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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2253854
But she couldn't stop herself.
"No, Melissa, no."

The dog was howling. The baby was screeching. And Melissa was desperately muttering to herself.

Screeching baby under one arm, dog dogging her footsteps so closely he was tripping her up, milk-bottle-to-soothe-baby in the other arm and earmuffs-for-dog slung around neck, Melissa tried to get everything in place and stop herself from ... from ...

"NO, Melissa, NO."

She put the baby on the bed and, at first, tried to feed her the earmuffs, then realized her mistake and held the milk bottle in place. Balancing that in one hand, she tried to muff the dog's ears one-handedly and only succeeded in somehow getting milk to squirt over everything.

Throughout, the booming of the fireworks could be heard through the closed window and the sparks were visible behind the pulled curtains. She couldn't stop her tongue from saying it.

"I wish he gets ears as sensitive as Rover's."

It was done.

It was said.

There was no going back now.

Maybe I should've told you this before, but you wouldn't have been able to hear me over the crashing fireworks.

Melissa had a wish pending.

Yes, a wish pending.

When she was 11 years old (twelve years ago), she had rescued a fairy from a mean man. The fairy had given her three wishes — and she had only used two thus far. This was her third.

Her neighbour now had ears as sensitive as a dog's.

Is it any wonder the fireworks stopped?

The next day, at 6 AM, Melissa was awakened by the phone ringing. Rubbing her eyes, she went to answer it.

"Please, please would you babysit my daughter while I go to hospital?"

"Hospital?" Melissa was wide awake now.

"There's something wrong with my ears. I can hear everything. I even heard your footsteps, over from next door, as you walked to the phone in your bedroom slippers. I can't bear it. I need a Doctor to put it right."

"You don't."

"Yes, I do. And please, would you mind whispering? Your ordinary voice sounds so loud."

"It's okay, you don't need a Doctor. Just wait, it'll wear off."

She knew the effects of her wishes never lasted long. But in the meantime, she got several hysterical calls. When Mr. Adivasi, two streets away, started up his lawn mower. When Mrs. Khatau, over in the next block, played her music a tad too loudly. When the Westrom twins had a wrestling match, cheered by their cousins, over in the park. All these hit those sensitive ears like bullets.

"I'll never do anything noisy again. Ever. What's that, Melissa? Speak up, I can't hear the whisper. My ears have gone normal again."

"They have, but you'll have to keep your promise, or you never know ..."

"Oh, I can't bear the thought of fireworks any more. Why, even striking a match is going to give me the shudders from now on!"

They were independent of noises on July 4 forevermore.

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