Monday, September 22, 2014

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-12




Welcome, welcome! I'm so glad you could join us again this week. I am prepared to be wowed. You all bring your A-game every week, so I'm not worried. Go check out the prompt and get writing. :)



If you haven't read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

Rules:
1. Start with the given first sentence.
2. Up to 500 words
3. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Stories submitted must be your own work, using characters and worlds that you have created. Sorry, no fanfiction.
6. Include: Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
7. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST



Oh, and feel free to change pronounspunctuationtense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...


Our Judge today is Rebekah Postupak, also known as @postupak or @flashfridayfic. Read her winning tale from last week here! Check out her blog here. When not fretting over her dragons, Rebekah spends her time goofing off at Flash! Friday and picking her jaw up off the ground over how amazing today’s flash writers are. She apologizes in advance for all the mischief about to ensue at FTT.




 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-12 is:



Two wishes wasted; this third and final one was [our] last chance.



 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


Include at least two of the following: a genie, a magic carpet, a magic lamp, a magic ring, a Grand Vizier, a clever woman named Morgiana, a talking bird, Cerebrus, a Cyclops!




 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!








19 comments:

  1. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 498
    Special Challenge accepted and completed

    Thief

    Two wishes wasted; this third and final one was our last chance.

    A three-ring circus of emotions arrived with each doctor's visit—grave head shakes, serious gazes flickering down to dull clipboards that shielded truth from our liquid eyes.

    “Good morning, sunshine,” Lucy, the parakeet, chirped this morning from her cage. It sounded like “Good moonshine,” the way she garbled her words. Either way, the sentiment was inappropriate.

    Good was a fluid concept these days. Good was associated with success, vigor, stability, happiness. Good broke ranks when leukemia crept into my eight-year-old daughter's body, stole her energy and her hair, her vitality, the shine that lights her eyes.

    Three months ago, I'd rested on my back in our yard, my hands clasped behind my head, my bitter stare raking the star-spangled velvet of darkness. One brilliant pin of light pulled my attention to the center of the canvas, a gleam that changed color the longer I gazed at it—shades of rose, coral, indigo, emerald.

    Perhaps it was a trick of light, staring too long at one thing, but what could it hurt? I wished upon a star, feeling silly even as the words slipped out from my lips like silk. “Please, make her well. Take it away, far away, from us.”

    She threw up the next morning, and I smoothed back her hair, cursing the stars and everything else as I mopped her face, stroked her brow, screamed internally and soothed quietly.

    I tried again one night. I don't know if I thought of suicide or if I simply walked the double yellow line in hopes that it would lead me to the place I needed to find. I cried out to the darkness for help, but no answer floated on the soft breeze. Merely the cacophony of the interstate half a mile to the east.

    My shoulders slumped, my vision blurred, so that when the headlights appeared in the blackness, the two shining eyes morphed into one giant blazing Cyclops plowing toward me, merciful death in its limpid gaze.

    They made an appointment with the psychologist the next day, a shrink who stared at me over the tops of her half-moons, asking questions with an eyebrow suspended near her hairline like she permanently questioned All Facts.

    Now, today, the results sit on the desk in front of us. Slowly, like cold syrup, the words eke their way across the room. A blood transfusion, a slim thread of hope; my blood is the strongest chance she's got.

    The wish fades to black. I haven't told him, the nice man with the white coat that struggles so hard to help my daughter. Haven't told her either, with her blue eyes that have seen so little, of the virus that runs in my own blood, the killer thief that will steal my life not long after hers.

    Someday, they may find a cure for leukemia, may even discover the nemesis for AIDS, but that day is not today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tamara, good luck. See my entry below.

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    2. Thanks so much, Michael! I appreciate it. :)

      Delete
  2. Two wishes wasted; this third and final one was my last chance. The overhead lights were blinding, and I was sweating beneath this makeup crap they made me wear. “You’ll look better for the camera,” they said.
    Like I cared about the camera. I wasn’t here for fame, or glory, or a spot on Dancing in Zero-G with the Stars. Sherlock Holmes said that whenever you eliminated the impossible, the virtually impossible had to be true, or something like that, but he never said what to do when the impossible was the only way out.

    The host of Genie in a Bottle sure didn’t need makeup, being a hologram. He looked pretty good at home on the projector, but in the studio, you could see right through him. I’ll give those programmers credit about one thing, though – he had smarmy know-it-all jerkwad down to a T. “Fifteen seconds left for your final wish, Randy. The clock is counting down – ten, now – what will it be?”

    He could afford to be calm, the supercilious simulacrum. I mean, not only did he not exist, but he also didn’t know what I knew. If I didn’t come up with the right answer – and right quick – there wouldn’t be enough left of any of us to dope a semiconductor.

    I took one last look at the products of my first two wishes. The Cyclops was strong enough, that’s for sure, but he had no depth perception, and stumbled around the stage with his hand stretched out in front of him, trying desperately to gain his balance. The other was running through the audience, kissing whomever she could find. I’d tried to wish for Morgiana, my ex. She made me want to chew out my eyes, but she was the cleverest woman I’d ever known – I just knew she’d know how to get us out of this mess. But the computer misheard me, and so Morganna the Kissing Bandit had been plucked out of the past. She’d laid a good one on me, but other than that, she hadn’t been any help.

    The timer went off, and I took a deep breath. The host’s question went in one ear and out the other. I knew what it would be, my third wish, if I could get up the guts to say it. Ah, but then again, who needs guts when the universe has ceased to exist.

    “Well, Chuck, I’ve thought a lot about this, and I’m going to wish for the end of all things.”

    The host’s holographic mien cracked, and a flashing light went off, accompanied by a booming voice originating from everywhere. “Warning: You Have Violated The Rules. No Wish Can Be Used To End Existence, Or Through Inaction, Cause Existence To End.” I heard a clunk, and thanked the maker that the Asimovian Laws of Robotics had been grandmothered in to the rules of all games.

    Back at home, a switch flipped from “End Program” to “Resume.”

    495 words
    @drmagoo
    Special Challenge Accepted

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Enjoyed this one. Got a good laugh out of Morganna the Kissing Bandit... ;) Very creative. :)

      Delete
  3. Your Wish is My Command

    Two wishes wasted; this third and final one was their last chance. I wasn’t going to cross my fingers and hope, though. Disappointment had long ago been replaced with indignation. I’d been so careful, researching down to the last detail, in picking the targets for my experiment and these college students were completely botching it.

    “All right, you had your joke, where’s the trick wire?” the female one asked. Cass, at least that was her name on her Facebook profile, stood poking the magic carpet she’d conjured up with the first wish. The rug folded its tasseled corners as if they were arms and wiggled in a mocking manner. I’d had such great hopes for Cass, too. She was an active member in three campus support and relief groups, always posting things online and shoving petitions in people’s faces. How many times had she started out her statuses with “I wish?” Surely, she would have used her wish for something grand, no? And now she had a pet carpet. Typical.

    Almost as soon as Cass had blurted out her wish, Matt, her companion and fellow activist, had laughed and wished for a Cyclops as big as his thumb. Boom, granted. Of course, it showed up on his thumb and had half the nail nibbled off before the man realized it was real. Matt flicked the poor creature off and stomped on it. Might I also take the time to point out that Matt is also an avid member of the “Fairies Are Real, Protect the Rainforests” group?

    What were these two humans doing? Applauding. Asking me when the Aladdin production was starting up. Laughing at their “so smart” wishes. The guy just ruthlessly murdered a Cyclops! I was too dumbfounded to speak. They had one last wish between the two of them. Surely, surely they’d take a gander and do something good with that last glimmer of hope.

    “Hey, genie! I wish for a lifetime supply of bacon! Now conjure that one up!” Matt crowed. The courtyard exploded with uncooked bacon.

    I buried my head in my hands. No, no, no! This wasn’t supposed to happen. I could feel my frustration building and building until it unleashed in a colossal outburst.

    “You idiots!” I shouted. Thunder rumbled, clouds darkened, and the winds howled overhead as my temper escalated. “You could have wished for every person to have access to clean drinking water! You could have ended poverty! You could have wished for world peace! And what did you accomplish? You have a magic carpet, a squashed Cyclops, and a lifetime supply of bacon. Congratulations! You have completely ruined my faith in humanity. May all your bacon burn.”

    I vanished in a puff of smoke as their jaws dropped.


    Word Count: 458
    Special Challenge: Yes!
    mary.lynne90@yahoo.com

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    Replies
    1. Really love this. It's almost too true to be funny.

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  4. Winning is not always wise
    @stellakateT
    Special challenged accepted
    362 words


    Two wishes wasted; this third and final one was our last chance. Pete had wished for Tottenham to win the league and Simon had wished for a Double Decker. Blokes, I nearly wished for mankind to lose the man but kept my mouth firmly closed. Had they not read any fairy tales? Did they not realise the power three wishes could give. I told them that I had the last wish and if they even thought about using it they were dead. We were getting out of this place if it killed me; no way was I spending eternity with these two losers.

    Richard Branson had a lot to answer for. I’d only entered the competition because I thought I’d have no chance and here I was circling earth on his trip to Mars. Simon thought it was a lifetime supply of the chocolate bars not the planet and Pete thought as Tottenham wasn’t doing too good he’d leave London for a while in a one man protest. Told you losers!!

    Don’t know who was the most surprised when I rubbed the lamp hanging in the galley kitchen. I had been bored and stereotypically thought I do a bit of dusting as in women’s work is never finished. At home I’d rather be seen in a shroud than have a duster in my hand I was too cool to dust. The genie looked me up and down and I’m sure I heard him say “Chav” How disrespectful I thought but once he’d said “Three wishes Madam I bestow you” I decided to ignore it.

    “Well what you going to wish for Morgiana?” asked Pete
    “Something good I hope” retorted Simon as he selfishly ate the Double Decker without sharing with us.

    Okay Genie this is what I want
    I wish I’d never entered this stupid competition in the first place.

    That night I watched the 10 o’clock News and there was Pete and Simon boarding the spacecraft that would take them and the other paying customers to Mars on a one way ticket. Was I envious? As I scoffed the last Double Decker in the cupboard I realised the answer was no.

    ReplyDelete
  5. “The Final Wish”

    By Michael Seese
    @MSeeseTweets

    Special Challenge Accepted

    497 words

    Two wishes wasted; this third and final one was our last chance. In baseball, two out of three is great. To hear Meatloaf tell it, two out of three ain’t bad.

    “Here…” I said, drawing a thumb across my throat. “We need to think of something.”

    “I know!” she said. “We could ask for three more wishes.”

    “It’s against the genie rules. You saw Aladdin.”

    “Yeah. I sure miss Robin Williams.”

    “Me too. But irrelevant. And keep your voice down, or they’ll hear us.”

    “They” would be our hunters, a menagerie of mythical beasts chosen specifically to pursue us. Chimera, minotaur, and who knows what else, chasing us through this confusing, often shifting, labyrinth. Mazes are the worst, because they have dead ends. In the literal and… well, the other literal sense.

    “Which way?” she whispered.

    “I’m thinking.”

    To the left, utter blackness. To the right, an orange glow.

    She spoke the words rattling around in my hopeful mind. “That could be the key vault.”

    “It could be. Or, it could be…”

    “The dragon.”

    “I don’t think we can chance it,” I said. “Their sense of smell is pretty good.”

    We felt our way along the carved rock wall. Thick gloves protected our hands from the occasional “surprise” embedded in the stone. Broken glass, razor wire, cobras.

    The wall unexpectedly gave way, and we stumbled into a large room, apparently disrupting the nap of a satyr. He grimaced and growled. I took her hand and took off running. Twenty feet ahead was a “T.”

    “To the right!” I yelled, dragging her to the left, then into the first alcove. The hoofsteps approached, then faded.

    “I think he bought it.”

    “I think so. Good thinking.”

    “Thanks. We’ve got to find the key, then the exit. We only have 15 minutes,” I said, checking my watch. “We need a plan.”

    “Let’s use the last wish for a magic carpet. Fly over the maze, find the vault, get out.”

    “It won’t work. It’s got a roof.”

    “I don’t see one,” she said, scanning the starry welkin.

    “Trust me.”

    “Let me test.”

    Before I could scream “No!” she pulled an apple from her backpack and tossed it straight up. The electrical grid arced and sparked. A pleasant smell of baked apple wafted down.

    “I guess you were--”

    The lumbering footsteps stomped through my happy childhood memory of fresh-baked pie. The audio preceded the visual by a scant second. Thundering toward us was the one-eyed giant. He was slow. But his torso filled the passageway. Escape? Impossible. Death? Imminent.

    “We have to bail!” I shouted.

    “But we’re so close.”

    “The Cyclops is closer. I’m getting us out of here. Magic lamp, exit two.”

    The avatar’s soft voice cooed the life-altering news, “I’m sorry. You only have enough strength points for one to exit.”

    She looked at me. I looked at her, shrugged, and disappeared just in time to avoid hearing the scream which at that very moment was blowing out my speakers.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Michael, this is great! The fact that you included a dragon was a wise choice, considering the judge. ;) Great use of dialogue. Loved it. :)

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  6. David Shakes
    @TheShakes72
    460 words
    Special challenge accepted :
    A magic lamp
    A talking bird

    Two wishes wasted; this third and final one was our last chance.
    "You'll bugger up this one too!" squawked the potty mouthed parrot.
    Jake had been fixated with pirates for the best part of a year. Easy to see how his subconscious would conjure the heavily accented bird. Harder to understand how it came with a Liverpudlian lilt and colourful lexicon. I could believe its cynicism well enough though.
    We were in a pickle, that much was certain.
    The pirate parrot had been the second wasted wish. A subconscious thought from the active imagination of a nine year old who suddenly finds himself on a desert island.
    It was his father's fault.
    He'd been dragging us to the coast in the the pouring rain for the entire holiday. The beep-beep-buzz of the metal detector the soundtrack to the not so thrilling discovery of yet another rusting tin can.
    I hadn't expected anything different, and was quietly wishing for a sun drenched beach as he rubbed the magic lamp he'd unearthed.
    That was it - the power of thought landing us here in the middle of who knew where.
    Once we'd rationalised what had happened, Jake's parrot had materialised to mock and distract us.
    I'd got my sun drenched beach alright. A thin spit of sand in an endless ocean. A mile long sandbar with no vegetation, no shade - just three scared humans and one cocky parrot.
    Then there was the accursed lamp. I didn't know much about mythology but I knew my Djinns from my genies. It hadn't yet revealed itself but I knew it was evil and we had to be careful.
    Our thoughts were source for the wishes and my darling husband Jim was a daydreamer at the best of times.
    "Focus Jim!" I warned. "Think about rescue."
    A strange smile crept across Jim's face and I knew we were doomed.
    A red speck appeared down the strip of sand. It shimmered in the heat haze, moving in slow motion towards us.
    Jim hung his head in his hands but peeked out from between his fingers.
    The shape was a person.
    Long, golden hair and tight red swimsuit. Impossible body and pearly white teeth.
    "Oh Jim." was all I could manage as I slumped in the burning sand.
    Pamela Anderson, in full Baywatch gear, leant over Jim - presumably to resuscitate him now that he'd fainted.
    I punched the parrot perched on Jake's shoulder before it could pass comment on Ms. Anderson's assets.
    I needed time to think. I needed quiet.
    Maybe Pammy would get a wish too?
    I looked at her attempts to bring Jim around by seemingly smothering him in her chest.
    No, I decided - we were stuffed.
    We could eat the parrot first.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Battle of Wits
    @voimaoy
    365 words



    Two wishes wasted; this third and final one was our last chance. I glanced at my teammates. What had I been thinking?

    My first choice had been the Cyclops, powerful and strong. Now, he had a cinder in his eye. Next on my team was the Guard Dog of Hell, Cerberus, himself. All three heads were arguing wildly. What had I been thinking? Why choose these character from Earth's classical mythology?

    "What is your next wish, Captain?" the alien in the shape of a talking black bird regarded me impatiently.

    On the other side of the arena, my first officer was assembling the opposing team. She had chosen famous heroes from other worlds. Morgiana, the sorcerous from Orion, who could turn men into laughing statues. Gyorn, the lizard warrior, who reminded me of Godzilla from the oldold movies. Why hadn't I thought of Godzilla?

    "Well, captain?"

    "What if I refuse to play your game? What kind of game is this?"

    "Relax, Captain, this is just for fun, a battle of wits. Think of it as an exhibition game. We want to get to know you. It's not like the fate of your ship is at stake. Not yet. But it could be. "

    Why did it have to look like a giant raven, with those cleverclever beady black eyes? What did they want to know about us anyway?

    I glanced over at my first officer and her opposing team. Was she trying to impress these bird-brained aliens with her grasp of history? Who would she choose next?

    "All right, all right,"I said with as much assurance as I could muster. "We'll take the Genie."

    "The Genie? Are you sure? Did you consult with your teammates? "

    I shook my head. My team had not been helpful. "Yes, we agree. We need the magic."

    "Very well. Magic it is."

    Poof! An oriental carpet appeared, floating in the air. On the carpet was a lamp. Inside the lamp was the genie. With a swirl of smoke she emerged, in harem pants, midriff top, sparkling finger ring and long blonde pony tail. "Hello, Master." She smiled.

    Across the arena, my first officer was laughing. "I'll take the dragon," she said.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Battle of Wits
    @voimaoy
    365 words



    Two wishes wasted; this third and final one was our last chance. I glanced at my teammates. What had I been thinking?

    My first choice had been the Cyclops, powerful and strong. Now, he had a cinder in his eye. Next on my team was the Guard Dog of Hell, Cerberus, himself. All three heads were arguing wildly. What had I been thinking? Why choose these character from Earth's classical mythology?

    "What is your next wish, Captain?" the alien in the shape of a talking black bird regarded me impatiently.

    On the other side of the arena, my first officer was assembling the opposing team. She had chosen famous heroes from other worlds. Morgiana, the sorcerous from Orion, who could turn men into laughing statues. Gyorn, the lizard warrior, who reminded me of Godzilla from the oldold movies. Why hadn't I thought of Godzilla?

    "Well, captain?"

    "What if I refuse to play your game? What kind of game is this?"

    "Relax, Captain, this is just for fun, a battle of wits. Think of it as an exhibition game. We want to get to know you. It's not like the fate of your ship is at stake. Not yet. But it could be. "

    Why did it have to look like a giant raven, with those cleverclever beady black eyes? What did they want to know about us anyway?

    I glanced over at my first officer and her opposing team. Was she trying to impress these bird-brained aliens with her grasp of history? Who would she choose next?

    "All right, all right,"I said with as much assurance as I could muster. "We'll take the Genie."

    "The Genie? Are you sure? Did you consult with your teammates? "

    I shook my head. My team had not been helpful. "Yes, we agree. We need the magic."

    "Very well. Magic it is."

    Poof! An oriental carpet appeared, floating in the air. On the carpet was a lamp. Inside the lamp was the genie. With a swirl of smoke she emerged, in harem pants, midriff top, sparkling finger ring and long blonde pony tail. "Hello, Master." She smiled.

    Across the arena, my first officer was laughing. "I'll take the dragon," she said.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This posted twice--I am so sorry!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wandered over here from Flash Friday!


    Loose Lips
    @rowdy_phantom
    497 words
    Special challenge accepted: Cerberus and talking bird

    Two wishes wasted; this third and final one was our last chance. The purple crow perched on a pile of skulls and twisted its neck to blink a liquid eye at us. "One more!" it squawked.

    I clutched Bernadette with one hand and fumbled a lace hankie with the other, trying to catch the waterfall gushing from my nose. How the Underworld managed to yoke together the stench of brimstone and mildew, I’ll never know, but it was hell on my allergies.

    Gates of mossy bone loomed above us. Its snarling guardian paced, frenzied by the presence of the living (just barely) inside the gates. Open craters coughed up mists and shadows. Spectrous fingers plucked at our hair (spirits of the dead are so very rude).

    "It’s up to you, Alma," Bernadette whispered. Despite the heat she drew her shawl around her shoulders (a gift for her eighty-fifth birthday, back when my fingers had more oomph to them).

    Up to me, yes. Bernie’s dementia was a bit further along than mine. I took off my spectacles and scrubbed my eyes. How was I supposed to think with all the wailing and snarling?

    Reading my agitation, she patted my arm. "Leave the doggie to me."

    Doggie. That was how Bernie referred to a three-headed ravening creature coiffed in snakes. She tended to lose what’s left of her mind around canines. Look at her, already fishing in her purse for vittles she’d purloined from Elmcroft’s cafeteria.

    Which was how we’d made the acquaintance of our feathered friend, here. Despite the staff’s repeated admonition, Bernie left pilfered breakfast pastries out for the birds.

    Turns out you have to mind your modals with a wishing crow. You don’t have to say "I wish…" to use up one of yours. A frivolous "you can go to hell" does the job, or even on an implied imperative like "after you."

    So, one more wish. If I said, "I want to get out of here," we could end up somewhere like Antarctica or Saturn. I needed to be specific. I hoped, too, to get something extra out of it.

    I glanced over at Bernie, prattling as she parceled out her food scraps for each head. "One for Benedict. Here now, Conrad, wait your turn!" She bopped the probing central head with a pinkie finger, then ruffled the serpents behind its ears.

    She already had them named.

    Bernie combed her fingers through charcoal-colored scruff. "Pets are allowed," she said wistfully.

    “I don’t believe Cerberus qualifies as a 'small', dear.” I sniffled.

    The beast’s scorpion tail rested around her neck like a stole. She scratched it with pearly-manicured nails. "Oh, I wish we could take you home with us!" she cooed.

    "Bernadette, no!"

    The crow snapped its beak and flapped at the infernal ethers.

    Too late. We were back in our Elmcroft apartments, safe and sound—with the guardian of Hades searing a hole in the shag. We got something extra out of it all right.

    ReplyDelete
  11. (I don't have a title yet...lol)
    giggles4god @ livingsounds dot org
    372 words
    Special Challenge excepted: a magic ring and a genie

    Two wishes wasted; this third and final one was his last chance.

    Rashad held the ring in his hand. It sparkled and throbbed. “Aasim, what kind of ring is this?”

    “A magic ring,” the genie said. Aasim floated beside Rashad, who walked farther and farther away from the city.

    “But I didn't wish for this!” Rashad hissed. “I . . . I wanted something else.”

    “Rashad, you said ring.” Aasim smiled. “This ring is very powerful. Put it on.”

    Rashad glared at him. “Why?”

    “Put it on,” Aasim repeated.

    Rashad slipped the ring on his finger. Nothing happened.

    “Tell it to take you to the oasis,” Aasim said.

    Rashad parroted the words. In a flash of purple, green, and blue, the scenery morphed. Palm trees swayed in the breeze. Rashad stumbled over coconuts piled on the ground. He breathed deeply of the fresh air.

    Rashad gazed at the glistening water. A woman knelt at its edge, dipping her hands in the coolness.

    Why had Aasim told him to come here? Who was this woman?

    The ring began to glow a bright red. Rashad gripped the ring and pulled. It wouldn't budge. Again, he tried to remove it. Nothing.

    Rashad stomped his foot. A coconut fell into the water.

    “Who's there?” A shout filled the air. The woman rose, brushing off her dress in quick swipes. “I know someone is there. Answer me!”

    “I'm Rashad.” He moved out from the palm trees and walked towards the woman.

    “Are you alone?”

    “For now.”

    “I'm Layla. It means dark beauty. Some would say my parents named me that by mistake.”

    “How so?”

    Layla pivoted. Her brown eyes pierced his soul. Strands of long, black hair covered her face. When she finally swept them away, pale blemishes splashed her face from her forehead to her chin. “Now you see.”

    Rashad didn't know whether to run and hide or scream in shocked surprise. It was the first time he had seen such a face. He stepped back. He faltered and fell, landing on his backside.

    Layla wrapped her shawl around her head and shoulders. With one last look at Rashad, she walked towards the setting sun.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Taryn Noelle Kloeden
    @tnkloeden
    Word Count: 500
    Special Challenge: Accepted

    The Cost

    Two wishes wasted; this third and final one was their last chance. Cornelius nibbled at his mistress's ear, his black beak twitching as Morgiana stared at the mirror-like water before them.
    “Morgi, it's too dangerous...” the raven squawked, “There's a reason your brothers did not return!”
    “Yes. They were fools.”
    Cornelius adjusted his wings uncomfortably, “What a display of sisterly affection...”
    “We've no time for sentiment. Either the Lady helps us or we're all doomed.” The sun had almost disappeared below the horizon, a wash of gold gilded the lake, turning it into something almost too precious too behold. “It's time.”
    With a disapproving croak, Cornelius flew to the safer perch a nearby rowan tree offered.
    “Lady, I call on thee most humbly, here my pleas!” Morgi's voice shook, yet the water remained impossibly still. Not even the chill breeze that whipped past her seemed to disturb it. She turned towards Cornelius, a confused shrug poised on her shoulders, but stopped midway feeling all the air sucked from her lungs. A strange little woman stood smiling where there had been no one a moment before. As if punched in the gut, Morgiana's knees buckled and she fell into an awkward bow.
    “Up, clumsy girl.” The woman, or perhaps more accurately, creature's voice was as soft as a whisper yet as forceful as a battle cry. “What is it you seek?”
    Morgi steadied her gaze and rose. “Power.” Cornelius stifled a horrified gargle.
    Morgiana wouldn't have thought a being as ancient as the Lady could look surprised. But she was wrong. “Honesty, that is new. Why do you want this power?”
    “A cruel empire seeks to control the people of this island. My people, your people. Their swords cut through ours like so many strands of silk, their armor, numbers all superior. Without your aid, they will conquer us. And the Old Ways with us.”
    “Very well. You know the rules. One question. I ask, you answer. Either your wish will be granted, or you'll be dead.”
    “I accept.” As Morgi prepared herself for the words that would more than likely mean her demise, Cornelius returned to her shoulder, tucking his head behind her mass of ebony curls.
    “It's between the stars and underneath the trees, the more it grows the less you see, whether in your heart or the sky it be. What is it?”
    Morgiana could almost hear how her impatient brothers would've scoffed at such a question. But she wouldn't make their mistake. She stood in silence for nearly an hour. Morgi could feel her feathered companion's frantic heartbeat. But all she need do was think. She tasted each word over and over, trying to sustain her composure. But as the night wore on her confidence began to shrink. Until she realized the answer was all around her.
    “Darkness!” Morgiana cried, immediately regretting her outburst. But the lady only smiled.
    “Darkness. You asked for power, and power you shall have. But beware of its cost, Morgiana le Faye.”

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  13. Wishes Are A Bitch To Make
    Posted on Tuesday, 23 September 2014
    Two wishes wasted; this third and final one was our last chance. We sat in silence for a time, wondering how things had become so complicated. Wishes were supposed to be easy, simple things. Like, “I wish for lots of money,” or “I wish for a new car.” We’d learned they weren’t.

    “Remember the day we found the lamp?” She knew I remembered.

    I nodded, “In all the pottery shards at the dig.”

    She giggled, and poked my arm, “You tripped over it. Then got up and kicked it.”

    I’d nearly broke my foot. The lamp didn’t weigh much, but it was anchored in the ground, just it’s top showing. I kicked it, it didn’t move, and I announced that fact with a string of four letter words.

    I had to laugh, “Then, we dug it up, and brushed the dirt off.”

    “And out came the genie!”

    “Do you know what it’s like to live in a lamp for hundreds of years?”

    Of course, we hadn’t turned the lamp in. It would have gone into a museum. The genie said we were the finders of the lamp, so we had three wishes. “Be very careful. Wishes are more complicated than anyone believes.”

    “You didn’t believe in the genie,” I reminded her.

    “Neither did you.”

    “Yeah, but I’m not the one that made a wish.”

    “It’s not my fault he turned out to be a real genie.”

    I remembered her words. “Yeah. You grant wishes? OK. I wish for a magic carpet. One that flies.”

    “As you wish,” the genie replied, as he shook his head, he waved his hand, and there it was. A magic carpet. One that flies. But only if nothing’s on it. “You have two wishes left. Use them wisely.”

    “But I can’t ride the carpet!”

    “You only wished for a magic carpet that flies. I have granted your wish.”

    We spent two hours on our second wish. We planned it out, in detail. “Genie, we wish for a blue Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4.”

    Our genie shook his head, sadly, waved his hands, and in a puff of smoke, there it was. A 1/24th scale model of a blue Lamborghini Aventador. “Your second wish is granted.”

    That’s when we realized we’d left too many details out of our wish.

    We spent all night on our third wish. Trying to get the details right. Asking each other what we’d forgotten. Wishes, it seemed, were nearly impossible to get right. “Do you have a third wish?”

    “Yes, we do.”

    “What is it?”

    “We’ll tell you when we get our wish right. We’re not screwing this one up.”

    That was six years ago. And once a month, we pull out the lamp, and work on our wish. If we ever get the details figured out, we’ll rub the lamp, and call the genie, and make our wish.

    It turned out, wishes are a bitch to make.

    487 words
    @LurchMunster

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  14. Nothing Better


    Two wishes wasted; this third and final one was my last chance.
    My last chance at happiness.

    Sitting in my grey, manufactured cell of an office I often thought about all the things that would make me happy. All the things just out of reach.
    Sitting in grid-lock traffic for an hour every evening I ran through the list of faults and shortcomings that made up my grey, manufactured life.
    Sitting at the dinner table with my wife I mused about the lives of other, greater men and wondered how I had come to rest at a cheap pine table with a woman who should have pushed me to be better than I am.
    Happiness was like the horizon, ever receding, but I made a perpetual game of thinking of how to grasp it.

    When I was given three wishes I thought, finally, I’ll get what I’m owed.
    First I wished for my wife to be the most beautiful woman in the world, so beautiful that all my friends would envy her. With someone like that on my arm my status in life would grow ten-fold.
    It didn’t take her long to be swept off her feet by a modeling agency, a movie director, and her soon-to-be leading man. In that order, in a matter of days.

    For my second wish I thought going straight to riches was the smartest way to go. I was an instant billionaire but before I had bought even a single helicopter I had people coming out of the woodwork, hounding me for handouts. I got sued, audited, mugged, and swindled by an “accountant”. Also a pigeon pooped all over me. It could have been coincidence but being really rich had started to feel like there was some bad juju attached.
    I had enough money in my pocket at the end of a month to buy a foot long hot dog at Dairy Queen. That was pretty good actually.

    I had saved my last wish expecting to use it on something super cool, like a rocket or the ability to fly or something. But so far my wishes had me coming up feeling even crappier than I had before. I could feel something bubbling up inside of me, it felt a little like resignation but it also kind of felt like I had something really smart to say.
    “I wish to be genuinely happy with exactly what I have and who I’m with,” I said out into the night.
    A beat of silence in the dark.
    And then, “Wish granted.”


    429 Words
    Challenge Not Accepted
    @CaseyCaseRose

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