“Wishes Granted – Low Cost”
When she arrived, a forty-ish woman answered the door, looking nothing like the old-world fortune-teller Sasha expected. The woman’s living room held no jars of herbs or New Age books. In fact, the only weird item that Sasha saw was a stuffed pheasant.
"The contents of this bag will grant your wish, but only between the hours of two a.m. and dawn. There is something else. During these times you will see other things as they truly are. Some of these things may be unpleasant.”
Undeterred, Sasha paid the woman and headed home. The bag contained a twist of wick that the witch instructed her to attach to a piece of wood. While it was lit, full mobility would be returned to Sasha.
When her phone alarm chimed two a.m. Sasha scooted to the edge of her bed and grabbed the rudimentary torch. She lit it, watched the strange green-yellow light for a moment and then gasped as pins and needles shot thru her lower extremities. She swung her legs out of bed and stood with the aid of the torch. Then she ran out the door, mindful not to light her hair on fire.
Once outside, Sasha’s laughter steamed out of her into the freezing pre-dawn air. She walked. The street was dark aside from dim porch bulbs and twinkling Christmas lights. Her next-door neighbor had an inflatable snow globe in her yard attached to an air pump. Earlier that evening, this globe contained a smiling snowman and some cheery penguins. But now, a small, dark figure pressed its face against the inside of the plastic. Then it stomped around in the fake snow and appeared to be feeling for a seam. It tried to puncture the plastic with its claw-like fingers and then tilted its head back and screamed in frustration.
Sasha froze on her still shaky legs, hoping not to be noticed. But then the thing’s rheumy yellow eyes fell on her and it opened a black maw in what might have been a smile. Sasha backed away and ran the other direction. Two doors down had a snow globe too. Inside was a similar snarling, black figure.
The next day, Sasha returned to the witch’s apartment. She smiled slightly as she took the bag back, reminding Sasha that there were no refunds.
At midnight, Sasha wheeled herself out into the chill of the night, a large pair of sewing shears on her lap, the blades long enough to penetrate the heavy plastic and impale the demons within. She had to work fast, her wheels would leave tracks. But snow was in the forecast.
Words: 496 Noun: pheasant Verb: nag
Tina Wahl is a writer of speculative and horror fiction. She's been published in Midnight Screaming magazine. She lives in Glendale, Arizona surrounded by books, skulls, and rescued dogs.
Image: Snowman by hotblack