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A Wish for a Life

April 2nd, 2019 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
Imagine if you could make any wish come true but would cause the death of one random person.

A man, known as the Baron, lives in a castle atop a hill and is suspected of having a supernatural artifact that does this, causing many mysterious deaths in the nearby town for his own gain.  Each death is similar, with each person becoming suddenly frail and ghostly pale before dying within days.  The story initially seems one of despair, as no one can really prove this to authorities and people at random just keep dying.  Many supporting and likeable characters have their arc abruptly ended in this manner.

An investigator tries to solve this mystery but doesn't believe in superstition.  He's an outsider to the town and tries to bring science and reason he believes the townspeople lack.  He suspects more likely the Baron created this rumor to hide something more nefarious.  A friend of the investigator gets frustrated with the investigator's calm and patience as more and more people die.  Eventually, the friend's own sister becomes ill, signaling only a few days left to live.  The investigator still refuses to act.  The sister dies, and the friend becomes furious, decides to take things into his own hands, and goes up to the castle, killing the Baron in a climactic battle.  The friend is deemed insane and sent to a mental institution for life.

The conflict appears to be over, but the investigator can't shake the feeling something is still amiss.  He continues to go over his evidence, as well as examine new evidence from the Baron's castle he now has access to.  The investigator also now has possession of the artifact, preventing others from using it but also letting him study it.  He eventually figures out the Baron never had the artifact in the first place, never even knew about it nor the rumors by the townspeople.  The investigator notices instead that the artifact's actually been in possession of each person that died, passed along or stolen in secret after each death.  In other words, the victims all caused their own deaths by secretly being willing to make a wish at the expense of someone else's life, only to unknowingly take their own.
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