The frail, old lady could’ve been lying when she said I could make a wish. I had met her walking down the sidewalk, where cigarette smoke reeked and litter piled up. I had almost, as if on instinct, wished to live forever before I instantly stopped myself.
Nobody wishes to live forever and doesn’t regret it- I’ve read the stories. No, I had to be smart about my wish.
My wish would let me live forever. But it would let my friends and family live forever, too. Hell, let the planet live forever, and the sun, and anything that could make immortality backfire if it were to die.
I was smart about my wish. I wished for everything to live forever. The lady just smiled and walked away.
For the first day or two, people were confused. People on their deathbeds were suddenly in perfect condition. Some could even leave the hospitals like nothing had ever happened. Nobody died and there were no regrets because I was smart about my wish.
Phone batteries would charge up and never decrease. Glass could be dropped from skyscrapers and still not break. There was a bee in my house that sprung back up and stung me after I hit it with a flyswatter. But the pain’s not much to worry about because I was smart about my wish.
The news started to flare up. Something about livestock that couldn’t be killed. Something about trees that couldn’t be chopped down. Something about birthday candles that couldn’t be blown out. I just thought everyone could live vegan from then on until they started talking about vegetables that couldn’t be pulled out of the soil. Maybe they’ll make a solution soon, maybe they’ll be as smart as I was about my wish.
Even with the few annoyances there were, my wish was perfectly fine. Immortality is one of the worst things to backfire on you- so if nobody- if nothing dies, nothing can go wrong!
Not even fire.
They said the wildfires were from a lit cigarette. The fire never died down. Instead, it grew larger, wider, swallowing everything in its reach and spreading quickly. Nothing they tried could kill the fire or even make it shrink.
It grew, swallowing towns, swallowing states, merging with the other fires that had appeared. It hadn’t even been a week. I watched in terror as the fire accelerated towards my home- and the searing, burning agony that surrounded me within seconds was enough to make me want to die.
But I didn’t. My skin was unharmed. My home was unharmed. Everything was unharmed and everyone was unharmed. Yet the pain remained. It was far too bright to see anything- but I could hear the screams of pain surrounding me, the cries of horror, the shrieks from everything as the planet burnt down.
Yet nobody died. Nothing can ever die anymore. Nothing at all.
Maybe, I wondered, maybe I wasn’t so smart about my wish.