like a lock and also a key. With the tides and the changes of the season, their hearts grew and shrank, changed texture and color.

Tentatively, shyly, they fit their hearts together, exhaling when the pieces clicked and twisted together as one.

But each season brought more changes and new fears. One season they'd overlap and mesh like corresponding gears, the next they might barely fit the tapered end of one heart into the top of the other.

Those times, the lovers could barely make eye contact. They'd grasp hands just so they wouldn't fiddle their own fingers.

At the end of the season they'd leave each other again. When apart, they'd play with their hearts like puzzles or music boxes. They'd expand their hearts into a lattice and wear it as a crown, useful in strange lands.

They'd compress their hearts into tight intricate mechanical people to sing them songs, to share secrets with.

And at the beginning of each new season, they'd worry, always, that their hearts might no longer fit together.

But their hearts would make a sound like laughter, maybe mocking them a bit, because each of their hearts was like a lock and also a key.

Grá Linnaea is a hippie, a punk and kind of a nerd. He edits for Shimmer magazine and makes money designing pretty things. In his spare time he's often bouncing around the world, facilitating writing groups and making really really loud music. He's a winner of Writers of the Future and attended the 2008 Clarion Workshop. His Stoker Award nominated story "Messages From Valerie Polichar" was featured in Shock Totem magazine and other of his fiction can be recently found in Apex and Daily Science Fiction. Check out more of his stuff at

Photography: adapted from Cerradura by Marina Lopez.