VisDare – The Wish Djinn
No one knew where it came from. No one knew how it got there. The people of Willowville just woke up and there it was, in all its black, shiny glory.
The pedestal stood at about three feet tall and was made entirely out of onyx (or so the grown-ups say). Standing on top of this was the funniest devil statue I have ever seen (for they usually are pretty scary looking). This too, according to the grown-ups, was made of onyx. It had horns like that of a bull’s and spindly arms which ended with curled, spindly fingers. The little devil had no face and when you look at it you’d see yourself getting reflected back. Written on the pedestal, in red cursive letters, were the words “The Wish Djinn”. And so it went that the thing that suddenly appeared was called that.
I would sit by our window and stare at the Djinn until I’ve thought of something much better to do. At times no one paid it any mind but there were days when I’d see someone standing in front of it just looking at the devil’s faceless face.
The first wish happened on the third day of its appearance.
The wisher was Mr. Rogers, the old man who lived two houses down ours. He was a small man with a mean disposition. Every kid in the neighborhood tried their best to avoid him lest they suffer Mr. Roger’s wrath. They say he was always mad because Damian, his son, died in a car accident a couple of years back. I watched him from my window approach the Djinn. He seemed to be saying something but I couldn’t hear what they were. After about ten minutes, I watched Mr. Rogers walk away. The following morning, the people of Willowville all woke up to see a very much alive Damian Rogers.
News of Mr. Rogers making use of the Djinn spread like cooties on a hot, girl filled summer’s day. I’d watch from my bedroom window every single morning as people lined up in front of the Djinn with their wishes in hand. I remember asking my dad once why he didn’t line up like the rest.
“Nothing’s really for free, Tim,” he answered me “Nothing’s for free.” And somehow I got this feeling that my dad knew something more but didn’t want to tell me.
Days passed and people in Willowville were happier than ever (those who made use of the Djinn, at least). Some, like my dad, still thought it best not to ask any boon from the stone devil. Whenever I was out in the streets I’d see the wishers and I’d notice something strange about them. Mr. Rogers, for example, I’d see him smiling and happy but I couldn’t force myself to smile back and be happy. His face…seemed all wrong. It was like looking at a pencil drawing that’s been smudged. The other wishers were like that too. I just thought it had something to do with my eyes and so I gave it no more thought…
One day, three months after the Djinn’s sudden appearance, I found myself walking past the stone devil. I looked at it and what I saw that morning haunts me until this day. The devil’s face, which used to be just a blank blackness, had something in it. The devil HAD a face. It morphed every now and then but each face it changed to was a face I knew – they were the faces of the wishers, all distorted and caught in mid scream. I ran away until my legs gave and I landed face first on the ground. I saw the devil looking back at me with its many faces and its spindly fingers.