Thursday, July 6, 2017

Samantha And The Pieces Of A Heart: Chapter 7: Finale + Author's Notes



With no regard for her own safety, Samantha flung herself up and over into the well.

Her one and only goal was to retrieve her precious heart pieces that Professor Ian had purposely tossed inside.

“Hrumph! Got you!”

Suddenly, Samantha felt a powerful arm wrap around her waist from behind.
“D-Dr. Rationale? Please, let me go! I need to get my heart pieces back.”

Dr. Rationale, who had hoisted Samantha to safety, shook his head as he gently placed the little girl down on the ground.
“There’s no need to jump in after them, Sam,” Dr. Rationale said calmly.

“Eh?”

“Right, we’ll get them back for you,” a familiar voice said from behind.

“A-Antoinette? You made it out!”

Antoinette placed her hand on Dr. Rationale’s shoulder.

“Yes, a few moments after you got out, the doors opened again and there was my husband waiting for me. I must say, it was quite a remarkable reunion, wasn’t it, darling?”

“Wait, you mean… ?”

Antoinette nodded in reply.
Dr. Rationale was smiling from ear to ear.

Samantha stared bewildered at Antoinette and Dr. Rationale. Of course, once the little wheels in her head started spinning, it was actually easy for little Samantha to put two and two together.

“Sam… it’s all thanks to you that I was reunited with my wife… so now it’s our turn to help you.”
 There was actually a small pail and a long wooden pole right next to the well as well as some rope. People would use this to fetch water from the well. Of course,  the thought of making use of these items had never crossed Samantha’s mind when Professor Ian hurled her precious heart pieces into the well. With a bit of trial and error, Dr. Rationale managed to recover all of Samantha’s pieces of a heart. They were very wet but none the worse for wear.

“Thank you very much!”
Samantha clutched her precious items and smiled happily. She coddled them like a mother would cradle her baby.

Meanwhile Chloe and Milly made a slight nod at each other and crept away silently.
“Hmph! So what does that prove? A puppet will always be a puppet. You should know that as well, Dr. Rationale. The two of us helped to create this… this… thing.”
“What? Is that true, Doctor?”

Samantha was quite confused at this sudden revelation – of course, who wouldn’t be?

Dr. Rationale hesitated for a bit but then he turned to face Samantha. Looking into her clear, unclouded eyes, Dr. Rationale knew exactly what he had to do – he had to tell the truth without holding anything back – whatever the results may be.
“It’s true, Sam. We made you… we both did. I was Professor Ian’s assistant back then. We wanted to create the ultimate puppet. Something that could walk, talk, think and act like a real human being… and that was how you were created – but, the one thing that we could not replicate is the function of the heart.

No matter what we tried to do, we could not replicate human emotion. We couldn’t program you with the component of uncertainty that is the human heart… and so, you were…” Dr. Rationale’s voice cracked.

“You were discarded, little girl. What you are is a reject. A human substitute pretending to be human even though she doesn’t and never will have a heart,” Professor Ian interrupted.
Samantha sank down on her knees dumbfounded and unable to fully process everything that she had just heard. As if echoing her feelings, the sky rumbled with a thunderous roar, and without warning, it began to rain heavily.
Professor Ian quickly ran inside his house slamming the door behind him as he went. Everyone else reluctantly followed suit and began to walk away to find some shelter. In the end, only Samantha and Dr. Rationale remained. Even Antoinette had left the scene.
“Dr… Rationale… ”

Samantha looked up at the doctor. He was standing over her in silence; his bangs cast a grim shadow over his eyes, so his expression could not be seen. He was trembling, but this was only natural. After all, his clothes were drenched by the rain. Still, he stood there next to Samantha – unmoving.
 A whirlwind of emotions washed over Samantha. She clutched the five pieces of a heart that she had gathered – no, the useless pieces of wood that she had worked so hard to earn. If she had the strength to break them apart at that moment, Samantha would have done so without hesitation.

PLOP! PLOP! PLOP! PLOP! PLOP!

Piece by piece, she allowed the wooden pieces to slip from her hands and drop to the muddy ground.

“These things… are really worthless, aren’t they?”

“No, they are not, darling.”
A familiar female voice came from behind Samantha. A soft, warm, hand gently rested itself on her shoulder.
“Antoinette?”
“Definitely… they are not worthless…” This time, it was the doctor who spoke.

Dr. Rationale stooped down to pick up the pieces one by one.

“It’s true that I thought you were a failed project… but I was wrong about that, completely wrong! Sam… it’s not that we couldn’t create a heart for you, it’s just that we didn’t understand the true meaning of a heart.”

“Ah, as expected of my dear husband, he finally gets it.”

Antoinette closed her eyes and smiled contentedly.
Dr. Rationale smiled as well. This time, Samantha could clearly see his expression.

“Sam, is a heart really something that beats inside of us in here?”

He clutched his chest.

“Or… is it something beyond that?”

“Something beyond that...,” Asked Samantha.
Dr. Rationale took out a handkerchief and began to assemble the five wooden pieces that Samantha had collected during her journey.
“Look, Sam… why do you think these five wooden pieces fit so well together? Don’t you think they almost look like a heart?”

Samantha examined the five pieces carefully and confirmed the doctor’s words with her own eyes. It was true. While they seemed to be awkwardly shaped and didn’t exactly match each other in color being all different shades of red, the five pieces of a heart actually fit so well when put together, that they unmistakably formed an unfinished heart.
“They really do…”

“That’s proof that these wooden pieces didn’t come together by mere accident. No matter what their origins were, each piece was deliberately made to fit together with the others. They are the proof of your connections with the people you have met in your quest, Sam…”

“Do you understand now, my dear child?”
Antoinette scooped Samantha up from the ground and held her up to her shoulder – the same way that she used to carry her own daughter. Antoinette’s dress was soaked with muddy water, but she did not care.
“It is not about the wood and the crude paint from which they were made, it is about the feelings of the giver that they represent. So therefore…”

“Don’t just throw those feelings away like they were nothing… umm… is that right?” Chloe said with much hesitation.
“Chloe? And Milly too!”

“Umm… here Samantha… l-let’s play together sometime okay?”
Milly held a small pouch out at Samantha.
“Go ahead, dear child.”

Antoinette placed Samantha on the ground.

Samantha held out her hand. Milly cupped her hands around Samantha – a hand that was ever so slightly smaller than her own.

Opening the pouch, Samantha’s eyes lit up at what was inside.

“Why these are…”

As she poured the contents of the pouch onto her hand, Samantha saw that they were actually two pieces of wood – hastily cut up and sanded down and awkwardly colored red with a marker pen.
“The last pieces of a heart!”

Dr. Rationale beckoned for Samantha to take the pieces to him.

“As expected, a perfect fit!” Dr. Rationale exclaimed excitedly.

“Umm… but, they’ll fall apart if you try to move them though,” Chloe noted.

“Why yes, that is a problem, is it not…?” Added Antoinette.
“Not at all, I have just the perfect solution. Make way, make way!”

The voice had come from a new participant to the conversation: Billy the android.
Billy crouched down next to the heart pieces and began applying a liquid substance all over their edges.

“What’s that?” Asked Milly.

“Well… some people like to call it glue… quite a fascinating substance, really. I mean, it can mend just about everything – perhaps even the most fragile of broken bonds? “ Billy said with a wink.
“Sounds creepy.”

“Oh, whatever…”
Billy stared intently at his handiwork, and being quite satisfied with the precision with which he had stuck the pieces together, he held it up over his head as if he were praising some deity. Which made him look a bit silly as raindrops kept getting into his eyes and he had to squint to hold the position.

“Oh, sorry, got carried away… here you go, Samantha… sorry, I couldn’t do anything about the color. They’re definitely red, but each piece is a slightly different shade… but hey, you can think of it as a symbol of your multi-colored experiences or something?” Billy said sheepishly.
“Well, with that much, my brush should be of assistance… now give that to me, young man.”

This time, it was Vincent the painter who had joined the fray. Producing one of his many paint brushes and dipping the point inside one of his paint bottles strapped to a belt pouch, he painted the entire wooden sculpture a bright shade of blood-red with a few expert strokes of his brush.
“Here you go, Samantha.  I have painted many things in my time, but this project, as short as it may have been, was definitely the most satisfying.”

Samantha grabbed the now completed heart with both hands. No longer fragmented, but one complete piece all put together. It was still somewhat awkwardly shaped, held together with super glue, and although Vincent’s paint job was flawless, there was really no way to erase the shades of amateurish colors scattered all throughout.

She smiled and let her most honest thoughts escape from her lips.

“Thank you for everything. It’s truly beautiful.”

Holding the precious item to her chest, Samantha looked up at the sky. It was still raining but not so much as before. Beyond the clouds, the sun had begun to shine.
THE END




Author’s Notes

Well…? That’s how it all ends. What happens to Samantha and her newfound friends after this is a story for another day – one that I personally don’t have to write.
What did you think? If you felt something – whatever it is, while reading this piece, then I believe that I have done my job as an author. Of course, I will never know about your thoughts if they are not communicated to me, so do tell me.

 With that said, there are a few things I’d like to talk about regarding the elements of this particular piece.

What Were the 7 Pieces Of A Heart All About?

While Dr. Rationale and company already explained the significance of the hearts, there is also an underlying structure behind Samantha’s adventure. The use of SIRI was not just a cheap trick or an early “hook” to grab your attention. I for one do not believe in “hooks,” but if you do, then that’s all well and good.

The real reason why I used SIRI was to leave a clue as the structure of Samantha’s quest. This is also the reason why Dr. Rationale seemed to know a whole lot about what Sam was trying to accomplish. Simply put, the 7 pieces of a heart represent different stages of acceptance or “how to mend a broken heart.” I didn’t use one particular source for these, of course. You will not find an exact match for the 7 different emotional stages of the people that Samantha encountered during her journey by doing a Google search. The reason for this is because I used theories from different sources and pieced them together as I saw fit. To me, their real importance was that they allowed Samantha to encounter all types of people from all walks of life.
It’s worth noting that the title was actually inspired by a make-believe story title that my 8 year-old niece concocted once upon a Skype voice chat.

On “Heartless” and “Heart-Less”
You may have noticed that figuratively speaking, Samantha was never really heartless from the start – and if you did, then congratulations! That is what the main theme of the story is really all about. Everything that was written from chapter 1 and until the finale were all intended to subtly move the reader towards asking that final question: “What is a heart, really?”

In Samantha, we have a puppet girl/android without a heart. At the same time, this apparently inhuman thing has more empathy for others than many real living, breathing human beings. This is the true essence of Samantha’s story.
Why Didn’t Everyone Show Up In The End?
You might be tempted to believe that it was a fairytale happy ending with everyone coming together to support Samantha in the end, but it’s not, really. If you still recall, Alexia and Melania, the sisters from chapter 3 never showed up.

The reason for this is because in this story, I wanted to show some form of realism.  Not everything always turns out perfectly in life, and so, even in a fictional story with elements of the absurd such as this one, a picture-perfect happy ending would have been hard to swallow.

There are other similar elements within the story that depict my view of reality. The bad guy (Professor Ian) never really got what was coming to him. I’m sure he at least deserved a good punch from Dr. Rationale, but again, things don’t always turn out the way we want to in life – so it shouldn’t be any different in this story.

It Is Still An Idealistic Children’s Story

With all these dark and sometimes imperfect elements added into the story, I would like to believe that Samantha and the Pieces of A Heart is still an idealistic story that can be read and understood at some level by young children and of course, by full-grown adults. While writing this story, I tried to pay close attention to my diction and use appropriate wording but while also keeping it simple and readable for everyone.
Samantha does get her somewhat happy ending in the finale, but the reality is that people will still continue to judge her if they know/have heard about her story. Of course, the difference is that Sam has gained a little bit more self-awareness and self-worth after her journey – and sometimes, that can make all the difference.
On Inspiration and Motivation

The initial inspiration to write this story was an image through a make-believe title of the same name from my niece once upon a voice chat. Basically, she mentioned that she had a story called “Samantha and the Pieces of a Heart” (she was making stuff up on the fly, of course) but the image of a little girl searching for the pieces of her own heart really stuck in my head. 

Of course, inspiration is one thing but motivation is another. While I had been brewing the story in my head for a few months, I was never really motivated to write it until I met a friend online (through my Nagi obsession) who read almost all of my stories from my Visual Novel Creator days and (I’d like to believe) sincerely liked them.
This was something new to me and it was both extremely touching and extremely flattering. It’s not like no one ever liked my works before, but so very few people are willing to actually tell you how they feel about your own stories. 

If you know someone who is a writer/artist/creator, never forget to pay them a simple compliment – if and only if you truly like their works. As an author, I could hope for no greater reward than to know that someone sincerely liked my works for what they are.  Yes, critique is important as well, but not everyone wants to be critiqued or wants your advice on how to improve. Let the person decide whether they want your help or not and don’t unnecessarily volunteer critique unless the person specifically asked for it. People forget that creators are human beings as well and as creative individuals, we tend to come with a lot more pride than usual. If consider yourself creative and you do not happen to have pride, then don’t apply your personal standards upon everyone else.  That is the attitude of a tyrant.

Anyway, this person urged me to start writing again since it had been years since I actually wrote a story. I felt that I could not betray this individual’s expectations after that, and thus, the result is this piece: Samantha and the Pieces of A Heart.
That’s all I have to say for now about this story and I hope to see you again in future stories to come – lordcloudx out.










2 comments:

  1. This is one of your best stories. I really liked how it gives a child hope, yet, at the same time, teaches him or her that not everything can happen according to our wishes. Samantha, although, is not human, she's more human like than almost every other character. She helps them, gives them hope, she understands them so well, she's like a young counsellor. She's a darling. The barrier between human and inhuman is not that simple, just a physical difference doesn't answer that and Samantha proves it so perfectly. This story is great for stimulating young minds and enhancing their creativity.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, as always. Sigh... I'd certainly love to read/hear from the people who read this story too. Just their impressions on it like you've done here would be quite rewarding for me as a writer.

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