{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copies left
You can choose from our best books below
Sabine Kurz would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Heart of Time

By Sabine Kurz All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Fantasy

Prologue

No one knew where the girl had come from. She was found on the road, half-starved, cloaked in dirt, unable to utter a single word. There was only one other person who knew the story, and she didn’t speak of it until later, much later, when the events that should change the land forever began to unfold. This is the story that was forgotten, as it is still told in the story houses of Allembach:

Once upon a time, there were a mother and her child, who loved each other dearly. They lived together in a small cottage in the rolling green hills of a faraway land, surrounded by sheep, whose wool was the means of the small family’s survival. One day, the mother fell gravely ill, and had to lie in bed for months and months. The child, not grown yet to womanhood, but strong and healthy, tended to her mother in the most caring way, but there was little change in the woman’s condition. Time passed, and the cottage grew dusty and unclean, for the girl did not have the strength to care for both her mother and the little farm. The sheep were no longer sheared, and there was no money left to spend for food. But the girl knew that they needed medicine to cure her mother, but they had neither the coin nor the means to get it. So they lived on together in the cottage, which slowly fell apart, and the hills behind it no longer seemed green, but dark and unfriendly.

One day, the girl went to the market to buy food with her last few coins. She was half-starved, having given all the food she could spare to her sick mother. But on the market they laughed at her, and told her she did not have enough money to buy anything. So she walked home, with hanging shoulders, thinking that now she must surely starve.

On the road she met a man, whose face was hidden under the dark hood of his long black cloak. He asked her for the way into the village, and because she was a dear and friendly girl, she told him without hesitation. He thanked her, and asked her if he could do something in return. At first, she shook her head, but the man persisted, until she told him of her sick mother and the empty coinbox. The man seemed to think, and said: “I know of a remedy that would cure your mother fully, and I have it her, in my pocket.” With that, he pulled a small vial from his cloak, and held it high up into the sun. The girl was overjoyed, and wanted to reach for the vial, when the man put it back into his pocket and asked what she was prepared to pay for it, as giving directions into the village was not nearly enough for such a powerful remedy. The girl thought hard, but could not come up with anything valuable she or her mother possessed. When she told the man, he laughed, and said: “You have something that is worth more to me than any coin you could ever have in your pouch.” Without thinking, the girl cried that he could have it, anything, if he would only give her the vial of medicine. But then he grabbed her, and stretched a clawed hand towards her chest. He sank his hand into her flesh and pulled out her beating heart, dripping with blood. “This is what I want as a payment, your heart, all loving and fresh and innocent. You will not die, little girl, for I do not want you to. You will live, your mother will be cured, but I have your heart. If we will meet again, tell me if it was worth it.” And with a chuckle, he walked off, leaving the girl kneeing in the middle of the road, clutching her chest.

When the girl came home, she fed her mother the medicine, and colour came back in the mother’s cheeks, and for the first time in half a year she stood up from her bed. But the girl could not rejoice over her mother’s cure, for she no longer had a heart, and she could no longer feel for others.

The girl became a woman, but she didn’t notice it. She walked through her life empty and unaware, but only her mother noticed the change, for all the intimacy and love between them had gone, and they lived their lives next to each other, not together. And the mother was very upset by this, for she did not know that her daughter had traded her heart away.

The girl felt no love for anything, not for the sheep she had cared for so lovingly before, not for the green hills, which she had walked on all her childhood years, not for her mother, not even for herself. She did not feel anything, only once when she had to kill a sheep that had broken its legs she felt something, something terrible, stirring within her. And because she yearned to feel again, she sought out this feeling. In time, she noticed that the suffering and death of others would bring her a moment of release from the emptiness within her chest. So she began to kill bugs and spiders first, then mice the cat had brought in, a newborn lamb, and later even the cat. And it became an addiction, for even though she no longer had a heart, she remembered how it had felt. But her mother never noticed any of the cruelties her daughter committed in secret.

After several winters had passed, a young man rode by the cottage, who was sent by his father to find a suitable girl for marriage. When he saw the young woman standing with the sheep, he was startled by her beauty. At that moment he knew that he could have no other wife than her. And so he asked her, and she agreed to marry him, because she did not know what else to do. The mother was happy, for she hoped that her daughter would find happiness with the young man, who was well spoken and and seemed to care a great deal for her daughter. And even though the man noticed that there was no love between him and his chosen wife, he thought to himself that love might grow with time.

And they lived together for some time, and even though there was no love between them, he was happy. One day the woman fell pregnant. Her husband was overwrought with joy, but in her, the deep dark feeling stirred whenever she looked on her swollen belly. When the child, a girl, was born, the husband often caught his wife looking at the baby with a dreadful look, but he pushed these thoughts aside, for he could not believe that his wife was evil. But she was tempted every time she saw her child, and in time the pressure in her became too much. So one day, she took a knife and went to the crib in which her daughter was lying. When she raised the knife high over her child, the husband, who had entered the room unnoticed, threw himself in front of his daughter. The knife pierced his heart, and with a final breath, he sank to the floor. Trembling, his wife let fall the weapon, and fled the house. She ran as fast as she could, never looking back, and was never again seen in this part of the country.

Her mother, who had heard of the events, came and took in her granddaughter, and cared for her lovingly. But she was growing old, and with every day more of her former strength left her. Some years they lived together, and even though the little girl laughed and cried, she did not speak. There was something different about her, but the old woman was so happy that there was some young life again in her little cottage, that she did not ponder on these thoughts.

Then, one day the grandmother died, and the girl, old enough to walk but too young to survive on her own, left the house, for there was no one to care for her. Walking through the woods, over the hills and over small streams she did, until she came to a road, where she lay down, for she had not eaten in many days. There she was found by some travelling folk, who took pity on her and took her in. With them she travelled far and wide, forgetting the place she had came from and the people she had known as a child. She became part of the travelling folk, and never knew how different she was from everyone else.

In the village she was born in, they never heard of her again, and they did not care, until later, much later, when the elders regretted of not taking care of what had happened in the little cottage in the rolling hills.

And this is how the story begins...

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Roy Jenner: I was pleased to join the action where this B-17 was limping back across the English Channel defying all odds. Obviously written by a person more than familiar with the interior of the Flying Fortresses that were familiar in the skies of Southern England during World War 2. Plenty of action here ...

Caryn Moy: Love this series! Very well written, great plot and characters! I love time travel mysteries and this was different from anything I've read in the past! Bring on the sequel!!! I need to see the Compact get squashed!

ynez2005: I LOVE THIS BOOK SOOOOO MUCH!!!!Though you really need to make another book,more Princesses!!! Whoooo!!!Girl Power!!!Mabey it could even be Devona's BFF???That would make it even better!!!Plus can you pleeease make Akki come back,together with Thea and Authur amd the whole family is back!Other th...

Lauren Sanby: This is an excellent story. Very gripping and keeps your attention throughout. Hoping the author is writing a sequel because I'd love to read more about Rhi and Andreas and find out what else Rhi is able to do with her powers.

spooky jedi: Love your story!I really hope more people read this story!Its amazing!! The plot is very unique and different, which is very good to have in a world full of stories. You have very complex and intellectual plot line, with your many loveable character and that hint of 'will they, won't they' is ju...

maewilde25: I am so in love with this story!!! captivated me till the very end, there wasn't a dull moment. Didn't particularly enjoy the lay out and some bits of info was missing along with how a 21 year old man amassed so much wealth that needed to be explained other than that and a few spelling errors, th...

Olivia N J Hamel: I want this book. I love it so much. It is so enjoyable to read and to have a copy of this always, I would be very happy, to always be able to come back and look at it again.

daneliacapote116: This was one of my favorites! When you start reading you want to continue I can't wait for the rest of the novel!! The characters where awesome! Everything was great. I encourage you to read this novel, your going to love it it and want to read it more and more !!

Lydia Walters: I really enjoyed this novel. It gives us a view of what could be if we really tried.Also that there's nothing wrong with loving our LORD and our fellow humans. couldn't wait to get to each new chapter (mission). Thanks, Joe!

More Recommendations

CookieMonster911: The story overall was an adventure that is appealing to any age. The way the characters develop adds a more human characteristic to the novel. The writing style itself is amazing because you can learn every character's thoughts and emotions. The awkward love triangle and jerk moments adds to the ...

Erin Crowley: The concept here is really strong, but the execution is definitely lacking. Tenses, grammar, etc are all off, with at least one or more errors per 'Page' on my phone. The writing style is almost broken- sentences move into each other awkwardly, and are filled with an excess of "filler words", lik...

genlynne2379: I read the other review of this book and I must say that I disagree with it wholeheartedly. I do not believe the author put the apostrophes in the names just to be unique, but because the characters are supposedly of a different race than humans. They are Anmah. They should have different names a...

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.