Other Bookish Things

Contract

Here we go with today’s Friday Fiction!

I should have read the contract, even if the fine print was in size four font and definitely in Comic Sans.

“Well, this is a nice change of scenery,” my partner said, flipping a penny and catching it.

I snorted. “It’s a prison cell. Nothing nice about it.”

“I was being sarcastic,” he said. “Aren’t you tired of looking through the bars on the door? It’s the same hallway as before, Evelyn. Nothing’s changed.”

Brian was right. The same stone hallway stretched endlessly for miles in a classic labyrinth set-up intended to confuse prisoners until the warden could catch up to them and throw them back in their jail cell. Ours smelled worse than rotting hay, a dank, moldy smell that spoke volumes about the cleaning service around here. There’s a puddle of what I’m sure is cat piss under the one stone bunk in the cell. I leaned against the bars, facing Brian.

“Do you feel like serving another twenty-five years here? Because I’m out of ideas.” Thin light streamed through the single window no bigger than my fist. It was more of a hole, really. Brian’s penny flashed gold as it tumbled through sunlight and back into his hand. He tossed it up again, cursing when it landed in the puddle under our bunk. He didn’t pick it up, instead glancing out the window.

“Got a nail file?” He pointed a thumb at the bars. “We could probably file them before our sentence is up.”

I peeked out the window. “Don’t have a file, but I see something better.”

Peeking out of the dirt in front of our window was the handle of a lamp. It glowed in the dying sun, winking at us. Brian stretched an arm out; he could just barely loop a finger around the handle. The rest of it was too wide to come through the bars, but that didn’t matter. It was within stroking distance.

“It’s a miracle,” I said, rubbing the side of the lamp. “We can wish ourselves out of here!”

The lamp grew hot under my hands, scorching my fingertips. Purple smoke streamed out of the spout, an enormous cloud forming just outside our cell. Brian coughed as I rubbed the lamp faster and faster.

“Whoa now,” the genie said. “Take it easy! You’re making me dizzy.”

I stuffed my now lightly burnt fingers in my pockets. My contract crinkled in my pocket, a crisp reminder of my mission. “Can you get us out of here?”

The genie cocked a purple eyebrow. “Is that a wish?” Lilac freckles swam across his indigo skin, forming several constellations. I spotted the Big Dipper above his left elbow. The genie caught me looking and wafted some smoke over the constellation.

“Yes,” Brian jumped in, grabbing my arm.  “Get us out of here.”

The genie bristled at Brian’s tone but didn’t say a word. He snapped and the world warped sickeningly for a moment until I could feel the ground under my feet and the sun on my skin.

“Thank the gods,” I muttered.

“You mean, thank the genie,” the genie interrupted, hovering in the same spot. “Anything else?”

“No,” I said as Brian said yes. I took him aside, casting a glance at the genie. He appeared unconcerned, simply hovering over his lamp.

Brian pursed his lips. “We should take advantage of the wishes right now and get back on track with the mission. It would be simple to just wish ourselves at the target’s house, even wish him dead without having to move a finger!”

“No,” I said. “We should go as far as we can without the genie’s help. We only get three wishes, remember?” Brian frowned. “And besides, there are probably laws against using wishes to kill people.” The contract poked me through my pocket.

The contract. A binding agreement with the Devil himself. I felt my signature burning through the page. Maybe the genie could break it…I could time-travel back to before I signed it. Save current-Me some trouble. The thought was appealing, but there were probably laws against time travel too.

Brian fidgeted in annoyance before letting out a breath. “Fine. We’ll do it your way.” He nodded to the genie, picking up the lamp. “But you’ll regret this when we’re riding through the desert without much food and covered in sand and dirt.”

I strode away from the prison. The two remaining wishes burned a hole in my chest.

Enough to save us both from this madness.

I have no clue what I just wrote. It was a stream-of-imagination thing + Pinterest prompts.

I’d LOVE to see you guys do #FridayFiction! Link me to your post on Twitter with the hashtag if you decide to write something.

-Kaelyn

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