“Just making a wish…”
“A wish?!” scoffed her mother, ridicule dripping from each syllable. “What a ridiculous…”
Melinda drifted away, shutting her mother out, as she wandered off into her own little world. She had grown used to this over the years. What had started out as little more than daydreams, had grown into something much, much greater. An entire little world lived inside her head, populated with fairies and wizards and pixies. Unlike her sister, Rosalyn, she didn’t have much time for books, her own mind could conjure up more wonderful things than any book could. Every bit of control she lacked in the real world, she made up for twice over, in her imaginary world. She grasped every opportunity to go back there, her friends there were always waiting to welcome her back with open arms; a stark contrast to the coldness she found in real people.
She knew people would think her odd, even crazy; but to her it seemed like the most natural thing in the world. Life was difficult, the real world full of problems. People died, countries went to war, people did bad, evil things. In her fantasy world, none of this was true. Life was everlasting; pain free and everlasting. It was her Utopia. Her little slice of paradise. Knowing she could escape at a whim, made the time she had to spend in the real world more bearable.
Not that she could always differentiate between the two worlds. More than once she had wondered which of the two were in fact the ‘real’ one, and more than once she had been disappointed when she had realised the answer. The more time she spent locked away inside her head, the harder it was when she was brought back down to Earth. Everything seemed colder, darker, harsher. Her head was filled with bright, happy, fragrant things. Rainbows and sunshine; roses and butterflies.
“What did you wish for?” the voice appeared to come from a young unicorn, but she knew it belonged to her twin sister Rosalyn. The ‘normal twin.’ Snapping herself back to reality, she focused on her sisters face. It was like looking into an extremely flattering mirror. They had the same green eyes, the same button nose, the same silvery blonde hair; the look just seemed to fit Rosalyn better.
“If I tell you, it won’t come true.”
“Poppycock!” Rosalyn snorted, “I bet you wished that Mother would die a horrid death. Slow and painful and horrifyingly gruesome.”
Melinda smiled. Of course, this had crossed her mind. These words, or very similar, had played on her lips as she had turned the penny in her fingers. It could have been the answer to many of her problems. No more put-downs; no more punishments; no more purging of her dreams. There was no denying that her Mother was not a pleasant woman, and the world would probably be a better place without her.
In the end, though, she had decided that for once in her life, she would be selfish. She would just worry about her self for a change.
The decision hadn’t come easily. She had turned the coin repeatedly, daring herself to make the wish. Finally flipping the coin, it had twisted and turned in the moonlight, before hitting the water, glistening against the others. The wish had sounded melodic, almost prayer-like as she had whispered it under her breath. Rosalyn might laugh at the thought, but she believed. Truly believed with all her heart. In the end, that’s all that really counts; belief.
Slowly as she let herself drift back inside her head, she became aware of voices. The detached, alien-like voices of her sister, her father.
“Quick! Get a Doctor!” her Father’s voice boomed against the high pitched sobbing of her sister.
Screwing her eyes up tight, she fought against the sounds until eventually they faded away. Finally, allowing her eyes to flicker open, she smiled, taking a deep breath of fresh air. Glancing around her she relaxed. This was her real world now; though in a way it always had been.
This story was inspired by Icy Sedgwick‘s photo promt ‘Money Pool’. The photograph is hers.