A heart of Cogs and Clockwork

Coral VanHughs is the daughter of one of the most notorious criminals, helping her Father in his evil ways to steal from the highest of society. After being shot she is given a clockwork heart to keep her alive, but she is already dying and needs all the help she can get to travel across the world to the famous clock maker who is her only chance at survival.



5. A Heart is Just the Beginning

Several days later Coral awoke to find herself lying in her own bed, shaking with the bitter cold that had settled upon the area; ready for the coming winter months, she pulled the old, brown blanket around her, although it did little to protect  her, and so she grudgingly dragged herself from the comfort provided by the spring mattress and stood up. Keeping the blanket securely wrapped about her, she changed her clothes to something more comfortable as  she had been left in a long skirt and white blouse, neither of which were particularly comfortable. Once she was dressed a pair of brown trousers and into a plain vest and jacket.

The small oil lamp situated in the hallway, cause her shadow to flicker and dance upon the wall in sharp, jerky movements. Coral paused at the bottom of the stairs, listening for signs of movement within the thin, wooden walls on the house; but all she could hear was the quiet tick and whir of the clockwork heart, she could still not place this sound and that to her was rather frustrating. Coral prided herself in usually knowing every speck of dust within the house, yet now, she felt more off balance with the world than she had ever felt  before. She headed into the kitchen and looked at the silver-plated clock on the wall 
"Five AM" She read aloud, her Father would awaken within the next hour and so she placed herself in her usual space at the dining room table and sat patiently waiting for him; after twenty minutes her Father appeared from his laboratory, his long white jacket had been dirtied with oil and hand-prints and his grey hair looking thinner than she last remembered.
"Coral?" He froze, staring straight at her "When did you awake?" 
"It was not that long ago" Coral reassured him, unsure of whether to rise from the table to greet him or not, but she chose to remain seated
"Well how do you feel?"
"Refreshed" She laughed "How long have I been asleep?" She knew it had been a while, a few days at least
"About three weeks" He told her, and her face fell, had it really been that long? It certainly didn't feel as if it had, but if thats what she needed, then she would accept it. "You should be fully healed by now"
"Fully healed from what?" It had been playing on her mind considerably since she had first awoken, her Father sighed and she didnt like the sound of it; it sounded both morbid and regrettable.
"You'll have to forgive me Coral" He said taking a seat "When we were escaping from the Hevrey's House, you were...shot" His voice faltered and Coral felt a sharp shooting pain spreading through her chest as the memory reminded her of what had happened "You were bleeding out very fast, I was not sure whether I could save you or not. But there was one thing that gave itself as the most promising option." He trailed off, unsure of how to continue, Coral took one of his hands and squeezed it in reassurance. "I exchanged your heart for the clockwork one" At this moment, Coral became acutely aware of the heart ticking and whirring inside her. 
She felt the world begin to spin, fading in and out of existence; but what would that mean? Would be she have to oil it? Keep it to time? Would she still be able to climb and run? Or would she spend the remainder of her life, locked indoors and away from the world, whom would want to steal it, study it.
"Coral, I know this is a shock, but please sit down" Her Father begged, Coral looked down at her feet, she hadnt been aware she had stood up; on numb legs she forced herself back into the chair and stared at her Father, concern was written in the deep lines across his forehead, how was she supposed to respond to this news? It was not like telling someone their pet fish had died, this was telling them their entire life was about to change and they had no control over it.

The next several days was spent educating Coral on how she should best approach caring for her new heart, it would take several more weeks for her body to adopt the heart as its own and for the two to coincide with one another in perfect harmony. She would have to keep it oiled, and although this would be expensive, due to the current oil shortage, it only required a small amount of oil once a month, just to make sure everything was running fluently. From her Fathers calculations, the heart would begin to wear down, once she was around the age of 30; this would mean she would have to replace the heart at this time and so they would have to begin creating a second to replace the old one when its time had ran down. And although this thought was a concern to Coral, she had the perfect air of serene about her, as if nothing was happening to her, as if this were all a bad dream and that she would wake in mere minutes to find herself once again in her bed.

Unsure of what to do within her spare time, as her Father had specifically told her to be careful not to be involved in any strenuous activities and so she spent her time wandering the limited space of the house, reading the few books piled in the laboratory; however these were all on scientific experiments and discoveries, all of which made Coral feel rather bitter, knowing now that some people would see her as an experiment to be studied. The rest of her time she spent staring out over the bay to Crimston, feeling now as if her dreams of visiting were slowly slipping from her fingertips as if she were attempting to catch the wind.

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