An Unforgettable Melody - Chapter 12

An Unforgettable Melody - Chapter 12

An Unforgettable Melody Ch. 12

“Hello, Mike,” she said with a smile.

“Selena!?”

He stood slack jawed in disbelief for several seconds.

“Mike? Everything ok?” Melody called. Walking up behind him, she asked in surprise, “Oh, who’s this? Do you two… know each other?”

“Yeah…” Mike replied. “This is Selena. She’s… she’s the one who gave me the locket.”

“May I come in?” Selena asked. “I brought your breakfast.”

“Uh, sure,” Mike said, still working to comprehend the situation.

As Selena pushed a cart holding their pancakes into the room, she took a seat in the rolling chair sitting at the small desk against the wall. Melody began eating her food, but Mike continued to eye Selena with suspicion; until he knew her purpose for being here, he wasn’t letting his guard down for a moment.

“Congratulations to the happy couple,” Selena began.

“Thank you,” Melody said, her voice muffled by a bite of pancakes.

“Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. What the hell are you doing here?” Mike inquired.

“You are confused, which is only natural. Do not worry, I will explain everything.”

“Mike says you’re the one who gave him the locket. Is that true? Did you know about me when you gave it to him?” Melody asked.

“Of course,” she replied. “It is quite a long story, but suffice to say that I know more about you than anyone, Melody.”

“If that’s true,” Mike mused, “Then wouldn’t that make you a genie as well?”

Selena smiled. “Very perceptive. I am indeed a genie, though much different than Melody.”

“So… if you’re a genie… does that mean you know where I came from?” Melody inquired. “I have no memory of my existence before being placed in my vessel. Do you know anything about that?”

Taking a deep breath, Selena responded, “Yes, I know everything. I could tell you, but it would be much better… to show you.”

“Show us what?” Mike asked defensively.

“I have a duty that I must fulfill,” Selena began to explain. “The vision that I must impart upon the two of you is part of that duty. Once you have seen it, you will understand everything. Still, the choice is yours. Melody, do you wish to see your origins?”

“I do,” she said.

“I must warn you,” Selena cautioned, “the images you will see may be… unpleasant. Are you sure?”

Melody looked at Mike for his confirmation, but he shook his head, saying, “I can’t answer this one for you. It’s your call. I’ll support you no matter what.”

After pondering for a minute, Melody answered, “I want to know. As long as Mike can be with me through it all, I want to see everything you have to show me.”

“Of course. I would never do anything to separate the two of you. If you are ready, please sit on the bed and face each other.” As the newlyweds did so, Selena walked over to them and placed a hand on a shoulder of each of them. “Nothing I say can prepare you for what you are about to experience. You will see visions of pain and hardship before we are done, and I will not be able to end the vision early. Once we begin, you must see it through to completion. Are you ready?”

The couple nodded, holding hands tightly. Selena placed her hands on each of their foreheads. Both Mike and Melody felt a tingling sensation, like when Melody granted a wish, but much stronger. Soon, their eyes glazed over, and they entered a trance as the vision began…

*****

“Maya, I must advise against this.”

“I will be fine Lea. It is only a short walk to draw water from the well.”

The two sisters had been close for years, always looking out for each other’s wellbeing. Having settled in the town of Samaria, they each met their husbands within days of each other and were married soon thereafter. Lea’s husband, Tamir, was a kind man, who built their home next door to her sister’s home at great cost to himself, all so Lea could be with her sister anytime she needed. Maya’s husband, Ari, was not so kind a man. He was known for his temper, but was still well regarded and respected among Israel’s religious community. This was in large part due to his familial connections, as both his father and grandfather had been respected Rabbis in the Temple of Jerusalem. Even with his family ties, most doubted that Ari would ever make it as far as his forefathers had, what with his temper.

Though they lived in Samaria, Ari would often be called away for work in Jerusalem, resulting in absences of a month or longer. Normally, under Jewish customs, Maya would have travelled with him, but Ari always instructed her to remain behind. “You had best look after my house,” he would always say. Being the devoted wife she was, and also due to the fear she harbored of his anger, Maya complied with her husband’s wishes. In secret, Ari would use these trips to find comfort in the arms of many women, free from the wandering eye of his wife and sister-in-law. Lea had long suspected this, but, under Jewish law, was powerless to do anything to stop it.

On this day, Ari was once again away, having been gone a month already. The morning previous, Maya had received a message that he would be gone longer than normal, likely another month. She tried to avoid going out alone as much as possible, as dangerous as it was for a woman to do so in the world in which they lived. But today, she had little other choice, as their water reservoir had run dry, and more would be needed for the extra month that her husband would be away. Walking out to the stable, she prepared the horse and cart, loading it with empty jars for the water.

“At least let me come with you,” Lea protested. “It will be much safer if we both go.”

“Absolutely not, Lea. You are with child, and look like you could give birth any day now! You will stay inside and rest, I will draw the water,” Maya answered.

Sighing in defeat, Lea replied, “Very well. But please, be careful.”

“Of course,” she said, hugging her sister before leading the horse toward the well at the edge of town.

Lea returned to her sister’s home to wait for her, as Tamir would not be home until late that evening. Relaxing in a simple, wooden chair, she drifted off for a nap, rubbing her stomach every so often to soothe her baby. Some time later, she was awoken by the sounds of Maya’s cart returning with the water, and she made her way out back to help her sister unload the jars from the cart.

Holding the reins of the horse as Maya unhitched him from the cart, Lea asked, “Did you have any trouble? You were gone longer than I thought you would be.”

“No, no trouble at all,” Maya said.

Her face indicated that something was weighing on her mind. As she led the horse back to the stable, Lea saw the back of her robes; they were dirty and tattered, as if she had torn them on something.

“My God! Maya what happened?”

“Nothing… I… I am fine…”

Inspecting her clothes, Lea continued, “You are certainly not fine. What happened? Did you fall? Was there an animal at the well?”

“No, no, nothing like that,” Maya replied.

Taking a firm grip on her hand, Lea said, “You are my sister. You have never been able to lie to me, so please stop trying and tell me what happened.”

With tears welling up in her eyes, Maya exploded, sobbing on her sister’s shoulder. “I was… violated!” she managed to scream through her tears. “On the way back… from the well. A man grabbed me, threw me into the bushes, and… and…”

“Maya, that is terrible!” she said, hugging her. “We must do something. We must tell the authorities. It is the only way to catch this man.”

“No!” Maya screamed. “If… if we tell the authorities, Ari will find out. If he finds out, he… he will be furious. I know he will.” Looking into her sister’s eyes, she continued, “If Ari finds out, he will blame me, and think that I was unfaithful to him, that the story of being violated is only to try to hide an infidelity from him. I know he would divorce me and leave me homeless on the streets. I know he would do it.”

As much as she wanted to convince her otherwise, Lea knew that her sister was likely correct. Once Ari had his mind set on something, there was almost nothing that could change his mind.

“Very well, if it is what you wish… I will keep this a secret. No one shall know,” Lea sighed.

“Thank you,” Maya whispered.

From that day forward, Maya continued her life as if nothing had happened, tending to her household duties without a second thought. Soon, she celebrated with Lea and Tamir at the birth of their child, a son that they named Lot. But the more she tried to push the memories of that fateful day from her mind, the more she felt that something was not quite right. After several weeks, her worst fears were confirmed. In a panic, she asked to have her sister over so that they could converse in private.

“Lea… something is wrong,” Maya said.

“What do you mean?”

“My… uncleanliness. It has not happened yet. It should have come a week ago, yet it never did.”

“Maya are you saying you’re…”

“I fear so. I am pregnant,” Maya choked through her tears.

Hugging her sister, Lea said, “We now have no choice. We must tell the authorities.”

“No! Please, no!”

“Maya, what other option is there? Soon you will begin to show. You cannot hide this from Ari. Even if he beds you the moment he returns, the amount of time will not be correct. He will know something is wrong. We must come forward with this.”

“I… I can conceal it, for a time at least. When the time does draw closer, I can feign a great sickness, and stay with you, so that you can take care of me. I am sure Ari will believe this, and I doubt he would want to nurse me back to health himself. Please, help me in this Lea.”

“I suppose…” she sighed in response.

For the next few weeks before Ari’s return, Lea helped Maya adjust her clothes in such a way that she would not appear pregnant, even as she began to show. When her husband returned, he was none the wiser, believing everything to be normal. This continued for six months, Maya concealing herself, never allowing Ari to suspect that she had become pregnant. Even in the few times that they made love, Maya was able to hide her body in the dark while diverting Ari’s attention elsewhere. She knew well that this was a dangerous game she was playing, but the danger increased tenfold if her husband learned of her violation.

As she entered the sixth month of her pregnancy, Maya worked at home one afternoon, preparing the food for dinner that night. Ari entered excitedly, saying, “Prepare the best meal you can for tonight. An honored guest has agreed to dine with us: the prophet Isaiah himself!”

“Isaiah? That is wonderful!” she agreed.

As her husband took his leave to meet with the prophet, Maya began preparing the bread, fish, and assorted fruits for the meal. As evening came, Ari and Isaiah entered the house right as the food was being placed on the table.

“Welcome to my home, wise Isaiah,” Ari said.

“Thank you, kind sir, and a wonderful home it is,” the elderly man said. “And who is this lovely woman?”

“That is Maya, my wife. Shall we eat?”

“Yes, thank you.”

As they dined, Maya remained silent for the most part, only speaking to offer more food to their guest or when directly spoken to. Her husband and Isaiah talked at great length about many religious and historical matters. Ari elaborated on his family history and experiences traveling to Jerusalem in an attempt to impress Isaiah. The prophet was polite, listening to every word his host said, but in truth was unimpressed with the man’s bravado. With the meal coming to an end, Maya began collecting the plates and taking them to the kitchen for cleaning. But on her way out, she tripped on the foot of her stool, almost falling to the ground. Thankfully, Isaiah was right next to her and deftly caught her in his arms.

“Oh my, careful my dear,” he said as she regained her footing. As he helped to steady her, his hand grazed her stomach, feeling the obvious bump hiding beneath her clothes. “Ari, you did not tell me you were expecting a child! Congratulations!”

Confused, Ari asked his wife, “Maya? You are with child? When did this happen?” Coming closer to her, he moved her robe aside and began inspecting her midsection. Now seeing how big she had grown, he glared at her, asking, “When did you conceive? Tell me the truth.”

Trembling with fear, she quietly said, “Six months ago…”

“Six months ago? I was in JERUSALEM six months ago!” he seethed in anger.

“Ari, please! I was violated, on the way back from the well! You must believe me!”

“LIAR! You are a pathetic, cheating WHORE!” Ari screamed.

Her impassioned pleas for understanding only increased his rage further. Unable to contain himself further, he first slapped her across the face then kicked her square in the stomach, landing her on the floor.

Spitting in her face, he growled, “Get out of my house. If I EVER see you again, I shall have you stoned!”

In fear for her life, Maya ran out into the street, wincing in pain from her husband’s kick. As she sobbed on the side of the road, she felt a gentle hand resting on her shoulder. Startled, she snapped her head around to find Isaiah with her.

“Dear girl, was what you said true?” he asked. “Were you violated?”

“I was. I swear it to be so,” she said breathlessly.

Sighing, he said, “There is nothing I can do to help you with your husband. This is his prerogative, as rash as his decision may be. Is there anyone you can stay with tonight?”

Thinking for a moment, Maya replied, “My sister, she lives next door. Oh, but she and her husband are away.” As she began to despair, the pain in her midsection began to increase. “Oh no, something… is not right… I hurt…”

Isaiah felt her stomach and placed his ear against her, listening for the sounds of the baby. “Dear God, I believe the baby is coming.”

“What?! Now?! I-It has only been six months!”

“The stress of your husband’s actions must have caused this,” he mused. “It matters not how at this point. Where is your sister’s house? We simply need a bed.”

As she pointed to Lea and Tamir’s dwelling, Isaiah swept Maya up in his arms, showing his surprising strength in his old age. Carrying her inside, he made his way to the guest room and laid her on the bed, encouraging her to remain calm all the while. After lighting a pair of oil lamps, Isaiah rushed back to her side, allowing her to grip his hand as tightly as she needed to.

“The… the baby is coming…”

“I know Maya, be strong. You can do this. God is with you. He will be your strength. Have faith, and PUSH!”

With an agonizing wail, she pushed with all her might, refusing to give up. After what felt like ages, she finally felt the baby exit her womb and come to rest in Isaiah’s arms. He grabbed the softest blanket he could find, cleaning and wrapping the tiny child with it.

“It is a girl,” he said with a smile, handing Maya her newborn.

“A… girl…” she managed to say.

As the two lay there, it became obvious to the older man that her health was not returning to normal in the aftermath of giving birth. Additionally, the child was barely breathing at all, being born far to early to have any real chance at survival.  Feeling Maya’s forehead, her body grew colder and colder by the minute, confirming his worst fears.

“Maya… I fear that you may be dying.”

“I care not… if only my daughter… can live…”

Shaking his head, he said, “It seems that life is slipping from her as quickly as it is for you. I… I am so sorry.”

“No… no this cannot be God’s will!” she cried in anguish. “Why bring her into this world only to kill her? After such a short life, containing nothing but pain and suffering? Isaiah, please tell me there is more than this. How can this be a part of God’s plan?!”

Isaiah bowed his head; he had no answer for her. Seeing the dejection in his face was the final straw. Maya had lost all hope.

“NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”

Her cries of pain seeming to echo to the farthest mountains and all the way up to the gates of Heaven itself. As she continued to lie there, weeping in despair, a strange sensation washed over the both of them. It was almost as though another person was there with them.

My dear girl, you have suffered such pain, came an ethereal voice.

“Who is there? Show yourself!” Isaiah said firmly.

As he spoke, a figure began to materialize in front of them. It was a beautiful young woman, tall with brown skin and soft, black hair. She bowed gracefully to them in greeting.

“Who… are you?” Maya asked. “Are you God’s angel?”

“No, I am no angel. My name is Selena. I hail from the lands far to the east of here,” she answered. “As you can see, I am not human. Rather, I am a Genie, and a member of the Water Tribe of the Jinn.”

“Be gone, strange creature,” Isaiah commanded. “This poor girl is on death’s doorstep, and I will not allow you to corrupt her soul in her final moments of life.”

With another graceful bow, Selena said, “I understand your fear and apprehension, great Isaiah, for it is only natural. However, that is the very reason I am here. Maya, your cries of pain have reached all the way to the bedchambers of my master, the King Jinn of the Water Tribe. They woke him from his slumber and pierced his very soul; he feels your agony. As his most trusted vizier, he sent me here to uncover the source of the pain, and has authorized me to assist in any way my magic will allow me to.”

“And how could you possibly help her?” Isaiah asked warily.

Approaching Maya, Selena observed, “Both mother and child are near death. As humans, my magic cannot simply heal them, as much as I wish it could; the only human capable of being healed by me without an actual wish is one who is assigned to me as my master, which they are not. But perhaps… there may be another way.”

Her eyes lighting up with a glimmer of hope, Maya asked, “Can you save my daughter?”

“I believe so, but… the solution may be upsetting to you.”

“Just tell me!” Maya cried.

“Shh, rest Maya. You need to save your strength,” Isaiah cautioned.

Selena began to explain, “As a newborn infant, my magic is capable of healing your daughter by first transforming her into a genie. Once that has been done, restoring her to perfect health would be quite simple. However, as a genie, she would not be able to remain amongst humans, and would have to come with me. In compensation for this, I am authorized to grant you, Maya, one wish. The wish would not be bound by normal Genie rules, and would be interpreted alongside your thoughts to ensure that you are given what you desire in your heart, rather than your words being twisted against you.”

“Silence!” Isaiah growled, glaring at Selena. “Maya, I implore you, do not accept this offer. It is a demon’s trade! It goes against all that is good and holy in the world God created. If you do this… there may be no hope for your eternal soul.”

Torn between saving her daughter and saving her soul, Maya asked, “What will become of my daughter if she goes with you?”

Selena answered, “Her soul has the essence of a human. Even if I were to make her a genie to save her, nothing can alter that essence.  Thus, she would not be a pure Genie, as I am. Rather, the only purpose she could fulfill would be that of a servant genie. She would be given to a master to serve all the days of her life, able to use great and wondrous magic in the completion of her duties.”

“Will she… know pain?”

Closing her eyes for a moment, Selena replied, “I cannot say for sure. Once she is given to a master, she then becomes that master’s property to be dealt with at their pleasure. She may have a kind, generous master, but she may also have one who is… like Ari.”

Thinking for several long minutes, Maya finally said, “Save her.”

“Maya, consider what it is you are doing! What you may be condemning her to!” Isaiah protested.

“Isaiah, I thank you for everything you have done for me tonight. But I know what I must do. My daughter must have a chance at life; this is… my purpose as her mother.”

Bowing his head, Isaiah stepped back, knowing she was resolute in her decision.

“Save my daughter, Selena.”

Taking the baby girl in her arms, Selena hummed a sweet, wordless melody to the child. Soon, the infant began to glow with a faint blue light. The light began to shrink, though it did not diminish in intensity. Finally, it faded away, leaving only a gold locket in Selena’s hand.

“She will be safe with me,” Selena said reassuringly. “Now, time is short. Your life slips from you faster than ever. Please, tell me your wish. It can be anything. You can live without hunger or disease, be wealthy beyond your wildest dreams, and even have power over you horrible excuse for a husband. You can save yourself from all hardship and pain; you need only wish it.”

Now struggling to breathe, Maya reached out to take Selena’s hand and spoke her wish.

“I wish… for my daughter to never know pain or suffering. I wish that… with whatever master finds her… she will be loved and cherished… for who she is… not… what she is. I wish… for her to find… a man of God… of outstanding moral fiber… who will take her as his wife… who will protect her… and ultimately… guide her into… the arms of God. Finally… I wish… to see her again… someday… in God’s… house…”

As she finished speaking her wish, the last of Maya’s strength slipped away, and her hand fell limp in Selena’s. After exhaling her final breath, she finally passed away, a peaceful smile on her face all the while. With tears streaming down her face, Selena could scarcely believe what she had witnessed that night.

Closing Maya’s eyes in respect, Selena marveled, “More courage in this girl than in all the soldiers in all the armies in all the world…”

In the corner of the room sat Isaiah, deep in meditative prayer. As it became clear that Maya was no longer among the living, he recited the traditional Jewish prayer of bereavement.

“Blessed are you, Lord, our God, King of the universe, the Judge of Truth.”

Selena walked over to him and knelt in front of him, holding the locket in her hand. “Never in all my life have I encountered such an act of selflessness,” she said somberly. “I want you to know that I plan to devote my entire existence to fulfilling Maya’s dying wish. I will not rest until I find a worthy master for her daughter.”

Still skeptical of her intentions, Isaiah asked, “And how do you plan to do this?”

Showing him the locket, she replied, “This locket is the doorway to the realm she now resides in. It can be given all manner of magical protections, ensuring that only a worthy individual can access it.”

She extended her hand toward him, handing him the locket to examine. As he held it in his hand, the blue stone on the front began to glow.

“What is this?” he asked in wonderment.

“It is a sign that the locket is being held by a worthy individual. One capable of fulfilling Maya’s wish,” Selena said with a smile.

“This is incredible… but I cannot take this. I have devoted my life to the service of God and spreading his word throughout the world, and I am an old man besides. I do not know how long I have left. This girl deserves not only a worthy man, but also one who can give her a long, fulfilling life. I… am not that man,” Isaiah said.

“I understand,” she replied. “Still, I think we should enact a few more protection measures to ensure that whomever finds the locket is not only of ‘outstanding moral fiber’, but also a man of God. What do you think?”

“I agree.”

Thinking for a moment, she said, “I can make it so that only a man of Jewish faith is capable of opening the locket. Is that something she would want?”

“Possibly,” Isaiah answered. “However, I also foresee potential danger in that rule. I suppose it is possible that, merely one hundred years from now, a group of invaders could ride through Israel, destroy our armies, slaughter every man, woman, and child, and burn every record of our religion. If that were to happen, there would be no Jews left in the world, making it impossible to find a man meeting the criteria of such a constraint.”

Smiling in amazement, she said, “It is no wonder you are called Prophet. Such wisdom and foresight is almost unheard of in today’s world.”

“You are too kind,” he replied humbly. “I wonder… is this item capable of adapting itself autonomously, allowing itself to determine if one is a man of God, no matter how far in the future that man may come along?”

“I believe so,” Selena said, taking the locket in her hand. “Anyone who finds this locket must solve a riddle of some sort to gain access to it. I can allow the locket to alter that riddle of its own accord based on that individual’s experiences with God. This would allow it to use events that have not happened yet as part of its protection.”

“Most impressive,” Isaiah said. “If you are indeed able to find such a man… perhaps I have misjudged you.”

“Thank you. You are too kind, Isaiah.” Clutching the locket in her hands, Selena began to disappear from sight.

I promise that I will not fail…

*****

As Mike opened his eyes, he looked upon Melody, seeing tears streaming down her face. Instinctively, he leaned forward and wrapped her in his arms as she began to sob into his bare chest.

“Mother… Mother…” she gasped between her tears.

After several long minutes, they finally parted, and Melody began to calm down. They sat on the bed and turned toward Selena, still seated at the desk across the room from them.

“Melody,” she said, “Every fiber of my being wishes that I could have saved your mother. She deserved more than her life afforded her. But you know as well as I do the rules and limits of our magic.”

Nodding, Melody said, “She was not bound to you, thus you could only save her life if it was part of her one wish. You gave her the greatest gift imaginable, yet she gave it… to me.”

“Indeed.”

“Did… she make it? To God’s house? Please tell me she made it,” Melody asked.

Closing her eyes, Selena said, “I honestly do not know. None can say for sure what happens beyond the gates of death, but if she did enter God’s house, as I believe she did, that is knowledge of a place and power far greater than my own. It is knowledge not meant for me.”

Nodding in quiet understanding, Melody sat back on the bed, pondering everything she had witnessed that morning.

“Selena, is this vision telling us that, in giving me the locket, Maya’s wish has been fulfilled?” Mike asked.

With a smile, she replied, “Not entirely. Remember, Maya’s wish was a complicated one. She wanted many things for her daughter, and finding a worthy individual was only the first step. Ultimately, I could not interfere with your free will, meaning that if you all of a sudden decided to become a cruel master, nothing I could do would have any impact on that. Still, I had a good feeling about you, even from the moment we first met.”

Laughing, he said, “Guess you’re not really an immigrant from Iran, huh?”

“No, no I am not,” she said with a giggle. “I apologize for my deception, but I had to craft a believable story, otherwise you would never have accepted the locket.”

“It’s ok,” Mike said. “What about the puzzle? Playing a piece from Handel’s Messiah using a verse from Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, as Biblical as it may be, had nothing to do with Isaiah. What’s the connection?”

Nodding, Selena replied, “It is because of Isaiah’s request that the locket be able to act of its own accord in determining whether an individual is worthy of opening it, as well as being a man of God. The puzzle could have been anything, and the one it used was one that would determine not only your knowledge of God’s word, but also its context in the world you live in.”

“What is the connection of all this to my dreams?” Melody asked. “I recognize the voices as Ari, Isaiah, and Maya, but what triggered it?”

“Of course, please allow me to explain,” Selena began. “Even as Mike was a man of ‘outstanding moral fiber’, that was only one part of your mother’s wish. The next part was for him to guide you towards God. That, as you know, happened quite naturally, with the combination of his strong faith and your natural curiosity. Still, curiosity can only take one so far. Thus, as your studies deepened, I used my power to nudge you further along the path you had chosen. When you first read from the Book of Isaiah, I knew the time was right to give you clues about the importance Isaiah played in your life. That, in turn, would spur both Mike and yourself to research it further, leading us here.

“I agonized for many centuries over how I could help solidify your journey towards God, as your mother wanted. Finally, I realized that I was overthinking the entire problem; the easiest way to bring you closer to God was to show you how close to Him your mother was. Though the choice of this journey is always yours and no one else’s, I knew that seeing her sacrifice and unconditional love for you would be just what you needed. Am I correct?”

“Of course!” Melody answered. “Truthfully… Mike and I have always disagreed on matters of death. I can essentially grant him eternal life, yet he has never wanted me to do so, saying that death is only the beginning of the next life. I think I finally understand what he means,” she said, gazing at her husband. “I want nothing more than to fulfill my mother’s wish, so that I can see her again, someday. If that means accepting that death is nothing to be afraid of, then I’ll be ready to take that plunge when our time comes.”

“I believe you,” Selena said. “I have done all I can in fulfilling Maya’s dying wish. The future now belongs to the two of you. If you continue along the path you have chosen, I have no doubt that you will see her again.”

“Selena, thank you for everything,” Mike said.

“We will never forget you,” Melody agreed.

Starting to glow with an ethereal light, Selena said, “We will never see each other again, but I know my existence has been made whole because of you, Melody. Even if I never grant another wish in my life, I will still know that I have done something of meaning. If God does have a purpose for me, I hope that I have achieved it. Thank you, my friends. Goodbye.”

With a blinding flash of light, she was gone. Once again, Mike and Melody were alone. They sat in silence for a long time, in awe of everything they had learned and seen. Overwhelmed with emotion, Melody drew Mike close and kissed him tenderly, pouring all the love she had for him into their kiss.

As they finally parted, she gazed into his blue eyes and whispered, “Mike… I want to be a mother. I want to show our child the love and selflessness that my mother showed me. Please… impregnate me. Make me the mother of your child.”

Mike said nothing, but smiled and kissed her deeply. He had wanted to start a family with her for some time now, but was waiting to marry her first. Pushing her back on the bed, he untied her satin robe. He moved his hand up the inside of her thigh, causing her breathing to deepen, until he finally arrived at her pussy, caressing her outer lips as she gasped in pleasure. Continuing to kiss her, he slipped a finger inside of her as she moaned into his mouth, throwing her arms around his neck. After fingering her for several minutes, her arms traveled southward, slipping his shorts off of him and onto the floor.

“I’m ready, Mike,” she whispered.

Moving into position on top of her, he pushed his cock into her tight, slick tunnel. “I love you,” he whispered.

As he began to thrust into her, enjoying every inch of her wonderful pussy, the couple said nothing. Enjoying every touch, moan, and look of love, they simply savored the moment. Mike’s heartbeat increased, pounding in his chest, as he thought about what they were about to do, and how their lives would change going forward.

“Melody, if we do this… I don’t want any magic involved,” he said. “I want you to experience everything you would during any normal pregnancy. I want to enjoy our anticipation leading up to you giving birth. Is that… ok?”

Smiling, she kissed him lovingly, saying, “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Feeling his climax fast approaching, Mike locked onto her beautiful emerald eyes, drinking her in. “I wish for you to have our child. I wish to impregnate you… right here… right now.”

Tingle. Flash.

Nothing more needed to be said. As Mike increased the ferocity of his thrusts, Melody continued to lock eyes with her husband, running her fingers across his cheek in love and adoration. Her pussy began to clench around his cock in anticipation of his orgasm, which pushed him over the edge at last. The newlyweds climaxed together as Mike filled her womb with his seed. Panting and breathing heavily, the couple lay in each other’s arms for what seemed like years, wanting nothing more than the warmth of their touch.

“I love you, Melody,” Mike whispered.

Smiling, she kissed him on the forehead and replied, “I love you, Mike.”

*****

In the months that followed, the Braxtons enjoyed Melody’s pregnancy to the fullest. She developed quite the craving for peanut butter and corndogs, resulting in a few late night trips to the store for Mike. Through it all, they savored every moment of their child growing in Melody’s womb. After a few ultrasounds, it was revealed that they would be having a son, and that he was the healthiest growing baby their nurse and doctor had ever seen.

Jane and Brad were particularly excited at being future grandparents. Mike knew full well that Jane would spoil their son rotten, but it was her prerogative. “After all,” Jane would say, “parents often have to say no, but grandparents get to say yes.” After several ideas from their son and daughter-in-law, Jane and Brad eventually decided that they wanted to be called “Nana” and “Pop.”

As Melody neared birth, Jane and Darcy worked to give her one of the best baby showers imaginable. Since Mike and Melody were the first of their group of friends to become pregnant, most of their baby clothes, toys, and supplies were bought brand new, though Melody promised to share as the rest of their friends started families of their own. By far her favorite gift was an Auburn Tigers onesie from Jane and Brad.

One morning, in the eighth month of her pregnancy, Melody was relaxing on the sofa of their apartment, thumbing through her Bible.

She asked, “Mike, have you decided on what name you think would be best? I’m at a total loss.”

Chuckling, he replied, “I tried several name combinations, but there’s only one that sounded… perfect.”

“And that would be?”

“Harry Isaiah Braxton.”

Her eyes lit up as she repeated the name in her mind. “I love it,” she replied. “It’s perfect. Your granddaddy and the man who helped deliver me to you.” With a satisfied chuckle, he sat on the couch next to her. “So, Mike, something I was wondering.”

“What’s that?”

“Should our son know about my true nature or not?”

“Hmm… good question,” Mike said. After thinking for several minutes, he responded, “I don’t want our son to feel that he's different or not normal in any way. With that in mind, it may be best for him not to know, at least until he is old enough to understand why we kept it from him. Even then, we would want to ask ourselves if he would want us to tell him after all this time or not. Does that make sense?”

Smiling, she replied, “Completely. Our primary duties are to his growth and development, and our life circumstances should be separate from that. It shouldn’t matter that he is born of a human and a genie, as long as he is raised with the love, care, and discipline he needs.”

“Exactly. Plus, if he were to know that his mom has magical powers, it could turn into a constant battle to ward off his desire to have those powers used for him. That would defeat the whole purpose of raising him to believe that he is just like every child that he goes to school with.”

Pleased with themselves and how easily they had arrived at a decision on the matter, the pair spent the rest of the day finalizing preparations on their son’s bedroom.

One month later, the time came for Melody to give birth. Thanks to some creative wishing on Mike’s part, they encountered no traffic or red lights on their way to the hospital. As they arrived, Melody’s birth pains continued to increase, putting her in a flustered state that was foreign to her usual confident personality. Still, Mike knew she could handle it, especially with his wish that nothing bad happen to her as a result of their child being born. This helped to put her mind at ease. As she stretched out on the bed in the hospital room, the nurse entered, asking what kind painkillers she preferred for giving birth.

“None please, thank you. I’m… having a natural childbirth,” came Melody’s reply.

In truth, this was because human medicines and anesthesia would have no effect on Melody, thus raising suspicion. Still, at Mike’s insistence, they wanted to have their baby in a hospital, primarily so the doctors could monitor the child and ensure that he was completely healthy.

As the nurse left the room momentarily, giving the couple some privacy, Mike held Melody’s hand tightly, asking, “You ready for this?”

“Yes, but… part of me is still scared. Not about the birth, but… what if I’m not as good a mother as mine was?”

Mike kissed her forehead, reassuring her. “You will be an amazing mother. And there’s no doubt in my mind that, if you did have to lay down your life for your child, you would do so in a heartbeat.”

“Thank you,” she whispered, growing tired from her long labor. “Oh… oh shit! I think it’s time!”

“Doctor! It’s time!” Mike shouted to the hallway.

Soon, Melody’s medical team swarmed the room, two nurses flanking her doctor as he assumed his delivery position.

“Oh yes, it’s looking good,” the doctor said. Mike loved the confident, almost cocky swagger he displayed; it’s one of the most reassuring things he could imagine in a doctor. “The baby is crowning. Melody, in a moment, you’ll feel an incredible urge to push. Don’t fight it. Embrace it. Mike, you may well lose your arm in this process, but I bet you knew that coming into this.”

“Comes with the territory,” Mike replied with his smartass grin.

As Melody worked to breathe and follow the doctor’s every instruction, the urge to push finally arrived in full force.

“OH GOD!!! AAAAAAHHHH!!!”

“That’s it Melody, great job. Now PUSH!” the doctor said.

With a final obscenity filled spasm, Melody forced the baby out into the world, the sweet sounds of his crying filling the room.

“It’s a boy,” the doctor said proudly.

As his nurses cleaned the child and wrapped him in a blanket, Mike and Melody hugged in celebration. Her hair was matted with sweat, but to Mike, she had never looked more beautiful in her life.

“And here’s your mommy,” the nurse cooed, handing the boy to Melody. “Seven pounds, five ounces, and perfectly healthy.”

Melody was speechless as she held their son in her arms. “Hi… my name’s Melody. You don’t know it yet, but… I love you. And I’m going to love you forever. So will this big guy here. He’s your daddy.”

Taking his son in his arms, Mike smiled as they locked eyes. “Blue eyes, just like his dad,” he mused. “At the risk of sounding like Will Smith, welcome to Earth.” The Independence Day reference elicited a chorus of laughs from the doctor and nurses.

They spent the next two days at the hospital so that the doctors could monitor the health and progress of Melody and Harry. As per Mike’s wish, they were both deemed to be in excellent health, and were soon released to go home.

Life changed dramatically for Mike and Melody, but they met each new challenge head-on, embracing their new parental duties with joy. True to form, Mike focused on being a dad, not just a father, changing diapers, getting puked on, and raising his son with love and dedication. Melody found that being a mom came very easily to her. She was always able to make Harry smile, and had a fantastic intuition as to what he needed in any given moment. As Harry grew into his toddler years, he was quite energetic, eagerly exploring any new object or place he could, all under the watchful eyes of his parents, of course. Mike began to teach him right and wrong, while Melody always kept him happy and entertained, redirecting his energy and attention anytime he grew restless. After achieving tenure in the ASO, Mike decided their newfound financial security warranted a larger home, and the family moved into a townhouse nearby, intending to live there for at least the next twenty years.

As Harry approached the age of four, Mike and Melody decided to add one more member to the family, giving birth to a girl named Maya Lea Braxton. She was far more reserved than the more impulsive Harry, always taking in new situations and mentally processing them before diving in. Though the two had the standard squabbles expected between brother and sister, they grew extremely close the older they became, with Harry taking on a guardian role towards Maya, like that of Mike towards Melody.

One afternoon, Mike and Melody had taken the kids to a park near their townhouse. As the pair climbed over the various jungle gyms scattered around the area, their parents marveled as Harry helped guide Maya over some of the larger, more frightening obstacles. When he showed her that she could make it over them, Maya squealed with joy and excitement.

“Still wonder if you’ll ever become as good a mother as yours was?” Mike asked, slipping his arm around Melody’s waist.

Giggling, she replied, “No, I guess not. They’re two pretty awesome kids, aren’t they?”

“Dad! We need one more to play Tag with us!” Harry yelled on cue.

“Be right there!” Mike replied.

“You are one hot dad…” Melody said lustfully.

“Well then… guess we’ll just have to slow time later for some… mommy-daddy time,” Mike replied with his signature grin.

Kissing him on the cheek, Melody whispered seductively, “It’s a date.” A quick pat on the ass, and he ran off to play with the kids.

0