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2. checking the limits

1. You Are What You Wish

A Logical Start

on 2017-05-16 01:40:19

1955 hits, 52 views, 1 upvotes.

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Dinner was awkward that night.

Zoe was off with the goth girls she hung out with, and Mikey had gotten permission to stay over late at a friend's house, so it was just Mom and me and some leftover meatloaf. We both tried to make conversation, but every attempt petered off into heavy silence.

I wished I knew how to comfort her, because besides myself she was taking Grandpa's death the hardest. He was, after all, her father. I tried putting myself in her shoes: a woman in her early forties, a single mother to three kids, working her ass off everyday in the office trying to make ends meet. When Dad died, shortly after Mikey was born, she threw herself into her work, getting Grandpa to watch after us so she could cover up her pain with endless paperwork and business meetings. I could only imagine what she would be like now.

Not that I blamed her; we all had our coping mechanisms. Zoe became goth to build an identity for herself outside of "that girl with no Dad." Mikey threw himself into art and drawing, sketching horrifyingly realistic murder scenes for school projects which got him sent to the councilors office. And me? Before I received the stone, I poured my time into gaming, especially dark and difficult RPG's. I had spent so much time in Lordran that I could speed run Dark Souls in a day.

So yeah, Mom forcing herself to work upwards of 50 hours a week was probably the healthiest thing anyone in our family did.

After struggling for half an hour to find something to talk about Mom and I finally gave up and went off to do our own separate things.

My computer sat unused, the screensaver blinking through my uploaded photos. I had intended to get back to my usual habits and sink a few hours into the Ringed City DLC before calling it a day, but I just couldn't. Instead I sat in my desk chair tossing the stone back and forth in my hands. I should just ignore it; this afternoon's events had already proved how problematic this little rock could be if not used carefully. But it's surprisingly difficult to put aside a literal magic wishing stone! It was like those dumb books we read in second grade. If you give a Jon a magic wish rock, he'll want to make a lot of wishes. And if you let him make a lot of wishes, he'll probably fuck up the world...

On the other hand, there were a lot of things I could fix. Hell, not just with Mom and my family, but with the whole world. Global warming, world hunger, social inequalities; just a few quick words and all of those problems would be gone overnight. Except... Grandpa had said something about limits to the wishes, though he was strangely vague about what those limits were.

Fuck it, I thought as I reached to turn off the monitor. If I can't stop myself from using the stone I might as well use it constructively.

First things first. "I wish that I know all of the limits on the power of this stone." The stone flashed and I was forced to look away, and then I felt like a bomb exploded in my brain. A disordered jumble of knowledge wedged its way into my thoughts, scrambling my previous ideas as I tried to sort out this new information, but eventually my brain was able to process everything and turn it into a more organised list.

The majority of the limits boiled down to four major things:
-The stone did not change things directly, instead going back in time a picking alternative, equally likely outcomes for events which eventually built up to the desired change. This explained why everyone who didn't hear the wish thought everything was normal; the stone literally changed reality so that whatever was wished for was normal.
-Any event that the stone had previously changed could not be changed again. That was what was meant by wishes being irreversible. However, the effects of a wish could be undone by making a new wish which changed different events making the ultimate effect the same as before.
-The stone used the thoughts of the people listening to the wish to make the wish. That was why everyone who heard it remembered the old reality; their expectations literally shaped the new reality. It also allowed the stone to interpret vague or jumbled wishes into something coherent.
-Finally, the physical limit for the span of the stone's power was the universe. It was made at the beginning of time and would exist until the end and therefore had access to all events past, present or future. But any wish made could not effect anything outside of the universe.

I was shocked at the last one. When Grandpa said the stone had limits, I kind of assumed that meant there was a limited range on it. But apparently those limits where merely on how the stone could be used. Which meant it was entirely possible for me to make those world improvement wishes!

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