The Right Choice
by Gina Langridge
The phoenix rose from the flames and shook out its feathers in a shower of sparks. The death of the fire passed unnoticed in its radiance.
"A single wish is yours," it said.
Angela took her thumb from her mouth. "It hasta be three wishes. It's always three."
The phoenix flexed its wings in a shrug. "One wish. Take it or leave it."
Angela opened her mouth and the phoenix said, "And no cheating."
"Wasn't gonna cheat."
One browfeather quirked.
"Ok then." Angela twisted the hair at the back of her neck. "I want to be rich and happy and have everybody love me."
"I said one."
The phoenix's light illuminated the scruffy armchairs and the worn patch on the carpet. On the table a book lay open and beside it paper and crayons, and the beginnings of a drawing of a sad little kitten.
"To be happy, then."
There was no "Good girl" or "Well done!" The phoenix curled the corners of its beak in a smile and flew out through the window in a scattering of smashed glass.
Angela sat down with a thump.
When her mother walked in hours later she found Angela sitting with a smile on her face looking blankly at nothing at all.