The Queen of Hearts

This is a little prose I wrote a few years ago and never did anything with. It must have been waiting for this Valentine’s Day! I hope you enjoy this twisted ditty and wish you all a loving and happy Valentine’s Day.

The King is dead.

Well, good. He was a brutish, gloomy beast of a king. No one would mourn him. But, ‘Long live the Queen’?

All anyone knew of her was that she was plain as oatmeal and followed the king around like a whipped puppy. No one had ever even heard her speak. The single remarkable thing about her was the crazy thick raven-black hair that she wore bunned at the back of her head. Not much to go on, really.

The great hall was filled with lords and ladies, but fear and uncertainty kept them silent as death. Dismal didn’t begin to capture the mood of the court. Out of this dour mist of depression came the cascading sound of clinking crystal. Wood scraping against stone followed as the great oak doors of the hall opened. Twin guards, stylishly tall, thin and far too handsome, outfitted from head to toe in black with red heart epaulets on the shoulders of their designer jackets, stood between the door casings. In the time it takes to say, ‘Long live the Queen,’ one of the GQ twins flipped a red velvet carpet open in front of him. The other produced a shiny silver trumpet from which he issued a proclamatory riff. The carpet tumbled open forward, creating an aisle where there hadn’t been one; compelling some of the courtiers to jump aside just in time to avoid being upended. As though alive, the red carpet hopped up the three steps to the dais where once stood the king’s royal throne.

No time for the lords and ladies to marvel at the self-propelling carpet. The click of shoe heels against marble filled the vacuum of silence in the great hall.  The GQ guards stepped aside to reveal a creature the likes of which had never been seen in their kingdom. The queen paused for dramatic flair. All sense of decorum vanished from the minds of the gentry. No one bowed or curtsied. Simply, put, they gawked. Gone was the mute and shabby consort, schlepping behind the king with downcast eyes.

The clicking came from a pair of sleek, blood-red stiletto heels with crisscrossing ankle straps. Fishnet wrapped shapely legs rose from the high heels and traveled a long way before diving beneath a body-hugging, midnight black, front split, V collar dress. An abundant bosom swelled above the plunging neckline and between the hills of flesh rested a 40-carat, heart-shaped diamond. A gossamer train of black shimmered with tiny red hearts trailed behind her. Dramatically lined eyes, rouged cheeks and pouty red lips transformed the drab queen into a modern-day geisha. Atop the painted mask rose two swirls of raven hair which met in a diamond-studded double arch at the natural crown of her head.  It was no whipped puppy that made her way towards the dais, but a tricked-out southern kingdom debutante.




 All words uttered among the lords and ladies to describe this work of art. A monarch of magnificent proportions heralded in a new day for the kingdom. The GQ twins tritzled, smiling ahead of her, spreading glittering hearts like rose petals along the red velvet road. The Queen of Hearts reached the dais just as the dark guards were drawing back the curtains to reveal yet another delightful surprise.

“Ahh!” the collective gasp of the court ended the pall of silence.

The monstrous throne of the king was gone and in its place hung an oversized, woven basket swing adorned with trailing ivy, tiny flowers and red hearts. In three dainty steps, the Queen was at the swing, assisted by the twins onto her hanging throne, careful not to wrinkle or tear the gossamer train. Into an outstretched, perfectly manicured hand, one dark twin placed a long, shiny scepter with a blood-red heart at its tip. The other twin moved behind her and, with great pomp and circumstance, placed atop the raven arches a crown with a thousand hearts of varying shapes and sizes, connected to each other by sparkling faerie paste.

Thus crowned, the queen gave her full attention to the speechless, awe-struck crowd in front of her. Her eyes glittered as she surveyed the congregation; her pretty painted lips curving into a brilliant smile. Fully animated, she was, they would recall for years to come, stunningly beautiful.

Her first official act as Queen of Hearts was to raise the scepter towards the red-suited royal band. “Hit it, boys!”

A jazzed-up version of ‘Spring’ filled every corner of the great hall as the queen turned to the GQ twins and joyfully proclaimed, “On with their hearts!” 

The twins produced a bag each from behind the throne and began an elaborate dance down the center aisle flinging an assortment of hearts among the assembly. There were heart ornaments, heart candies, flower hearts, heart pins and little heart-shaped sweetbreads.  As the gifts sailed through the air and into the reaching hands of the lords and ladies, living color washed over the court, changing the previously dingy colors of their apparel to vibrant reds, blues, green’s and yellows. Cheeks became rosy and eyes sparkled. Dull days of gloomy servitude vanished with a flick of the queen’s dainty wrist.

As the queen swung on her throne, smiling and waving her arms in happy celebration, a voice rang out, “The King is dead.”

The overwhelming response reverberated from every tongue, “Long live the Queen of Hearts!”   

About The Author

For Heidi Hanley, reading and writing are like breathing. On her 5oth birthday, she got serious about turning her passion for writing into a goal to publish. The result is The Prophecy, Book One of the Kingdom of Uisneach series. The Runes of Evalon, the second book in the series, is due out in April. Heidi lives in New Hampshire beside the Connecticut River with her husband and a Scottish Terrier. She has enjoyed a career as a Registered Nurse, Interfaith minister and is currently serving as a Hospice chaplain. When not working, you will find her reading, sneaking away to Maine, or and in the garden with the birds and faeries.

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