Heya, I’ve been meaning to write something, but since it’s been a long time since I tried my hand at something original, I hope it turns out well. If there’s anything you don’t like, be open about it. I intend to get better as time goes on.
From This Day Forth
Leslie Audet Is A Wishmaker
It was a few minutes before 6 AM and Leslie Audet could feel that it was just another cold november morning. The windows to her apartment were closed, but she was positive that it was frosty even in here. She groaned, still half-asleep, and tried to bury her head beneath the sheets. It was slightly warmer, but not by that much of a margin. She needed new sheets, some which actually did their job during this most joyous of seasons. The woman knew that, but also knew that she wouldn’t get to buy any this month or the next, or probably ever. Unless she got a raise, which was of course doubtful.
She stayed beneath the sheets, closed her eyes and tried to fall asleep again. It was something she’d done quite often in her college days, where she’d managed to get more sleep when at any other time in her life. Those days were over, as her alarm clock decided to remind her. Its horrible noise shattered the peace of mind she established and made the woman jump up and storm across the floor, every step a painful reminder of how cold it was in here. She slammed her hand down on the damn thing and then there was only silence.
Leslie remained there for a moment. The city’s lights managed to penetrate those old curtains of hers with ease and covered her bedroom in a dim luminescence. It was, like the rest of her apartment, entirely unremarkable. An unremarkable wardrobe, an unremarkable cabinet, and an unremarkable bed with slightly stained sheets. Leslie would have lied if she said she liked how it looked.
A noise came from above, she heard the ceiling creak as someone moved. She heard a loud voice, screaming obscenities, which was soon added by more voices complaining about the rising noise levels. Leslie let out a sigh as she stared down on her alarm clock. The worst part about sunday mornings was always when it woke up the guy above her, as he was one of those cholerics who went into a frenzy whenever anything happened. Leslie hated that guy as much as this apartment, but after five years of this, it was pretty much a part of her routine.
As the complaining died down and everybody presumably receded to their beds again, Leslie, with another sigh, went for the door and into the biggest room of her apartment. Flipping on the light switch, she casually glanced over an unremarkable couch, an unremarkable table and unremarkable boxes piling up along the wall. Ignoring it all, she went straight for the bathroom and used the chance to glance directly into the mirror.
“Still a gorgeous baby girl,” Leslie remarked through clenched teeth.
Needless to say, she hated how she looked. It wasn’t the fact that she was thirty-nine or that her red hair decided that now was the right time to start getting grey. It wasn’t that she was particularly unhappy with those small breasts that pushed against the fabric of her nightdress, nor the wrinkles, which looked like they were becoming more and more prominent, day after day. Neither was it her many freckles. No, it was the nightdress itself. A cute, pink thing with frills and her name stitched onto the right breast. She’d gotten it for a discount after befriending a skilled tailor in university, but that had been more than a decade ago.
She hated looking at herself, a woman that looked almost too eager to grow old, in clothing that made her feel so childish. Leslie sighed and proceeded to lift the dress up, so that her underwear became visible. She stared at it for a moment. The legs truly didn’t belong to a young girl anymore and the diaper almost looked like it fit perfectly to her new, granny-sort of look.
Another sigh escaped her as she let the dress fall. At least her continence was still in tact, as her bladder made itself noticed rather quickly, but she didn’t care about the pressure and just let herself go in the diaper. It was a process she was used to, by this point, but standing in the mirror, knowing the diaper was getting soaked beneath that frilly dress, it actually brought a smile on her face.
“Still a gorgeous baby girl,” Leslie told herself with a bit more confidence.
She couldn’t be a real child, so she’d have to settle for dressing like one. How old she got didn’t matter, Leslie told herself and turned to walk away from the bathroom. She turned the light off behind her and quietly walked into her living room, seating herself on the couch and staring at the TV monitor and the console below. Five games remained, the rest of her once so vast collection she’d pawned off.
This room looked dull, too, so Leslie decided to kick back and just stared at the ceiling. The slight crinkle of the diaper was her only respite, as every sunday morning. She missed having a computer, but the internet wasn’t for her, not after Clara had messed her life up in a most ridiculous manner. Well, it hadn’t exactly been Clara’s fault. Forming friendships at work was different than at college and Leslie had been far too idealistic concerning that horrible woman.
Time crawled along in the slowest pace imaginable and the artificial illumination gave way for the natural light of the sun. Leslie, as always, only barely noticed, as she never bothered to move her curtains. The woman in the apartment on the opposite side of the road was a rather prominent person in the district. While it was clear that she suffered from some sort of mental illness, she was apparently deemed safe enough to live on her own. So she took to stalking people or staring at them from her apartment window. Leslie had made the mistake of befriending her five years ago, much like she had tried to do with everyone back then.
The results had left her with a distrust towards law enforcement and a rather jaded opinion of lawyers.
Her grumbling stomach ripped Leslie away from her thoughts. She was thankful for the timely intervention of her body, lest she’d go down another bad road and rose up immediately, only to be interrupted by the ringtone of her mobile phone. She turned to the door, where her jacket hang and hurried over there, picking up her phone from a pocket.
The number spelled out on it belonged to a friend of hers, one who only ever called these days to whine about her life.
Another sigh escaped Leslie as she pressed a button and answered the phone. “Heya, Annie,” she said with as little enthusiasm as possible.
She expected to hear the noise of someone crying, some gurgle of meaningless words crashing against her delicate eardrums, but none of that was found. “Yo, Leslie, you wanna meet up today?”
The voice sounded both happy and sober, two states of mind Leslie thought impossible to coexist within Annie at this point, so she just remained silent for a second too long.
“You still there?”
She shook her head. “Wha? Yeah, of course I’m still here. You sound lively, did something happen?”
“I’ll tell you when you get over here,” the voice said over the phone.
Leslie rolled her eyes but looked around her home. She didn’t really feel like spending the rest of her sunday in this rotten place. “Sure,” she answered, trying for a smile.
“Cool, when can I expect you?”
“Somewhere around ten, if that’s alright with you.”
“Sure. Do hurry up, though. Weatherman said there’s gonna be heavy snowfall today.”
“Kay, bye,” Leslie answered and closed the call before Annie could answer.
She remained standing for a moment more, feeling the padding press against her legs and her bottom, so soft and comfortable. Considering she only just wet it, she wondered whether she could keep it on and just get some pants, but decided against it. She went into the bathroom once more, took off the diaper, rolled it up and threw it into the bin she kept for them. After that she wiped her privates with some toilet paper.
It took her about half-an-hour more to put on makeup and dress herself but forewent breakfast, as she did almost every single day. Today she opted for unremarkable pants, a sweater and the thickest jacket she had. Then she got her scarf, a woolen hat and mittens.
Everything was ready and then she went out into the stairway. The floors looked as rustic as the apartments, yet it seemed more of a charm point here than inside. She ignored it, told herself that it was just her home being horrible and then locked the door.
As she walked down she saw the landlord by the door. He was an arab-looking man in his mid-thirties, who was slightly overweight, sharply dressed and had one of those large beards which had gotten trendy at some point or another. Leslie put on her best smile as she walked down the stairs.
“Hello, Asad,” she said, keeping to the first name basis they’d established over the years.
“Morning, Leslie,” he said, not even looking at her, as he checked his mail. “I’ve gotten complaints about your alarm clock, again. Most people want to sleep in on sundays, so could you make my life easier and do the same?”
She halted in her tracks as he said that, felt a shiver run down her spine. For some weird reason, people telling her off made her feel almost a child again, mischevious and small. But Asad was like the rest of the world and he wasn’t part of her littlespace. Of course, she knew that there were complaints, since the house was pretty clairaudient. So, Leslie nodded. “I’ll turn it off on sundays, then. That should get everybody off your back.”
He looked at her with a soft smile. Once, Leslie had considered him attractive, but that had been before he’d grown himself that horrid beard. “Thanks, Leslie,” he said, before he turned his eyes back to the letters.
And with that she vanished out into the open city.
The district she lived in was worn-down, dirty, but at least wasn’t filled with as many criminals as one might expect. There were some people Leslie would’ve described as ill of mind, at least one drug dealer and she was also certain that the boss of the chinese restaurant was involved with the mafia, but that was everybody she could think of. Yes, this district might be among the worst in the city, but she could still tolerate it. The worst part living here was the weather anyway.
If it wasn’t raining, it was cloudy and if it wasn’t cloudy, there was fog. Even today the sky was colored in a grim grey-ish tone that would soon give way to snow. Honestly, she wasn’t sure how happy she should be about this, but decided to not care. Instead, she walked along the streets of her home and watched how the city came more and more to life as she walked out of that broken down district.
There weren’t that many people on their way, so she was happy to take the subway to her friend’s place. Some personnel checked the tickets, some homeless lady tried to sell her a paper she didn’t want to buy and, of course, some creepy guy in a long coat leered at her. At least he got out a station before her, so that was a plus point.
Annie lived ten stations away from Leslie, on the edge of the city, where the air smelled of salt and the rushing of waves could be heard in the distance. It was a green place during the summers, with lots of trees by the wayside, expensive hotels and shops. The residents had said it was a victim of gentrification, rent spiked, many people from five years ago were gone. Leslie knew that the few people who spent their lives here were either already looking for a new home or trying to fight a hopeless fight against the new city the politicians were creating. Of course, Annie was neither of those.
Annie lived close to the daycare where she used to work, before she had her emotional breakdown. Paranoia, drug addiction, anancasms, it had all sent her down a steep cliff. Nowadays, the woman kept to herself, spent her days hiding away, drinking booze, crying how miserable her life was and failing to get proper treatment for her mental illnesses. Once upon a time, Leslie had liked her, but as she approached the house Annie lived in, she couldn’t help but feel the want to turn right back around.
She rang the doorbell, which was answered by a ring of the door, signalling her to open it. Inside, the house was of a much better quality than her place. The ceiling didn’t look cracked, the stairs were freshly painted, the smell of chemicals was in the air as the housekeeper had clearly gone over the floor recently.
Annie lived on the third floor, where she occupied a two room apartment much like Leslie’s, except, of course, much better decorated. And more filled with trash last she checked in. Annie had become sort of a hoarder ever since she started to fear her neighbours. Leslie prepared herself for a horrid smell to drift into her nostrils, but as the door opened, she was greeted by the soft smell of scented candles and a warm smile by her friend.
“Leslie,” Annie said and put her arms around the other woman. “You came!”
“Yeah, of course I did,” she answered, awkwardly putting her arms around Annie’s back.
The other woman loosened her grip. “Come in. Come in,” she said and gestured for Leslie to follow her. So she did, closing the door behind her.
Annie Sherman was a grotesquely fat woman of fifty years with a pig nose and hair she dyed a different color every month. This time it was a shade of red mixed in with streaks of blue. Leslie thought it looked ugly, but admitted to herself that she was just worried that there would be less grey in Annie’s hair than her own. Annie also managed to dress in unflattering clothing, but Leslie knew that she’d simply stopped caring at one point or another.
They walked into the woman’s living room, which reeked of cigarettes and alcohol, though there were some trash bags scattered across the floor. Old food was rotting away on the table, right beside a fresh bag of potato chips. She spotted four candles burning behind them, all vanilla scented and the windows were open, too. Still, the different odors mixed together in a sickly sweet smell. Leslie hated it immediately.
“So, you’re still the same, huh?” She asked, kicking a trash bag that lay in her way.
Annie cleaned some magazines off the couch and gestured Leslie to sit down, though she herself only moved away after putting the magazines down the couch again and lifting them up again. She did that four times and finally receded to the wall by the window. “Yeah,” she said with an awkward smile. “I got in touch with another doc, though. So I hope that goes well.”
Leslie shrugged and finally settled down, looking at the old food. She wasn’t sure what it was, but once upon a time, probably a soup. She looked at it and then couldn’t bear it anymore, taking it and walking into Annie’s kitchen. Her friend quietly watched, as if she was trying evaluate what was happening. Leslie figured it some new fear, some new compulsion and didn’t really care. She cleaned the bowl with her hands, since Annie had no dishwasher.
The fat woman walked up to the kitchen door, still looking at her. “You don’t need to do that, you know?”
Once more, Leslie shrugged. “I like work, helps me not think about my own shit.”
Annie folded her arms and leaned against the door, it creaked ever so slightly. “Still trouble with that Clara woman?”
“Everybody started ignoring me ever since the new boss showed up. He cares about how we treat each other, mostly because he doesn’t want any drama at work. Clara just tries to be subtle about it, as always and when he’s not there … I guess I should find a new job.”
“You’ve been saying that for two years now,” Annie said, her gaze piercing through Leslie.
She smiled at that. Leslie didn’t intend to get another job. She’d considered suicide more seriously than that. It wasn’t just moving away from the city. She had no coin, no family, no idea how to even start a new life somewhere else. Somewhere along the line, she’d lost the spunk of her youth and just wanted to remain in an endless cycle of daily work. That was the adult thing to do, after all.
“I’m just complaining, it’s not really as bad as I make it out to be,” Leslie said, water flowing through her finger, an empty smile on her lips.
“Rick said Clara’s a high functioning sociopath, your co-workers are all sheep and your boss is blind to anything that doesn’t concern whatever your company does,” Annie said.
Rick was another man she knew, an old love that remained at least a steady friendship. He was also far too open about other people’s problems, which left Leslie exasperated. “She’s not a sociopath, my co-workers got their own lives to deal with and my boss cares about the company. Rick just knows what I told him at my worst, seriously. Don’t take his word over mine. Can we talk about something else now?”
Annie shrugged. “I just wanted to make conversation, geeze.”
Then make it without digging into open wounds, you idiot, Leslie thought, rolling her eyes. Thinking of another topic was hard. Of course, she could’ve complained to Annie about Annie, but that seemed hardly appropriate. So she just quietly finished up with the bowl, before she went back to the couch in the living room and sat down.
“What did you want to talk about anyway?”
“Actually,” Annie said and went for her pockets, took out her mobile phone. “I wanted to talk to you about something that might interest you.”
She sat down beside Leslie, typing wildly on her phone. Her fingers were thick and clumsy, how she managed to work a phone with them was far beyond Leslie. Either way, she was happy that this wasn’t going to end up in a whine-a-thon like almost every other meeting they had these days. At least, she thought so at first, but then she noticed how Annie clicked her tongue while she typed, a clear sign that she just got caught up in another compulsion. Leslie looked at her, impatiently drumming her fingers on her knees.
The only thing that made her stay now was that she didn’t want to go home. Now that people were awake, she knew that the sounds would be unbearable. She hated it and Asad wasn’t helping, since he only ever talked about the noises she made, all while dismissing her own complaints.
“Is the price of this place still good?”
“My landlord spent the last two months raising the rent. It’s still affordable, but not for much longer, why?”
“Because I hate my place,” Leslie answered truthfully.
“I don’t think you want to live together with me. I know I’m wearing you out.”
“You already did,” Leslie said and gave her friend a smile to take the edge off her words.
It worked, it always did, as Annie gave her a small smile back. “Are you searching for a new place?”
“Not in earnest. I’ve got the cheapest apartment in the city, or close to it anyway, and my job won’t pay enough for a bigger one.”
Annie nodded. “Maybe you should look for another one. You’re smart, I’m sure you find something.”
She sighed. “I’m working for a company that spent the past few years growing. Everyday I’m expecting a raise, since everybody knows how much I’m helping out with everything.”
“Those are just excuses, though.”
Leslie let out a bitter laugh. “Maybe, maybe not. I won’t stake my whole livelihood on the off chance that I might find better work, though.”
Annie’s fingers danced across the phone and the woman exhaled loudly, shaking her head. “You’re just wasting away, though.”
That much was true, Leslie had to admit, but in the same vain, she simply shrugged. “We all do.”
Annie’s eyes fell and she looked at the phone for a solid minute. The quiet was welcome, since Leslie could take the chance to not think about her life, but rather something, anything else. They only got older and with every year that passed, Leslie wanted to think about what she’d done until now less and less. In a way, she knew that Annie felt the same way, but she blamed it on her illnesses, that she’d lived happily before. Maybe it was true, maybe not. Leslie couldn’t find an answer.
“I’ve got it, take a look.”
Leslie leaned over to catch a glimpse at whatever it was that Annie offered her. A website, with a simple blue design and in its middle was a window where one could type their name. She raised an eyebrow, “So you found a shady website on the internet? Color me impressed,” she said sarcastically.
“No, sheesh. Rick told me about it. It’s a weird site. You type in your name and then it just asks a few questions.”
“Still sounds shady, though.”
Leslie looked at her friend who handed her the phone. “Try typing in your name. You’ll see what I mean with weird.”
The woman sighed and did as she was told. Leslie Audet, she typed and suddenly a question flashed up before her.
>>Do you want your wishes to come true?
She stared at the window for a moment. Should she ask Annie, or just answer the question? A shiver ran down her spine, like bug crawling down and covering her in ice, and as it went, she stopped wondering and just started typing her answer. She hit Enter and then looked at the phone as the site vanished and gave way to Annie’s social network profile, where the mother texted her daughter rather viciously. Leslie ignored it and looked at Annie.
“The fuck was that?”
Annie shrugged. “Rick told me about it, it seemed fun, so I shared it with you.”
Yet Leslie couldn’t quite follow that train of thoughts. “It was just a question. I don’t even know what just happened with it. Who programs a site to ask a dumb question? Are they trying to be ominous?”
“It’s more like a game. You get a message later on where they explain the rules. It’s creepy at first, but you get used to the questions. I wanted to tell you because the messages indicate that some big event is happening on monday.”
The vagueness of those sentences made Leslie weary. “Why would you want to share a game with me?”
Annie offered her a sad smile. “You’ll see. It asks you if you have a wish, a desire you want to have fulfilled. I said that I want to leave my fears behind. I want to walk the outside world again, get back to work and life and everything I left behind. It said that on monday, I would find myself in a world where my wishes would come true. I don’t think it’s true, but a part of me does. I don’t know, but I thought, considering how much you’ve been there for me the past few years, it might be some fun for you, too.”
She felt her head hurting and rubbed her temples. “Really? You called me over for this dumb shit?”
Leslie shook her head and gave the phone back to her friend. “You do know I’ve got better things to do, right?”
Leslie rose up. “Stuff, Annie. I’ve got stuff to do!”
Before her friend could answer, she went for the door, happy that she kept the coat and shoes on. She closed the door without even saying goodbye and left the house without further notice. Outside, snow was falling and she stared up at the sky. Countless snowflakes fell down from the sky and Leslie could only hope that it wouldn’t end up like last winter. She hated to go to work through ice and snow. Either way, the sunday was hers now and she still needed to stay away from her home. And Annie, too, since this was pretty much the biggest waste of time she’d ever sent Leslie on.
The question from the site still lingered on her mind, though, and she reached for her own. It was a prize she’d gotten from Rick last christmas, one of the few gifts she could truly use. She turned it on and found it ringing with a message, though it came from noone she knew.
>>If You Want That Wish To Come True, Just Hit Enter.
She stared for a moment, then looked back at Annie’s apartment. There was a second part to this? Leslie groaned, but hit enter nonetheless. If it was a virus, she didn’t care. There was no vital information on that phone and she could do well without the ability of getting calls.
Instead of a virus, she received another message, however.
>>To Write Out One True Desire Is All It Needs To Set You On The Path Where All Your Wishes Come True:
There was an empty box beneath the message for her to write in, she looked at it and then up at the sky again. It wasn’t like she had anything better to do, so as she started to walk back to the train station she started to think on her answer.
She didn’t think it was true, either. Of course she didn’t think that. The city was dull and grey and boring, but it was her life and she knew that there was no more way to change it. She’d robbed herself of that hope. Her legs were hurting, there was an aching to her back and she felt a hundred years older than she was.
On whim, she decided to answer. “To have a young body again.”
But she didn’t hit enter, instead let the answer stand there. Leslie stopped in her walk, wondered how a world might look where this might work, where this would send her to a younger body. What would she even do with it? What sort did she want?
She’d read some stories about alternate dimensions, about regressing into a younger body. It was a fantasy she liked, something she loved to happen to her. Half-heartedly she also remembered some roleplaying she’d done in the past, the ages her characters had been. Always children, innocent and unspoiled by the rotten world.
“To have a body of ten years again,” she corrected the writing and sent the message to wherever.
Then she put the phone away again, sighing heavily. Monday morning, 6 AM was when her long road to death continued and in truth, wishful thinking wouldn’t be of any help then. Knowing that, she decided to take the train to the very last station, where she could at least take a walk and enjoy some unspoiled nature.