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Secondhand Heart won Challenge 11 of the Next Great Horror Writer Contest (Episode 147). It was produced as an audio drama by HorrorAddicts.net. It was published on HorrorAddicts.net.

Secondhand Heart

Sound: CLICK OF A TAPE RECORDER, BURST OF STATIC  

Dr. Artz: (MONOTONE, BORED) August fourth, two-thousand-seventeen. Doctor Hugh Artz, attending psychiatrist. Patient Delilah Bunker.

Sound: CLICK OF A TAPE RECORDER

Delilah: (RAMBLING) It’s stupid—really—and I know that it’s crazy—

Dr. Artz: It’s not crazy if it seems real to you.

Delilah: You say that, but I don’t feel right. I feel like… (HUFF) I live alone, you know? But I keep finding things in places that I didn’t leave them. Like, my hair brush in the dishwasher or the salt and pepper shakers in the freezer.

Sound: PAPERS SHUFFLING, CLICK OF A PEN

Dr. Artz: How long has this been happening?

Delilah: Ever since the surgery.

Dr. Artz: (CONFIRMING) The heart transplant?

Delilah: Yeah.

Dr. Artz: It is normal for patients to feel anxiety after a major operation, especially one as involved as an organ transplant.

Delilah: But it doesn’t feel like stress. It—it feels like someone’s haunting me.

Sound: CLICK OF A PEN

Dr. Artz: Is that something you believe in? Hauntings?

Delilah: I— (PAUSE) (RESIGNED) No, of course not. That would be ridiculous.

Dr. Artz: I want you to be honest with me, Delilah. These sessions are for you. I don’t pass any judgement.

Delilah: (PAUSE) I never thought I did before—ghosts and spirits… all that—they were just stories.

Dr. Artz: And now?

Delilah: Now… I swear I’m closing more doors in my house than I open.

Sound: CLICK OF A TAPE RECORDER

Dr. Artz: (MONOTONE, BORED) August eleventh, two-thousand-seventeen. Patient Delilah Bunker.

Sound: CLICK OF A TAPE RECORDER

Dr. Artz: How are you feeling? You look…

Delilah: Tired? (SELF-MOCKING LAUGH) Yeah, I haven’t been sleeping much.

Dr. Artz: Why is that?

Delilah: Just, this whole past week—I don’t know. (INCREASINGLY AGITATED) I don’t know how to explain it…

Dr. Artz: (SOOTHING) Take your time. You’re safe here.

Delilah: I think there’s something wrong with it… with the heart.

Dr. Artz: (ALARMED) Have you spoken with your physician about this?

Delilah: No, no, it’s not like that. It isn’t anything… physical. I just—I haven’t felt like myself. I walked into my house the other day and it was like I’d never been there before. Like some sort of weird, reverse déjà vu. I don’t… feel right.

Dr. Artz: Is this the same feeling you had before? That you’re haunted?

Delilah: Yeah, except it’s worse now. It’s all the time. And… and I’ve started seeing things.

Sound: CLICK OF A PEN, PEN SCRATCHING ON PAPER

Dr. Artz: What sorts of things?

Delilah: (HESITANTLY) I went into the bathroom last night and… I didn’t turn on the light, but I saw something in the mirror. A woman, standing where I was supposed to be. But, not me.

Dr. Artz: It was dark. It was probably your reflection, a trick of the light.

Delilah: I don’t think it was. She didn’t look like me and she wasn’t facing the same way. I was walking by. She was… watching me.

I turned on the light, but then she was gone.

Dr. Artz: (PAUSE) Delilah, I’m going to prescribe you something that’s going to help you rest. These things you’re seeing, they may be caused by your insomnia. You’ll feel better once you get some sleep.

Sound: CLICK OF A TAPE RECORDER

Sound: TELEPHONE RING

Dr. Artz: (DISTANT, AUTOMATIC) You have reached the confidential voicemail box of Doctor Hugh Artz. If this is a medical emergency, hang up and dial nine-one-one.

Sound: AUDIBLE BEEP, RUSTLE OF PHONE OVER FABRIC

Delilah: (FRIGHTENED, BREATHLESS) Doctor Artz? It’s Delilah. I… I don’t know where I am. The last thing I remember was making dinner and then… now… I’m here. Wherever here is.

I’m in a neighborhood, but I don’t recognize the houses. I don’t know how I got here. I’m not even wearing any shoes. It’s dark now, but I swear it was light when I was cooking.

I think that it’s—whatever it is—is getting worse. I’m getting worse. I need to see you.

Sound: RUSTLE OF PHONE OVER FABRIC, AUDIBLE BEEP

Sound: CLICK OF A TAPE RECORDER

Dr. Artz: August eighteenth, two-thousand-seventeen. Patient Delilah Bunker.

Sound: CLICK OF A TAPE RECORDER

Sound: FOOTSTEPS ON WOOD

Dr. Artz: Delilah, won’t you sit down?

Delilah: No. No. I don’t want to sit down. I don’t want—

Dr. Artz: (SOOTHING) That’s alright, that’s fine. However you’re comfortable. How have you been sleeping?

Delilah: (HYSTERICAL GIGGLE) Sleeping? Yeah right. That’s what she’s waiting for. For me to be vulnerable.

Dr. Artz: Who…? (ALARMED) Is someone trying to hurt you?

Delilah: I’m not myself. Not anymore. I don’t remember parts of the day, hours at a time. I wake up in strange places. I keep… forgetting things. Important things. Like my parent’s names. I don’t think it’s me doing it. I think—I think it’s her.

Dr. Artz: You said that. Who are you talking about?

Delilah: The woman in the mirror. I took her heart.

Dr. Artz: Delilah…

Delilah: I know it’s crazy, but it’s her. She wants her heart back.

Dr. Artz: Delilah, the figure in the mirror was a trick of your mind. You don’t know anything about where your heart came from. You don’t know what the donor looked like or if they even were a woman. Your heart is—

Delilah: It’s not my heart! Don’t you see that? It never was.

Dr. Artz: (PAUSE)(PROFESSIONAL, DETERMINED) Delilah, I’m going to make a few calls to some colleagues of mine. I’m going to get you a place in a psychiatric care facility.

Delilah: No!

Dr. Artz: (LOUDER OVER HER PROTEST) Where they will be better able to monitor and care for you.

Delilah: No, you don’t know. They can’t help me!

Sound: CLICK OF A TAPE RECORDER

Dr. Artz: April third, two-thousand-eighteen. Doctor Hugh Artz, attending psychiatrist. Patient Delilah Bunker.

Sound: CLICK OF A TAPE RECORDER

Dr. Artz: It’s been a while, Delilah.

Delilah: (CHEERFUL) It has. It’s good to see you again.

Dr. Artz: How are you feeling?

Delilah: Great. God, looking back at it now, it just all seems so surreal. I can’t thank you enough. If it weren’t for you, I would have lost my mind.

Dr. Artz: I’m glad to hear that things are going better.

Delilah: Much. Thank—

Sound: CLATTER OF A CHAIR, DULL THUMP

Dr. Artz: (ALARMED) Delilah? Delilah are you—?

Sound: STRUGGLE, WRESTLING

Delilah: (HOARSE, FRIGHTENED) You have to help me. Please! It’s not me. Don’t believe her. I’m still in here. I’m still—(CHOKING)

Sound: SILENCE

Dr. Artz: Delilah?

Delilah: (DEEP BREATH)(CALM)Yes. Sorry. That was—gosh, I don’t know what came over me. It’s okay. Everything is fine now.

Sound: CLICK OF A TAPE RECORDER