DeneilYeong t1_j8er3y3 wrote

Every Saturday morning was the same for weeks now. The window curtains would let in a cobalt blue light, letting me know that I'd slept enough, that I should run the shower or the coffee maker or make breakfast or any other reason to motivate me to get up. Today, it was coffee. Honestly, most days were coffee.

My phone buzzed, a text from my sister. "You wanna hang out with me and Georgie today? Ice skating? Santa visit?"

"Sure, what time?" I replied back.

"11am good for you?" she asked.

I looked at my phone, it was a quarter to seven. I sent a thumbs up back and put my phone down. I cupped my hands together and trapped a breath inside before turning on the coffee maker. It grumbled to life, shaking itself in fear or courageousness. Olli had always been both scared and excited by the thing. It was the sign that a walk would happen soon, even in his last days, he'd let out a happy howl and walk towards his leash. A brisk two mile walk around the neighborhood before his breakfast and his post-breakfast nap. The last year of his life, the two mile walks had turned into quarter mile walks. Enough to get to his favorite trees and bushes.

I had tried to continue our routine, but the morning walks had felt a few degrees too cold or too warm or too annoying. I let the coffee brew. In the summers, the dandelions bloomed and littered the neighborhood with their puffs. Olli was a proper fan, taking chunks of the flowers, chasing their seeds when they blew into the air. During the winters, he still searched for them, digging at or rolling around the snow in an attempt to smother the future flowers. Georgie, my nephew, had joined him on several occasions.

"Georgie's been begging for a dog lately," my sister said on one of the walks.

"I thought John was allergic," I said.

"Yeah, but look at them." She replied.

Georgie had been lobbing snowballs in lofty arcs towards Olli who snapped at each one. Georgie would yell and cheer while Olli zoomed around him in neat circles.

The coffee machine screamed its last cry, sputtering out the last of its dark gold. My phone buzzed again, another text from my sister.

"We're writing letters for Santa so make sure you write one too."

"Really?" I sent back.

"Yes, really. Don't be the lame uncle that ruins the magic of Christmas."

I looked for an envelope and a letter when my phone rang again, it was my boss asking for some email forward for something he should have done himself. I told him it was the holidays, that I'd get it done later, but no, he needed it done now. I asked why he couldn't do it, he said he was with family and I said much of the same. He told me it wasn't a request and I told him to piss off. More words, more threats.

My phone buzzed again, my sister letting me know she was here. I looked at the unwritten letter on my coffee table, I jotted the first few things on my mind. Addressed it to the man up north and licked the seal. I told my boss to piss off one last time and wrapped my nephew in a bear hug.

"Uncle Lee!"

"Heya Georgie, you ready to see Santa? You have your Christmas list ready?"

"Mhmm! Can you give me a piggy back ride?" Georgie asked.

"You want a piggy back ride fifteen feet away to the car?" I said, already kneeling down.

He laughed and whispered in my ear.

"I'm going to ask for a dog like Olli," Georgie said.

What a coincidence, I thought.

The day passed, getting colder by the hour. Ice rinks were skated and Santa was visited. The helper elves took every child's letter and said they'd pass it on to the many toy factories in the North Pole. Santa looked glassy-eyed and full of eggnog, but he did his best listening to all of the children's requests for games, pets, and the removal of every vegetable ever. Georgie himself said he wanted to rid the world of cauliflower and I told him I'd ask for the same thing.

I went to sleep thinking about how I'd have to look for a new job, I went to sleep waiting for the morning cobalt to wake me up. Instead, I opened my eyes to a glowing amber. My room felt hot, I smelled smoke. I found the source immediately, a burning box in the middle of the room. It was a large box, wrapped neatly, the thing was on fire, but nothing else had caught its flames.

"Is this a dream?" I said aloud.

I walked closer to the thing, wrapped in red. There was a label on it, a black letter taped onto the side of the present.

"From Satan," it read. "Hey, Boss. We don't normally get requests like that, but I liked the cut of your jib. This thing took a while to track down and it doesn't come free. If you accept the terms and conditions below, it's all yours."

I heard the box shuffle around and the flames quit out. The windows turned cobalt blue, but I was already awake, sitting in front of this box. The ribbons undid themselves and the lid toppled over. I made eye contact with the beast in front of me, likely a demon, a dog shaped demon. A demon named Olli.


DeneilYeong t1_iyswc79 wrote

No, the wish was a callback to the prompt in that Finneas and Jolene spent centuries not coming up with the third wish, but how to craft and write it up. The third wish was basically to take away the demon's power. The third wish had to be perfect, fool proof so that the demon couldn't find any loopholes.

I kind of winged the whole thing, leaving things more vague than maybe I should have.


DeneilYeong t1_iyse5j9 wrote

Part Two

Finneas awoke to unconcerned conversation. He heard the familiar voices of his parents, bickering about the temperature of the room or the inconvenience of having to pay for even more of Finneas' bills and dues.

That won't matter anymore, Finneas thought.

He opened his eyes and his parents looked at him.

"Good, you're awake." His mother said. "Get up, then. You've spent long enough passed out on the streets. You're lucky you weren't sent to county jail."

His father didn't even speak to him, opting instead to drag him by the collar of his hospital gowns.

"Let me go," Finneas said.

His parents stopped. He hadn't done this before, he hadn't told his parents to stop. Never showing even an urge to rebel to them, the ones who have provided for him everything he knew.

"We put you through college and this is how you repay us?" His father asked.

A sting. Finneas' hand went to his cheek, a droplet of blood. The burning sensation stayed there as he watched his parents walk out the door. He looked for the lines, still in his eyes, and he formed them into the genie. The room went dark again and It appeared in front of him, still covered in black fur, its yellow eyes.

"How do I make the money appear? I have to get out of here. Why am I even in this place?" Finneas asked.

The genie said nothing. "I'll give you this next sentence for free. I cannot converse with you until you have used all three of your wishes. You can use your second wish if you want to know how to access your newfound wealth."

Finneas looked at him.

Alright then, Finneas thought. "I'll just use up all of my wishes right now. For my second wish, I want to live forever."

The genie's eyes started to glow before he could say his third wish. He was going to ask for the trifecta of wishes - infinite money, infinite life, and infinite wisdom.

"For my last wish, I wan-" but he couldn't speak again. He looked at the genie, it was smiling again. He looked at It until his world turned black. He slept for a long time. He wasn't sure how long he had slept for, but he would occasionally open his eyes to the same darkness and return to sleep. His stomach panged, hungering for anything. His lips cracked with dryness and he had lost his sense of smell, either by force or involuntarily, after merely weeks (though it felt more like years to Finneas). He continued sleeping. After enough sleep, he thought he could muster up the strength to feebly run his hands along the darkness. It felt soft and he felt a tingling sensation all over his body.

In the darkness, in this true darkness, he couldn't call up the genie. He felt the gnawing pain constantly, he wished it would stop. But his second wish had kept that from coming true, he would live forever. He slept again, hungry and dying. He dreamed this time that he was in a brightly lit, white room. A simple chair and table were in front of him. A cup of coffee, sugar cubes, and a pitcher of cream all set nicely before him. In one of the chairs was his grandmother, Jolene.

"Grandma?" Finneas asked, or thought he asked.

His grandmother shed a tear, she embraced her grandchild, but he couldn't feel her embrace. He couldn't feel much of anything. He sat there in front of her. At least, he wanted to sit there. His grandmother guided his body to the chair and he looked blankly at her.

"You poor thing," Jolene said. "You made a deal with It, didn't you?"

Finneas sat there, wanting to move, but he couldn't do anything but stare at his grandmother. Is this real, Finneas thought.

"It very much is real," his grandmother said. "And we have much work to do if you ever want to make it out of your coffin. Maybe you'll have more luck than I did."

She smiled weakly.

And so they worked together, Jolene explaining what the genie was, where it got its strengths, how it chose its victims. Finneas wanted to ask where they were, how it was possible for them to be communicating right now, he wanted to ask what happened to him.

"We have time to talk about that," Jolene said. "Too much time really."

Finn nodded, surprised that he actually could.

"Save your strength, Finn." Jolene said. "This is going to take a few lifetimes."

They worked again. Jolene explained where they were, she explained what her three wishes were, how she asked for wisdom first and a healthy family second. She had no need for money, she felt it corrupted people. She realized then that the genie wasn't a genie at all, but a demon. Maybe the demon was bored, maybe it was as powerless as she and Finneas were. She didn't know, but it didn't matter. The demon twisted her wishes, giving her wisdom, but taking away everything else from her. It gave her wisdom, but took away her own strength and health. And sure, her family was healthy, but they despised her, each set of parents hating their child, the child in return hating the parents.

"I'm sorry, Finn."

"It's okay," Finneas tried to say.

He still didn't have the strength to do much or say anything. He wanted to ask how they were there, in this impossibly white room. Though they rarely needed to converse as it was as though his grandmother could hear his thoughts word for word.

"I can hear you the same way you're going to get yourself out of here and out of wherever you are now," Jolene said.

She started writing pages and pages of notes, revising and scrutinizing each line for hours. They had the time after all. Finneas had gained his footing little by little, decade after decade. It was impossible for the maggots infested in his body to live for so long, impossible for his body to have remained buried for centuries. Eventually someone or something was going to take him out of the ground.

"That'll be your chance, Finn."

And centuries yet had passed and Finneas waited. He went over the documents while he could with his grandmother. They went over every line, spending days and weeks on single sentences. Eventually something did find Finneas' body, trapped underground, impaled with decomposed and rotten wood.

"Looks like you're out of here now, Finn." Jolene said.

"What about you? Where is this place?" Finneas asked.

"Don't worry about it and do what you're supposed to do," she said.

She and the room disappeared then. Gone and the world went black again. The thing that found it tried to take a bite, it was an animal unrecognizable to Finneas. It yelped with pain with its first bite and scurried off. It took another month for Finneas' eyes to heal, but the first thing he did was form the lines. He summoned the demon and he heard laughter.

The demon, its yellow eyes and black fur, rippled with laughter.

"And for your third wish, Finneas Alpine?" it said.

And Finneas Alpine was indeed ready, he started recite the wish from memory. The wish he and his grandmother had crafted together over the days, weeks, years, decades, centuries. He recited the wish for a year and a half, his voice healing by the second as the demon was forbidden from doing anything but listening to his words.

Tears fell as he neared the end of his wish, as the pain rushed into him all at once.


DeneilYeong t1_iys8lnv wrote

"I want an infinite amount of money any time I want."

It didn't happen like how Finneas Alpine thought it would, like how the familiar cartoons and comic books depicted it. He was alone in his room, then a freshly graduated and freshly unemployed twenty one year old bachelor. His parents barked at his every move, questioning when he would get a job, when he would start contributing to the family.

His grandmother had died a week later and even at her funeral, there were only questions, interrogations of Finneas' existence. More distant relatives strayed from him and his parents, his father forced Finneas to bow to the casket, his head only an inch away from the rich mahogany. Only at this distance did he see the inscription, the words that came to life as his eyes frantically tried to catch them.

Directions? Finneas asked himself.

He thought he saw the lines move in an affirming way and so he thought again to himself. Where do you want me to go?

The lines danced again, but his father pulled him away.

"What the fuck are you doing, boy? Falling asleep?"

After the unrelenting torrent of questions, Finneas made his way back to the church. It was dark, well past sunset, and he wasn't even sure if the casket would still be there. Wouldn't they have buried her already? Was she going to be cremated beforehand? Finneas didn't know, but he walked anyway and he opened the doors to the church, not questioning how easily the huge doors moved at his touch. He saw the casket, enveloped in warm moonlight. His first few steps were slow, then he ran. He kneeled before his grandmother's casket, praying that the lines were still there. His face was right up to it now, his breath fogged the lacquer finish of the dark mahogany.

The lines were still and he took a breath in, his heart pumping faster than it ever had before. With shaky hands, he ran his fingers along the lines and they came to life. From the wood of the casket, to his fingers, and eventually to his eyes, he saw the lines form into a being. The moonlight dimmed, his surroundings falling into the darkness.

The being was a burly, stocky man-like creature. It stood on two scarred legs covered in black fur. The same fur ran along its body, covering it entirely aside from its face. It had two eyes, but instead of side to side, they were placed top to bottom. One on its forehead and one beneath its mouth.

"Finneas Alpine," it said. Its voice was higher pitched, dissonant.

"What are you?" Finneas said. He stuttered. He was afraid to blink.

"A reasonable question," it said. "Your grandmother described me as a genie. She was a good woman, I'm sorry for your loss."

"You knew her?" Finneas asked.

"I did. I worked with her for many years," the genie said. "She met me the same way you're meeting me now. And like her, I will grant you three wishes."

Finneas didn't even have to think about it, he knew what he wanted. Everything else would come after. There was only one thing that could fix his problems.

"I want an infinite amount of money any time I want."

The genie smiled and Finneas didn't see, or rather, he couldn't see the smile turn into a smirk. Finneas stared longingly at the genie, its eyes were glowing white and he felt himself lose consciousness. The black around the room had surrounded him and after seconds, he fell.

Part two coming up.