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30/10/2018 / Harry Browne

Wish Granted by Catriona Murphy.


The fortune telling machine was a Joker smiling, plastic piece of crap. Reflections danced off the exotic mustache man’s grin, as he invited one and all to feed him a 50 cent coin into his musty machine, with the promise the universe would be revealed.
I had this belief that when the fun fair closed and the cotton candy, whistling streamers and children’s delightful screams had faded into memory, he packed up for the night and climbed into some hole in the ground like a bunking leprechaun, and ate cereal in front of Nickelodeon.
As skeleton painted-faced gigglers floated past, waving flowers and singing Hispanic songs devoted to Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead),I steeled my mind on my one task. Ignoring the pungent scent of Copal incense, and hand-held pictures of deceased loved ones flailing about, I pulled out my mobile and read my e-mail.
Following the instructions I got from an Anonymous hacker by the name of ‘Zed’, I leaned into the glass case where the dummy smirked within, and I whispered the words, ‘Cura te ipsum’.
It’s head mechanically turned without me doing anything further, and I had a tickling feeling on the back of my neck that it’s flat, bland painted eyes were staring right at me, that was before something heavy deposited in the slot below it.
I tentatively picked up the package as if were a human limb, unsure of it’s authenticity, then decidedly shoved it inside my denim jacket, and left behind the fair’s cheery, festive ambiance to the undead.
And took a walk in an adjacent wood.
Nestled in the cover of the trees, the moonlight crept down through branches overhead, as if to ambush a person into wolf.
The stamped printing on the package read, ‘Second Life’.
Sucking in the cool air of the forest in what may be my last deep inhalation, I ripped open the package like a starving animal.
The innards unveiled a cookie, with the message, ‘Eat Me’.
I couldn’t help but draw the Alice in Wonderland comparison, but I followed the instructions regardless.
What happened next is difficult to recall.
But it was my own Judgement Day, where I exacted a purge, a cleanse of my own that not enough incense could sanitise.
When I mopped up the remains and the red had cleared from my vision, I was standing atop a cliff, listening to the crash of the ocean waves and watching distant fireworks explode over dark waters.
I tossed my blood-stained jacket over the ledge, watching it and my life flutter into the abyss.
Oil veins crept through my arms and legs now. A new substance was colonising my body but the adrenaline kick was so good that I didn’t care.
The howling laughter of the exotic fortune teller echoed on the fringes of my deformed mind. A fractured mind. The mind that was not mine anymore; another entity had entered and moulded with my own, so I became a freak to walk to the Earth.
The hysterical giggle followed me as I bled into the night like a despairing spirit, aching with a new hunger, and I merged with the darkness like dying light to sky.


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