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Gail Ylitalo

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Be Careful What You Wish For...
By Gail Ylitalo
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Not rated by the Author.

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Robin Williams stood in front of the bathroom mirror, like she did every morning, and carefully checked out her flawless complexion. She found satisfaction in the not too dark, oval-shaped face that brought out her icy blue eyes and high cheekbones, which were just the right size—she knew that models would kill for her bone structure. Robin took special pride in her rich, full lips—pouty lips, her boyfriend called them.

“Yeah, girl,” she whispered, “you’d be the most popular girl at the Harvest Dance if Mrs. Jones hadn’t forced you to volunteer and help out at the nursing home!”

Mrs. Jones taught the family life class and had insisted that those students who wanted an “A” must help with Sunday Manor’s Halloween party. It wouldn’t have been such a pain, but the old folk’s party was the same night as the school dance!

“I wish I’d never grow old,” said Robin, wistfully, while admiring her image in the mirror. As she reflected on the horrors of old age, she suddenly felt a chill work its way up her spine and, for the briefest moment, saw a large, dark form behind her. Quickly she turned around, but there wasn’t a soul there. Troubled by this strange occurrence, she gave her reflection one more glance before hurrying back to her bedroom. As she closed the door, she thought she heard a faint laugh. With an uneasy shrug, she rushed out, praying she’d not be late for her first class.

Robin felt a “presence” dogging her steps all day. She would look over her shoulder expecting to see something, but nothing unusual could be seen in the overflowing hallways or crowded classrooms.

During lunch she made a quick trip to the bathroom to freshen up and comb her luxurious hair. While standing at the sink, she thought about the nursing home and silently wished again that she’d never grow old. As she started to turn away from the mirror, she was terrified to see, in the mirror’s reflection, the same dark form she’d seen earlier! “What are you?” she stammered, forcing herself to turn around. Seeing nothing there, she felt a flood of relief. The only sound she heard was that of a faucet dripping. Wasting no time, she grabbed up her things and fled, nearly knocking down a girl who’d just entered the bathroom!

Robin decided that the best thing for her to do was to force the black shape from her thoughts and concentrate on her classes. She avoided the bathroom for the rest of the day and on the walk home she stuck close to her friends. It’s only my nerves, she told herself. I’ll be okay once this stupid nursing home party is over!

“Girls, take a tray and go around to all the residents,” instructed the ever-effervescent Mrs. Jones. Smiling and waving, she maneuvered her way through the students.

“She reminds me of the fairy godmother in one of those Disney movies,” mumbled Sara Mann, Robin’s closest friend and fellow member of the “IN” club.

“Let’s just get this done!” snapped Robin. “I don’t like it here. The place smells like medicine!”

“What do you expect? I think these people are cool. There’s one lady who is over a hundred! Can you believe that?” gushed Sara, while picking up a tray filled with gooey treats.

“Yeah, they’re old so they can gorge themselves on all this junk food,” answered Robin, peevishly. She picked up a sandwich tray and glanced around at a room just bulging with old people. “I wish I’d never get old,” she whispered to Sara, afraid that Mrs. Jones might hear her and take points off her grade.

“Ease up,” said Sara. “Show a little compassion,” she added, before merging with the residents.

“I just wish I’d never get old,” Robin repeated, to her friend’s departing back. “Is that so wrong?”

A cool breeze suddenly drifted in from an open window and mussed up Robin’s “drop dead for” hair. She shivered, involuntarily, as if invisible fingers had touched her neck. Startled by the touch, she almost dropped her tray, when she saw a large, black form standing behind an elderly man’s wheelchair. Mesmerized, Robin stepped towards the form but, like the breeze, it vanished as quickly as it had appeared. Quietly she stood and listened to the soft laughter and endless chatter of the residents. Why hadn’t anyone else noticed the dark form? Cautiously she carried her tray around the room, a puzzled look on her face. She mumbled a few words to those who talked to her and urged the minutes to fly by, longing to go home and forget that’d she’d ever seen life’s senior citizens.

Later that night, after a long, hot bath, as she tossed and turned on her designer sheets, she scolded herself for letting the old people get to her. She wasn’t going to end up like that! She would wish herself young! As if her thoughts had been read, she heard someone coming slowly up the stairs.

Her heart pounding, she sat up and reached for the lamp by the bed. Her fingers froze on the switch when, ever so slowly, the bedroom door started to creak open. Terrified, she heard her words repeated back to her: “I wish I’d never grow old—I wish I’d never grow old!”

“Who’s there?” she managed to utter, as a feeling of horror filled her mind. “IT” answered with a maniacal laugh as the room turned deathly cold and filled with a thick mist. Robin wanted to scream, but nary a sound escaped her lips. Eyes wide with terror, she watched as “IT” crept out of the vapor. Instinctively she knew that she would indeed never grow old, as Death reached out its decaying hand, forcefully grabbed her by the wrist……and slowly pulled her into oblivion!

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Reviewed by Shirley Cheng 8/21/2004
Scary! Sudden ending...
Reviewed by m j hollingshead 1/8/2004

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