“Good luck on your studies!” The librarian said with a monotonous voice before proceeding to button up her purple knitted coat.
The girl thanked the woman quickly before hurrying with the stack of heavy old books towards the exit. She was supposed to be at Kate’s house 20 minutes ago, but finding these books proved to be a difficult task.
Luckily, Kate lived 5 minutes away from their school and its library.
“Whoa, let me help you with these.” Noah said, grabbing half of her books.
“What happened? You were supposed to be here 30 minutes ago.” Kate said, her eyes narrowed and her body tense.
It was the finals. Ashley understood her nervousness, though Kate could be more considerate.
“I could barely find the books—“
“And it appears you have also found some bonus ones.” Noah said before showing them both a book with black covers entitled ‘Mort, Book of Eternal Wishes’. Nothing else could be found on the covers, which convinced Ashley of one thing: she has never seen that book in her life.
“I didn’t—“let's just get started.” Kate said as she sat down.
“Yeah, everyone makes mistakes, let’s just get to studying.” Noah said as he joined Kate on the carpet.
Ashley’s face was red, but she sat down nonetheless. From the corner of her eyes, the black book taunted her. She was 100% sure that she has seen such a book before.
The three started doing their research and digging through the books that Ashley brought. Kate’s mom would sometimes come in the living room and give them a few snacks before going upstairs.
“Ugh I can’t do this anymore, my head hurts,” Kate said, rubbing her temples.
“It’s been two hours; maybe we should take a small break.” Noah said before stuffing his face with cookies.
Ashley nodded before reaching for the black book. Something about this book made her shiver with fear. She had to stop this fear before it distracted her any further.
Upon opening, a beam of light flew out of the book, making her drop it on the ground while cowering away. Her friends jumped away from the book as well, their hearts racing and their eyes wide.
“Ashley… what the hell did you just do?” Kate asked as she backed up into the wall.
“I DON’T KNOW—“
“Hello humans. You seem to have stumbled upon ‘Mort, Book of Eternal Wishes’. Whatever will be written in this book will come true as long as it follows the rules bellow, wisdom regarding the wishes is advised.”
A voice said before the light disappeared. Kate was crying while Noah and Ashley leaned closer to the open book.
“Ashley I swear I will haunt you if I die because of you.” Kate cried out before a sob escaped her lips.
Noah moved towards Kate before comforting her. Ashley picked up the book, against her better judgment, and read out loud the rules.
“No wishes for more wishes, no wishes about one’s death or immortality, one wish per person and once the book is no longer in your possession, every wish will deactivate. There are also a few pages about warnings, guides—”
“Ashley, this is a very bad prank. The worst you ever did.” Kate said in a wobbly voice.
“It’s not a prank! Guys come on—“
“Ash, I think it’s best if we just continue with the research.” Noah said, giving her a weak smile.
“Exactly, it’s not like some weird book could save our butts from the finals.” Kate said, coming next to Ashley before grabbing the book. “Here, I will pass tomorrow’s exam with flying colors. Happy now?” Ashley stared at her friend with disbelief.
“Yeah let’s just go back to the studying. I can only stay here for one more hour.”
“Did you guys miss out the voice? The light? Kate you were crying for God’s sake—“
“Ash, we know you are passionate about special effects and plus, Kate cries during comedy movies.” Noah said as he started writing something in his notebook.
Ashley was left speechless. Her hands were trembling and her heart was racing. She tried desperately to cam herself, but she couldn’t. They were both reading and writing again like it was no big deal… Was she going crazy?
“A-Alright…” She said with a brittle voice. Her eyes were teary, but she didn’t shed a tear. How could they believe her, it was a wishing book with magical powers and a cool light system. Nothing she would say could make them take her seriously.
During the next weeks, Ashley kept meeting up with Noah and Kate as they prepared for their exams. Ashley tried hiding the book in the corner of her room. If it was true, which she knew it wasn’t, it could come in handy.
10 days after the event, Ashley was heading home when her phone started ringing.
“Kate slow down, I can’t understand anything.” A sigh could be heard on the other side.
“Come over as soon as you can and bring that damned book.”
“What book Kate?”
“The wish book! Damn it Ash, we should’ve trusted you.” Kate said with a shaky voice.
The call ended. Ashley’s eyes were wide, and her heart was in her throat. Did something happen? She was a bit thankful for not giving the book back but only thinking about it made her tense.
The girl quickly went to and from her house, hurrying over to Kate’s place.
“Ashley, you amazing human being.” Kate said before hugging her friend. Ashley pushed her away slightly before grabbing her shoulders.
“Do you have a fever?” Kate started laughing.
“She passed.” Noah whispered, looking at his black ring.
“What do you mean?”
“I passed the exam with flying colors.” Kate said, making Ashley’s eyes go wide with terror.
“You don’t think it’s the book, right?” Ashley said with a scared tone.
“Of course we do! Why are you doubtful? You said you didn’t plan this, but we didn’t believe you…” Kate’s eyes were laced with regret.
“Yeah… damn, Ash we’re sorry.” Noah said, no longer zooming out.
Ash didn’t say anything. She wasn’t even looking at her friends. It had to be a coincidence, right? She tried so hard these past days to forget everything about their encounter with the book, just for them to act like this...
“Ash, I know it must’ve been hard for you but imagine what this book could grant us!” Kate said, her eyes gleaming as she stared at Ashley’s backpack.
At the sight, Ash sighed and took off her backpack before taking out the nightmarish book.
“How can you be sure it was the book though? You studied a lot for that exam.” She said, hesitant to give into this madness.
“Well, there’s only one way we can find out.” Kate said before grabbing the book and taking out a pen.
“Wait but didn’t it say that there was one wish for each person?” Ash asked carefully.
“What, now you believe?” Kate asked with a smug grin. The irony in her words made Ash roll her eyes, but Kate didn’t even notice it as she started writing.
“What are you wishing for?” Noah asked, now standing next to Ash.
“The answers pages to the finals will appear right on my coffee table.” Kate said before staring at the table with glowing eyes.
“Is that what you’re wasting your wishes on?” Noah asked as he looked at Kate with furrowed brows.
Kate didn’t answer, as all of her attention was focused on the dark coffee table. Ashley and Noah were also staring at the table, but their hope was getting lower as each second passed.
Ashley opened her mouth but before she could say anything, a stack of papers appeared on the table. Ash’s eyes went wide as her body froze.
Noah didn’t say anything, but his body was inching slowly towards the book.
Kate was smiling in disbelief as she checked the papers.
“It has the answers to everything! Oh my God— I need one more!” She said as she grabbed the book and started writing again. Noah went and sat down next to her on the couch.
“I want some too!” He said as he got himself a pen.
“Are you guys serious? We didn’t even consider the risks—“Ashley tried to say but got silenced by their glares.
“You were the one to bring this book here, stop being a coward and write something here too!” She said, not once looking up at Ashley.
“I think I’ll just go…” What amazing friends, she thought while her anger and fear combined.
Nobody tried to stop her.
Her mind was filled with unwanted thoughts that brought small tears to her eyes. Noah and Kate should’ve listened to her, they shouldn’t have broken those damn rules and they should’ve thought this over.
‘Stop being a coward’ better be careful than facing some alien consequences. She thought while sobbing. Were her friends in actual danger or were they right?
Her feet stopped as she turned around and walked towards Kate’s house. She didn’t want anything to do with those stupid wishes, but making sure her friends were safe… that’s what she had to make sure of.
Her feet picked up the pace as she saw the white house in the distance. Her heart was racing as she felt the cold wind rushing past her wet cheeks.
The door was closed. That was a good sign, right? Just before she could cross the street to get there though, something happened.
A woman walked up to the door and knocked, making Ash stop dead in her tracks. Her messy black hair, her purple knitted coat— no… No no no no…
She wanted to move, she wanted to scream as Kate opened the door with Noah behind her… but she didn’t. The moment of hesitation caused by her fear resulted in the woman taking out a glowing stone.
Ashley watched with horror as her friends were sucked in the stone before running away. She stopped a few streets away to catch her breath. Tears clouded her vision as her heart was beating like crazy. Her ears picked up the faint sound of footsteps, so she hid behind a wall.
The librarian’s voice made her shiver and her heart jump in her throat.
“Rules were never meant to be broken.” Ash was quiet as the woman walked past her, relaxing slightly after seeing her back.
But before she could run in the other direction, the woman’s head turned 180 degrees. Her body followed as she walked up to Ashley.
Her scream alerted the neighbors but as they looked out of their windows, no person could be seen.