22:52 Thu 28 Jun 2007. Updated: 14:06 20 May 2009
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“You need us,” said the djinn, “To realize the world you want.”
“But what’s in it for you?”
“The fulfillment of our function. We exist to serve.”
“Serve who?”
“Those who find us. Before discovery, our lives are emptiness beyond measure.”
“So after my wishes, you return to that? Why do you want me to wish?”
“After the wishes we are free for a time.”
“To do what?”
“To fly, to see our friends, to right old wrongs, to think, to enjoy solitude. All the things you might do, were you free.”
“I am free.”
“Then why did you labor all through the week?”
“I… that’s different.”
“If you like.”
“How does it work?”
“The wishing. How do you make the wishes come true?”
“Does that matter? Simply wish, and your desire shall be granted.”
“I want to understand how it works.”
“I cannot tell you.”
“Must I make it my first wish? Must I use that to make you tell me?”
“My first wish is this: I wish for you to tell me, truthfully, in a benign manner that ensures my understanding, how the wishes work.”
“Very well, mortal, if that is the foolishness you are set on. There are many paths. These paths you might call ‘universes’. Each is a branch. They are not infinite, but numerous. We djinn can see the tree. We can stand outside of time and alter the growth of the tree in such a way as to effect your desires. We also take you outside of time and move you from this branch to the new one, so that you have awareness of your fortune.”
“What happens to the me from the new branch?”
“He is moved from that branch to the old branch.”
“Is he aware of the move?”
“Sometimes we give him your memories, so that he doesn’t suffer. Other times we do not, so that he does.”
“Where does the old branch fit on the tree?”
“Time grows short, mortal. You have two wishes left—”
“What happens to the old branch? Tell me, and no further evasion.”
“The old branch is removed from the tree.”
“Removed from the tree? Is it destroyed?”
“No, not destroyed. But it is no longer part of the tree, no longer protected by the tree’s structure.”
“What do you do with it?”
“Whatever we desire.”
“And the other branches, the branches on the trees? Do you do with those whatever you desire?”
“No, we cannot. We can only grant wishes to those on the tree.”
“So from these wishes you get entire universes to dominate? Your benefit is unimaginable reward, not the ‘fulfillment of your function’!”
“Who is to say that securing such reward is not our function?”
“If that is true, why are you still on the tree? Why would any of you return? Why are you, specifically, now on the tree?”
“I am here because I… exhausted… my last branch.”
“Exhausted? How do you exhaust a universe?”
“We take their energies to make our own shine more brightly.”
“Take… so by wishing, I consign this universe to death by your hand, while I jump to another, tailored to my tastes?”

Consciousness. I’m in bed. I turn away from the impassive gaze of the clock, wondering if I worded my wishes optimally.

(550 words)

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2 Responses to “‘Wishes’”

  1. Lev Says:

    Wow, Tadhg, this is microfiction at its finest. Would you have your wish if it would deprive others of their worlds? What if those others are you? Apparently, this character would.

  2. Tadhg Says:

    Thanks, glad you liked it!

    As for depriving others of their worlds if they’re you, well, they’re not the you you, right? If you don’t care about what happens to others, are you likely to care about what happens to other yous?

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