Wish Fulfilled

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Or some smartass, know-it-all pronouncement to that effect. This novel is about someone who achieves absolute power and resists it, refuses to be corrupted; that is, it’s about a hero, an ordinary being who rises to an extraordinary occasion. It’s unpublishable, and I don’t care. I loved writing it.

Wish Fulfilled The coroner’s wagon came while Gil was in the house talking to the detective and Cady was outside waiting, by police request. She stood up and moved aside for the two men who came up the pathway and nodded at her, then she sat on the porch steps again, crying, yet strangely focused and quiet. In the back of the house, where Lucinda had let her once beautiful family garden grow into a jungle of roses, Jimson weed, clematis, and thick spongy layers of leaves, leaf mulch and weeds, Lucinda’s dogs howled. Both of the poor things were very elderly. Cady wondered if she should go and feed them or something. She had never seen Lucinda feed them, but she had never asked either, because she was determined she would not give Lucinda another opportunity to burden her, taking care of the animals on the weekends when the woman skipped town. Evidently the neighbors didn’t want to help in caring for the old mutts either, because Lucinda would leave huge baskets of dry dog food out for the dogs, and the rats, to eat every weekend. It made sense that the neighbors were none too neighborly. Lucinda’s lack of appreciation of property values probably affected the whole street. The female dog howled louder.

“Jesus, I wish she would shut up,” Cady said. The female stopped howling. The male started whimpering and then he began howling.

“Great,” she muttered. “I wish you’d shut up too.”

He did.

Cady sat there, captive to a very strange suspicion. Very strange. Stranger than anything she had ever felt or suspected or believed before. She stood up slowly, took a very deep breath, and peeked into the living room window. Lucinda’s body was covered with a cloth, and the coroner’s men were talking to the police, while over at the fireplace end of the huge room, Gil talked with the detective. Evidently no one wanted to go into any of the other stinky rooms even for privacy or to be away from the corpse. Cady took another very, very deep breath and tried to exhale slowly, without hyperventilating. Perhaps she was going crazy. It would explain many things. Still, a little experimentation was surely in order; it couldn’t hurt, could it? And when the experiment failed, she could return reluctantly to reality.

“I wish Lucinda wasn’t really dead, just in a stasis or a coma or something, maybe for a few hours. I wish she would be all right and able to describe her attacker by this afternoon, and the cops would understand that Gil and I had nothing to do with this.”

The sheet stirred.

“Jesus H. Christ,” a cop screamed.