The Wheel of Life
My finger flicked the arrow in the small patterned wooden box. The arrow moved noiselessly like you’d pressed mute on the television. Some parts of the wheel were gold, the rest black. Gold meant I would become immortal, black meant I would immediately die. I feel like I am meant to be here, as if I was born to do this, as if this is my destiny. The arrow began to slow down, the point sharp as a knife, glinting in the moonlight mischievously and it landed on… I woke with a start sweating uncontrollably and breathing quick raspy breaths.
I calm myself down and concentrate on my breathing. “It was just a dream” I tell myself in a soothing voice and then smelling the sweet scent of fresh pancakes I head into the dining room. Grandmother was eating breakfast; Mum was bringing through the plate of delicious pancakes I had smelled from my room. “I had a nightmare” I exclaimed “I was spinning an arrow of a small box with carvings”. Mum dropped the plate. It smashed into millions of pieces. I stared at her. “It was just a dream honey” Mum quivered. “It most certainly is not” boomed Grandmother. Mum glared at Grandmother and stopped as soon as she saw me looking at her in astonishment. “Don’t you dare tell my daughter anything about it” shouted Mum giving Grandmother a chilling glare as cold as ice before stomping into the kitchen. As soon as Mum had got out of earshot though Grandmother leant over the table and whispered “Come to my room later and we’ll discuss this”.
Knock knock! “Come in” Grandmother called in her cheery voice. I step inside her room. The walls have no wallpaper but instead newspapers of the exciting things that have happened over the years. She has a huge red armchair by her windowsill where she watches sunsets. The constant smell of hot tea and perfume so strong that you feel the urge to cough and a carpet so thick you feel as if you’re sinking in into it. Grandmother was sitting up in bed sipping her morning cup of tea and had five of Mum’s cupcakes, stolen from the kitchen on her bedside table. My Grandmother looks very different from other Grandmothers. She has glasses that make her eyes at least three times bigger than they really are. She constantly wears about one hundred bangles and necklaces made from pure gold with diamonds and rubies on them. She never has any less than seven cats decorating her which sit on her head, shoulders, arms, chest and basically any place you can think of and they all have names like Jemima, Cookie, Ronald, Petunia, Victoria the Second and Cordelia.
I carefully climbed in her bed as well snuggling into her. I looked up at Grandmother in deep wonder “What would she tell me?” I thought. “That wheel you saw in your dream, the wheel of life, well, well it’s real!” finished Grandmother. “What” I said completely gobsmacked. “Yes, the first thing you need to know is this whole family is magic, magic runs through the blood in our veins, pulses in our hearts and has done for centuries. Our ancestors created the wheel many years ago. A husband and wife, he used it but the arrow landed on black and he immediately died. The wife was so distraught that she attempted to break it with enchanted swords but the couple had made it unbreakable and so it was to be. Since then it’s been passed down through our family. Nobody has used it since. Never use that wheel Gracie, it’s evil I tell you!” Grandmother said in a worried voice. “Alright Grandmother alright but if you don’t want me to use it why tell me about it?” I ask suspiciously. Grandmother clasps both my hands in hers “Gracie that wretched wheel has chosen you, it wants you to use it, it’s the same thing that happened to that husband he dreamed of it and used it and he died! The wheel is hungry it wants you more desperately than anything else but you must not give in. Promise me that Gracie. Promise me!” Grandmother begs staring into my eyes. “I promise”.
But that night I couldn’t get to sleep. I tossed and turned willing sleep to come, thinking about the wheel even though I know it’s forbidden. When midnight came I gave up. I decided it must be in our antique shop below us. So I crept out of bed and downstairs being careful not to step on the floor boards that creak. And there it was glimmering in the moonlight looking innocent as can be. I ran with my heart pounding to it. This was it, this was my destiny! I opened the box and the tip of my finger flicked the wheel, it turned noiselessly. “NO!” shouted Grandmother but it was already moving, it was too late. I realised my mistake and tried to break it, to run, to smash it and started crying uncontrollably. Suddenly Mum and Dad were there too as the arrow started to slow down. It landed on gold. I was immortal.
It was the biggest mistake of my life. Everyone I love has died and I’m still here. After both my parents and children died I tried spinning the wheel of life again but nothing happened because I’ve already used it. My great grandchildren and their children visit me sometimes. The adults try to make me feel better but the children don’t really know what to say to me so I tell them stories from when I was a child like nobody else could tell them. But their lifetime seems like a second to me and they will get to die like I wish above anything else that I could do. I hate the wretched wheel but I’m its guardian now and I must make sure it’s never used again.
By Anya Renwick