Nick grumbled to himself angrily. In the course of a few minutes, he had been unimaginably lucky, made a poor decision, and was now utterly screwed. How did he always mange this type of thing?
It all started a few long hours ago. It was a cold winters day, snow falling outside as it had been doing for the passed few hours, piling up high outside. Nick, with a pessimistic mood that wasn’t common for him, could only focus on the backbreaking labor of cleaning it all up.
The teenager wasn’t always in a bad mood, but today he was. Something about the air just annoyed him. Perhaps it was a bit too humid. Maybe it was the spring in the couch that would poke him no matter how he moved. Perhaps it was his sister’s annoying voice coming muffled through the walls. Nick couldn’t remember a time when she didn’t spend the day talking on her phone.
“Or maybe it’s the damn fly!” he yelled to himself as the annoying pest once again buzzed past his face. It wasn’t one of the small gnats that would sometimes pop up. Those he could ignore. No, this was a horse fly, the type that you could hear from across the room. Oh, he hated flies so much.
He tried swiping at the bug, but it effortlessly avoided his attack, probably more due to luck than anything. Even so, as it buzzed off into the corner of the room, Nick could practically hear its condescending laughter, mocking him. Flies are well known as the cockiest bug.
He grabbed a soft cover book that had been lying on the table next to him. One of Ashley’s chick flick romance novels. He never actually saw her read it, but every few weeks the bookmark would be a little farther in, except once when it had gone back twenty pages. He never did find out why that was. It flew across the room, causing the fly to once again jump into the air, probably more annoyed than hurt. Nick noticed that the bookmark had fallen out in the process. He doubted Ashley would even notice.
Reluctantly, he went back to watching the TV, and whatever boring program he had been watching.
“Oh,” he said without even a hint of excitement. “A repeat of friends. Who-hoo.” He thought for a second about how he could put more sarcasm into that sentence. After a while he gave up, realizing it was impossible.
So everything went back to the way it was. The air was slightly to humid, the spring still poked into his back, and that damn fly just buzzed past his face again!
“Really!” Nick shouted again, amazed by the pure audacity of the fly. What did he ever do to deserve this? Why had this fly picked him to torment. Why was it he who needed to bare this burden?
He was about to get up, to do what he did not know, but he stopped in his tracks. The fly had landed on the table before him! Its huge, bulking body a truly repugnant sight. Its clear wings hideously reflecting the light from the lamp behind him, its huge eyes twitching in such a way that only nature could have made, designed specifically to weird people out.
Without even the slightest bit of hesitation, Nick slammed his hand down on the bug, mashing its body underneath. He immediately regretted the decision. With a look of complete disgust, he pulled his hand off of the table, fly guts dripping from his palm, pooling on the table.
“Ugh,” he groaned as he left to wash his hand.
He returned a little bit later, all manner of the disgusting insect removed from his hand. With a plop, he sat down on the couch, that annoying spring poking him once again. It didn’t faze him though. At least the fly was dead. He closed his eyes, picturing a world where all flies had been exterminated. His friends would always tell him, “No, if all flies went extinct, then nothing would decompose.”
“Fine by me!” he would always reply happily.
Then his ears rang with a faint, but all to familiar buzzing sound. Hesitantly he opened one eye, peering around the room, hoping his senses where lying to him. There, climbing up the far wall, just out of reach, was another thick, disgusting fly.
“Mom,” Nick called as he slid his winter boots on. “I’m going out.”
He had no real plans, but felt that a walk might do him good. Even though it was freezing out. And snowing. And there was a harsh wind. And he had forgotten his mittens. He stubbornly pushed these annoyances from his mind.
His thick snow boots kept his feet dry as he walked through the slush, but the rest of him was becoming damp. He hadn’t bothered a hat. All he had was a pair of jeans and a jacket.
But he kept going, his mood worsening with every step. Soon he started grumbling to himself, an act he often did. “Stupid cold,” he would say. “Damn flies. Freaking slush.”
He stopped in his path as he noticed the slightest bit of movement below him. On a cleared part of the sidewalk, a lone snail slithered on his way. “Really?” he asked aloud. “It’s winter. There aren’t supposed to be bugs in the winter!” He hovered his muddy snow boot above the creature, fully intending to end its miserable life. But something stopped him.
“Wait!” a tiny voice called. He shook his head in confusion. Was he hearing voices now? Nick scanned the area around him, but there was no one around. Nothing that would ask him to wait at least. The only life he could even make out was the small snail.
He carefully placed his boot on top of the creature and was amazed as the voice came again saying, “No! Don’t!” Amazed, Nick took his foot away, and crouched down to look at the odd snail.
“You can talk?” he asked sarcastically, not believing his own ears. He laughed as the snail turned its head, almost like it was facing him.
“Well… Yeah,” the snail responded.
“That settles it then,” Nick said with a straight, unimpressed face.
“Settles what?” the snail asked curiously.
“I’ve gone insane, or passed out in the snow and am now hallucinating.”
“Believe what you want human, but would you please let me carry on my way?”
“And why should I?” The snail sighed. He wasn’t supposed to do this, but it looked like the tiny bug had no choice. He had world domination to conduct.
“If you let me live, then I can grant you a wish.” Nick burst out in laughter. Now he was sure he was insane. The snail waited a bit for the boy to calm down, but eventually became bored with the situation. “Hey!” He called out. Snails, contrary to popular opinion, are not patient animals. “Do we have a deal or not?”
Nick managed to contain himself long enough to answer. “Sure,” he said through deep breaths. “I’ll let you live, you grant me a wish.”
“Yes,” the snail continued. “Tonight someone will visit you. Tell him your wish and he’ll make it come true. Now, I’m very busy, so I will thank you to let me be.”
“Sure thing snaily,” Nick said as he stood up, still giggling to himself. He carefully stepped over the ‘magical snail’ and continued with his walk. “Hey guys,” he said to himself as he pictured telling people about this. “I found a snail that talks, and grants wishes.”
He was a little surprised when he actually reached home. Nothing was unusual; he had just really thought he had died. A pleasant surprise finding out that he was actually very much alive.
The air inside was the same it had been when he left. Slightly to humid, but acceptable. He slipped off his wet boots and plopped back onto the couch, relaxing after an eventful walk. He mound loudly as he heard a buzzing go by his face.
Darkness surrounded Nick’s bedroom. Only a few loose rays of moonlight found there way into his window, passing onto his floor. Nick slept soundly; cuddled up in his warm blankets, clutching a teddy bare he was far to old to have, close to himself.
A dark figure rose out of the shadows from under his bed, moving silently. It grinned in the dark, its brilliant white teeth shining even in the low light. For a second it remained still, trying to remember what it was supposed to do next.
The being racked its brain for the answer, but could not find what it was looking for. With a low sigh, it pulled a tiny book out from one of its pockets and started flipping through the pages. It soon found what it needed to, and slipped the book away.
It reached out, laying a finger onto the sleeping boy. Nick didn’t move. So the being poked him. Nick gave a snore of protest, still very much asleep. Annoyed, the being leaned over him, a fist ready to come down on the pesky teenager. The shadowy figure stopped as it caught sight of the teddy bare. It pulled back, trying to control the laughter that was bustling from inside it.
“Calm down,” the being said to itself in a low hiss. It took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I got this.”
Once again the being moved next to the bed. With one quick motion, it slapped the boy across the face. Nick jumped up, finally woken from his sleep. He looked around hurriedly, trying to find his attacker. He stopped when he saw the huge, pearly smile at the foot of his bed.
“Hello,” the thing said in a low, almost frightening voice.
“What?” Nick said in surprise.
“I am the demon that has been called up from the gates of hell. Your greatest fears come to be realized! I am pain, agony, death, and, hey wait! Don’t do that!” Nick reached over and flicked on his lamp, reveling the demon for what it was.
Now it was Nick’s turn to laugh. Before him stood a cartoonish looking kid, only about four foot tall at the most, wearing a black and blue robe that was entirely to big for him, with a pointed wizards hat that practically covered his eyes.
“I told you not to do that,” the kid said, clearly annoyed.
“Sorry,” Nick replied. “I didn’t think the ‘demon called up from the gates of hell’ would look like… well… you!”
“Well I do!” the kid said with a huff. “It’s my first day, Okay?”
“First day?” Nick repeated, amazed. “At what, being a demon?”
“Well, no. At granting wishes. I usually do… other stuff.”
“Wait,” Nick stopped him, already knowing where this was going. “Your telling me that thing with the snail was real.”
“Yes, and now I have to grant you a wish.”
“And you’re going to do this?”
“All by yourself?”
“Yes! Now get on with it, what’s your wish?” Nick closed his eyes and fell back, a humorous smile still on his face. This was turning out to be an interesting day. But the question became, what should he wish for?
He could wish for money, but that would get old. He could wish that that girl in class would fall in love with him, but money would do that just as easily.
“Oh, what the hell.” he said out loud, more to himself than the kid. “I wish I could fly.”
“How creative,” the kid shot back. “Haven’t heard that one fifty times.”
“Yeah?” Nick asked arrogantly. “And what would you wish for.”
“No, no, flight is fine. Now just close your eyes and I’ll make it happen.” Nick shook his head, still in disbelief. This couldn’t possibly be real. He shut his eyes.
He could feel the kid pushing him down to the bed, and soon heard the flick of the light switch. He couldn’t help but peak a little.
“Hey, close ‘em!” the boy said, now standing above him on the bed, holding a bag. Nick closed his eyes again. He could feel something falling onto his face, and barely resisted the urge to sneeze. Soon he found himself drifting back into sleep. Before he did though, a voice called out to him.
“If you have any problems, just call my name and I’ll come. It’s Macle by the way.”