the short story project


Grace Ellemor

The Risk

“At birth we shall be presented with a single wish to use only once throughout our lives. You can use it which ever way you like but there is one rule that comes along with your wish. You can’t use it on yourself. In an attempt to spread kindness, the Wish Givers are making the collective decision to add the only rule to have ever existed in their council.”

When I was seven, I watched all the classic Disney movies; Cinderella, Snow White, Aladdin. My childhood was a series of dress-ups and playing pretend with whatever story seemed fun on the day. My room used to be filled to the max with princess dresses and tiaras. With these, I would transform myself into a princess in distress that a prince could rescue. I could be someone that lived the fairy tale. I remember I used to ask my mum to take my long brown hair and braid it so that I had princess hair… I really played the part. At age twelve, I was told to stop believing in fairy tales and happy endings. I started high school that year and had to grow up, i guess. I started focusing more on school work than being happy and I started talking more about boys than princesses.

When I was eighteen, my mother sat me down and told me about my wish. At first I thought she was playing a practical joke. Wish Givers? Is that even realistic?

“Don’t waste it.” My mother looked kindly at me. I didn’t know how to respond so I just looked up at her hesitantly, the cracks in my smile becoming obvious to her.

“What if I use my wish on the wrong person?” I asked, my voice laced with concern.

“Sometimes you just have to take a risk, honey.” She looked at me warmly before standing and moving smoothly out of the room.

Just a mere three months after i found out about my wish, it was a beautiful sunny day. I Looked at mysef in the mirror, stared into my green eyes and glanced up at my long brown hair pulled into a bun. I’d been sick with the flu recently but wasn’t going to waste another perfectly good day in bed. I wore a red floor length dress that swished as i walked through the hallway of my house and out to the car that was waiting for me outside.

“Hey Lizzie!” Jacob smiled up at me from the driver’s seat of his car. “Excited for today?”

“Never been more excited,” I replied, sliding into the passenger seat. I looked at the GPS to see directions to the beach. As we moved onto the road, I looked to my right at Jacob to admire his untamed brown hair. He’d told me just a week earlier that he was going to grow it out and I’d grinned at the idea as he’d explained it was going to help him pick up some dates.

“I was looking through a magazine this morning and i just happened to see my main man, Ryan Reynolds.” Jacob smirked at the road.

“One, he’s too old for you and two, he’s into girls and as far as I’m aware you’re not a female.” I joke, my leg bouncing on the floor of the car.

“Party pooper!” Jacob exclaimed, directing a pout in my direction. “Older men are sexy! As for the other issue, I’m sure if he caught a look at me he’d at least consider questioning his sexuality.”

I laughed at his theatrics as he launched into a rant about some new TV show he was watching.

A sudden jot and my head was thrown forward into the dashboard and back towards my seat, turning my world upside down and eventually to black.

I could barely open my eyes with the pain pumping through my head. I couldn’t think straight and there wasn’t a piece of me that didn’t hurt. I looked to my right to see Jacob lying unconscious beside me and panic immediately set in. He had blood covering his head and he didn’t look like he was breathing. What happened? My head hurt from thinking so hard. I think we drove into a tree… or maybe we hit another car. What if we hit someone else? Jacob! Is he gonna die? Ugh, my head feels like it’s going to explode. My heart races as I think about what could happen to Jacob if he doesn’t take some air into his lungs. He definitely hasn’t moved or breathed in what feels like at least five minutes. Speaking of which, my own breath is becoming difficult to find. I start to feel my chest tightening because for the first time in my life, I’m considering what death would feel like. Does it hurt? Do you just stop existing? Oh my gosh, is Jacob going to die?

I close my eyes, willing someone to come and help us. All I want is for this day to be a bad dream that I can wake up from. If only I had a choice in how the story ends.

I find myself back in the shoes of my seven-year-old self. The princesses, the games… the simplicity. My world has all but flipped upside down since then and it’s as if that little girl was just someone that I knew growing up but forgot about over time. I miss her. I watch my past flash before me as the movie glides slowly over the Wish Givers.

Wait… my wish! I look over at my best friend, “I wish that Jacob will start breathing again and live a long life after today.” With an abrupt intake of air, Jacob’s eyes are staring into mine.

“You used your wish.” He whispered softly, his eyes filling with tears.

“You were worth the risk.” My eyes close slowly, my head no longer aching.

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