Wyld FLASH September 3rd 2021
Sariya may have only been half-a-genie, but like any other genie, all she wanted to do was grant a wish.
So one day, she set out for a nearby village, hoping to grant someone’s wish.
On her way, she met a fisherman who was having trouble catching a fish. As he cursed his luck, Sariya decided to chime in.
“I can help you catch a fish,” Sariya said.
“Well, I can grant you a wish!”.
The fisherman’s eyes narrowed.
“You’re one of those genies, aren’t you?”
“Half-a-genie,” She corrected him.
“Well half-of-trouble, is still too much trouble for me.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ve read the stories. There’s always some trick to the wishes you grant.”
“Not at all!” Sariya exclaimed, “For example, you can wish for all the fish in the lake to be right here in your sack!”
The fisherman thought to himself for a moment.
“Ha! He exclaimed. “I’ve figured it out. Once I have all of them in this sack, there’ll be no more fish in the pond, and I’ll be out of work for good!”
“No, I would never!” Sariya cried out.
“I don’t believe you.”
Feeling like nothing could be done, Sariya left the fisherman and made her way to the village.
Once she got there, she saw a guard who looked rather bored.
“Would you like a wish?” Sariya asked as she approached the guard.
“You’re one of the genies, aren’t you?” The guard’s eyes narrowed.
“Half-a-genie.” She corrected him.
“That’s still too much genie for me,” the guard said, “I’ve read the stories. There’s always a trick.”
“Not you too!” Sariya cried out.
“Sorry, but I have no use for a wish.”
“But you could wish for a golem to guard the palace instead! Think of all the things you could do now that you’ll have the time!”
The guard thought to himself for a moment.
“I see what you’re trying to do. With a golem guarding this palace in my place, the emir will have no use for me, and I’ll be out of work!”
“Oh no, not again…” Sariya sighed.
Seeing that nothing could be done, Sariya made her way through the village, hoping to find someone, anyone, whose wish she could grant. But, time and again, she was turned down by each and every single one of the villagers she so desperately wanted to help. Just as she was just about to give up, she heard about an old man nearby who had nothing to his name in this world and had long ago abandoned all earthly concerns. Sariya, pitying him, decided to seek him out and grant his wish.
After looking for hours, Sariya found him enjoying the sunset under the shade of a cedar tree.
“Would you like a wish?” Sariya asked.
“A wish? Can you grant such a thing?”
“Yes,” Sariya replied, “I’m a genie after all.”
“A genie?” The old man was astounded.
“Well, half-a-genie,” She corrected herself.
“That’s more than enough, genie, my dear.” The old man nodded with a smile.
“Is there anything I can do for you?” Sariya asked, ready to give up.
“I should be asking you that,” the old man said, “you seem down.”
“Yes, sir, you can allow me to grant you a wish. It’s what I want most in this world.”
“I see,” The old man nodded, then thought to himself until he suddenly lit up.
“What’s your wish, sir?”
“I wish for you to join me in watching the sunset.”
“Is that all you wish for in this world?”
“No, but I would like it very much if you joined me.”
“Is there nothing else?” Sariya exclaimed, “Anything really!”
“No,” The old man replied, “Life has granted me all I could ever want. I live, I love, and am content.”
Although Sariya was moved by the old man’s choice, she worried that he would one day come to regret it and so found herself warning him: “Don’t squander your wish!”
“Squander?” The old man exclaimed, “Nothing is squandered if it is used to help a friend, my dear.”
He then patted the patch of grass beside him and said: “Now come and join me before the sun sinks into the hills.”
“I don’t know what to say,” was all Sariya could muster.
“What does your heart tell you?” The old man smiled again.
Sariya took a deep breath.
“It really is a lovely sunset…”
She then walked over to the old man and sat beside him, content that she had finally managed to grant her first wish.
Author Bio: J.D. Harlock is a Lebanese Palestinian writer based in Beirut. His short stories have been featured in The Deadlands, Sciencefictionary, and the Decoded Pride Anthology, his poetry has been featured in Mobius and Black Cat Magazine, and his articles have been featured in Mermaids Monthly, Interstellar Flight Press, and on the SFWA Blog. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @JD_Harlock
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