‘Make a wish. Send it in. The Wish Fulfillment Center will make it come true.’ Seanche stared at the logo on her paperwork with trepidation. She wondered if it was worth it. But then she remembered the look in her stepdad’s eye. The broken pieces of red ceramic. The heat. The fear. And Seanche signed her wish. Anything would be worth it.


After turning in her papers to the short blonde at the front desk Seanche was seen to a mostly empty room. There were two lounge chairs that seemed awfully comfy. But when Seanche sat down in one, she found out she was wrong. The waiting made the chair unbearable and Seanche began to pace around. She could not help but think of what led her here. But also of the warnings everyone gave about the Wishers.


It was never how you thought it would be. The Wish Givers twisted your words around to cheat you. The Wish Takers were never the same. But for a government-funded organization the slander never slowed business one bit. There was always someone willing to chance it for a dream. Although for Seanche, it was more of an escape.


A brightly red-headed man entered the room. Seanche froze in her pacing and braced for the news of what her wish would get her.


“Hello miss Evergreen. My name is Alex. Would you like to sit a moment and we can discuss your wish.” He sat in the unused chair while Seanche slowly took hers again. He continued, “Your wish left out a few details and those can help us to determine what it is you are really looking for. Why did you make this wish in the first place?”


Seanche shifted uneasily. “That’s my business.”


“It is mine as well,” Alex said. “There are a lot of ways we can take this. You wish your family gone. Are you implying you want them killed?”


Seanche blanched. Criminal wishes could still be granted in a way. But they had even worse consequences. “No!” she said.


“Well then. Are you wishing they all left town for a while? Shall we give them a vacation?”


Seanche took a long moment to think. “Not that either. I don’t want this to affect them.”


Alex looked at Seanche. “Perhaps you meant you want to leave then. Are you asking for some time alone? I would think you could have done that yourself. Teenagers run away from home all the time. You could have gone to the Replacement Program instead. Their goal is to provide a fresh start to anyone who wants it. Why did you bring this problem to the Wish Fulfillment Center? You are aware that you only get one free wish right?”


“I am aware,” Seanche replied then hesitated. “It’s not that I want a fresh start, I don’t want to leave the rest of my life behind. I like my school and friends. It’s just that my home…”


Alex waited. Minutes ticked by without a clock there to tell them how long it had been. Seanche sighed. “I don’t know what I’m asking for. That is why there aren’t any details. Isn’t it your job to help me figure that out.”


“I am trying to miss Evergreen.”


“Please don’t call me that.” Seanche interrupted.


“Seanche then,” Alex said. “Why don’t you tell me why you feel this way. What led up to this decision.”


Seanche considered her words. “I have considered going to the Replacement Program before. Back when my bio dad was alive. He was the abusive one. Violence. Harsh words. Strict rules. All those things.” A Pause. “My mom and I were relieved when he died. Life normalized. I discovered real happiness and mom even met someone else. My stepdad is the best guy I have ever met. Kind, considerate, smart. He makes me want to be a better person.”


When Seanche stopped Alex asked, “So what is the problem then? It sounds like everything worked out.”


“I think my family is cursed,” Seanche mumbled.


Alex raised an eye.


With clear reluctance, Seanche explained, “Everything was fine for a while until the red hit. I was having dinner with my family when all of a sudden I was angry. Angry that my chicken was burnt on one edge. Angry that my soccer clothes hadn’t been washed. Angry that I had been given homework on a weekend. These things had happened before, but never had I been so angry. I lashed out. I yelled and threw things.” Seanche lost a few tears. “I even threw a vase at my stepdad which cut his arm.”


“Hormones are a common…”


“No!” Seanche yelled. “This isn’t teenage hormones. My mom does it too sometimes. And it’s getting worse. I get angry on good days. Days that are perfect. My mom thinks Belthin’s ghost is haunting us with his anger, but I know better. This is in our genes. My dad had been so angry one day that he had spent all our savings on a Gene Pool.”


Alex sat erect. “Gene Pools are highly illegal, not to mention dangerous.”


“I know!” Seanche sobbed. “That’s why I couldn’t tell anyone. My stepdad doesn’t know and I hate that this is happening to him. My mom is considering leaving town for his sake but I convinced her to wait. I hadn’t used my wish yet and you will give even illegal wishes.”


Alex glared. All niceness had gone. “What is it that you are really asking for then?”


Seanche sat up straight. “A genetic reshuffling for both me and my mom. Get rid of my familiar genes and let us start anew in that way.”


“That will change more about you than just your anger issues. It’d be better to go to therapy.” Alex argued.


“You think we haven’t tried that?” Seanche said. “This is our last resort. Mom is terrified the change will make her lose Scott. But I have more trust in memories than that.”


“But not enough trust in them to fight this red haze as you are calling it.”


“There’s a difference between having a new taste for adventure and a genetically broken anger problem. The fact that both my mom and I are experiencing this is proof that we are sick,” said Seanche.


Alex folded his arms. “You know normal people go to hospitals when they are sick.”


“Genetic technology may be good enough to insert new genes into a system, but they don’t get to pick and choose. You just get everything that came from the host. And you know it.” Seanche glared back. “And we already tried to get into one of those trial New Gene programs. This is the last resort. So are you gonna grant my wish or not?”


“I thought you didn’t know what you wanted from this wish,” Alex asked.


“I was hoping you had another way.” Seanche watched Alex. Hope mingled with dread. The air tingled with the thought of a decision.


Alex stood up. “Thank you for the clarification. A Wish Giver will be in contact as soon as arrangements can be made. You may go home now.”


“But how are you going to fulfill the wish?” Seanche asked, hands gripping her shirt.


Alex looked back from the door. “As best we can.” He then smiled and walked away. And Seanche was left to wondering if this was what she really wanted. Like every other Wish Taker.


Photo by Diego PH


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