The media reported it when a leader threw up soon after he had finished addressing an election rally. The cameras showed the leader almost choking. Then he picked up something from the puddle of his own doing and held it close to his face. The lenses zoomed. It looked like a shrunken, shrivelled heart.
That is what it was. For the first time, the media had captured an expulsion live.
In the days and weeks to come, many cases would be reported. People were expelling their hearts from either passage. Some noticed; some didn’t.
It soon became common. No longer breaking, the news just sank. During a panel discussion on a channel that no one watched and that had nothing else to talk about, a long-forgotten scientist theorised that this was evolution. “We shed what we don’t need, what we don’t use.” There were inane questions about circulation. No one cared for the answers.
Until a young doctor twittered that blood was passé. “Bile is life,” he proclaimed. “Liver is all that matters.”
Taking a cue from the doctor, a designer presented a new love logo. He would go on to make billions. Yellow-green became the new pink.
Meanwhile, the old heart remained in shape and functional in some odd people—the empaths. You could find them in museums, history modules and research labs. They were kept carefully away.
Clinical studies found strange anomalies in empaths. They took less, gave more. They cared more for others than themselves.
They were strange.