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Authors: Nadia Scrieva

Wish (9 page)

BOOK: Wish
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“I don’t know. Eventually, I guess.”

“Is it peaceful? Not existing as a person?”

I turn to look at him. “Nothing is peaceful—and if it is, it won’t be for long. Everything is always changing.”

“That’s what bugs me. I need a little stability. I need something I can count on, but I feel like the rug is constantly being swept out from under my feet,” he admits.

“We have to work hard to get the things we want,” I tell him seriously. “Work hard and have a little faith. If you have any tiny sliver of hope at all… you wouldn’t give up now.”

“Stay with me,” he says softly.

The pain in my chest begins again. Is he just lonely? Does he just need someone to be beside him when he’s feeling down? “I wish I could stay.” It’s true—I really I wish I could.

“Kayla—do you think this is a sickness? My depression, my desire to die. I only ask because my mother killed herself in that vision you showed me. I can’t help but wonder if it’s some hereditary trait that I picked up…”

“I’m not sure,” I answer. “I wouldn’t call it an illness really. More of a predisposition. But many would disagree.”

“Do you think I could somehow ‘get better’ if I took medication? Could drugs actually change the way I think?” Kieran asks.

“Time and love are far better than drugs,” I answer. I can see that my answer has confused him, so I explain. “I have known many, many people who have killed themselves. They all seemed like perfectly rational individuals to me. A bit over-sensitive, mind you, but perfectly sensible. Many of them were on medication. In many cases, drugs meant to cure an illness only made things worse. What’s better is to solve the root of the problem. Find the source and fix it, and you’ve got a permanent remedy. These people need deep, inner healing and self-actualization. You can’t put a Band-Aid on someone’s soul.”

“I thought so,” he says quietly. “I guess there’s nothing else I can do now. I have to go through with this.”

He puts a hand on the ground to push himself up to a standing position. I do not follow him. Wrapping my arms around my knees, I lower my head to rest my cheek on my bicep. If there is absolutely nothing I can do, then I want this to be over quickly. It is too painful to think of how I have tried and failed. I have tried so hard and still failed so often.

Kieran hesitates, lowering himself to one knee beside me. “Hey, are you okay?” he asks.

I nod halfheartedly.

He places a hand on my back and stares at me for a minute. Leaning forward, he places a kiss on my cold cheek. “Thanks for everything, Kayla. Really, thank you.” With that, he moves away, returning to the hole that he has cut into the fence.

My head lifts from my knees as I stare at him with a rising panic. I’m not supposed to interfere with a person’s decision once it’s been made. That is not my place. My place is to show them their life from a different perspective and help them find a new appreciation for what they have. I watch Kieran climbing onto the railing and gripping the sides of the metal fence. The chain link begins to sway with his weight like a flimsy fabric, and I can see a look of fear on his face. He looks like a scared little boy.

“Kieran!” I scream, jumping to my feet and seizing him around the knees. “Don’t!”

Startled from his reverie, he looks down at me in surprise as I forcefully grasp his legs and tackle him to the ground. I do not even realize that I am crying as I lie helplessly on top of him, trying to prevent him from moving by pinning him with my body weight. I realize that this is foolish and illogical; physically detaining him for a few seconds won’t magically give him a change of heart. This is purely selfish. “I don’t want you to go,” I tell him with a sob.

“Kayla?” he says with astonishment as he reaches up to touch my cheek

We both notice a cloud of shimmering powder surrounding our faces. I realize with horror that I had accidentally dropped my pouch of stardust when I tackled him to the ground. I try to avoid breathing in, but it is too late. Feeling the particles stinging my eyes, I inhale sharply through my nose, and immediately sneeze into Kieran’s shoulder. With that single sneeze, my head begins to spin with dizziness as I am transported through a dark passageway.

For the first time in my career, I have no idea where I am going.

“Ouch. My head!” I moan as we find ourselves in a different realm. “Is that how it felt when
you
breathed the stardust?”

“Even worse,” he tells me earnestly.

I realize that I am still lying on top of him and I roll off with a blush. Pressing a hand against the side of my head, I look around at the environment, and I am amazed to see that I do not recognize anything. We are lying in the middle of what seems to be a forest that has recently burned down to ashes. The musky smell of blazing wood is thick in the air, and I can still see flames raging in the distance. “Something’s gone terribly wrong. I don’t… I don’t know…”

Kieran reaches over to touch my shoulder. “It’s okay. I think I know where we are.”

“How can you know? What is this place?”

“We’re in time—in
your
time.”

I look at him with worry, because I did not know this was possible. A snapping sound is heard and a giant blackened tree falls very close to us. I scuttle away in fear as burning embers fly up into the air, floating all around us. “Kieran,” I say nervously. “I’m not supposed to use the stardust on myself. This has never happened before. We could be in danger.”

“No, it’s fine,” he said, reaching out to touch my ankle. He smiles at me as he rises to his feet and offers me a hand. “I can see it now; the same way you saw my life unfolding. I can see where we need to go.”

“But I can’t see anything,” I moan, taking his hand to help me stand.

“That’s okay. Just relax and let me be your tour guide this time.”

I feel so disoriented that I can’t do anything but follow his lead as he guides me through the burnt forest. I realize at the last moment that he is leading me directly into the flames. “Kieran, we can’t…”

“You have magical healing powers, remember?” he tells me. “I hit you with a car and it didn’t leave a scratch.”

“Yes, but
you
don’t. The fire will burn you,” I say with worry.

“It’s fine. I’ll just run through it really quickly,” he assures me. “Remember how you told me to trust you and step into the water? Just relax. This is exactly like those fountains—a kind of portal.”

“It’s a wildfire, Kieran. This may be a different realm, but if you get hurt here, your physical body will be injured too.”

He nudges me. “You should know better than anyone that I’m not too concerned about that. Go on! I’m curious to see what’s beyond the fire.”

“Curiosity killed the…” I am cut off by Kieran grabbing my hand and tugging me into the flames with him. I scream and flinch at the searing hot sensation, but just as quickly as it came, it is gone. I slowly remove the arm that I had raised defensively to protect my eyes and I see that Kieran is laughing at me.

“For someone who demands that others trust her, you sure have a hard time trusting others,” he teases me. “I told you to relax.”

Exhaling in relief, I give him a weak smile. His eyes seem to be laughing at my expense, and I am pleased that he finds my fear amusing. A clip-clop sounds causes both of our heads to turn. We see a pair of black high heeled shoes walking on hardwood floors. Taking sudden notice of our surroundings, we realize that we are standing in a small kitchen filled with a delicious aroma. The woman in high heels is loading dishes into the dishwasher as she hums a tune. When she finishes her task, she cheerfully kicks the stainless steel appliance closed and moves over to the oven. Pulling on a festive pair of oven mitts, she opens the oven to withdraw a cake that has been baking. She places it on top of the oven and removes a glove to pull a toothpick out of her apron pocket. She pokes the toothpick into the center of the cake, checking whether it has been cooked thoroughly enough.

“Just a few minutes more,”
she says to herself as she twirls the toothpick against her tongue. She turns around to toss the toothpick into a garbage can and I see her face; my breath catches in my throat. It’s like looking into a mirror. A shiver prickles my shoulders when I realize that the girl is me. She’s baking something scrumptious in a kitchen, calmly enjoying this domestic moment, and she’s actually
me
.

“Kieran,” I say, grabbing his arm. I feel warm tears instantly spilling down my face as I process this new information. The fact that I am seeing this must mean that it is possible for me to live as a human being. Not just in the shell of a girl, but as a true girl. Yet I know this will never happen. Tonight is my last night on Earth. “I don’t know why I’m being shown this. It can’t be this way.”

He looks at me with a sly smile. “Relax, Kayla. You look totally cute in an apron.”

This ill-timed humor only makes me cry harder. “You don’t understand. It’s cruel to show me something that can never be. This isn’t like the scenes I showed you. I won’t ever have this—the leisure to enjoy living as a human being. I want it so badly but I will never experience…”

“Kay, are you making dessert again?”

This voice has traveled into the room from just outside the door leading into the kitchen. I feel suddenly frozen solid as I stare at the doorway, waiting for a face to appear to match the voice. Even as I hold my breath, I already know to whom the voice belongs; it is the same voice that I have been listening to all evening.

“If you only ever make cake and cookies, I am going to get ridiculously fat,”
Kieran says as he rounds the corner. He leans on the doorway, crossing his arms with a smirk. His features are almost identical to the boy standing beside me—this scene isn’t from too far away in the future.

“Oh my god,” Kieran says, looking at the scene before us. “Oh my god; this is really happening.”

My lips are moving, but I can’t yet seem to think of an appropriate sentence. 

“I told you when I moved in that I would never cook any real food,”
the other Kayla scolds playfully. The other Kieran has moved into the kitchen and is pinching off a piece of the cake to sample it.
“Hey!”
says Kayla, slapping his wrist.
“It’s not finished yet.”

“It tastes fine to me,”
he says with a grin.

“I still need to put some icing on it,”
Kayla says firmly.
“Kieran! It needs to look pretty for our guests.”

“It’s actually really delicious,”
he says, taking another piece.
“God, I’m going to get humongous like a hippopotamus at this rate.”

“Stop that and have a little patience,”
she tells him coyly, grabbing his wrist and wrestling him away from the cake. Kieran lightly struggles against her, and the two enter a mini-wrestling-match with mock seriousness.

Eventually, the other Kieran manages to pin Kayla’s arms against her side, laughing comfortably as though he has done this a thousand times before.
“Gotcha,”
he declares triumphantly.
“You know the price for your freedom.”

“Okay, but you need to get out of my kitchen and quit messing with my masterpiece,”
Kayla bargains.

“Deal.”

Kayla lifts her chin to press a gentle kiss against Kieran’s lips. I stand in unblinking silence, trying to wrap my mind around the staggering scene unfolding before me. Their lips remain interlocked for several seconds before she aggressively pushes him away with a burst of laughter.  
“There. Now scram!”

“No way,”
Kieran protests
. “I’m going to make some real food with this magical machine called the microwave.”
He moves away and opens up the freezer and begins shuffling through a collection of frozen dinners.

I feel like my world has been shattered by a giant hammer. Only minutes ago I believed this to be my last night alive. Could my future really be intertwined with Kieran’s? Could there really
be
a future for me? How could I not have seen any hint of this when I dissected his life? Was there a blind spot in my knowledge preventing me from seeing anything related to my own life, or has something changed since I used the stardust on him? These questions buzz around in my brain, colliding with each other and creating even more maddening questions.

“You kissed me,” Kieran says in disbelief when he recovers from his own stupor.

BOOK: Wish
8.37Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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