Last Wish

Fija Callaghan

Wyld FLASH March 12th 2021

The genie must have been three times the size of my garage, yet somehow fit inside its walls. The room filled with a smell of incense and hot metal. Looking at him was like trying to remember a dream — at one moment distinct, the next a series of loosely-connected impressions, sensations, that hovered just at the edge of consciousness.

“I am the genie of the lamp,” he thundered, in a voice like old sandstone. “What business have you with me?” The walls shuddered. I glanced nervously at the door to the house, where my wife was fast asleep.

“Er… yes. You grant wishes, is that right?”

“Three wishes,” he thundered, in a voice like summer rain. “But be warned this: for every action you create, an equal reaction will be released into the world.”


“Speak, now. Your wish is my command.”

I was struggling to think. The air was hot and thick. I wished there was a window in the little room.

I don’t know if I said it out loud or not. Maybe I did. The genie bowed his head low and said, “So it shall be.”

The walls rippled. On one side a shimmer sharpened and coalesced until it became a glass pane looking out into the side lawn. On the opposite wall the door back into the house flickered out of existence.

“Where’s the door?”

“For every action, an equal reaction will be released into the world. For one door to open, another must close.”

Right. I needed to get to it then, before I wasted any more wishes.

“Speak your second wish.”

I took a deep breath. “My daughter.”

The genie raised one heavy, ashy eyebrow.

“My daughter, Lydia. She was… she was… there was a car accident. Last year. I wish for her to come back the way she was, alive and whole.”

The genie bowed his head. “So it shall be. She will be returned with the rising of the sun.”

I stared at him. Could it really be true? I thought of the months I spent searching for something – anything – that could bring her back. Anything to take my wife’s pain away. Even going as far as believing in the impossible.

“Wait, what about that equal reaction thing?”

The genie nodded. “Your child will be returned with the rising of the sun,” he said, and I thought I saw something like pity in his eyes, “but you will not be here to see it.”

An equal reaction will be released into the world.

A life for a life.

“Speak,” he said, more softly, “your third wish.”

I didn’t have a third wish. I hadn’t thought any farther than getting my family back, the three of us. The room that had seemed so stuffy a minute ago was suddenly cold.

“It is not my place to say,” the genie said hesitantly, “but with one wish more you could stay. Leave her to the world of dreaming and live your years as you were intended.”

I looked back towards the house, where my wife was dreaming of the daughter she had lost. Of all the years they never got to have together. And I thought of our own, the beautiful memories we had made. The day we were married. The day our daughter was born.

“My third wish,” I said. My voice was hoarse.


“I wish for her to grow up healthy and strong.”

He bowed his head. “So it shall be.”

The genie vanished somewhere between one moment and the next. The lamp lay discarded on the dusty floor.

I climbed out the little window and went inside to say goodbye.

Author Bio: Fija Callaghan is an Irish-Canadian writer and artist who believes in embracing the magic of everyday moments. Her work has appeared in Bandit Fiction, Nightingale & Sparrow, The Caterpillar, and Wyldblood Magazine. She lives between the seaside and the stars on a diet of dark chocolate and stories.

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