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Blank Heart

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Samuel Marston was the son of a blacksmith. His father taught him all that he knew in the forge. By 15 years old he was making horseshoes and nails for nearly every horse within a 10km radius.  His father boasted that his boy not only had strength, but he also had the skills to be the best blacksmith in all of England. As he got older, he got bigger and stronger. His skills grew too, his work with iron was nearly an art form. Soon there was a great demand for items created at the Marston forge.

One afternoon a prominent horseman came into the shop. His stables needed stall bars and locks. His grounds needed gates and fence posts. Sam agreed to work on site three times a week after he saw the work forge set up for him.

At 24 years of age, Sam was already able to provide for his family. His father, mother, and two sisters wanted for nothing. They occupied the building attached to the smithy and had a garden where the women entertained the ladies of the city. His father still worked but at his own pace.  Working at Mr. Evans estate was a great opportunity. During his second week there, he was fitting a lock on a stall door when Chelsea Evans walked in. She was Mr. Evans only daughter and at 17 years of age, she was quite the young woman. Sam was speechless. She smiled at him as she led her jumper out of his stall to tack him up in the aisle.

After a few moments, she looked over at him. You are Sam, I've heard all about you. Sam was speechless, she was talking to him - the lowly blacksmith. She, well - she was just perfect. He smiled at her. She smiled back and continued to ready her horse. After she left, Sam continued his work. He might have been smiling just a little bit during that time. When she returned sometime later, he was working on another stall lock. She began grooming her horse and asked Sam all sorts of questions.  First, it was about the locks, then it was about the bars. Then she was asking him how many days he worked and was it hard. He gave short answers, his mind was reeling that she was attempting to have a conversation with him. When she finished grooming her horse and put him away, she paused briefly in front of Sam. “It was good talking to you, I hope to see you again.” Her fingers lightly brushed the top of his hand as she turned and slowly walked away.

Since that day Chelsea made it a point to talk to him every time he was there. He started combing his hair in the morning and trying to look halfway decent when he was out of the forge. It was hard to do, it was hot and dirty work. He knew most times he was filthy and smelled of ash and sweat. Chelsea didn't seem to mind though as the days went on. When they talked she would be closer and closer, sometimes she touched a hand or his arm. She didn't wrinkle her nose when she was around him and she looked him right in the eye and didn't shy away. One afternoon she asked him if he would come call on her on his day off.

“Chelsea, you have a suitor, Henry.”

“Henry is boring. Henry doesn't do anything,” she came up to him, only inches away, “he's not a man.”

Sam was shocked, she was nearly improper in her advances. “Chelsea you shouldn't say such things! What if someone hears you? What if someone sees you right now?”

“No one will, Henry's allergic to horses,”  she boldly put her hands on his forearms,

“I want you, Samuel.”

He shook his head at her in disbelief, “You don't know what you're saying, Chelsea, it could never happen. I'm a blacksmith.”

As he was about to explain more that it was not possible, she pushed up on her toes and kissed him. He was so shocked that he fell against the stall, she took that opportunity to deepen the kiss. She put her hands on his shoulders with her thumbs rubbing the side of his neck.

He couldn't help it by that point, his hand went to the small for back and pulled her closer to him as he angled his head to lick at her lips to gain entry to her mouth. He felt her riding boot rub up the side of his leg as she started to wind her foot around his calf. Instinctively he ground into her and she shifted her hips and ground back with an equal intensity. He knew this was improper, he knew he had to stop, and his mind was reeling at the fact that she was the aggressor. Soon he got a hold of his senses and gently pushed her away from him.

“Chelsea we have to stop doing this-this is not proper and your father would never allow it.”

She pushed back angrily, “don't tell me about proper! I can do as I please, I am the lady of this house.”

She spun around and walked off in a huff. Sam, in spite of himself, laughed because the back of her dress where his hand was was full of soot.


That night he was back at his home sitting with his family discussing plans for expanding the shop. Suddenly a large rock came through the window. The glass shattered and several shards went into his younger sister's face she screamed as blood started to pour from her cheeks. Another larger rock crashed in after it.  Sam and the rest of his family jumped-up and scrambled away. His mother was starting to panic and ripping at her sewing to make a rag to tie around his sister's face. His other sister was cowering behind his mother in shock. He and his father ran to the front door and yanked it open. They were shocked to see a group of about 15 men; many of them holding rocks and farm implements.

“What in blazes is going on here?!”  the elder Marston bellowed

“Your son raped Chelsea Evans!” a man proclaimed

Sam was shocked. When he looked at the crowd he noticed that the man in front was Henry.

“That is not true I swear it!” He screamed!  Another rock sailed through the air and hit Sam's father in the shoulder and he fell back. Sam felt of rage start in his belly that he had never felt before. How dare these people come to his home, attack his family and accuse him of horrible things. She kissed him. She pushed into him and these people were not believing him.

The men started chanting, “Rapist! Rapist!” They started coming closer. Rocks were being hurled more frequently. Sam backed up and locked and barred the door.

The shouts from outside grew louder as Sam run to the back door. He realized there was a crowd in the back too, he barred that door.

He ran back to where his parents were huddled with his sisters and tried to comfort them.

“How could you?” his mother cried.

“I didn’t rape her, I swear.” he pleaded with her.

“But you put yourself into a situation!” he father snapped, “now our home is being destroyed.”

Sam could not believe what he was hearing. He was about to protest again when he heard crashing and cheers from the crowd, they were ripping apart the shop! The rage bubbled up again and he jumped up to go to the adjoining door from the house.  When he jerked open the door, he was met with a wall of flames. He slammed the door shut and started to run back, “Fire!”

The fire spread quickly. Soon the house filled with smoke and he could hear the timbers groaning. His youngest sister fainted and his father carried her.  They made their way to the back of the house where they found that the shifting of the house made the door impossible to open. “Stand back, I’m going to bust down the door, you follow,” he told his parents. His mother nodded.  He ran at the door, turning his shoulder inward. He burst outside and started gulping fresh air. He turned expecting his parents and sisters...all he heard were screams as the house collapsed on them. He cried out in anguish and his visioned darkened.  The last thing he felt that night was irons being put on his wrists. Irons he made.