The Wish
Short Stories Thoughts Writing

The Wish

She is hungry. And bored. The hunger she could cope with. She’s been hungry before. Sometimes for decades at a time. The hunger is unpleasant, but it’s not like it is going to kill her.

Boredom, that was something else entirely. Boredom stretches time. On and on. On and on. Boredom gnaws at her. Makes her dizzy. Makes her thoughts turn inward. Makes her angry.

She pounds her fists against the stones of her prison. Or rather she imagines she does. Even the stimulus of self-inflicted pain is denied her. A long, soundless scream dissipates into ineffectual silence.

A car pulls to a halt, catching her attention. Normally she despises tourists, but today even their inanity might offer some respite.

This vehicle belches out passengers much like the many others who arrive throughout the summer. Some young, some old, some gross, some gaunt, some chuckling, some sour, some thoughtful admirers, some flatulent drunks. They come on sunny days like today, to gawp at the pretty church. To walk the quiet village lanes. To throw coins in the wishing well in the vain hope of changing their mundane existences.

“Look Mummy, a wishing well!” squeals a little pink girl in a pretty pink dress. “Can I have a penny? Please, please, please.”

Mummy gives Daddy a smile and a small shrug that says, “What harm can it do?” Daddy obediently reaches into his pocket and sorts through change before plucking out an appropriately small coin. Daddy hands it to Mummy and Mummy makes little pink girl stretch for it, unaware that she’s treating her daughter exactly as she would a begging puppy.

“Go on then,” Mummy encourages. “Make a wish. You have to keep it a secret though, otherwise it won’t work.”

The little pink girl gives an exaggerated sigh. “I know how wishes work Mummy. I’m not a little kid anymore.”

Inside the well the creature is aware of the child’s approach. She reaches out with inhuman senses. She imagines shredding the dress, tasting the flesh. She screams in frustration. She is entombed in a wall of granite. Impotent.

The child is close, coin extended, face twisted in concentration. With a brief jerk of a plump arm, the offering is given and the wish made.

The one watching gives a mocking howl, though it’s a howl only she can hear. “Is that it? A pony? A fucking pony! Oh, how fucking original!”

The little pink girl is blissfully unaware. Mummy and Daddy look on adoringly.

Trapped in the well, she is enraged by the family idyll. She strains until her entire being vibrates with the effort. Suddenly, from deep within there’s the merest hint of power. A glimmer of her former ferocity. With all her strength she stretches out. It’s pitiful, but maybe, just maybe, it’s enough.

Among the harmless pebbles covering the path there’s a small, spiteful piece of flint, its edge cracked to razor sharpness. She manages to inch a single stone to one side and instead of landing securely, a small pink foot twists and over-balances. The little girl tumbles. Mummy and Daddy lurch forward, but they’re too far away. The fragment slices effortlessly through a little pink knee until it scrapes agonizingly against bone. Blood spatters. A tiny, high-pitched shriek of pain is echoed by cries of helplessness and fear from Mummy and Daddy.

She bathes in the sound. Luxuriates in the counterpoint between screaming child and anguished parents. Seldom has she heard a more pleasing harmony.

Photo by Peter Musk on Unsplash

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