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A wizard regrets his spiteful decision to change a young boy’s fate

In a place where unknown darkness lingered beyond wooden shelves, where books flew and pages of paper fluttered like flowers, where clocks ticked and chimed far away and the lanterns were strung with glimmering strings, a wizard sat in the center of the floor. His aged hands hovered over a luminous globe. With a flick, the clouds cleared from it, revealing a boy with messy hair and untied shoelaces trudging down a sidewalk, kicking at a rock. The boy reached his mansion and was welcomed home with hugs and kisses.

The wizard summoned a book with a wave, a mean gleam in his eyes. He deftly pulled a glimmering string from it, then wound the string around his fingers, again and again. He twisted and weaved the boy’s fate until he was satisfied, then tied the string to the book and watched it fly off into the darkness.

Years passed. The wizard’s hands began to tremble. His eyes, which used to be so brilliant and mischievous, were now wise and knowing, full of somber weight. One day, a book unexpectedly flew into his sight. The string inside was blackened at the edges. The wizard reached for it. Once the string was pulled out, the globe cleared, revealing the same boy, except now a youthful teenager. He was taking care of a coughing parent while working on homework under a dim candle. The teenager kept on writing, but soon he began crying, tears gleaming like crystals as they landed on his papers in large, wet circles.

Drift
Drift

The ticking and whirring and rustling and creaking in the room all suddenly stopped. For the first time in centuries, it was utterly, heavily silent. The wizard’s horrified expression was fixed on the teenager. His sobs echoed from the globe to fill the whole room with their sad, layered volumes.

The wizard rubbed at his eyes, then his wrinkled face, before he began to wring his robes with shaking fingers.

Abruptly he got up with a speed he thought had been long lost to time. The wizard grabbed a new, sparkling string and began to weave it into the blackened one with careful precision. The noise in the background started up again, softer, but growing louder as the puddles of pooling sunlight seeping in from windows began to move toward the west.

Finally, when soft, sleepy moonlight brushed against the shelves, the wizard was done. He tucked the string back into the book and sent it off. In the globe, the teenager awoke from restless slumber to find a parcel at his doorstep. Inside was a bottle full of pills and a wad of money. Immediately he jumped with delight and fed the pills to his sick parent.

The wizard watched with contentment at the teenager’s happiness. He then dismissed the sight from the globe.

He fell asleep on the floor strewn with fates.

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