The Three Wishes
By: Lynne Phillips
Marci raced up the steps, but it was futile, the train pulled away from the station, leaving her exhausted and angry.
"That's tops off a shitty day," she fumed as she collapsed onto a seat. The next train wouldn't arrive for half an hour.
"At least I don't have to stand, my feet are aching," she sighed. Removing her shoes, she rubbed her feet.
The day unravelled at Uni. Her tutor said her thesis needed work, her mother sent a text saying Grandma was ill, and her boyfriend of three months, Grant, dumped her for Marilyn with the big tits.
"It's certainly been a day I'd rather forget," she muttered closing her eyes, forcing back tears.
"Had a bad day love?" Startled, Marci turned seeking the questioner. An old lady smiled kindly at her.
"Well, it's not been a good one. I missed my train and I promised my mother I would walk the dog. I have to work on my thesis, and my Grandma is poorly." Marci rustled around in her carryall and produced two chocolate bars, offering one to the woman.
"Why, thank you love, that's very generous of you."
They sat in silence nibbling the chocolate.
"One good turn deserves another," the old woman said. "I have something which will change your day. Close your hand and shut your eyes." She winked at Marci.
"You don't need to give me anything," Marci said, embarrassed, but closed her eyes and put out her hand. She felt something small and cold being placed in her hand. When she opened her eyes, a tiny green stone shimmered as the sun reflected of its surface. Marci looked for the old woman to give it back, but she had disappeared.
She slipped the stone into her pocket, feeling its warmth through the cloth. Maybe my luck will change she thought as the train hummed along.
Baxter, her mother's dog, greeted her with his leash as soon as she entered the house.
"Okay sport, but it will be a short one; it looks like it will rain."
Placing her laptop in the study she changed into joggers. They did three circuits of the park before the first raindrops fell and they raced for home,
The microwave pinged. Marci ate standing up, needing to work on her thesis. She filled Baxter's bowl and headed to the study.
The clock struck midnight before she printed off the final copy. She was happy with the result, but tired and ready for bed. She hoped sleep came quickly.
The green stone fell onto the floor as Marci took off her jacket. Picking it up and idly fingering it, she recalled the old woman and her promise the stone would change her day. She smiled at the thought, placed the crystal beside her bed, closed her eyes, and fell asleep.
During the night the crystal morphed into a black cat. It jumped onto Marci's bed and snuggled in close.
The sunlight filtered through the blinds wakening Marci. Her hand touched something soft. She was surprised to see the cat. "Where did you come from?" She stroked the cat which purred in appreciation. "I wish you could talk."
"That's your first wish taken care of. You only have two more. Don't waste them." The cat's green eyes blinked sardonically as its tail swished. It stretched its legs and arched its back.
"Close your mouth, it's not attractive. Haven't you seen a cat before? What are your other two wishes, I haven't got all day? "
Marci thought long and hard.
The black cat rubbed against her legs, disconcerting her.
"For my second wish I would like my thesis to pass."
"Oh, that's an easy one." The cat touched the cover of the thesis. The words First Class Honors appeared across the page. "That should do it."
The cat paced the room impatiently. "I should warn you be very careful what you wish for."
Marci thought about her grandmother. "I'd wish my grandmother was young and happy again,"
"Well, that will be a bit harder, but if you are sure, I'll try."
The cat blinked and began to fade. "Don't forget to pass the stone on to someone else who needs good fortune." He blinked twice and disappeared.
Marci picked up the green crystal. Its lustre was gone. It just looked like a green pebble.
The phone in the hall was ringing. It was Marci's mother. "I ‘m sorry Marci, Grandma passed away this morning."
"Oh mum, that's sad. Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. A bit upset, but Gran was old and in pain. She was ready to go. I'll have to organise the funeral, but I'll be home tomorrow."
As she put the phone down Marci thought about her third wish. She wished her grandmother was young again, how could she be dead. She picked up a photograph of her grandparents on their wedding day. They looked so young and happy. Lightly touching the photo to her lips, she whispered, "I hope Grandpa was there to meet you."
Marci emailed her thesis to her tutor and packed away her laptop. She took Baxter for a walk.
Looking in the mirror as she cleaned her teeth, she asked her reflection, "Did I dream it all?"
Sleep eventually came, but it was a troubled sleep. The clock in the hall struck one. Marci woke.
The green stone shimmered, giving the room a soft green glow. Marci realised she wasn't alone. Grandma and Grandpa stood at the end of her bed, no wrinkles, no grey hair. They were young, vibrant and so much in love.
"Thank you, Marci," they both said with soft smiles. Grandma blew a kiss and Grandpa bowed low. Marci's eyes filled with tears. When she blinked them away her grandparents were gone, and the tiny crystal slowly faded leaving the room dark. Marci smiled, turned over and went to sleep knowing she would find someone to pass the stone on to the next day.