This week's challenge from Flash Fiction Friday is to write about a wish fulfilled.
One of the sad truths about the human condition, no matter who you are, is having regrets. Whether momentary or life long, we think about the missed opportunity or a choice we made, wrong or right. I suppose it’s because our life is so fragile, fleeting, and our choices can forever solidify the lives we lead. So we think back, and wish our little wishes. Dream our little what ifs.
You’ve done it, right?
Thought about that little red-head girl, the one you were afraid to give that special valentine’s card. The one you spent hours on, only to be shoved in a drawer to be found years later. And you think? What if?
It’s a fanciful thing, the idea that with a wish you can rewrite a moment in time, make a different choice, take a different path. What of the consequences?
This week write a story where your protagonist has an opportunity to change a single misstep in their lives, whether it be years or moments ago. Did they make the right choice? Is there life better? Did anything change at all? Perhaps there are such things as fate and destiny? It’s your story, so you tell me what happens when a wish is fulfilled?
Prompt: Write a story where your protagonist has a chance to change a single choice, and it’s result.
Length: Up to 1991 words
Deadline: Thursday May 17, 9 am EST
So I thought about choices, and wishes, and destiny. And Fairy Tale folk - who knew? Here's my story ...
"I just want to die!" Sophie flopped back on her bed, grabbed a pillow, and flung it across the room. "My life sucks, nothing ever goes right for me!"
"Hey, watch it, you almost hit me!"
"Shit, who's there?" asked Sophie. She peered into the dark corner. "Get back out the window, you crack head. My dad's a cop and he's in the next room."
"I'm not a crack head. I heard you needed some help, Sophie. My name's Red."
"That's a dumb name," said Sophie. "What are you, some sort of social worker for The Projects? My dad must have called you. You guys are a waste of time - always talking in gobbledy-gook."
"I did get a call," said Red. "And it sounded like you really needed someone, so I came right away."
The call had hit Red while she was getting ready for another version of a story for the Grimm's. She'd felt a blast of despair, of such desperate need that it had staggered her for a moment. She'd never felt that sort of call before, so had followed it here - to a 12 year old girl, full of drama and emotions and hormones. She'd gone through those same issues and feelings herself - even if she'd never been 12 - so had to answer this girl's call.
Red clicked on the light next to her. "Do I look like a crack head?"
"No," said Sophie. "But you don't look like a social worker either. What's with the cloak and hood?"
"It's comfy " said Red. "Never mind - let's keep this simple. If you could have three wishes, what would they be?'
"What are you, a fairy godmother?" said Sophie. "OK, smarty, let's see - I want a new dress, and I want Danny to take me to the prom." She paused. "And I want my mom back."
"Sorry," said Red. "I know your mom's leaving really sucked. But I know that when she left it was her choice - she had too many other things she was trying to juggle at once and just couldn't cope. She still loves you, and is doing better now. Right now you and your dad are even closer, and managing OK. If she would have stayed, things would have got worse - much worse - trust me."
"Bull," said Sophie. "You're like all the others. You're just saying that, you don't know her, or me, or anything. She told me that she had to go, she had no choice. Like all of us."
Red used to think that too - that she and her friends were all just characters stuck in a story, unable to have any say in their future, in their own hopes and dreams. She knew better now.
"We all have choices, and consequences," said Red. "as part of our stories. We have our wishes and dreams, and we can try to make decisions to pick the path that get us closer to there. And - along the way - enjoy what we can from the thread we're on, maybe find an even more exciting one."
"Sounding like a social worker again," said Sophie. "How do you know any of that's true?"
"Because I can see the threads of our stories," said Red. "Mine, yours, your mom's. The many paths showing what has happened, what might happen next, and the choices for each path. I see it all."
"You ARE a crack head," said Sophie. "Dad!"
"No, I'm not," said Red. "And he's out. So give me five minutes - at the least you'll have a story for your friends tomorrow in Miss Matheson's class. Even better than the one Karen told you yesterday."
"OK, that's spooky." said Sophie. "What are you, a mind reader?"
"I told you," said Red. "I see the threads in a story. In yours, I see you picking blue wallpaper last month, instead of painting. I see you skipping math again last Monday. I see you leaving Danny a note."
"Wow! "said Sophie. "How do you do that?"
"Not sure," said Red. "But I've been able to do it for years."
For centuries in fact, ever since she and her fellow characters had been made real by the Grimm fairy tales they were in. In turn, they retold and re-spun the tales, making the stories themselves even more real for people. And in between the stories - they'd found lives - and loves - for themselves.
"So do it," said Sophie. "Go back and make my mom stay."
"Sorry, I can't really play with the past," said Red. "Too many other things change. But I can see where your mom made her choice, and the other choices she had for her, and the paths that would have unravelled for her. None are very good.
"Do you see any where she stays?" asked Sophie.
"A few," said Red. "She stays, for a while, but then the threads show things like she and your dad fighting, her drinking more, you losing this apartment, you changing schools - and her leaving anyways. Trust me, this is a good thread for you and your dad. And not that bad overall for you mom either."
"Does she ever come back?" asked Sophie. "How do I choose for that?"
"I see some threads where she doesn't, but many more where she does. But they are foggy to me if I look too far. And I don't want to tell you what choices to make - I can't always see everything. Anyway, you're smart enough to do that on your own. I will say I do see you choosing to catch more math classes, and that seems to go well."
"Math - yuck. Good think my friend helps me. But how about my grade 8 prom? How do I choose Danny into going with me? How do I make him like me?"
"Maybe you're looking at it the wrong way around," said Red. "What about your best friend Stevie? No - just hear me out. Yes, Danny is a big shot in the school, and you might feel important for one night if he takes you. But Stevie is a really nice kid. And he likes you. And my magical powers tell me he might not have a date yet."
"I like him too," said Sophie. "But we're just friends. Although we do hang out a lot - and he listens to me - and likes who I am."
"And that makes you feel ...?" asked Red.
"Important," said Sophie. "OK - maybe I'll ask Stevie. But what about a dress? I can't go in my old one, I'd die. I need something like this one - look - here's the catalogue page."
"Tell you what," said Red. "You do need to remember to not give up, to keep dreaming, to keep choosing. And to remind you of that - here's a free-bee."
Red waved her hand. There was a flash, the catalogue photo shimmered and sparkled, then the dress flew off the page and onto Sophie.
"Whoah!" said Sophie. "Thank you, thank you." She ran over and hugged Red. "But how will I explain to Dad how I got a new dress?"
"Trust me," said Red. "He won't even notice the new dress, he'll just see his beautiful daughter. Have fun."
And then she was gone.