The Third Wish

by: Garvug | Complete Story | Last updated Jul 13, 2024

Chapter 7

Camila stooped down and then slowly moved the plastic cup towards Tom's face, until it was inches away from his mouth. He grasped the cup with both hands, but she continued to hold onto the bottom of it. He placed his lips on the rim of the cup and started to sip the orange juice, then she tilted the cup towards him slightly so that he could take larger gulps.

"Be careful not to spill it," Camila warned.

When the cup was half empty he wiped his mouth on the sleeve of his pajamas.

"Do you want anymore?" she asked.

He shook his head, then took several deep breaths. He still felt drained after bouncing on the trampoline and he could have drank more, but he didn't want to fill his bladder up again.

"Oh jeez, now your feet are all dirty," she observed, "I guess we should've put your shoes on before we took you outside," she added.

Tom looked at his feet, they were crusted with dry dirt and there was a blade of grass sticking out from beneath the sole of his right foot.

"Wait here a second and I'll find something to clean your feet with," she said.

"There's a dish towel by the sink," Evelyn pointed out.

Camila retrieved the dish towel and soaked it under the tap, before placing it on the dining table, "come here a minute Tom, let's get your feet clean" she directed.

As Tom made his way towards Camila, he glanced up at Evelyn and saw her roll her eyes. Then Camila reached down towards Tom and placed her hands underneath his armpits, he almost flinched, but he resisted the temptation to recoil away from her. Camila lifted him into the air and then lowered him down onto the dining table, so that he was sitting on the edge of it. Then she picked up the damp dish towel and started to wipe his dirty feet, which were dangling over the edge of the table.

"I thought you wanted to watch Netflix and get a takeaway," Evelyn said.

"I do, that's what we're gonna do, right?" Camila replied, before placing the dish towel back on the table.

"Yeah, I guess so," sighed Evelyn.

Camila scooped Tom up in her arms and then lowered him back down onto the floor. Then she turned to Evelyn and asked "what's wrong?".

"Never mind, it's my fault," Evelyn mumbled. "you were right, that was mean," she added.

Tom was surprised to hear Evelyn acknowledge that she was to blame , but he doubted that she felt genuine remorse. He thought it more likely that that she was feeling embarrassed after being reprimanded by Camila.

"I didn't mean to upset you, I was just trying to help out," Camila explained.

Evelyn smiled, then replied "yeah I know, it's okay,".

"Do you enjoy babysitting?" Camila queried.

Evelyn shrugged her shoulders, "Yeah, I mean it's alright," she replied, "do you?".

"Yeah...I mean I think I'd enjoy it, my mom says I'd be good at it," Camila answered.

"Maybe you could babysit Tom," Evelyn suggested, "his parents work evenings so they're out a lot," she added.

Tom took a step backwards and almost hit his head on the edge of the tabletop, in his unconscious mind the table was still below his waist, but now it was a safety hazard.

"Yeah, I'd actually like that," she responded, "maybe you could give me their number?" she added hopefully.

Evelyn hesitated for a moment, then said "uh yeah, I'll send it to you later".

At first Tom wasn’t sure whether Evelyn was making a serious suggestion or whether it was merely a thinly veiled jibe aimed at him. He once again considered the possibility that she might not turn him back into an adult, the thought made him shudder.

Then he reminded himself that Evelyn didn't seem to be having much fun 'babysitting' him and that she had already learned that she couldn't bully him if other people thought that he was a toddler.

Evelyn had punished him by making him stand in the naughty corner, but he was teaching her a much harsher lesson, a lesson in responsibility. Isn't that what he had always wanted to do? To make her grow up and take responsibility for her actions. Yes, he decided that he was going to punish her, he thought that by the end of the day she would be begging the genie to turn him back into an adult.

Levi skipped through the kitchen towards the living room, carrying a Nintendo Switch in his hands. Evelyn saw him, then said "if Levi plays on his Nintendo then we can watch TV,".

"That's one kid distracted," Camila replied, "but what about Tom?" she queried.

"He's probably tired himself out," she answered, then she looked at Tom and said "it's nap time!".

Sensing another opportunity to make Evelyn regret her second wish, he tugged the hem of Camila's shirt and said "story time! story time!".

"No it's nap time," Evelyn insisted, then added "I'll read you a story later,".

He tugged the hem of Camila's shirt again and looked up at her with pleading eyes, "story, story," he repeated.

They won't be watching Netflix today, I'll make sure of it, he thought.

"Maybe if we read a story to him he'll fall asleep anyway," Camila suggested.

He expected Evelyn to resist this idea, instead she shrugged her shoulders and said "we might still have some of Levi's old books, I'll go look,".

Camila led Tom into the living room, where Levi was sitting on the floor playing with his Nintendo Switch. She slumped onto the couch, then Tom climbed onto the seat next to her.

"Levi, what game are you playing?" Camila inquired.

"Super Mario," he mumbled, but he didn't bother to to look up from the Nintendo.

When Evelyn returned she was holding a bright blue book, her hand was obscuring the book's title but Tom could see a picture of a colorful fish on the cover.

"What did you find?" Camila asked.

"The Rainbow Fish," she replied, "Levi used to love this," she added.

"Levi we're gonna read a story, you wanna join us?" Camila queried.

Levi looked up from his game, then frowned and shook his head, "that book is for babies," he replied.

Tom cringed and for a moment he wished that he hadn't requested a story. But his desire to teach Evelyn a lesson strengthened his resolve, he could pretend to enjoy the book, if it meant annoying her.

Evelyn sat down on the couch and then placed the book on the coffee table. Tom was now nestled between the two girls and was reminded of how small he was. He stared at his feet, which only reached the edge of the couch, his left foot brushed up against Camila's knee.

Tom was expecting Camila to read him the story, instead Evelyn patted her knees and said "come on, sit on my lap, it's story time,".

He stared at her and hesitated for a few moments. He wondered why she had volunteered to read to him, she had wanted to watch TV after all. The only reason he had asked for a story was because he knew that it would irritate her, but now she didn't seem annoyed.

But he guessed that he was irritating her, she was just hiding it well, she was attempting to call his bluff. He knew that in order to pass the test he would need to carry out his stated intention, then she would realize that her silly games wouldn't work on him.

The idea of sitting on his his sisters lap made him wince, but he reasoned that he would be doing them both a favor. For once she would have to face the consequences of her actions because she wouldn't be able to watch her favorite TV shows, then she would get bored and turn him back into an adult.

Tom gritted his teeth and crawled onto Evelyn's lap, then sat down. His legs now dangled over her knees and he could feel her warm breath on the back of his head. She picked up the book from the coffee table and held it in front of him.

"The Rainbow Fish," Evelyn said.

He stared at the fish on the cover and couldn't help but admire the quality of the illustration. He could understand why Levi had once enjoyed having it read to him.

Evelyn opened the book and began to read aloud, "A long way out in the deep blue sea there lived a fish. Not just an ordinary fish, but the most beautiful fish in the entire ocean,".

He followed the words on the page and wondered whether his mom had ever read the book to him when he was a small child.

"His scales were every shade of blue and green and purple, with sparkling silver scales among them," she continued.

It was then that he realized that there was a misprint in the text, the word 'sparkling' was spelled incorrectly. There were either too few letters, or too many, but before he could take a good look at it Evelyn turned the page.

"The other fish were amazed at his beauty. They called him Rainbow Fish. 'Come on, Rainbow Fish,' they would call," she went on.

Then he recalled that he had read the book before, he could remember how it ended. The Rainbow Fish would eventually agree to share some of his scales with the other fish. When he thought about it, he could remember his mom reading the book to him when he was a child.

"I'm just gonna go to the toilet," Camila announced, then rose to her feet and started making her way towards the door leading to the hallway.

"Okay," Evelyn replied, then turned her attention back to the book.

As Evelyn continued reading, Tom realized that it wasn't the first time that she had read a story to him. He had a recollection of lying in bed whilst she read "Goodnight Moon" to him, but the memory made him feel uneasy, it seemed out of place. He was twenty and she was twelve, why would she have read a bedtime story to him?

He had a sinking feeling and he was suddenly sure that someone, or something, was screwing with his memory. He pushed the book away and crawled out of her lap, then retreated to the other side of the couch.

"What did you do?" Tom exclaimed.

"I didn't do anything," she protested.

He stared at her and studied her face for clues. Had he just imagined the memory of "Goodnight Moon"? He wondered whether he might have gotten it mixed up with a genuine recollection of his mom reading the story to him a long time ago.

"What's wrong?" Evelyn queried.

He suddenly felt the unwelcome urge to urinate, which was now a more pressing concern than memories, be they real or imagined.

"I need to pee again," he admitted.

"Your toilet is in the corner," she replied, then pointed at the potty.

He shook his head and scowled. Then it occurred to him that if he did use the potty then Evelyn would have to empty it and she wouldn't like that. It would be another opportunity to make her deal with the consequences of her actions. But he quickly dismissed the idea, somehow it just didn't feel right.

"How about this, if you use the potty now then I'll turn you back into an adult tonight," she said, “think of it as the final boss,”.

“Final bo...this isn’t a Playstation game, this is my life we’re talking about,” he huffed.

“The final boss,” she repeated and gestured towards the potty.

“Stop saying that,” he whined.

Levi giggled, placed his Nintendo Switch on the floor and then yelled "the final boss,".



End Chapter 7

The Third Wish

by: Garvug | Complete Story | Last updated Jul 13, 2024


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vended · Jul 1, 2024

Nicely done. I love the sly mental AR creeping in.

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