“If you were granted one wish, what would it be?” The shimmering purple genie leaned closer to Yi, studying her every move. Yi took a step back, trying not to slip on the other crystalline bottles scattered around her dusty attic. She thought for a moment.
“I got it! I wish for a hundred more wishes!” she yelped in excitement. The Genie gave her a look.
“No, no, no. You can’t wish for something like that! It’s against the whole genie code thing. Just…just wish for something, anything!”
Yi stopped for a minute.
“Well, if it’s one wish, I’d better think about it! Give me a minute.” Yi cleared a few bottles off of an old box of toys and sat down. Her mother collected these kinds of things – they were everywhere – but Yi hadn’t expected a genie to pop out of one when she accidentally knocked it off the shelf. “Hey, you have a name right? Tell me!”
“You should really focus on making a wish right now, but if you have to know, my name is Astrid. 1,000 year old genie at your service.” Astrid tried to do a few loops in the air, but she was pulled to the ground by the remnants of the broken bottle. “Now see here, I’m stuck in this bottle, but if you make a wish, then I’ll go free, capiche?”
“Oof, fine. Just…give me a minute.” Yi leaned backwards and pondered her wish. “I got it!!!” she said, jumping up, unsettling a few bottles in the process.
“Well, come on then, spit it out kid!” Astrid looked ready to burst.
“Well, everybody has to die, right? But I don’t want to, so I wish that I could live forever!” Astrid’s face fell a little.
“We genies get this one a lot. Well, how would you like it, what sort of deal do you want here.” Astrid did a couple of impatient loops.
“Well, I don’t really care if I never die, right? Let’s do it!! ” Yi squeaked. She was jumping up and down in excitement.
“Well, I think I have a good idea of what you want out of this….Fine, it doesn’t matter much what happens to you as long as I get out of here. Alright, kid. Get ready.” Yi felt a little shock as Astrid granted her wish. Yi looked around with gleaming eyes – she really would never die! Feeling somewhat reassured, Yi jumped up and down once more.
“Astrid!!” Yi called out. “Thank you so much!!!” Astrid gave her a look.
“No problem kid, it’s not like doing this hurts me or something. In fact, you’ve done me a great favor…”
Astrid, now free of her invisible chains, flew up into the dusty attic air and did a full cartwheel.
“It feels good to finally be out of there…” she mumbled. Looking back at Yi she said: “Welp, kid. It’s been fun, but I’m going to leave now. I’m finally free!”
Without another word Astrid phased through the closed attic window and flew off. Yi mumbled a goodbye and stared downwards at the remnants of the bottle. That bottle…was her mother’s bottle! Oh no – her mom was coming home soon, she was gonna kill her! Yi jumped as she heard a thunk coming from downstairs. Looks like she was home already.
“Yi Anamarjia!” her mother sternly called. “I heard a noise from upstairs…get down this instant, young lady!” Yi scrambled down the stairs as fast as she could, trying not to slip. But she guessed if she fell it didn’t matter – she was immortal now! When Yi had made her way down to the kitchen, her mother was waiting there, bearing a grim look. “Honey, what did I tell you about going into the attic…”
“Never…” Yi mumbled, avoiding eye contact with her mother.
“Honey, you didn’t meet any genies up there, did you?” she inquired.
“No, Mother…” Yi said again.
“Good. If there really is a genie, I want the wish, OK? Your father paid a lot of money for these you know, and I get that you don’t believe in this stuff, but I do.”
A tiny grin formed on Yi’s face. She had met a genie, and she had gotten one awesome wish.
“Alright honey, dinner’s at seven, so don’t forget to wash up beforehand.”
“Yes, Mother….” Yi chimed one more time, before walking away. Sometimes her mother got on her nerves so much.
“Oh, honey! Your father is working late tonight, so he won’t be here for dinner!” Her mom screamed up the stairs.
Yi didn’t respond. Yi shuffled into her room, it was small, but comfy. She flopped down on her bed and stared up at the ceiling, a newfound excitement welling up inside her. She could live forever! She could see a bright future where she made tons of friends and did all sorts of crazy things! But, the best part was that she could never die! Yi knew that there were going to be fun times ahead of her.
Yi mumbled to herself as she walked down the street. It had already been four years since she made her wish! Though she was deep in thought, when Yi passed the flower shop she instinctively stopped. In the window, there was a shiny glass vase bursting with bright pink tulips. Yi looked at them for a long time through the window. Her mother loved pink tulips, and she often made Yi buy some for her on the way home. But not today. Yi’s mom was dreadfully sick, keeping her busy father at home to try to take care of her. Yi started walking again. As she made her way through town, she had to stop one last time near her favorite clothing store.
A group of girls from her school were inside, gawking at a very mature dress. Yi stared at her ageless body through a mirror. Well, after she had her growth spurt and all that, Yi’s body never changed. Her hair could take months at a time to grow not even half an inch. She had been cut and bruised so many times and had miraculously recovered. Her face never wrinkled, and her body never showed any physical signs of change after that time. Yi used to love that store so much, but now she almost never went in because of the other girls inside. The group currently in the store gave her an icy group of glances, so Yi decided to move on.
Slowly, Yi approached her quiet home, looking up at the saggy roof and dusty windows, Yi sighed. Entering the house, Yi heard the quiet of her father and mother upstairs, so she decided not to bother them and went into the kitchen. Yi quietly fixed herself a cup of tea, and while she was drinking it her father came down to fetch some medicine. He never said hello to Yi anymore. While watching her father’s shaking hands browse through the medicine cabinet and grip the bottle of his medicine tightly, Yi thought. Her father was getting old too. After they both died, what would she do?
Yi tried not to think about it and went back to sipping her tea. After her father was out of the room, she decided to go back up into the attic, just for some more quiet time. Thumping up the stairs after her father, Yi didn’t care about how much noise she made. When she opened the attic door with a creak, her father whipped around.
“Yi! Where do you think you’re going!” he snapped quickly.
“Oh, be quiet, Dad,” Yi mumbled before disappearing up the attic steps. Hearing no audible response from her father, Yi went up the stairs at a leisurely pace. Reaching the attic, Yi was greeted by many of her mother’s bottles, gleaming in the muted light from the windows. With a thump, Yi threw herself down onto the attic floor, creating a cloud of dust around her. The smell of old books assaulted her nose, and the dim room strained her eyes. Yi closed them. That was how she liked it. Sitting up here sort of made her forget her problems, especially the problem that she never told her parents about that “fatal” wish she made. Yi sat up there for hours and hours, never bothering to care. Why should she care anyways? Everything but her was going to be gone eventually.
Yi tied up her newly bleached white hair. Though her mother and father both died, she never did. She was constantly being chased by the police because of how abnormal she was, so she had to constantly change her name and appearance. Now, Yi was returning to her hometown after many years of traveling. She had been all over the U.S. on foot. It wasn’t hard for her since her feet never got tired, even if her shoes were worn out. Walking through a section of strangely familiar woods, Yi saw the dismal roof of her old house peeking out over the treetops. Passing through her front yard, Yi glanced at the “For Sale” sign near the porch. After her parents died but Yi lived on, rumors had spread about the house being cursed. Yi stamped up the stairs to her front door, which gave her a disapproving screech in response. Opening her tattered backpack she had owned since 9th grade, Yi took out her old house key, which she had desperately tried not to lose. She even jumped in front of a truck on the highway to make sure her keys weren’t crushed under its monstrous wheels. Of course, she had to change her appearance again just to make sure no one knew she had stayed alive. Yi entered her dusty house once again. All of the old furniture was still in place. There was so little interest in the house that no one bothered to scrape the dust off of the chairs and such. Yi decided not to get too overwhelmed by her nostalgia and went up the stairs. She knew what she was after.
Tearing through the cobweb covered stairs to the attic, Yi looked into the dark place where all of her troubles had been born. Her mother’s glass bottles were still in place, but they no longer shined. The more she thought about it, didn’t her mother mention at some point how she wanted to wish on a genie to live forever? Her memories of the times when she was living with her parents were foggy at best. These objects of pure pain and suffering seemed so fragile… you could simply break one. Yi spent no time wasting away in her thoughts. She lunged for the nearest bottle – a dusky green one – and threw it against the floor of the attic as hard as she could. Stray glass shards nicked her legs, but it didn’t matter to her. One after another, Yi shattered all of her mother’s prized possessions. Eventually, Yi hoisted a dull aquamarine bottle into the air and slammed it to the floor with a loud crack. As the broken shards settled among others, a small blue light drifted out of the remains of the bottle. Yi took a step back as another genie rose up to meet her.
“Why, hello there!” he said, seemingly not noticing anything out of the ordinary. “You want a wish, right? Well, why don’t I grant it for you?” The genie looked right into Yi’s eyes, waiting for an answer.
“I know this might sound bad, but please, I wish I could die,” Yi coldly replied to the genie, unwavering.
“Well, it’s your choice. Are you sure?” he said, taking the request as if it was just something anyone would ask him.
“Yes!” Yi snapped. She was sick of him already, and it had barely been two minutes.
“Geez, ok! I’ll get on it. Now let’s see here…I’m sorry, but I can’t grant that wish,” the genie said. There was a dusty silence as Yi realized.
“What?! Why?” She screamed.
“I dunno, it’s some complicated part of the genie code or something. Can’t you think of another wish?”
“Please? I just need one wish, and then-”
“I WISH YOU WERE GONE!” Yi screamed. She had had it with this stupid existence, and this genie was not helping her mood.
“Well, fine then. Wish granted.” The genie faded away, leaving a tiny cloud of settling dust in his wake. Yi was not done yet. Sobbing as she smashed bottle after bottle, a river of blood, tears, dust, and broken glass trailed behind her. Screaming as the shatter of her mother’s last bottle echoed throughout the house, Yi sank to the ground in misery. Curling up in a fetal position on the ground, Yi let the dust settle around her.
The human race was done for, well, except for Yi. The sparse deserts of what used to be planet earth shook with the energy of the sun. Even the sun, which was the source of all life, was going to go out soon. Yi watched as the giant star crept closer and closer to the dying planet. Everything fried under the sun, but not her. Waves of scattering sand whipped through her hair and stung her eyes, but she didn’t cry. Slowly, everything would be gone. She would live and live and live, but what would happen when the universe itself disappeared? What happened before the universe? Yi would outlive time itself, even if she was dying on the inside. The sun gave out one last dying breath, rocking the earth. Suddenly, a huge blast of light engulfed everything. The flames of the star scorched her skin and burned off her hair. It didn’t matter. She’d grow it back later. Yi felt her body being shredded apart in the blast. It didn’t matter. As this world ended, one day a new world would begin again.