Free today through Monday, August 25! You can grab my short story two pack, “The Wish” on Amazon. The Wish: A Paranormal Short Story Two Pack
Blurb: Jodi is hopelessly in love with her best friend. It seems like a harmless thing to make a wish on a Japanese tablet. But it isn’t. Especially when Uzume, Japanese Goddess of Joy and Happiness is listening. Sometimes the price for joy can be too much.
Outside a cool breeze blew through the trees, but my skin felt hot to the touch. I kept trying to come up with an excuse—he probably didn’t realize just how offensive his comments were. But nothing could take away from the fact that he wasn’t right for her. Roger didn’t understand me, and he didn’t understand his fiancée either.
I clenched my fists until my short nails dug into my skin. The pain was a welcome distraction.
The sound of paper rustling caught my attention, and I turned to look at a massive Japanese maple tree with a dozen or two little white papers dangling from its branches. The prayer notes, I thought, recalling Tanya’s excitement about the tradition. I wondered if the little papers were from others attending her wedding, or if they were remnants of another ceremony or wedding. It didn’t really matter. Each little rustle, each little scrap swaying in the wind was a plea to a higher power, asking for help.
I found myself walking over to the little wooden table where pens and paper were neatly laid out and held down by smooth river rocks. The guests would probably do them while they waited for the ceremony to begin, but I would be busy tomorrow, helping Tanya into her wedding gown. So what if I filled out my prayer a day early? My need was urgent. If I got my wish, this wedding wouldn’t even be happening.
I took one of the small squares of paper and a thick felt pen—the type for writing calligraphy or kanji, I realized. My handwriting was never going to do this justice. What did I want, exactly? What was my wish?
I took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. I knew what I wanted. The truth was I was afraid to ask for it. My hand shook a little as I wrote: “I wish my best friend would love me the way that I love her.” A simple wish. I wasn’t even wishing for something bad to happen to a certain lughead.
I held the scrap of paper gently, blowing on it to dry the ink. It was a silly wish. Why even bother to hang it up? And yet I found myself reaching for the red ribbon, pulling it through the punched hole in the paper and tying the knot. A gust of wind blew through the temple courtyard behind me, and I heard the rustling of leaves, and of the other wishes. They were almost done with the rehearsal. I needed to hurry.
I approached the tree, trying to decide whether to hang my wish among the branches already holding several dangling papers, or pick my own branch. It seemed like it would be better camouflage to group it with the others. What if Tanya started reading some of them? It wasn’t signed, but I worried she might recognize my handwriting.
I compromised by picking my own branch just to the side of where the other wishes were hung. I felt silly as I tied the knot, leaving my paper wish dangling. Fog rolled into the coastline and the air grew chilly. The little paper spun round and round in the breeze, words flashing at me, love … love …