The three free wishes of Justin Taylor

The three free wishes of Justin Taylor

A Chapter by hogan
"

Have you ever dreamt of being granted three wishes?

"

The three free wishes of Justin Taylor.

 

    Justin Taylor settled down in the old, very well worn armchair, which had come as a free gift when they purchased the house.  They did not particularly like the chair, but the elderly couple they purchased the house from ensured them it was a comfortable chair, which was well-built and they would love them to have it, for free.  As it turned out when they tried to remove the chair, its dimensions were exactly perfect to render its removal impossible.

    Anne, his wife, was at a school governor’s meeting and would not be back for a couple of hours yet.  He had flicked through the two hundred and twenty four television channels and rejected all of them.  He turned his attention to the old cardboard box, which had been unceremoniously dumped to his immediate left.  The house was old, very old, and Anne was keen to fill it with suitable period knick-knacks, but their budget was limited and Anne was carrying their first child, only for two months, but it was so exciting.  The box was a recent acquisition from a local auction, every second-week there was an auction in the town market, most of the items were beyond their price range, but sometimes there were boxes of bits-and-pieces from house clearances, these were assorted lots and you took a chance if you made a bid.

  The box he was now rummaging through had been purchased for the cost of a cheap bottle of wine, from his preliminary inspection it appeared the wine would have been the better option.  As he reached into the deepest and lowest recesses of the assorted junk, his fingertips came into contact with something that felt warm, the quality and suppleness of the texture was reassuring, he gripped firmly and removed the object, which was a tactile pleasure to feel.  It was an old book, bound in a very soft and well preserved cover.  He studied the remaining flakes of gold leaf that once formed the title, but the scattered traces of precious metal were far too infrequent, to allow their original form to be deciphered.  He opened the cover and was disappointed to see the browned, brittle pages were ravaged by mildew spots; the damp had eroded the charm and any potential value.

    He carefully turned the first two blank, but spotted fly sheets and read the hidden title of the book.  “Tales of Magic and Mystery from ancient Persia.”  There was no name of an author or come to that, no details of the publisher or printer.  The following page contained the start of the first story.  The story was quite traditional and reminded him of something he had once read before, his foggy recollections were of a story about a monkey’s claw and the benefactor being given three wishes.  In the case of this story, it was about a magic lamp and the finder was given three wishes.  The unfortunate man was ruined, as each wish delivered exactly what he asked for, but with disastrous consequences.  He decided to keep the book, one day he would use it as a bedtime story book for his children. 

    He gently closed the book and reached from the comfort of the over-padded, over-sized chair for his I-pad.  He needed to check through todays E-mails, an evening ritual he detested.  The inbox glared its scarlet warning of 32 unread mails awaiting his attention.  All would be important; his spam filtration system was always reliable.  He began to tackle the tedious messages, most only needed to be read, but a few needed a quick written response.  He was about half-way through when he came across a very unusual piece of mail; his first thought was, how could they manage to penetrate my spam filters?  The subject simply said.

  “Congratulations Mr Taylor, you are the lucky winner of three free wishes.”  He clicked the box and was set to delete the piece of junk mail, but something made him stop.  He thought about the amazing coincidence.  He had just read from the old book about a man who was given three wishes, how ironic was it that this message was now seductively teasing him to open it.  He hesitated, he checked, his firewalls were all on, there was a green tick by the message, indicating it had been scanned and contained no cookies, no tracking files and was totally virus free.  Curiosity was the victor; he touched the blue highlighted text and opened the message.

    A cartoon formed picture of an oil lamp appeared, it looked like a page had been copied from a young child’s book and he wondered who was playing a joke on him.  He checked the E-mail address of the recipient, it was his.  He now checked the address of the sender, it said, from Three free [email protected].  How odd, who were they?  Some hazy text appeared under the lamp, the swirling purple smoke formed a short message.

  ‘Rub the lamp to claim your three free wishes.’  His finger hovered over the lamp, how he hated these intrusions into his privacy.  He touched the lamp, nothing, he touched it again, still nothing happened.  The purple smoky text once again swirled and reformed to a new message.

  ‘Rub, not touch, Justin.’  They knew his name; it must be a joke message from one of his work colleagues.  He placed his finger on the lamp and began to rub from side-to-side.

    At first nothing happened, but after a few seconds the crude graphics became animated, with purple smoke emanating from the spout of the lamp, the screen filled with the swirling purple vapours, which turned to a mauve fog that gradually dispersed.  He read the message that had appeared during the ‘foggy’ recess.

Congratulation Mr Taylor, I am pleased to inform you have won three free wishes.  Please use them wisely and be careful to read all instruction, terms and conditions.  Three free wishes cannot accept any liability for any consequence or outcomes from your choice of wishes.  The following instructions are for your guidance and assistance in helping you to choose the best three wishes for you.

 All wishes must be specific, no vague or poorly defined wishes can be accepted.  (Do not wish to be very rich, state the exact amount you wish for.  Do not wish to live forever, state the exact age you want to live to.)

 It is not possible to grant a wish instantly, wishes will be delivered at the first possible opportunity.

The second wish cannot be made before the first wish has been granted.

    He looked down the screen, there was a simple text box waiting to be filled in.  He liked the joke; someone had gone to a lot of trouble to play this one on him.  He thought for a while, what would his first wish be?  They had recently bought this big old house, now they had a large mortgage and in seven months’ time there would be a high maintenance child to start raising, his car was ageing and they needed a lot of new furniture.  He calculated a reasonable sum, no need to be greedy.  He typed his request in the text box.

    ‘I wish for the sum of £247 392.18.’  He pressed the ‘done’ button, but the red text lit up.

    “Before a wish can be granted you must tick the box saying you have read and agree to all the terms and conditions.”  He scanned down the screen and selected the terms and conditions option.  There were pages and pages of the usual micro-print, in fact more than normal.  He scrolled back up and ticked the ‘I agree’ box and then he touched the ‘done’ box.  The screen swirled purple once more and a short message appeared.

    “Thank you for requesting your first wish.  At this very moment our team is calculating the best way to grant your request, once this has been completed suitable actions will be taken to fulfil your wish.”

    The screen went blank and returned him to his unread E-mails; the mail he had opened was no longer there.  He finished reading and replying to the remaining E-mails.  He decided he would have a shower before Ann got back from her meeting, she would be home soon and always spent ages in the shower.

    He was enjoying the luxury of a long hot blast from the new power shower, which was only installed last week, when he became aware of the prolonged ringing of the doorbell.  He turned the shower off and could hear raised voices shouting, the words were not audible though.  He grabbed the nearest towel and wrapped it around himself and made his way down the steep stairs to the front door.  He opened the door to two solemn faced police officers.

    “Mr Taylor?”

    “Yes,” he replied, already sensing a huge feeling of anxiety.

    “May we come in sir, I am afraid we have bad news.”

    The police explained to him that a patrol car had tried to stop a vehicle they suspected was stolen.  The car had set of at high speed and the patrol car followed in a high speed pursuit, unfortunately the car lost control, at very high speed, and hit Ann’s car head on.  They told him, as if it would comfort him, she had died instantly and there was nothing that could have been done to save her.

    It was four months later the brown envelope arrived, sent by his solicitor.  He opened the letter and read the details relating to insurances and other compensations that had been made, enclosed with the letter was a cheque made out to him, the total amount came to  £247 392.18.

    He reached for his I-pad; he wanted to check the figure, the figure he had wished for.  He searched through all his files, but no trace of the E-mail, or his request was showing on any of the history.  Hesitantly, shaking and feeling nauseas, he opened his E-mail account.  He scanned down and froze; there halfway down his inbox was the message. 

    “Your first wish has now been completed, now it is time………..”

    He opened the mail and read the full message.

    “Your first wish has now been completed, now it is time Mr Taylor to make your second wish.”  The image of the lamp appeared and his mind turned to anger, this had to be a very sick joke, he had lost his wife and his unborn child, now some creep dared to wind him up with this.  He deleted the mail, it came back, he shut down the I-pad, it reappeared on the screen, he was tempted to smash the tablet into tiny pieces, but decided this would be a waste; he would only have to buy another one.  He sat and thought for a while and decided to play along the game.  He typed in his wish.

    “I wish my wife was alive and with me now.”

    In red text the words appeared.

    “This wish cannot be granted, please read full terms and conditions.  Reference, section 564, paragraph 31.  It is forbidden to make a request to bring back a person from the dead.

    He thought for several minutes, he would make a request that would be impossible to achieve, but would also be harmless.  There was a disturbing thought though, which was really bothering him, some part of his brain was sending little messages that kept saying, but what if it’s true?  You really can make a wish.  His finger hovered over the text box and he typed his request.

    “I wish for the sun to turn dark for 21 minutes and 15 seconds precisely, this should take place at mid-day in the location I am at.”  If it is a practical joker, that will defeat him, he thought to himself.  He tapped his finger on the ‘done’ button and waited.

    The purple smoke cleared from the screen and once again a clear message emerged as the last wisps evaporated from view.

    Thank you for requesting your second wish.  At this very moment our team is calculating the best way to grant your request, once this has been completed suitable actions will be taken to fulfil your wish.

    The screen returned to his list of unread E-mails.

    Over the next few weeks he turned his eyes to look outside as each noon approached, nothing happened, he knew it never would.  Over the next few months he completely forgot about the second wish, time is a great healer and now Justin was excited about his forthcoming holiday.  A few years ago his parents emigrated to Australia, but he never seemed to find the time to arrange a visit.  There had been issues at his work place, the house move, Ann becoming pregnant and then her untimely death.  Four days from now he would be on a plane and flying half way round the world, he needed this break and was determined nothing was going to stop him.  He checked through the news items, there were no reports of strikes, of airlines threatened with bankruptcy or volcanic ash clouds, nothing to jeopardise his plans.  As he scanned the last news items, one caught his eye; it was only a piece of trivia.

    Tomorrow a large asteroid will pass close to the Earth.  Scientists say there is no cause for concern, the asteroid known as TFW 203, is set to pass just 200 000km from the Earth.

 

    The article continued to explain this was a rare event, but had happened on previous occasions, in this case, the asteroid would not come close to the Earth again for several hundred thousand years.

    It was a few minutes before mid-day, the following day, a voice called out from somewhere and what it said caused the blood to freeze in his body. 

 

    “That’s weird, the sun has dimmed, I didn’t know there was an eclipse today.”  He stood up and looked out of the large, south facing office window.  Something was not as it should be, the Sun seemed to have lost some of its intensity, but its glare was too strong, to see clearly.  On his desk was a black glass coaster he used to prevent his coffee cup leaving unsightly rings, he walked over, picked it up and then returned to the window.  He tilted the glass and the reflected image of the Sun was clear.  At its centre a black smudge had appeared, the fuzzy dark shape was growing by the second and just two minutes later; the black growth appeared to have eaten the Sun away.  It was pitch black outside now, they all left the office and went out to view the phenomena, stars were clearly visible in the black noon sky.

 

    About twenty minutes later the Sun gradually reaffirmed its dominance.  At first it became barely perceptible, as if seen through a black cloud that had diluted its opaqueness, just enough to allow an outline trace to become visible.  Within minutes the light grew and everything returned to normal.

 

    “What was that?  What do you think happened to the Sun?” someone asked.  There were endless suggestions put forward, but all Justin could focus his thoughts on was his second wish.  A few hours later the news began to break.  At 12.00 hours GMT the Sun had been obscured from view for 21 minutes and 15 seconds.  Astronomers had been tracking a large asteroid measuring several kilometres across.  The asteroid was known as TFW 203, because it was the 203rd asteroid discovered by the Trajectory Focused Web system.  This system involved many of the world’s largest observatories being linked together, with the specific aim of identifying asteroids and their current trajectories.  The strange phenomena of the Sun blacking out, had been caused by the larger rocky asteroid, being struck by a much smaller metallic meteor travelling at very high velocity.  He watched as an expert explained that when the metallic meteor had penetrated deep into the rocky asteroid, its energy had been transferred to heat, the temperatures high enough to vaporise the metal.  The pressure, which built up in a fraction of a second, was sufficient to cause the large asteroid to explode and break into hundreds of thousands of pieces, along with hundreds of thousands of tonnes of powdered rock.  The collision had occurred in just the right place to produce a dust cloud in space that temporarily blocked off all the sun-light from the Earth.  He went on to assure everybody there was nothing to worry about.

    Justin was worried, perturbed, distraught and stressed.  The second wish had been granted, the name of the asteroid TFW 203, could it stand for Three Free Wishes 2nd of 3rd?  At least this time nobody had died.  Tears welled in his eyes as he thought about Anne.  He felt as if he would go insane if he kept on thinking this way and decided to go home.

    He arrived home and did something he rarely did; he searched the house and found three, nearly full bottles of alcohol.  The urge to remove himself from current reality was overpowering, two hours later he had finished the bottles and fallen into a deep, alcohol induced sleep.  It was still dark when he woke-up, out of habit, he pressed a button on the remote control and put the news on.  At first he assumed the pictures were from some war-torn region, but as the words of the newscaster sunk in, he rapidly advanced from his drunken stupor into a state of total sobriety.  The pictures depicted on his television screen, the massive explosions and streaks in the sky, they were not missiles being launched in some distant corner of the world, they were footage of a massive meteorite shower.  Debris from the exploded asteroid had been hitting the Earth six hours after the initial impact, the one that had been caused because he wished it to happen.  Already an estimated 100 million people had been killed and it was likely to get worse.  He reached for his I-pad and opened his E-mail.  It was there, the message telling him his second wish had been fulfilled, asking, no instructing him, to make his third and final wish.

    He had an idea, would it work?  He rubbed the lamp and he made the wish, a simple one this time.  He typed,

    “I wish I had not made the first two wishes.”

    “Thank you for requesting your third wish.  At this very moment our team is calculating the best way to grant your request, once this has been completed suitable actions will be taken to fulfil your wish.”

    He closed his eyes, the wish had been granted, did this mean Anne would walk through the door soon; he fell asleep, feeling a distant hope.

    “Hi darling, have you fallen asleep again?”  She was back, he felt elated, he started to talk to her, to tell her about the strangest dream he ever had.

    “And this case, I notice he seems to talk about a dream, he seems to be talking to someone just in front of him, look at how focused his eyes are,” remarked Dr James.

 

    “A strange case.  His name is Justin Taylor, he was found at his house, he had killed his wife, smashed her skull in with a tablet computer.  When the police arrived he was talking to her about his dream, he has not stopped talking about it for over 10 years now,” replied Dr Smith.


 



© 2013 hogan


Author's Note

hogan
If you like the style try The 4 Dreams of Leonardo, available on Kindle

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register




Reviews

This story reminds me of the another story called "The Monkey's Paw". But, very good story overall. :)

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

hogan

6 Years Ago

You are totally correct

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

235 Views
1 Review
Rating
Added on March 24, 2013
Last Updated on March 24, 2013


Author

hogan
hogan

blackpool, United Kingdom



About
Currently working on a series of short and contemporary horror stories. Decided to join this site because I have been working on a project for the last fifteen years. Fourteen thinking and one writi.. more..

Writing
The decision The decision

A Chapter by hogan


Mirrors Mirrors

A Chapter by hogan