Short Story: The Price of Wishes

Genre: fantasy

Inspired by the prompt evanescent.

Features Bitter Medic.

He could realise any wish as long as the price was right, but not every wish was worth the price.

As Bitter Medic, everything and anything was a resource. Physical, emotional, tangible, immaterial, real, imaginary, as long as it had value and the client was willing to pay the price.

Given the choice, however, he would always prefer tangible options. They were like once off patients, give it once and that was it.

Non-material prices, however, could have long reaching consequences that neither he nor his clients could have foreseen.

Such as this case.

“Please, Bitter Medic. Tell me what I need to pay,” the young man said as he held an unconscious girl in his arms.

Bitter Medic had actually seen the girl only two months before. Back then, she had been absolutely radiant, bringing life to this very room with her presence as she paid for her wish. Now, only a dull husk remained, and even that was fading. Literally.

“Two months ago,” Bitter Medic said, “She approached me with a wish. A friend of hers had narcolepsy, and she wished for him to be healed. I assume that friend is you?”

The young man nodded. “I don’t have narcolepsy anymore, but I didn’t know she had anything to do with it. Whatever she paid, please return it. I would rather live with narcolepsy than lose a friend.”

“That, too, requires a price.”

“I’ll pay it.”

Bitter Medic studied the young man. Potential prices crossed his mind. Reversing the transaction would be most straightforward, but costly for the young man with no benefits. He had no physical items that would be equivalent to his wish, not with his friend’s life on the line. The bond between those two… he could work with that.

“The price your friend paid to cure your narcolepsy is her energy. The energy that’s keeping you alert is all from her. It appears, however, that you are consuming more than she can provide, and it is taking a toll on her body.

“So rest. If you don’t exert yourself, she should wake on her own. When she does, come back and we’ll continue the conversation.”

“Thank you. Thank you very much.”

The young man picked up the girl.

“Did you carry her here?”

“… Yes.”

“Take a cab. The more energy you use, the faster she’ll fade.”

“Got it, Bitter Medic.”

Yes, they had both underestimated how active this young man was once freed from the shackles of narcolepsy. For all their sake, he hoped he would see them both again.


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