The busiest street in the city. More than a thousand people were present, busy in their daily lives. None of them saw what was coming for them. None of them felt what happened to them. Because nothing, absolutely nothing happened. Only I made a splendid fool out of myself. And just to be sure, I looked at that floating bastard. “Kukukuku” he was snickering with his mouth, covered with his hands. I knew it.
”(I’m killing him as soon as I get the chance.)” I could feel the blood rushing up my cheeks.
“I was right. You are very interesting.” He remarked.
“Yeah. Yeah. I guess it is my fault for believing you even for a second.” I replied uninterested.
“Now, don't be disheartened. Allow me to tell you why your wish was not granted.” I did not say anything and he just continued his self explanation, “True, killing everyone does not involve you. But that’s only physically speaking. What about your mental state? No matter how much stomach you claim to have for gore, seeing the real deal, and a massacre no less, do you think you could’ve gotten away without scarring your mind? Though I don’t blame you. You are just human after all.”
So, in other words, I would’ve been affected mentally. That's why it didn’t work. “That is just BS. Do you realize how flawed this makes your theory? If I can’t ask for anything that affects me physically or mentally, then that means I can only wish for nothing. Because fun fact, since I am just human, my brain is affected by everything.” I could not help giving him a piece of my mind after all the nonsense he had been throwing at me.
“You may not have had your wish granted, but do know that you have the right mindset to win this game.” I don’t know what kind of a creature a Jinn is, but it must be cocky enough to continue its claptrap after all I had said.
“Now that I know I have chosen the right host, let me tell you something else, Negai. Let me tell you how you can lift all these annoying conditions and make as many boundless wishes as you want.” his voice rose, “All you have to do is win the wish game. Defeat all the other wishers and become the winner. Either wait and leave it up to luck that the others drop dead before you or go out, find them, eliminate and outlive them. The choice is yours.”
The waiter came with my order, unaware of the grand speech Dee was making. And ignoring him in the same way, I started eating. I could feel his stare at me, his grandiose turned to annoyance. Regardless, I finished my meal rather quickly. The only thing on my mind was to recover my memory and learn what happened exactly.
I paid my bill and left the café, with Dee following me. But as soon as I turned the corner, someone did the same from the opposite direction and we bumped head on. I somehow managed to recover my balance but he fell down. He was wearing a large hoodie and the tremor of falling caused it to fall back, exposing his golden hair and making him stand out even more.
Considering his gloomy dressing, he was a conserved, introvert type and it could not have been more apparent by the dreadful look he had when his hoodie slipped.
“I am so sorry, I should’ve been more careful. ”I felt obliged to apologize, but seeing the miserable look on his face, anyone would be. I offered him a hand and he got up and instantly covered his head and went his way at a fast pace as if nothing happened.
“That was rude. Do you feel like killing him?” Dee passed a comment to which I paid no heed.
I got on the train to go back. After concentrating, I could only remember when I got home. Nothing after that. So I decided to trigger my memories in a different way. It was my habit to check the news everyday. So I took out my phone and began checking yesterday's news. News about the dispute between brothers of the Weinstein family over inheritance was on the headline. Followed by "tonight will be the biggest meteor shower since the last 100 years" and "There may be a serial killer in town" as sub-articles. I can faintly remember seeing these yesterday.
Next I scrolled down to today's feed and to my surprise the meteor shower had made it to the headlines. But it was not the meteor shower itself that had caught everybody's attention but rather the "shooting star exploded" thing. When I read that, an acute pain went through my brain. I definitely knew something about it but could not put my finger on it. While the sub-articles were "the sudden decision of the culinary board to hunt for new talents all over the world. First destination: India" and the next one took my breath away, "The Weinstein dispute finally comes to a close with the mysterious death of the older brother" and the picture attached of the younger brother made bolts of lightning run through my head. Those straight blonde bangs that were identical to the ones in my recent memory caused a chain reaction.
What if it is not a coincidence that their faces match so much.
What if he was not in that getup because he was an introvert.
What if he had that expression not because of me but what he saw behind me.
What if my wish was not fulfilled, not because I would be affected but rather…...
All the way back I was cut off from the surroundings. I had no idea what was happening around me for the past hour and a half.
“Negai. Hey, Negai. Are you still ignoring me? I’ll get pissed, you know.” It was only after countless attempts at calling my name, Dee finally got through to me. I replied as I got out of the train walking at a fast pace, “Shut up. I don’t have time for your useless talk.” My mind was still occupied but I was done thinking.
“Hey, what’s with that attitude? You do realize that I have your life in my hands, human.” Dee was offended more easily than I thought.
“It still does not change the fact that you have only been useless. And you aren’t helping now either.”
“Is that so? Then tell me what you want me to do. I am a Jinn with much more power than you think.” This is what I was waiting for.
“Fine then. Tell me,” I stopped abruptly, “how many people stopped at the same time within a margin of 0.2 seconds.” As soon as I gave the command, Dee closed his eyes and in less than a second scanned the area, pronouncing the results, “One man a hundred meters behind, a man waiting on the other side and an old woman on the adjacent platform."
I thought for a bit and then opened my mouth without turning, “Say, is the person behind me in a large hoodie?” My inquiry caused Dee to look back before answering, “Yes.”
“That’s right. Wait a minute, isn’t that the guy you bumped into?” Dee finally caught on.
“One last thing. Is he looking at me or you?” This time Dee took a keen look at him but could not come up with a definite answer. “I don’t know. Normal people cannot see me, so he should not be able to either.”
“I see. Then why don’t you signal him to come here.” Dee extended his hands and signaled. I did not have to look at him to know that he was surprised, "He can see me? Hey, Negai, what is going on here?"
I finally turned around. The person behind me twitched but his feet were planted in the ground.
"You know, you were wrong, Dee," I spoke while moving forward, "The real reason why my wish did not fulfill, was not because t affected me but rather because it affected him." I approached the guy with only a few meters between us, “Isn’t that right, Mr. George Weinstein. Funny that you just won your case yesterday and here you are in a shady outfit stalking a young boy.” I addressed rather harshly yet his face showed no signs of emotion. I needed to rile him up a bit more. “It’s strange that a dispute going on for years ended in such an abrupt murder. And of course no one was able to find a trace of clues. Yet you look suspiciously guilty right now. So tell me,” my voice got lower, “you wished for it, didn’t you?”
His expression still did not change but he did slightly raise his chin and for the first time his eyes looked into mine. Frankly, this made it easier to get my point across, “Let me cut to the chase. I think we both know what situation we are in. Two wishers in a battle royale standing face to face.” For the first time his facial expressions changed as his lips curled into a smile. “I’m glad you are so understanding.” These were the only words he said while slowly raising his right arm.
“Dee, you asked me if I felt like killing him,” I could see something sharp protruding out of his sleeve, “well I sure do now.” and he leapt towards me.
I was running with all I had. In terms of physical strength, he was clearly far superior. In fact, the only reason I was able to out run him was because of the crowd. As long as I was around people, he could not attack me openly. But sooner or later he would catch up and once he did, it would be over.
Before I knew it, I had circled back to the Hoshi no Machi park. In front of me were the barriers, closed, as the train was passing. But luckily it had almost passed, and by the time I reached there the barriers were starting to open. I started the stopwatch on my phone while running and without even waiting for them to completely open, I passed through the small opening in the barriers.
I went to the park where I woke up but the problem was there were hardly any people there. The only thing I could do was get some high ground by getting on the bridge, but surprisingly Weinstein did not follow me. Instead he stopped on the ground. This gave me a moment to catch my breath as I had already run beyond my stamina.
“Let’s end this pointless chase” the words left his mouth. And at the same time, he slid his left hand onto the blade of the knife in his right. “I wish,” his voice rose, “the joints on this bridge in front of me fell apart.” As the words escaped his mouth, from behind him appeared a dark figure with large horns, sharp teeth, pointed wings and a tail. “Wish accepted. Bound.” These robotic words escaped its mouth and before I could process what happened, *Creak* the floor beneath me began to wobble. The bridge really was coming apart. I only had a minute or two before it collapsed completely. And yet I was in no hurry to escape. My mind was in trance and the only thing on my mind was the time. I looked at my watch, almost 10 seconds left until it hit 5 minutes.
“Is that how you make a wish?!” I proclaimed with no fear whatsoever of falling, “Let me show you how it’s done.” And with that I bit my finger as hard as I could to make it bleed, brushed it against my palm to see that there was enough blood and said, “I wish. The Hoshi no Machi station train would be 5 minutes late.” As I said those words, Dee came forward and in the same robotic tone as the other JIn, “Wish accepted. Bound.” said the exact same words.
Weinstein was completely silent as he stared at me. A few seconds to comprehend what happened and then came the obvious response.
"HA -HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA" he laughed his lungs out. His sarcastic laugh clearly said ‘This is the right way?’ He was laughing loudly. Too loudly. So loudly, that he actually missed what he should've heard. And then came a sound that silenced him……. permanently.
*CRASH* One of the barriers came flying, smashed against George's head and torso. The train takes five minutes to reach the station after crossing the barrier. So, if it was at the station at that time, pulling it five minutes back brought it to the barriers that had no time to open. As a result of getting hit by a fast moving train, the antique barrier took off into Weinstein.
His upper body got crushed as blood flew out. A splash of crimson went all over his immediate surroundings. It was the first time in the past 12 monotonous years that my life had been streaked with a color. Bright crimson.
I won. Maybe my brain felt relieved as the adrenaline slowed down only to realize the problem at hand and start pumping again. The bridge started to fall. I couldn’t survive the fall from here without breaking a few bones. So, I rushed towards the other end. In the middle, I jumped onto the side railing.
(I may not survive if I fell on land, but I can definitely survive falling in the lake.) And so, without any second thoughts I jumped, hoping that I fell, sufficient distance away from the debris. I was moving forward but in a matter of seconds gravity caught me and took me straight down. In an instant, my whole body was enveloped by water. I had survived. But as soon as my body relaxed, the rebound of the extreme situation hit. My muscles went limp. I was out of energy. Everything went dark.