The fire dancer was alone in the desert.
Night had long set. Morning was closer, but still felt so far away.
The flames circled in the air. Brushing the ground, kissing the stars.
Sparks flew out like comets, reaching towards the sky, never landing.
“Those are wishes.”
The dog that had been following me spoke in a quiet voice.
“She’s a wish merchant. She buys wishes, in exchange for others.”
The dog sat at my feet, we watched the fire dancer.
“The only real problem with dealing with her…if you sell her a wish, you can never have that wish again.
“Once she buys it from you…it’s hers. She can make it come true. If you wish for a certain job…a certain person to fall in love with you…then you sell that wish…poof. You’re screwed.”
I sat in the dirt next to the dog, fire causing our shadows to flicker and stretch.
“She knows if it’s a true wish, too. No wishing for a hamburger. No wishing for a new hair cut. They need to be…unobtainable in the current moment. A wish that will change your life.
Do you have anything to sell her?”
The fire dancer stopped and walked over to the dog and I.
“Do you have a wish for me? I promise something in return.”
“It’s a cruel magic, man. But very effective. It’s a sacrifice. Few things are as potent as the sacrifice of a potential future.”
I stood up, brushing dirt from my pants and stood in front of her.
“Wish into the fire.”
I whispered my wish. The fire glowed and began to move on its own.
She started to dance again, laughing and crying and swinging the flames. A shooting star shot from a flicker and became a star.
“It’s funny,” the dog said. “You people wish on stars…when stars are really just wishes bought and sold.”
The dog and I walked away into the desert.
I felt a hole open in my chest, like I had lost something, or I was homesick.
“It’s cruel magic. But powerful.”
The dog looked up and licked my hand, then ran off into the dark.
My chest felt hollow, but I felt a warmth – a glow- the beginning of something. The promise of something new.