Be Careful What You Wish For

The solicitor peered over his half-moon glasses with grave solemnity and pushed the mahogany box across the vast expanse of tooled green leather that covered the desktop.
“Your Godfather has bequeathed this item to you, Celia. There is an sealed envelope inside.”
Celia lifted the lid. Under the envelope was a strange bird surrounded by a nest of white napkins.
“I understand your Godfather was Geoffrey Soames, a diplomat in India.”
“Yeah, I think so.” Said Celia with the disinterested of a fifteen-year-old. She vaguely remembered a fat bloke squeezing her six-year-old cheeks. She stuffed the envelope in her pocket, closed the box and left the musty office and the ghoulish solicitor.
At home she placed the hideous bird with the sharp beak on the mantelpiece next to her parent’s hideous carriage clock and headed upstairs to her bedroom. The box would be handy to keep her makeup stuff in, she thought, flopping onto her bed.
Then she remembered the envelope.

My dear Celia.
No doubt the gift of the bird will be a disappointment. But, whosoever possesses the bird can make three wishes. Choose carefully.
With kindest regards
Geoffrey

Yeah, right? Geoffrey. And I’m Madonna.
Later, Celia put her skepticism to one side and made a wish. She decided to start with wish for a fortnight holiday for two in Magaluf and see what happened.
The next morning her father walked into the kitchen. “Registered delivery for Celia Thornton. Must be important.”
Celia slit open the envelope with the butter knife. “I’ve won a holiday for two, dad!” She squealed.
Her excitement soon evaporated when her enraged father told her that over his dead body she would take her feckless, fuckwit boyfriend to Magaluf.
“I hate you dad, I wish you were dead!” She shouted as she slammed the front door.

*
“The beak penetrated here, Martin. See, just above the left eye.” The pathologist pointed at the small red rimmed hole in the victims head.
“You’re sure it was an accident?” Asked DI Fuller.
“Absolutely certain. I’m guessing he had some sort of seizure. That would explain why he was gripping the ornamental bird so firmly when he fell and impaled himself on the beak. Death would have been instantaneous.”
“A painless death, then.” Said the inspector. “A small crumb of comfort for the family. I’m off to see them next.”
Rather you than me, thought the pathologist running a scalpel around the dead head.
*
Celia listened, with a growing sense of horror, as the inspector explained the circumstances of her fathers demise to her sobbing mother. This was all her fault. She had caused the death of her father. Hadn’t she wished him dead?

*
After the funeral Celia lay on her bed floating in a sea of grief and misery. She had wished her father dead. A common enough aspiration of truculent teenagers, but for Celia a wish that had come true.
Then she remembered. Scrabbling under her bed she found the letter. Of course! Three wishes. She had three wishes!
Celia ran from the house not stopping until the fresh earthen mound of her father’s grave lay in front of her.
“I wish my dad was alive again,” she shouted, startling a woman arranging flowers at a nearby grave.

*
Her father’s eyelids fluttered, then opened to impenetrable darkness. As his fingertips felt the coffin lid inches from his face, he began to scream. His daughter, waiting above, heard nothing.
There is no better sound insulation than six feet of damp soil.

A deadly time

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On the last day of their holiday, Bill and Sonia, from Chicago, were invited to visit a military enactment in a nearby village. They had enjoyed Jonathan and Martha’s company while staying at the hotel, so they were pleased to be asked to join them. Travelling in their fellow holidaymakers’s car they admired the beautiful, scenic countryside, illuminated by a bright summer sun. As they approached the outskirts of the village Jonathan turned into a farm track and parked under the shade of an oak tree.

“We’ll walk from here, guys! The organisers like to keep the village looking authentic.” explained Jonathan as he switched the engine off. They got out of the car and Jonathan opened the car boot, then he and Martha handed out clothing.

“We like to dress the part; adds to the experience.” Said Jonathan, “Here, try this helmet for size, Bill, you too Sonia. I’m afraid we’re all soldiers today!”

Bill pulled the metal helmet on and bent down to look in the door mirror. Smiling, he could just imagine himself as a Roundhead about to fight in a battle.

Dressed in their uniforms, they walked down the road to the village, their helmets and pikes glinting in the sunlight.

The village square resembled a film set; soldiers milled about and cannons pulled by horses clattered by on the cobbles, drowning out the shouting of orders. Then columns were formed and the soldiers started to march over the bridge.

“Gee, this is awesome, so real!” Said Sonia trying to keep step.

“Awesome, but pretty hot in this gear, Honey!” Said Bill looking around for Jonathan and Martha.

******

The battlefield stank of blood, burnt flesh, shit and smoke. The officer, looked sadly around at the carnage, then, bending down from his horse, took the strange object from the soldier.

“You found it upon this body, soldier? Around the wrist, you say? He said, pointing at a butchered corpse.

“Aye, Sor,” said the soldier.

“Strange object indeed,” said the officer picking away glass fragments, “see, there are letters, an inscription, ‘Rolex’. Perchance a Lord Rolex….? Odd numerals too, carved upon the rim. This the General must see!”

“Perhaps ’tis an instrument of Satan, Sor?” Said the surly soldier, then watched as the officer rode off with his battlefield trophy.

The weekend

 

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Hi Beth

We’re having such a wonderful time. Still can’t believe we won the Agatha Christie Murder Weekend competition.

Hotel’s lovely, just as promised on Facebook. All in Art Nouveau style. Even the newspapers in the reception are all dated 27 May 1922, the date of the ‘murder’. It’s like we’ve gone back in time!

Things haven’t changed much. The Daily Mail headline is about Rudolf Valentino being arrested for bigamy! Lenin’s had a stroke. There’s even a report about a fire in this very hotel, imagine tha…………………..

+++++++++

“The email just stops there.” Said the builder. “Found it under the rubble of the old hotel ruin that we’re clearing. Screen’s cracked, but I charged the it up and found this email. Thing is, it shouldn’t be there. Nothing been disturbed here since the fire.”

Sergeant Simmons, despite the day’s warmth shivered.

“What’s really odd Sarge; the iPad’s date. Look, 1922!!”

The task given to my writing group was to write a piece of 150 words with the title The weekend. I enjoy the challenge of editing such short stories, trying to convey the story line and making the narrative flow with so few words.