Three Little Wishes by lostandwhatever
Sometimes all it takes is an image to generate the idea for a whole story. This story was inspired by the art of Kenny-TykeTales and dcrisisbeta. (If you would rather read an purely AR version of this story with a less dark ending go to this link.)
The coin looked old and was a tarnished brass color like a token from an old arcade. Joey pulled it out of the box of his grandpa’s old things and turned it around between his fingers curiously. At four years old, he was still too young to read the words on it, but he could read the number.
“Three,” he said out loud.
“‘Three’ what?” his brother, Aiden, said.
Joey carried the coin over to his older brother, who was sitting in front of the TV but ignoring it to focus on his phone. “What does it say?” Joey asked holding up the coin.
Aiden looked away from his phone and at the coin for a moment and inquired, “Where did you find that?”
“In grandpa’s stuff.”
“You’re not supposed to be going through his stuff,” Aiden said as he started thumbing a message on his phone.
“What does it say?” Joey repeated.
Aiden sighed looked back at the coin. “It says, ‘Good for three wishes.’” Then, he turned his attention back to his text message.
“Wishes?” Joey said, holding the coin up in astonishment as if it were made of pure gold. He carefully slipped it into the pocket of his overalls and went back to the box of Grandpa’s old things to search for more treasure, but besides some cufflinks and a watch that no longer ticked, there was nothing else of interest in there for Joey.
Joey drifted over to the couch and sat down to watch the cartoon that Aiden had put on for him. He had seen this movie many times before, though, and he was starting to feel bored. “Can we play a game?” he asked his brother.
“No,” Aiden said. “I’m thirteen now, and I’m too old for kids’ games.”
Joey thought that thirteen was very old indeed, but he grew increasingly annoyed hearing about it every time his brother pointed it out, which was almost a daily occurrence now. “But-” Joey said.
“No,” Aiden said. “Watch your cartoon.”
Joey watched his cartoon. It was not bad, but he realized that he would rather have his brother’s attention again. Ever since Aiden had become a “teenager,” Joey’s brother had decided that he had no time to spend with him anymore. Instead, Aiden just kept playing with his phone most of the time. He never even let Joey touch his phone.
The alarm for the timer went off in the kitchen, and Aiden stood up to take their pizza out of the oven. Joey was going to follow his brother but stopped when he realized that Aiden had left his phone on the coffee table. Joey wondered if hiding Aiden’s phone would make his brother pay more attention to him. It might make Aiden angry, but Joey decided to give it a try. He grabbed the phone and hid it under a couch cushion.
“Joey,” his brother called, and Aiden froze, thinking he had been caught. Then, he relaxed when he realized his brother was still in the kitchen. “Get in here,” Aiden said. “Let’s eat.”
Joey joined his brother at the kitchen table, and the two of them started eating the pizza. About halfway through the meal, Aiden began checking his pockets. “Where’d I leave my phone?” he asked himself.
Joey just chewed his pizza and said nothing.
Aiden checked back in the living room and returned a minute later, looking confused. “Did you see where I put my phone?” he asked Joey.
Joey decided that it was not lying if he did not actually say anything, so he shook his head and kept eating, thinking that this was actually kind of fun, almost like hide-and-seek in a way.
Aiden’s food went cold as he searched for his phone. Joey joined him in the search after he finished eating and pretended to look for the phone with his brother, feeling secretly proud that he had invented such a fun game to play with Aiden.
“Here it is,” Aiden said after moving the cushion. “How’d it end up there?” He looked down at Joey.
Joey kept quiet under Aiden’s suspicious gaze.
“Did you move it?” Aiden asked.
“I…” Joey said as he averted his eyes from his brother and started to squirm, feeling guilty and a little scared. “I just wanted you to play with me. I only wanted to play.”
Aiden sighed. “You’re not supposed to take other people’s things,” he said. “This is why I don’t want to play with you anymore. You just keep doing childish crap like this.”
Joey felt a tear run down his cheek. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m sorry.”
Aiden sighed again. “I can’t deal with this. I’m going to finish my dinner.” He made a point of placing his phone on the highest shelf on the bookcase, far out of Joey’s reach, and went back to the kitchen.
Joey sniffled and wiped his face dry. He sat on the floor, ignoring the cartoon on the TV and feeling very sad about himself and his brother. He just wished his brother would play with him. If only his brother were younger…
Joey looked down and noticed that his grandpa’s coin had rolled out of his pocket. He picked it up. “Three wishes,” he said. He knew then just what he would wish were true. “I wish Aiden was a kid like me, so he would play with me.” Joey’s eyes went wide when he saw the number three on the coin disappear to be replaced by a number two.
“What the heck?” Aiden said, his voice sounding squeakier than normal.
Joey slipped the coin back in his pocket and ran into the kitchen to find his brother sitting at the table, rapidly shrinking. Aiden’s feet lifted off the ground as he grew shorter and smaller, looking younger and younger every second until he stopped shrinking, leaving him a boy the same age as Joey.
They both stared at Aiden’s body in stunned silence for a moment. The former teenager’s clothes had shrunk to fit him, but the table and chair were as big as ever, making Aiden aware of just how small he had become.
“Wow!” was all Joey could think to say. His wish had come true. “You’re my size!”
“What?” Aiden said and gasped as he heard a voice come from his mouth that sounded much more like his brother’s than his own.
“You got smaller,” Joey said. “You’re a kid like me.”
“That’s… impossible,” Aiden said. “People just don’t shrink. This is impossible. This can’t be happening.”
“We can play now,” Joey said. “Come on. I’ll get my toys out.”
Aiden watched his brother run off and said, “Hey, wait.” He hesitated a moment before getting off of his chair, which now seemed very high up, but then he hopped down and chased after his little brother. Part of him wanted to follow the boy to keep an eye on Joey, while another part of him was scared to be alone now that something strange was happening to him. When he caught up with Joey in the living room, he was unnerved to find that his little brother was no longer littler than him. In fact, they could be mistaken for nonidentical twins now. “Joey,” he said as his brother dug around in his toybox. “Stop playing around. This is serious. I need to figure out what happened to me.”
“You got smaller,” Joey said, matter-of-factly.
Aiden sighed. “I’m aware of that,” he said. “I mean I need to figure out how this happened.”
“Magic,” Joey said. “It happens in cartoons sometimes. Magic can change you.”
“This is not a cartoon!”
Joey was confused about why that mattered.
Aiden sighed again. “I need to get some help,” he said. “That’s it. I’ll call for help.”
He went to get his phone from the coffee table, but it was not there. Then, he remembered he had placed it on the high shelf to keep it away from Joey. He walked up to the bookcase and realized that he was way too short to reach his phone anymore. “Crap,” he said.
He thought about using the landline phones in the house to call his parents, but he needed their phone numbers first, which he did not know since they were saved on his phone. “I’ll just call 911,” he said. He started walking to the kitchen and then paused and asked himself, “What will I tell them? ‘Hi, I know I sound like a kid, but I’m actually a teenager who suddenly shrunk? Send help!’ They’re not going to believe me.” He would have to call his parents. At least he could convince them of who he really was. He walked back to the bookcase and considered how he might reach his phone.
“Aren’t you gonna to play with me?” Joey asked as he pushed around some of his toy cars and trucks on the carpet.
“No,” Aiden said. “I’m not playing with you. I need to call Mom and Dad for help.”
“But-” Joey said.
Aiden ignored him and went back to the kitchen to grab a chair to stand on. He was shocked at how heavy the chairs had become, but even with his weak little body, he managed to slowly drag one of them into the living room.
“Come play with me,” Joey begged. “Pleeeease?”
“No,” Aiden said as he positioned the chair in front of the bookcase. “Not now.”
“But, you’re not thirteen anymore. You’re a kid. You can play kid games.”
Aiden growled. “I am thirteen! I don’t care what I look like. I’m still your big brother. I’m the one in charge, and you need to listen to me. So, just be quiet and leave me alone.”
Joey angrily stuck his hand in his pocket. Then, just when his brother had climbed up on the chair and reached for the phone, Joey said, “I wish I was the big brother.”
Aiden felt his balance tip as he began to shrink again, he shrieked as his legs gave out beneath him and he fell backwards off of the chair, landing on his butt. He was shocked, not only because he had shrunk again, but also because he was not hurt. His landing had been surprisingly cushioned somehow. He touched his butt to find something padded and crinkly was now beneath his pants where his underwear had been.
“Wow,” Joey said as he ran up to Aiden. “You’re a baby!”
Aiden held up his pudgy little hands. They did look like a baby’s hands. “I’m a… I’m a…” he started to say but could not finish the sentence. Nevertheless, his little baby voice confirmed the truth. He tried to stand up and was relieved to find that he could still stand, but his balance was a bit wobbly.
“Now, I’m the big brother,” Joey said.
Aiden looked at his brother and was horrified by how true that statement was. The four year old was a relative giant compared to him. Aiden took a few steps back and promptly tripped and fell onto his butt again.
Joey giggled at his clumsy two-year-old brother.
Aiden looked away from Joey, too scared to deal with the idea of a preschooler being bigger than him. Instead, he focused his attention on the bookcase. He had almost reached his phone, but now he could not even see it from where he was on the floor. There was no way he could reach it now on his own. Though, maybe Joey could get it for him.
“Jowey,” Aiden said “Ya havta hewlp me.”
“Okay,” Joey said, already enjoying his new role as the big brother. “Let me help you get up.”
Aiden took his brother’s hand and let himself be pulled to his toddler feet.
“Now,” Joey said. “Don’t be scared. I’m gonna be a good big brother to you. I’m gonna listen to you, and I’m gonna play with you all the time. We’ll have so much fun.”
“Okay,” Aiden said, relieved that his brother might be willing to help him. “Buh firs’, ya havta geh muh fone from da book’ase.”
Joey looked up at the bookcase and back down at Aiden. “Can’t we play a little first?” he asked.
“No,” Aiden said. “I need i’ now.”
Joey smiled, realizing his advantage. “Well,” he said. “I’m the big brother, and I say we play first.”
Aiden sighed. It seemed that Joey was not going to cooperate unless he played with him. “Okay,” Aiden said. “Wets pway a widdle. Den, I need muh fone.”
Joey smiled even wider and ran off to his toys. “Let’s go!”
Aiden toddled along behind him, feeling unsettlingly powerless compared to his energetic brother.
They began to play. Joey chose the toys and the games and Aiden participated as best as he could. Sometimes that involved pushing around a toy truck. Other times it involved voicing a character in a bit of play acting with some of his dolls. After a dramatic car crash that had managed to knock Aiden over onto his padded butt again, he decided that he was done playing.
“Enuf!” Aiden said as he sat up and crossed his arms. “We’ve pwayed enuf. I’m done. Ya havta geh muh fone.”
Joey was sad and frustrated. “But, we were having so much fun,” he whined. Without thinking about it, he put his hands in his pockets as he began to pout. “I wish you had to play with me,” he said, voicing his thoughts without really intending for anything magic to happen.
Aiden began to shrink again. He watched in terror as the world around him expanded and his already comparatively giant brother seemed to grow even larger. To Aiden, Joey rapidly became the size of a house, then the size of a building. Then, the shrinking stopped, and Aiden gazed up in horror at his brother, who now towered above him, seemingly over 50 feet tall.
Joey was surprised to see that his brother had shrunk to the size of a toy, but then he pulled out the coin from his pocket and realized that he must have made another wish accidentally. The number on the coin was gone now, leaving only unintelligible words on it. He knelt down in front of his tiny brother causing a small earthquake. Then, he held the coin out to Aiden, who cringed away from him.
“What does it say now?” Joey asked.
Aiden was too scared to do anything but obey. He looked up at the coin, which was now almost as big as he was, and read the words on it out loud, “Awl wishes gwanted.”
“Aw,” Joey moaned lifting the coin up to his face again. “I didn’t mean to make another wish. Now, they’re all gone.”
“Whut?” Aiden cried. “You wur wishin’? You wished me widdle? I’ was you?”
Joey slipped the used coin into his pocket and turned his attention back to his very little brother. He reached down his hand to carefully pick Aiden up off of the floor. Aiden just let it all happen, feeling too terrified to move a muscle as his body was clutched under the dirty fingers of his brother. Then, Joey opened his hand and let Aiden rest on his palm as he held the tiny toddler up to his face for a closer examination. Aiden did not dare to look down, but the sight of his brother’s seemingly enormous face filling his vision horrified him enough that he made use of his diaper.
“Well,” Joey said. “I guess this is okay. We can keep playing.” With his other hand, he gently petted his brother’s hair, while little Aiden began to cry silently. “It’ll be fun. You get to be my new toy. Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of you, and I’m gonna play with you all the time.”
Then, Joey set Aiden down with his other toys and had a wonderful time playing with him for the rest of the evening until their parents came home.
(When you are done reading, check out the image that inspired the story here.)
Read the sequel here.