My apologies for not posting the conclusion to “A Dandelion Wish” last week. If you have yet to read Part 1, you may want to start there. Here is Part 2. Enjoy!
Abby slid her thumb over to the left and held it there. The sun vanished, and dark clouds appeared, swirling overhead. Torrents of rain pounded the earth.
The longer she held her thumb there, the heavier the rain. What started as a downpour turned into flash flood potential. The only problem was that when she stopped pressing the button, the rain fell harder somehow. She tapped the button again, yet the onslaught of precipitation continued. Thunder boomed and cracked as lightning lit up the darkening skies.
Abby didn’t know how to stop it, so she began mashing the buttons at random in a panic. The ground shook momentarily; books fell from her shelf.
“Daddy!” she screamed, running down the hallway, tears rolling down her cheeks like rivers. She found him in the kitchen looking out the window over the sink.
He turned and scooped her into his arms. “It’s okay, honey, it’s just a wicked storm.”
But Abby’s sobs intensified. Somehow, she managed to choke out, “It’s because of me.”
“What, the storm? What are you talking about?”
Abby’s breaths came in quick, short bursts as she held out her hand, revealing the sleek obsidian object.
“I stole it from that old farmer,” she said through a coughing fit.
Joe knelt in front of Abby and took the item from her palm. “Why in the world would you do something like that?” He inspected it and then slid it into his jeans pocket.
“I don’t know…I really don’t. I wasn’t thinking…but Daddy, please listen—”
“No,” Joe responded, a red-hot anger rising within. “We’re returning it. Now.”
“I’m telling you—”
“Abby, put your shoes on, grab a raincoat, if you’d like, and get in the truck.” He stormed off toward the front door, snatching his keys from the hook on the wall.
Abby’s tears and breathing intensified as she slipped on her beat-up Nikes and grabbed her light blue raincoat. She closed the front door and then took off toward the truck. Her father was already brooding behind the wheel.
When she sat down and buckled herself in, he threw the truck in reverse.
“You’re going to walk up to that house, knock on his door, and apologize.”
Abby nodded and tried to calm her breathing. She watched the watery world outside her window. Streaks of rain danced on the glass.
Joe drove faster than he probably should have, but before long, the father and daughter found themselves on the same backroad. They took it, and he was sure to slow down when navigating the sharp, S-shaped bends. The overflowing ditches looked like white-water rapids.
When they approached the gravel driveway, they noticed that it was beginning to wash out in one area due to the heavy sheets of rain. Joe avoided the washout and continued up the drive. But as they approached, an icy chill crept into the cab of their truck. Abby’s arms broke out in goosebumps, and Joe whispered “What the fuck” under his breath, inaudible due to the pounding rain.
No farmhouse stood before them. No pole barn, either. There were no tables, no yard sale signs—no old man in a straw hat. There was nothing here but an empty plot of land—an access point to a farmer’s field.
Joe parked the truck. He didn’t realize it, but he covered his mouth with one hand. Off in the distance, he spotted a silo, but it was old and rusted out.
“What the hell is going on,” Joe said aloud, scanning their surroundings. For some reason unknown to him, he had the distinct feeling of being watched.
“Daddy, can we get out of here?”
Joe closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath. “Why would you take this?” he asked, pulling out the sleek stone from his pocket. His voice was slow, his words considered—his tone surprisingly calm, given the situation.
“I don’t know…I really don’t. I wasn’t thinking. Something just came over me…almost like I had this urge to put it in my pocket. But I know for a fact the weather’s responding to that…that thing.”
Joe didn’t know how to respond. The rain pounded all around them.
“Here,” she said, offering her palm. He handed it to her. “Look at these markings. Do you see how they look like fire and water…”
“The four elements,” Joe murmured. He used the flashlight on his phone to get a better look.
“I started pressing these spots—see how they kind of look like buttons—but I couldn’t get the storm to stop.”
Together they tried different combinations. Joe even pressed down on the left and right sides of the stone as if he was powering off his iPhone, but it was to no avail.
Joe placed the object in a cupholder near the center console and turned the truck around, heading out onto the backroad the way they came. Silence lingered—both the father and daughter were processing the events—but it didn’t last.
“What if the world’s stuck like this, Daddy?” Abby asked, tears resurfacing. “What if the world’s stuck in this storm forever? It’s all my fault.”
“What are you talking about, honey?” Joe asked. “Why would it be your fault?”
“Because I made a wish and it came true. Do you want to know what I wished for? I asked to have the power of a god. It sounds so silly but…I thought if I had all the power in the world—power over everything—it might be enough to bring you and Mom back together again.” Abby broke down.
Joe felt a lump in his throat. His eyes got misty as the guilt weighed in.
In that moment, two thoughts surfaced. The first was that even if his daughter had triggered some type of calamity—hell, the opening act of the apocalypse—he wouldn’t be angry with her. Couldn’t. She was his life, his world, his everything. The second idea hammered into his soul like a railroad stake. It was the sad and simple fact he’d learned to accept: he and his ex-wife Julissa were happier apart.
He knew it tore Abby to shreds because she recognized this, too. But hearing her wails and seeing his daughter in such a state ripped his heart out.
Divorce or Doomsday…he wasn’t sure which would be easier to embrace.
Joe rested his hand on Abby’s leg and squeezed it gently.
“I love you, kiddo,” he said.
She squeezed his hand in response.
Instead of heading home, Joe turned toward the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge. The visibility worsened the longer they drove.
“Where are we going?” Abby asked, able to breathe normally again.
“Getting rid of this,” Joe said, nodding at the black stone.
Many cars were parked on both sides of the road, waiting it out until the storm was over—if it would ever be over. Joe pulled off into the parking area near the pedestrian portion of the bridge. He put on his four-ways, zipped his jacket up to his chin, and flipped his hood up. Abby did the same.
“Ready?” he asked. She nodded. “Don’t forget your rock.”
Abby picked it up and held it firmly in her hand. Together, Joe and Abby braved the storm and began to walk over the bridge.
The wind and rain whipped against them, but they shielded their faces with their arms, blocking most of it. The further they walked, the less they could see. A mist and fog had begun to envelop the area. Only one or two cars passed them.
When the father and daughter were out over the water far enough—the dark, sloshing Hudson River—Abby took the stone from her pocket.
“Whip it as far as you can,” Joe said loudly.
But before she threw, they noticed an old, beat-up truck approaching them, four ways blinking. It slowed to a halt. A stone barrier sat between Abby, Joe, and the vehicle.
Someone got out and walked around in front of the headlights. It was the old farmer. He hobbled over to them. He still wore his straw hat, and he had to hold it down with one hand to keep it from blowing away.
“You all finished with that? Had enough playing?” he asked Abby, holding out his hand.
“Who the hell are you?” Joe asked, stepping toward him and raising his voice. “You better cut the games out.”
The man smiled. “No games being played, my boy, I can assure you of that. Just doing what needs doing.” He turned his attention to Abby, who was still in position to throw. “I’ll take it now.”
A small part of Abby wanted to fling the stone as far as she could into the Hudson—let it sink to the bottom. Damn the stupid stone, damn her predicament—damn it all.
“My dear,” the farmer said, holding out his hands.
Abby stood there, weighing her options. Eventually, she set the stone in the old man’s hands.
“Next time, be a little more careful, why don’t you,” he said. He shot them both a smile, touched the brim of his hat, and clambered back over to his truck. He got in and crept away until the fog and mist and rain swallowed him up like he was never there to begin with.
When Joe led Abby back toward the truck, the rain began to dissipate. By the time they were off the bridge, the skies had cleared, almost as if someone had scrubbed at the black and gray clouds with a rag, revealing the blue backdrop behind them.
Abby noticed a rainbow. It was breathtaking, beautiful—a complete arc.
“Honey, things are going to be okay. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but someday we’ll all get there.”
Abby looked up into her father’s eyes. “Promise?”
“I promise.” Joe kissed the top of her head and pulled her in close.
They got in the truck and started to rehash their strange day. If they told anyone else, they probably wouldn’t believe a word of it.
The rainbow led them straight home.
Thank you so much for reading “A Dandelion Wish” in its entirety. I hope you enjoyed it, and I’d love to hear any general comments or feedback regarding the story.
Also, if you could make a wish, any wish that would come true, what would it be? Let us know below.
Finally, if I am a regular reader of your publication and I haven’t “liked” or commented on your work lately, it’s because I am backlogged by two or three weeks. I’m hoping to get back on track with my Substack reading soon.
Take care, everyone, and thanks so much for being here.
Have a great week!
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Joy comes in the morning. - Psalm 30
Beware of farmers with Earth, Wind, and Fire stones. - Me
Well done, Justin.
“Honey, things are going to be okay. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but someday we’ll all get there.” ♥️
Came across an Anne Lamott quote yesterday:
“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.”
Great story! I love the message.