Saturday, January 7, 2017

[Short Story] Make-a-Wish

[WP] You receive a call from the Makeawish foundation, a dying child you've never heard of wants to meet you

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It was just another day at the office when I received the call. At first, I hesitated in picking up the call, thinking that it was one of the many erratic customers that I had to deal with on a daily basis. But the voice at the other end was proper and jovial. "Is this Mr Tom Johnson?" the female voice asked.

"Yes, speaking," I answered, wondering what the complaint will be this time. But the voice was neither a customer or calling in regarding a complaint.

"That's great!" the woman exclaimed happily over the phone. "We're calling from Make-a-Wish foundation, and it's regarding a wish that one of our beneficiaries has."

i scratched my head, wondering what wish a child would want with a mobile service provider. "And how exactly can our company help you?"

"Oh, this is not about your company, Mr Johnson. It just so happened this is the first number we got when we googled your name," the female voice quickly clarified. "It's actually you who the child wants to see. You're the child's wish, Mr Johnson."

"What?" was all I managed to say after hearing her response.

"You must be making a mistake," I flatly told them. My name was Tom Johnson, and over the thirty decades of my life, I have done nothing particularly interesting to warrant a dying child wanting to see me. I was not a famous actor nor a famous singer, heck the only screen time I got when I walked past a TV interview, and I have never indulged in any form of charity. My life was mediocre at best, with no outstanding achievements at any time in my life. As how many may put it, I am just a regular guy.

"I think you must got the wrong guy," I repeated to the woman.

She, on the other hand, was undeterred. "No, no, no. We're pretty sure we got it correct. You have a Reddit username called /u/F0rgetfuL_Scribe, right?"

"Yes, I do," I said hesitantly, growing more confused by the moment. How did she got my name from Reddit? And what is the link between my alias in Reddit and a dying child's wish? I asked all of her that.

"Well it's a really long story..." she replied.

I stared at the clock on my office wall. "And I got all the time for it. Now tell me."

+++++

The door creaked loudly as I pushed it open, stepping into a small room with a single bed in the middle, flanked by all sorts scary looking machinery. The whole room smelled like medicine. A boy laid on the bed, numerous tubes going in and out of him. Beside him, a bouquet of flower lay dying, just like the boy.

"Hey Alex," I gently called out, as I pulled a chair and sat beside him. It still felt warm.

He stirred from his sleep, his eyes fluttered weakly as he adjusted his head towards me. It seemed that he had undergone a lot of pain, and I felt a strange feeling welling at the back of my throat as I looked at him.

"Mr Scribe?" he called out, his voice barely audible amidst the beeps and bleeps of the machine.

"Hey, I'm here," I tried to smile. My hands brought out a book from the bag I carried. "And I brought you a gift."

He smiled weakly at me, his left hand reaching out. Both my hands held his in return. "Thank you for coming, Mr Scribe."

"Hey, no problem. Anything for my number one Reddit fan," I said, trying to choke back my tears. The foundation staff had warned me that meeting a beneficiary, especially a child, is never easy, but I did not expect how tough it would be.

"Mr Scribe, can you tell me the ending to your dragon story, before you post it on Reddit? Mummy said I may not be able to go on Reddit anymore."

I nodded and pulled my chair closer. "So Merrybeard and his gang had been attacked by the Dragon's Henchmen, and they were certain that they will be meeting their end..."

+++++

That night, his mother called me, crying softly through the phone. "Thank you," she said in between sobs, "for making Alex's last wish come true."

As I hung up the phone, I was unable to hold my tears in any longer. I let them trickle down my face, as my fingers typed in a new entry in my calendar: Alex's Memorial Service.

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