I’ve decided to create a new short story series for my blog. It will be presented in eight parts (maybe more).
The Wish Agent–Part One
I finished what I was typing, pressed submit, and leaned back, satisfied. Now that my report for my last mission was complete, I had free range of the office; maybe McCallis was up for a round of pool.
I was about to stand when my watch beeped. It was programmed to alert me whenever I had a new message from the agency. I pulled back the cuff of my sleeve and read the words that formed across the screen:
Meeting in director’s office 12:18 PM. Mandatory attendance. For your eyes only. -WPA
The message vanished, leaving me to contemplate its meaning. A meeting in the director’s office meant one of three things: you were either, a, receiving a promotion, b, getting assigned a top-level high-security mission, or c, getting fired. C was nonpreferable, of course. I couldn’t decide which was better, the promotion or the mission.
My watch read 12:06. It would take me ten minutes to get down there; the agency headquarters was ginormous. I stood, grabbed my black blazer off the seat, and strode out the door.
The Worldwide Protection Agency isn’t your ordinary secret spy headquarters. People from all over the world are employed here. But they aren’t just agents–no, that’s only a small portion of us. We have Child Protection services, a Languages department, a Department of Foreign Affairs–we’re essentially a gigantic government, but a secret one; only the heads of every country know of our existence.
Because we’re so secret, it’s difficult to get new employees. So every ten years, the head of every government selects one hundred of the people in military training to come to headquarters. There, they undergo a series of tests to find their compatibility. If they are found able, they are sent to train to become spies, technicians, or something else. If not, we erase all memories of the agency and send them back. Yes, we can do that.
As I said, headquarters is huge. Once I stepped out of my office into the long hallway lined with doors on either side, an elevator took me down to ground level. Ground level, or as we agents like to call it, the Golden Hallway of Awesomeness, is about three football fields long and as tall as Notre Dame. How they put all of this underground is beyond me!
“Oi, Boyd!” I turned at the sound of my surname. A tall man with slicked-back hair approached me and clapped me on the back. “Heard about the mission. Showed those Northwest guys how it’s done, eh?” He laughed and shook his head. “See you!”
I waved back. “See you.” My friend McCallis always loved it when we came one-up on Northwest Agents, a spy service made up of snobs and egotistical power-maniacs.
I strode down the golden staircase and turned right, following a stream of people with briefcases who had apparently just left a meeting. About halfway down the hall, I turned another corner and kept walking till a got to a large black door lined with gold. The inscription read: Harry J. Sykes, Director of WPA.
My watch beeped. I checked it: 12:18. I straitened my black tie, smoothed my black blazer, and knocked at the door.
There was a pause. Then a booming, commanding voice called, “Come in.”
I stepped into the office. It was brightly lit, like a room with a large window even though it was underground. A dark-haired, dominating man sat in a large black chair in front of a large desk. He looks scary, but everyone knows Harry J. Sykes is a huge softie and fosters a soft spot for chocolate cake.
“Sit down,” he said. I sat in the chair he motioned to and folded my hands, waiting. He considered me for a moment, then smiled.
“Firstly, I would like to congratulate you on your success with your most recent mission,” said Sykes. “You are a credit to this agency and its purpose.”
I nodded and allowed myself a small smile. “Thank you, sir.”
“Secondly, I will have you know that Northwest Agents called and asked if we were willing to hand you over. I, naturally, said no, as you know how much I love to disappoint them.” I grinned at this.
“Now, on to why you’re here.” Sykes leaned back in his chair. “You know of the old Wishing Star mission, don’t you?”
I nodded. “Of course, sir.” Wishing Star was an old mission from the sixties. Scientists had launched a satellite into space that recorded and analyzed the wishes people made on the so-called ‘wishing star’. It had been given up ages ago, though, because it was hacked by a world-class criminal who is now in prison. I wondered why he was bringing it up.
“Well, the old satellite those scientists launched has, as we recently discovered, turned itself back on and has been recording wishes for the last month,” Sykes continued.
I was stunned. “But how?” I spluttered.
Sykes didn’t seem concerned. “It’s been found to be a simple malfunctioning piece on the satellite. You know, another reason why the mission was shut down was because the machine regularly deleted wishes it recorded. So there were only about seven wishes recorded when we got to the satellite.”
I was startled by the sudden change in the conversation’s direction. “What does this have to do with anything?”
Sykes stood and began pacing slowly. “We analyzed those wishes, and the people who made them,” he said, his voice now soft. “All seven were made by children, and children with very bad situations.” He turned and faced me. “You lost your mother when you were five, yes?”
My heart skipped a beat. “Yes,” I said slowly. The loss of my mother to cancer had been a huge shock for me. Why was he bringing it up now?
“It is for this reason you have been chosen for this mission.” He sat down. “James, we are giving you two weeks to go to each of these children and make their wishes come true.”
“Um…” I didn’t quite know what to say. What does one say when they go from being a crime-fighting secret agent to a child’s genie?
“I understand your hesitation, but we believe that you are perfectly capable to complete this mission,” Sykes said.
“But–sir,” I began, “shouldn’t you have chosen someone who can better understand these children? Maybe someone with children of their own, or…”
“I said these children have difficult situations,” he interrupted. “They need empathy, not a parent.”
“But how can I possibly make their wishes come true?” I persisted. “I can’t just magically make a unicorn appear, or–or–make someone fly!”
“Well, luckily for you, nobody wished for a unicorn or human flight. In fact, all of those wishes are completely reasonable, which is why we are undertaking such a task.”
“I don’t understand how helping these children will help the world. Isn’t that what this agency is for?”
“Yes. But if we cannot help one single person, then how are we expected to help an entire planet?”
I had to acknowledge that this was a good point. But still! “Sir–”
Sykes held up a hand. “No more arguing. A bag will arrive at your office shortly with necessary items and further instructions. You are excused. Good luck, Agent Boyd.”
As I walked back to my office, I felt hopeless. I didn’t know what to do; I was trained in weapons and stealth and catching the bad guys for the good of the world, and had spent years working my way up to the top of the agency. I was a very prominent spy. And now I was a fairy godmother.
When the bag arrived at my office, I read the instructions and pulled out a plane ticket to my first location: Chicago, Illinois. Then I read the boy’s wish:
I want to go to outer space before I die.
I was going to need all the luck I could get.
Sneak peek for next part:
I hope you liked my story, and stay tuned for the next one!