Heartbeat - Episode 1
by Molly Weinfurter
I rush down the busy streets of the city.
Everyone is running around…
Desperately looking for their soulmate.
Including me.
But I’m beginning to give up hope.
I sit on a nearby bench.
I stare at the heart-shaped pendant around my neck.
It’s dull as always.
Still no luck?
I look up to see my friend, Stacy.
She sits down beside me.
Nope. No luck yet.
I just want to find him already.
The government makes finding a soulmate sound so easy.
But it’s not!
Am I really supposed to wear this stupid necklace…
Until I find my match?
Well, yeah. That’s the point.
You need to trust the system.
When you see your soulmate…
Your necklace will light up!
And you’ll know you’ve found the person you’re supposed to be with!
I roll my eyes.
I don’t think it’s even possible.
There are too many people in this world.
I’m sick of looking.
I’ll just die alone.
Jude, don’t say that!
You’re only 20 years old!
You’ve only had your necklace for 2 years.
You still have plenty of time.
Trust me, it’s not impossible.
Yeah, right.
How do YOU know?
Stacy is silent for a moment.
I know because I found my soulmate yesterday!
That’s what I came to tell you.
My eyes widen.
I notice that she’s no longer wearing her necklace.
Wait, seriously?
Who is he?
I don’t want to talk about him too much…
Since you’re so down in the dumps…
But his name is Max and he’s so sweet!
I fake a smile.
I’m so happy for you!
Thank you!
I know you’ll find your soulmate soon too, Jude.
Just don’t give up!
She gives me a hug.
I have to go meet Max now.
But I’ll see you later!
She gets up and skips away.
I want to be happy for her, but I’m not.
Where is MY soulmate?
I get up and start walking…
I look at every person I pass.
Where is he?
2 hours later
I stop to catch my breath for a moment.
No luck so far.
I’m about to continue walking…
When I see my necklace light up.
My soulmate is near!
I look around…
Trying to figure out who it’s lighting up for.
And I see…Chris.
He walks straight toward me.
His necklace is glowing…
And so is mine.
Oh no. This can’t be happening!
Chris teased me and bullied me all through school.
One time he even pushed me…
Until I fell onto the sidewalk.
This has to be a mistake.
Jude, I can’t believe it!
You’re my soulmate!
When he approaches me…
He gives me a tight hug.
It’s as if we’ve been friendly forever.
We haven’t.
But what can I do?
The system says that we’re soulmates.
I can’t believe it either!
I hug him back…
But I’d much rather run away.
He releases me from the hug…
And looks at me adoringly.
So, what have you been up to?
I haven’t seen you since high school!
Oh, you know…
Just looking for my soulmate like everyone else.
Chris laughs.
Well, lucky for you…
You’re stuck with the perfect guy!
I take a deep breath.
Yeah, I guess so.
So now what?
Do you want to go do something?
Let’s just enjoy this moment for now.
He reaches out and grabs my hand tightly…
Until it hurts.
Then he pulls me in for a kiss.
And it’s disgusting!
I try to kiss him back, but it just feels so wrong!
I quickly push him away.
No! You are NOT my soulmate!
What are you talking about?
Of course I am!
Our necklaces lit up!
That’s how it works.
I don’t care if that’s how it works!
You’ve been mean to me…
For as long as I’ve known you!
You bullied me all through school!
You pestered me in elementary school…
And teased me throughout middle school.
Then, in high school, you turned everyone against me somehow!
You made my childhood miserable!
So no, you are NOT my soulmate.
Because I could never love a jerk!
After a moment of silence, Chris laughs.
Then he pushes his hand against my chest. Hard.
Jude, you don’t get to choose.
We’re a perfect match.
It’s what the government has decided.
Well, they’re wrong!
I run off before he can argue anymore.
This has to be an error!
I’m sure Stacy will know what to do…
So I run all the way to her house.
I pound my fists on her front door.
When she opens the door, she smiles.
Jude! What are you doing here?
There’s been a mistake!
I shove my way past her.
I pace back and forth in her entryway.
What do you mean?
I found my soulmate, but it’s Chris!
Wait, Chris from school?
Yeah, that Chris!
Wow, that’s crazy!
I frown.
No, it’s not crazy.
Jude, it can’t be a mistake.
The system never fails.
I promise it will work out in the end!
And what if it doesn’t?
It will. You just have to believe.
Max didn’t seem like my type at first.
But he really is perfect for me!
So Chris must be perfect for you.
I guarantee it!
She gives me a hug.
Now, I need to go meet Max for dinner.
So I’ll see you later!
Please just be nice to Chris.
I exit Stacy’s house without another word.
I know that she wants me to go back to Chris and apologize.
In fact, the government would want me to do that.
The government would want me to make things right between us.
But how could a bully like Chris…
Be my soulmate?
I keep walking.
I barely pay attention to my surroundings.
Jude! There you are!
I recognize Chris’ voice.
I take off running in the opposite direction.
Jude, come back!
We’re soulmates!
No, we’re not!
As I run, I can feel my breath growing heavier.
I come to an abrupt stop.
He catches up to me in no time.
Jude, come on! Let’s go see a movie.
For a second, I consider listening to Stacy.
But I just can’t!
I unhook my glowing heart-shaped necklace…
And hold it high above my head in a death grip.
I throw the necklace onto the ground.
It cracks on the hard pavement.
I stomp on it a few times for good measure.
It shatters into a million pieces.
Chris’ necklace flickers…
Then it becomes dull.
I stand tall and look at Chris.
Now there’s no way to prove that the system matched us.
This stupid system might work for everyone else…
But not for me.
I’d rather be alone…
Than be with you.