by Wendy Altshuler

When an amnesiac girl who thinks she has been born without a heart utters a prayer, she is met by a mysterious angelic stranger from her forgotten past. Together they embark on a journey to recover her removed heart, but enter into battle with an Evil Voice on a rampage to remove the hearts of an entire generation of children – and replace them with stones.

And then the wolf lunged, was now upon her, its fangs snapping at her arm. Nadia fought it off as she felt the other arm pulled. She thought another dog had snuck up behind her, but the door had opened, she was dragged, and the dog struck with one blow. It squealed, and Nadia was again in the dark hallway, protected from wind, cold, sitting on the floor. It was not as warm as her body required, but it was warm enough for her to catch her breath. She could see a gold gilded arm holding her own.

Holofernes shifted uneasily and Nadia tried to stand, for she thought he was commanding her to do so. But her feet were frozen and numb.

He picked Nadia up, and headed down the hall, close to the wall and into shadows. They quickly reached a staircase. Halfway down the stairs, he kicked a brick in the wall with his boot, and the stone they were standing on turned through a wall which opened. Soon they were on the other side of the wall, descending again. Nadia was bounced as they hurried down the stairs; she could barely feel her cold flesh on his arms. But she could feel the cold of the metal. They reached the bottom, and there, in a lone cell, lying on the dirt, was Georgeonus.

Before she knew what had happened she was left on the floor and Holofernes had gone. She turned to see a glint of gold disappear up the stairs.

Georgeonus’ head rolled on the dirt. Standing, she still couldn’t feel her toes, only cold sensations like knives in her heels. She jumped from one foot to the other, then collapsing to her knees, fell on her hands. These too felt as though she plunged them on swords. Georgeonus’ head rolled to its other side, dirty and bloody. He half opened his eyes. They were dim, not glowing white, his pupils and lids blue. A dim glow flickered as he closed them, and Nadia made her way to the bars of the cell. The side of his forehead was swelled, and there was a dent in the metal at his shoulder. He coughed faintly, his hand reaching over his stomach, then opened his eyes wide and stared at the ceiling above.

Nadia judged by the distance of the bars that she could slip through, and soon did so. She knelt over Georgeonus, peering at him, huddled on the floor. His head rolled again as she wondered what to do.

~Buy NADIA’S HEART on Amazon

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Wendy Altshuler is a writer-producer who explores myth in new media. She writes fantasy novels and creates works in stop motion animation. Her credits include award-winning screenwriting and WGA-accredited representation. With a degree in psychology and a Master of Arts from Columbia University, Altshuler documented the work of international choreographers and wrote and produced regional programming. Her short plays have been performed at Boston Playwrights\’ Theatre, at regional schools and most recently, Puppet Showplace Theatre. Altshuler\’s young adult book series has been hailed as \”emotionally moving, uplifting and wholesome,\” and \”spirited and haunting. . .with much symbolism and beauty.\”

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