When Lily inherited an old antique oil lamp she received more than she could have imagined, her own hunkalicious genie who is read to grant her anything…anything that she could want, including his body. Wanting to end his suffering she makes a mistake that will lead her down a magical journey of pain and redemption.
Upon opening the box, she was assailed with fragrant memories and her eyes filled with tears. Certainly this was the hardest moment that she had experienced since her grandfather had died. It broke her heart to sort through his treasures and getting rid of them. Lily did not want to face that he was gone, but she knew it was past time for the chore. Her grandfather had raised her and he was all the family that she had. When he passed away, she realized that she was completely alone in the world, and it frightened her. She had no one to rely on. Of course, she had wonderful friends, but when push came to shove, Lily never wanted to be someone who would burden her friends.
Solemnly, she packed everything she was taking with her to her new condominium. She knew that she had to decide what she was going to do with the rest. Gramps had been an antique dealer and most of her fondest childhood memories were traipsing along with him across the country to find rare items for his shop. She had sold the shop with its contents for a nice price, but she had not sold any of Gramps’s private collection.
Remembering him sitting with her in his office, telling her the stories behind the items and hanging on his every word, made her heart constrict painfully. When she was little, she had been convinced that he knew everything in the world and that his brain was like an encyclopedia. She adored him then as she still did now, even after he was gone.
She knew she had to either move his collection to storage or decide what she was keeping by the end of the week, when the new owners arrived to claim the house that she had grown up in. Lily hated to sell the house, but it was just too much for one person and her maintenance skills were sadly, and greatly, lacking. She wanted the house to go to a fresh young couple who could love it as their family had. When she sold it to the Carver family she was delighted to learn that the mother of the boisterous toddler was pregnant with their second baby. She would be sad to leave, but happy to be leaving it with a growing family.
Lily had decided at the age of thirty she was doomed to be the crazy spinster living with a thousand cats! Hopefully, the cats would not eat her dead body when she died old and alone. Darkly, laughing off the morbid thought, she started to remove one dusty relic after another from the ancient cardboard box marked “Special.”
Lily had no idea what was special about most of it but several items brought her back to listening to stories at her grandfather’s knee and she quickly tucked them into her bag to bring home and display in the condominium. One item in particular caught her eye. An old oil lamp that always made her think of faraway and exotic places was something she had forgotten about.
It had been introduced to her during a particular bitter winter when she was eleven. Gramps had run out of ways to entertain the snowbound girl during a holiday break that had extended an additional week to accommodate a terrible snowstorm. He had gone to the attic and brought down a strange box that looked like a miniature treasure chest. Lily had been immediately intrigued. Gramps opened the chest to reveal the lamp, and then began to tell his tale.
“When I was a young man in the in the Army, during World War Two, July of forty three, I found myself in Sicily. There was a brutal firefight and I happened upon a young girl, not much older than you are, and I kept her safe until we had secured the area. Her father was so overjoyed that she was alive that he gave me this lamp and told me that his father had been given it by his father and that it had been in the family for longer than anyone could remember.
He told me that the ancestor that originally received the lamp got it when an elderly merchant happened upon the village and in his hunger, he had traded the lamp for food and lodging. He said that the lamp could grant wishes to the pure of heart. He could attest that the lamp had brought the family good fortune and until the war, they prospered. He gave me the lamp in his gratitude, and I secretly brought it back home with me. I do think that the lamp brought me luck, especially during the end of the war when the fighting seemed the fiercest.
“I think that this lamp is magic and when you are older, I will entrust this magic lamp to you. Until then I have this book, and it has many stories of magic lamps. You had better study how this works, so that when this lamp is yours, you won’t fall victim to a trickster genie!”
Gramps’ ploy had worked for the duration of the storm. Lily had read every word in the book and held the lamp upside down, rubbed it, shook it, called to it, and generally tried everything possible to dislodge the genie or magic that lived inside the lamp. Looking back, she was sure that her grandfather had enjoyed watching her struggle as much as she had enjoyed trying to solve the puzzle.
She no longer believed in magic, but the lamp was just one more treasure that she wanted to retain as a tangible connection to the special man and the magic of his world. Gramps saw things a little more colorfully than others did, and it had given her a legacy of fun that she cherished and hoped never to lose. As sensible as she was, she always enjoyed mischief, because Gramps had shown her how to appreciate it.
She finished exploring the boxes late into the night and stiffly got up with her cash of treasures. She kept more than she probably should have and groggily went to her little convertible. Dumping her haul into the back seat, she drove the half hour to the new condo and tried not to disturb her neighbors as she clunked her loud load of antiques into the building. Setting everything by the door she went up to the loft, collapsed into her bed, and fell immediately to sleep.
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