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The Next Installment of the Monkey's Paw

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Over one hundred years ago was the last time it happened. The first wish had been for money, the last and final wish was for death. No one knew where it was from or how it worked, and they will probably never find out.

Emily was a normal, average girl. She'd grown up with her parents in a small neighborhood. Her mom was a baker. She loved to make pies and deserts, and Emily would be the tester, seeing which pudding she liked the most. Emily's dad was a builder. Every day he would go out at seven in the morning before Emily left for school and he wouldn't be back till five. But the time Emily and her father had after work and on the weekends were magical. Emily treasured it.

One tragic day a fire started in the house. It began when Emily's mom over cooked some pies. The cooker lit up in flames and the fire alarm started to screech and ring its warning. Emily was seven. She had learned about fire safety in school. The fire man had taught them a special song about fires. Emily stood panicking, fumbling trying to find the words to the song in her head. With all this she had actually started to forget about the fire. At the same time Emily's parents were downstairs, her mom phoned the fire service and shouted to try and get Emily's attention, whilst Emily's dad tried to fight the flames with a fire extinguisher. The flames got bigger and the fire service arrived pulling Emily's mom and dad out of the fire. But Emily's father tugged and pulled away, running back into the blazing house to find his daughter. When he found her she was lying unconscious, probably due to the dark, black smoke. He picked her up in his arms and ran towards the door. That day, he sacrificed his life to save his daughter. He was her hero.

From then on Emily went to her dad’s grave every day to replace his flowers, but usually she ended up replacing the whole graveyards. One day before school she came to place a fresh bunch of flowers down. But this wasn't going to be like any ordinary day. The sun hid behind the clouds like a child hides behind a tree in hide and seek, fog danced around the air, and a weird silence lingered eerily. The grave seemed sad and lonely. Emily looked up at the sky, mesmerized by the thousands of dull, grey clouds above her. But when she looked back down at her father’s grave something flicked and caught her eye. The words ''James Bloom: 1966 - 2004. Loving father and husband" changed to "Use the paw. Three wishes. You will find it on the grave"

Emily looked down to where her father had been buried. What was happening? Was she hallucinating? Grass had started to grow on the mound of dirt, and a paw lay on top of the mound. Emily stood for minutes staring at the paw, as if she was paralyzed. She thought about what the message said... Three wishes... What would you wish for? She had everything she needed. You dream about having three wishes when you’re a child. You think about wishing for beauty, money or love. But Emily didn't want this. A sudden weird and wonderful thought entered Emily's mind.

She picked up the hairy, shriveled paw, and almost immediately the message on her dad’s tomb stone changed again. ''You have three wishes. Use them wisely. You can not mess with fate or change the past or else there will be consequences.''
‘‘Change the past! I can’t change the past but...!" Emily stopped mid sentence. Thoughts unraveled in her mind. She couldn't change the past like she had wanted to... But maybe she could go back to when her dad was alive.

Emily looked at the watch on her wrist. She was going to be late for school! Shoving the paw in her bag she started to run. School wasn't far. She arrived at school 15 minutes late and got told off by her teacher, but she didn't mind because she was too busy thinking about the paw. She couldn't concentrate through her lessons, causing her teacher to have a word with her at the end of the day. It seemed like Emily would never get home and be able to look at the mysterious object that she had picked up earlier that day. She thought the bus ride home took forever, stopping every 5 minutes with passengers piling on and spilling back out. It was just like the waves at the edge of a beach, rushing up the sand, and then trickling back into the sea.

When Emily finally did get home she hurried up to her room, nothing else on her mind except the paw. She took it out of her bag warily. Suddenly questions like ''what is it?'' and "where did it come from?" filled her mind. Maybe someone had put it there as a joke... But what about her dads grave stone? She decided to make a wish. The way Emily saw it was if it worked then she would have her wish and she would be happy, if it didn't then she hasn't lost anything. "I wish i could go back in time to when my dad was alive" whispered Emily quietly so that her mom wouldn't hear. "EUGHH!" exclaimed Emily dropping the paw. The paw had moved and one of the fingers was now held up in a counting gesture. Her mom came running up the stairs, but before Emily's mom could even enter the room Emily disappeared. It wasn't like in movies where she would go into a cloud of smoke or sparkles and vanish... She just kind of faded...

Emily's wish had worked straight away, it was as if she was Aladdin and she had her own genie and lamp. She had defiantly gone back in time. Her long blonde hair had changed back to a cute straight bob. Her made-over face was now clean and rosy. She was 7 years old again and her dad had just pulled up on the drive. Emily could barely contain her excitement. She was so happy just to see her dad again. Before she went downstairs to greet her dad Emily looked round her cheerful, little bedroom. Teddy's lay untidily all over her bed, her pens and crayons were scattered over the floor, and her calendar was on the day 24th September 2004. It was a Friday; she must have just come back from school. A sudden thought struck Emily's mind, like a bolt of lightning strikes a tree in the middle of a storm. Her dad died on the 25th September, and it was a Saturday. Emily's dad was going to die tomorrow! Her mom was already baking pies; the warm, homely smell of pies filled the house. Emily's mom had stopped making pies after the day her dad died. She seemed to have nothing that now made her happy; Emily was all she had got. Emily started thinking about using the paw to wish for her dad not to die, but then she realized... She wasn't allowed to wish to change the past. She was just going to have to save her dads life herself. Just like how he had saved her life previously. Her thoughts were disturbed by the sound of a key in a door.

Emily waited in suspense remembering how she used to run down to her dad and hug him just as he put his bags down. Her days with him were going to be perfect. That first hug after years of knowing her dad had died saving her felt amazing. Emily was on top of the world! She felt like crying she was so happy, but she knew that would spoil their time together so she just enjoyed the time they had. That night Emily and her father sat and tested her moms pies, cuddled up on the sofa giggling at their favorite DVD’s and had what the first time round would have been a normal night, but now it was a lot more. It was magical.

The next day Emily awoke abruptly after having a bad dream. She dreamed about how many ways a house fire could start. A toaster burning toast and setting on fire, her mom’s straighteners setting on fire on the wooden dressing table, or of course her mom’s pies burning and the oven going up in flames. These were only a few of the ideas that Emily had dreamed about, but she was determined to not let anything happen to her dad again. He meant too much to her. She may have only looked seven but she still had the mind of a thirteen year old, and she was going to use it to stop her dad’s death. "For as long as i live, my dad will be fine and nothing will happen to him." said Emily talking to herself determinedly.

That day it seemed like her dream was real... For breakfast Emily's dad had toast, this didn't cook right and started to burn. Even the smoke from the toaster was making Emily anxious; it reminded her of the fire. Her dad got the black toast out of the toaster, but he burned himself! "Ouch!! Ooh that hurt. Oh well, i S’pose I'll live ehh?" he said jokily whilst buttering the toast. Emily took one look at the piece of toast; it was simply charcoal to her. Maybe she was just being paranoid; there was no way she could have dreamed what would happen. Emily decided to check on her mom, the thought of her dad eating black rocks or coal had put her off for a while.

Emily's mom was stunning just like her. They both had bright, blue, sparkling eyes. When Emily stood in the sun on a hot day her eyes were shining diamonds. Her mom had curly blonde hair that always seemed to look smart and elegant, even in a morning. Where as Emily had straight hair just like her shaggy-haired, surfer man dad. He always tried to look trendy, even if he did show the few odd grey hairs. People often wondered how Emily's parents suited, but they were madly in love with each other.

When Emily found her mom she was in the bedroom straightening her long, beautiful curls. When she was done she put the straighteners on the wood. Emily caught sight of this immediately. ''Mom, aren't you going to turn those off? They could start a fire." asked Emily.
"Don't make such a fuss darling; it’s not very likely that we'll have a fire. Besides, you learnt that cute little song in the fire safety talk at school this week didn't you? You'll be safe forever don't worry." her mom replied whilst trying to shoo her out the room.

Emily was now getting worried. Everything that she had dreamed of was now coming to life... She knew that the pies were going to burn sooner or later. The fire alarms sharp ringing tones had already started. It seemed like it was sooner rather than later. It was all happening to soon thought Emily. Her parents rushed frantically round the house waving tea towels at the fire alarm. This wasn't going to work. It was only going to get worse. She had to do something, and quick. But what could she do? She grabbed the battered, old phone from the dresser in her mom’s room. 999. Three numbers could save someone's life in an instant.

The fire truck was on its way, but Emily and her family were already in trouble. Flames burst up from the oven, setting the kitchen alight. But it wasn't like last time; Emily could hear the distant drone of the sirens. It was all coming back to her now. Her mom shouted up the stairs to her "Emily, come down! Get out! There’s a fire!"
"Get out, I'm coming!" Emily cried hysterically, but she was starting to feel dizzy. Smoke had filled the air. It was exactly the same situation as last time... But this time she had saved her dad. Her dad was safe but was she? She stumbled to the stairs walking unevenly, about to collapse. Her dad wasn't coming this time. The firemen were holding him tightly, but she could still hear his distant screams and cries for her. She had saved her dad but who was going to save her? Would she die saving her dads life?

Emily didn’t use the last two wishes from the monkeys paw, after all she hadn’t lived long enough into the future to even find the paw, and her dad’s grave didn’t exist for her to find it on. It was as if the monkeys paw had never existed, yet the world was still different because of it. The paw was a rare kind of magic that changed the world without people even knowing, but was it for the better?





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