Wish Granted

            At age thirty-three, on a super-hot day, a young man wandered into a back-alley bazaar alone. No one said a word to him, or paid him any attention, and after a long time wandering, he decided to leave. As he was making his way out from the rear, a remarkable rug, hanging in the back of a vendor’s display, managed to catch his eye. The seller was an elderly woman, quaint and quiet, who sat in a simple chair, wielding what appeared to be thousand-year-old eyes that seemed to communicate better than speech, all on their own. Her body, shriveled and small, had skin tanned and wrinkly, as if that of a veritable cadaver, unnaturally preserved, and the expression on her face looked uncertain and all-knowing at the same time, accentuated by an uncommon quietude so heavy, as to suggest she hadn’t uttered a word in fifty years. In response to an inquiry on its price, she simply shook her head from side to side, and pointed him in the direction of a small box under an oval mirror hung in front of a sibylline, celestial calendar, suspended from the wall. Once at the wooden container, he took a look within and discovered a fine piece of fabric with tassels on either side of its square shape, in the middle of which, a sightly design marked its center, consisting of a regular hexagram made up of two triangles, overlapping like a pair of pyramids with their apexes on opposite ends. When asked how much it cost, the old woman only stared at him blankly. Although he tried giving her ten dollars, held out in his hand, she gently closed his fingers and pushed back his fist. Then, without saying another word, he bowed lightly and left.

            As soon as he got home, the young man opened the box again and this time, took out the intricately woven textile. To his surprise, he found underneath it, a handwritten note on a crinkly textured, ancient paper that read in olden letters, “If thee could have any otherworldly ability, what would it be?” After a moment’s pondering, the lad whispered under his breath, “It would be…to see.” Then, with a chuckle, he placed the two items back in the box, before opening a window and readying for bed. That night, he dreamt of the woman from the marketplace, who did a dark dance while singing a sunny, spry song, during which, she deliberately dissolved into the wind. But upon waking, he could remember nothing, and after stretching and cleaning up, felt warm enough to walk over to the window from last night, now closed. Surprised at seeing this, he reopened it and ran over to re-inspect the parchment, but the box was no longer there. Instead, where it once sat on the table, was now scattered a fine white powder, chalky but soft like flour, with some of it cleared away, as if by hand or finger, to reveal three large letters that read, “T R Y.” Almost as soon as he said the word aloud, a great gust of wind blew all the powder away, some of which seemed to disintegrate in mid-air magically, while the rest exited the window and settled to the ground. Breathing in deeply, rather astonished, he muttered to himself, “Try…try what?” prior to remembering the inscribed message from last night.

            All of a sudden, as clear as day, the young man was granted, in turn, every supernatural ability he so desired, such that he could switch from one to the next at will. First, he could fly, but the people screamed, and the government tried to shoot him down. Then, he could go invisible, but he felt creepy for peeping on women and bored with spying on people in positions of power. Then, he possessed super strength, but he felt burdened by being able to crush anyone and anything as easily as butterfly wings. Then, he had telepathy, but he found the thoughts of others to be rotten and contagious, more often than not. Then, he could materialize objects at will, but felt he had no one to share them with. Then, he toyed with mind control to land the perfect relationship, but he realized love outside of volition can never exist. Then, he could not be injured, but he found that life became stodgy and mundane. Then, he could change his appearance at will, but he soon forgot who he was. Then, he found he needed nothing but what he already was, and so he could finally see.