She fell again, with a large thump onto the cool desert sand. She was winded, and could hardly breathe, and now had a fresh, deep cut up her arm. Tears were streaming down her face.

She suddenly felt a large tug on her hair as she was thrown again, once again falling and sliding. Her cuts and bruises were only made worse. Digging her nails into the ground, she took a deep breath shakily attempted to pull herself up onto her unstable legs, and turned to face him.

Looking up she could see her attacker: The man who ruined everything… the man who brought her race to ruin. Everything about him made her want to vomit with disgust. His relaxed disposition, his long wavy black hair, his cleanly trimmed beard, his dark robes, the roll of parchment that he held in his hand… but most of the all, cruel smirk that was forming on his face.

"You c-can't make m-me give in" She said while wheezing. He merely looked her in the eye and chuckled.

"They'll all die you know…" he said, relaxed.

Looking at her surroundings she saw all her people fighting, screaming, dying, crying… but she had to stay strong. There was too much at risk.

"There's too much at risk not to agree" he said, after reading her expression.

She just continued to stare back at him with an expression of the deepest hatred upon her face, and then screamed, and lifted her hand into the air, and suddenly large stones were flying towards his body. As quickly as she had sent them two guards blocked, and broke the stones she had summoned. She collapsed to her knees with exhaustion and let out a loud sob.

"I'll never sign" She screamed "No matter how hard you push, no matter how hard you try, we will never be yours!"

He merely laughed, and moved slowly towards her, then bent over and grabbed her by the chin, and harshly lifted her to his face, so that their noses nearly touched.

"Sign the paper… or let your people die" he whispered. His voice no longer relaxed, but low and bitter.

She didn't answer, but stared him straight in the eye, and attempted to muster a glare. He then threw her to the ground once more, turned to everyone else in the desert and yelled:

"Soldiers! Guards!" he then turned back to her and addressed the warriors "You know what to do…"

He then turned and led he warriors towards a large cart… she knew what the contents of the cart were… and what influence it would have on her people…

"WAIT" she gasped. He turned, and raised his eyebrows.

"Ok" she sobbed, defeated. "I'll sign"

-

I sat there silently in English class, doodling in the back of my book. I was struggling to stay awake. I'm not the biggest fan of English these days… too much analysing, too much technique stuff. It's enough to drive a girl crazy, to be honest.

"So what techniques does the author use to convey this message?"

As the teacher blabbed on, I was barely listening.

"That's right, so if we really think about it then we could say that they caused it rather than predicted it, right?"

Oh my god when will this lesson end? I continued to draw my little cartoons in the back of my book. I think English has become my most artistic lesson. Even more so than art class sometimes.

"So who can answer that? Aliya?"

I looked up when the teacher said my name. "Err… sorry?"

The teacher just stared at me, giving me a disapproving gaze. I swear this teacher was like a hawk.

"Sorry, what was the question again?" I asked cautiously.

"So in other words, you were not paying any attention, is that right?"

"Well I was just-"

RIIIING.

Thank God! Saved by the bell.

The class began packing away their stuff and got up. "Hold it!" said the teacher harshly. "I need to hand back your essay papers." The class groaned.

"Ok now… Jessica?… yes here you go. Kirsten, here you are dear…. Jonathan?… good work here I really like some of your ideas"

The teacher continued to hand out each paper one by one.

"Well done there I think that has a lot of potential…Aliya?"

I walked up, took the paper off her and stared down at my mark.

D. shit.

"Aliya I think we need to have a talk. You're parents will have to be notified that you're failing. You're a smart girl, but if you don't try you will continue to get marks like this. I want to see less talking in class, and more working, yes?"

"Ok. Thanks miss."

And with that I walked out of the classroom, and down the stairs. It was an old, fairly shabby looking school. Which is odd, because being a private school it shouldn't be top notch? I looked down and saw a beautiful, petite red head standing down the bottom of the stairs. "Hey Gina." I said. "How'd you go?"

"I did ok. I got a B. You?"

"Pfft. Failed. Miserably."

"You know Ally, you could do better if you just-"

"Oh come on I've heard enough of this from Miss Randall, I don't need it from you too." I groaned.

Gina gave a small giggle, and with that we walked off to lunch. "So what are you gonna do for your birthday?" Gina asked.

"Well I was thinking maybe just have like a get-together at a park or something. With marks like these I doubt my parent's will let me have it at my place. Actually… now that I think of it I doubt I'll be able to go out at all. They'll probably ground me for like an eternity." I let out a tired groan.

After lunch I moved to my locker to get my books. I looked at my timetable, and saw that I had PE next. "Shiiiiit" I whispered. I have swimming today. I hate doing swimming at school. We have to wear the bloody school swimming costume, which I feel SO uncomfortable in. I'm not exactly the ideal weight. I'm short, and I way 80kg. So you can understand that I'd feel self-conscious.; especially in front of all the bitchy popular girls.

UGH.

I slammed my locker shut, and moved on off to swimming, contemplating ways I could possibly get out of it.

-

I hopped of the bus and then began trudging up the street to my house.

"Another D…" I thought to myself. "Another D. God Ally, what the hell is wrong with you?"

Its not like I'm stupid or anything, just bloody unorganised and unmotivated. What was I supposed to tell my parents? Not to mention my aunt Cantara. She'll probably give me hell about this.

My Aunt Cantara is probably the most scary, nosy, judgmental old woman you will ever meet. She's lived with my family for the past 4 years. She's Arabian (like the rest of my family) and she's spent the last 150 years or so in a wheelchair. I've never seen her without her long thick grey hair in a neat, tight bun, or without her large thick blanket covering her legs over her chair. It makes her look like an old cat lady. (Except for the fact that she hates cats... and any other living creature for that matter...)

I could already picture the look of disapproval that I'm going to get from her when she finds out about my grades. Her drawn on eyebrows on her darkly tanned face would rise, and her lips would curl inwards ever so slightly so that her already deep wrinkles become even more prevalent. I've gotten that look to many times...

Then she'd probably make some sarcastic, "witty" comment about how much things have changed since she was young. (Now was that in the 1600's or the 1700's?) And how I don't appreciate the full education I've been given. I never listen to her of course. Life with such a controlling, conventional Arabian woman such as herself can get difficult. But she's not that bad I guess. She's really just your average uptight, mean, creepy old woman

I finally got to my house, slid my key into the door.

"I'm home!" I yelled out, although I heard no answer. I dumped my bag in the lounge room and moved through to my kitchen.

"Mum? Dad? Cantara?" they weren't there. I turned and looked out the window and saw nothing. Then at that moment I began to hear ruffling foots steps upstairs. I went to my bag and grabbed my essay and put it on the table... It's easier for them to find it on their own than it is for me to give it to them.

God I'm a wimp...

I turned the corner and moved silently up to the stairs. Right next to the top of them I could see my parents bedroom door, slightly open, and I could hear soft, harsh whispering from inside. I stopped where I stood, a couple of steps to the top, as I listened.

"Jamal!" I heard my mother hiss under her breath. "Look I'm sorry, but you cannot just not say anything!"

Oh... they're fighting...again

Curious to know what it was about, I quietly stepped towards the door and pressed my ear up against it. "We've kept it from her long enough! She's at the age now"

"Hana!" my dad hissed back. "We don't even know if she is-"

"I know" mum interrupted. She sighed and there was a pause. "But even if she...well...don't you think that it's about time that she knew? And if she is, would you rather she found out on her own?" there was another long pause "No" sighed my father. "It's just…

"Aliya!" I turned abruptly and saw Cantara sitting in her wheelchair, down the bottom of the stairs.

Busted.

"Good grief girl, what on earth are you doing?"

"Um…" I was speechless…how are you supposed to cover up for having your ear pressed against a door?

"Err... sorry" I…. fell."

I FELL?! That's the best you can come up with?!

I could feel my cheeks turning red. I was too embarrassed to stay there. So without waiting for a reply I turned and walked down the hallway to my room. Cantara couldn't follow me there anyway. One of the few good things about having a paraplegic great aunt – they can't go up the stairs. So Once I was in the sanctuary of my room I locked the door and slumped onto my bed.

Oh my God, oh my God. Oh my God.

I kept saying that over and over and over again in my mind. It didn't feel real... but I guess I've seen it coming for a while...My parents are getting divorced. I felt my throat tighten. Raising my hand to my cheeks I could feel them burning.

They fight. All the time lately... it started about 2 months ago... Fight after Fight.

Everything is an issue with them. My friend Aimee's parents recently got divorced. I saw how hard it was on her... maybe I'm just paranoid.

I abruptly grabbed my large pink pillow and buried myself into it.

My god. Divorce. I didn't even know my family believed in divorce. Being the conservative, Muslim family that we are I assumed that we didn't. But... I heard them... why don't I believe it? They want to tell me something. 3 guesses for what it is.

I turned my head to the side and saw myself on the mirror in my dresser. God I looked horrible. My dark pudgy face was red and wet, and my long dark brown hair was a mess.

See, this is why I hate it when I cry. I look like the fucking love child of a cow and a slug.

I groaned, sniffed and rolled over and shut my eyes. Maybe when I wake again it will all be a dream... but that's probably just wishful thinking.

-

"Aliya? Ally, honey?"

"mmphhh"

I turned and saw my mother standing above me.

"nghhhh" I groaned and buried my head back into my bed.

"Oh good you're awake, well... um... come on down... its dinner time"

"What?" I said, lifting my head and looking at the clock - it read 7.00pm.

God, did I really sleep that long?

"muhhh... okay I'm getting up" I said turning to my mother. Now that I had a proper look at her I noticed that she had an over enthusiastic, fake smile on her face, and that she looked oddly flushed. She must have noticed that I didn't buy her fake enthusiasm, as her smile faded slightly, and she walked out of my room.

I got up and looked at myself in the mirror... well at least you couldn't tell that I'd been crying. Nothing is worse than your parents knowing that you've cried and then trying to "relate to your pains". Contentedly I walked out of my room, and down to the dining room.

Once there, my parents and aunt were all seated at the table, but without any plates, cutlery or food. It wasn't dinner time...

"Err-"

"Sit down Aliya" said Cantara sternly. I did as she asked. I sat opposite Cantara, who was sitting at the head of the old antique table, with both my parents seated along the right hand side of the table, neither of them making eye contact with me...

I see where this is going...

"Aliya, tomorrow is your 16th birthday, yes?" asked Cantara. I nodded cautiously.

"Well... we have a surprise for you... somewhat different from what you would imagine, but still overall a fairly positive thing"

Oh great that makes me feel good. My birthday present is "fairly positive". Cantara obviously doesn't understand how the divorce of your parents feels. If she did first of all she wouldn't call it "fairly positive".

It was silent for a second. I saw mum and dad exchanging worried glances at each other. Dad then turned to me and stuttered "Well Aliya...um...h-how do-do I put this..." His face began to go red, and I could tell he was having trouble breaking the bad news to me. I preferred to watch him suffer trying. I felt my cheeks burning, the lump in my throat rising.

I focused my attention on the small flowerpot in the middle of the table. Trying to distract myself from what was going on around me, I took mental note of every aspect of the pot. It held a long dead plant that my busy family has never bothered to replace. The weed-like ruins of the plant seemed to mimic my -

"Aliya! Are you listening?"

"Yes" I said monotone. It went quiet.

"Well..." Cantara sighed, "I suppose it's easier to show you"

"Cantara, wait you know you c-" Dad retorted

"Do you have a better suggestion, Jamal?" Cantara snapped back.

I looked up, confused. Cantara looked at me, and then to the pot plant. Her eyes seemed to glaze over, and go a light shade of grey, rather than their usual brown... She held out her hand, and it trembled. Then her fingers curled inwards into her hand, and as they did the dead ruins of the pot plant turned green, sprouted and grew into a large beautiful yellow flower.

Oh My God.

"Holy sh- Canta- well what... wh..."

Cantara let out a fairly loud, moan-like grunt and I noticed that her face was now sweaty, and she appeared to be exhausted. She placed her head in her hands, and breathed heavily. Dad got up from his chair and knelt beside her, placing his hand gently on her shoulder.

"Cantara you know you're not supposed to do that without a wish" He said in a concerning tone.

"No, no it's quite alright. It… it was only simple... but...it was very necessary..." She said, raising her head and staring her dark brown eyes deep into me. I tried to summon the question of how, but I just found myself babbling.

"Wh- you! You just-"

"How did I do that?" Cantara suggested. "Its simple." She took a deep breath, closing her eyes, and then looking back at me said:

"I am an Arabian Supernatural being – a genie"

I didn't say anything. I just sat there. I placed my hand to my mouth, and I felt tears welling up in my eyes... I didn't even know why... Cantara stared at me, expecting me to react. But I didn't know how to. My parents sat there staring into space, tightly gripping each other's hands on top of the table. My mother's eyes seemed to also be filled with tears. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't talk. I just shook my head.

Cantara gave a small, irritated grunt sighin our family."

With that I looked up eyes squinting to hold back the tears. Why was I crying?! I couldn't understand it. It was as if I wasn't myself. I had to fight it.

"I don't believe you." I said bitterly "This isn't funny. This isn't what meant to happen! You guys got me here to tell me that you two are getting divorced!"

Mum looked at me with disbelief "What on earth are you talking about? Ally, your father and I are not-"

"Stop trying to cover it up!" I said loudly. "This is just some sick joke!!"

"Ally, why would we-"

"SHUT UP. JUST TELL ME THE TRUTH!" I screamed, tears streaming down my face.

"Aliya" Cantara said sternly as she rose to her feet.

Suddenly I was speechless... my paraplegic great aunt just... rose to her feet... and began moving towards my end of the table, speaking very slowly.

"Aliya, you must stop this nonsense." She said moving closer. "Its no joke. Its no trick. You must grow up and realise..." She was now standing right next to me. "This is real"

I tore myself away from her gaze and looked down...

Big mistake...

I saw that from the hips down... her body was gone... her legs wen't there...

the entire second half of her body... where her legs should be... It had all been replaced... by a thick tail of blue gas!

I began to feel light headed, I began to gag, and the room began to spin.

And I blacked out.

-

I woke up suddenly with a gasp. I looked around and saw that I was lying in my bed in my room. I looked outside and it appeared to be daytime. I could see the birds fluttering outside the window, and I could see the tree's slowly moving with the wind.

It was a dream. It wasn't real.

Before I had a chance to do anything, my bedroom door opened and in walked my mother holding a food tray. She looked at me then put the tray down at my dressing table, not making eye contact. "Oh good you're up" she said while rearranging the food on the tray. It was silent for a little while.

"Mum… did something -"

"No." I heard a voice say outside the room. I looked to the door and saw Cantara slowly glide in. "It wasn't a dream" she said. I looked down at where her legs should be and saw that that same gas tail I had seen yesterday replaced it.

"Holy shit!" I said quietly, I jumped up from my bed and backed away towards the wall. Cantara glided towards me… it made me feel sick inside… let's face it, it's not every day you see someone with a blue tail of gas instead of legs.

"What -…. I – I don't – " I stuttered.

"Sit back down Aliya" said my mum.

I didn't move. I kept my eyes fixed on Cantara's tail.

"Sit back down" she repeated, a bit more sternly. I did as she asked. I slowly moved back over to my bed, not taking my eyes of Cantara. I cautiously sat down, and we stared at each other for a while.

"Ally, do you remember our conversation from last night?" asked Cantara gently. I nodded slowly, not breaking our eye contact.

We were silent for a moment. I didn't know what to say. My head was telling me that this was all a lie, my senses were telling me this was all real, and my heart… well… it had a new inner voice within that I can't quite explain. I decided to break the silence.

"Why… why do you, have … the" I said pointing towards her gas tail

"When a genie turns the age of 16 that genie is endowed with their magical powers. And when a genie turns the age of 21 they loose their body from their hips down, and it is replaced with a tail of gas."

I don't know what to say. It all seems so crazy. The sick feeling in my stomach wouldn't go away.

"You are 16 now, are you not?"

I nodded slowly. Cantara's eyebrows rose

I broke our eye contact and stared at the floor. "That's… not possible…" I could hardly get the words out of my mouth… they were husky and strange…

Once again there was the silence. Cantara then quickly glided out of the room, and came back holding a slab of white stone about the size of an A4 book. She flipped it over and I saw delicately calved into it a picture of an oil lamp.

"Touch it." said Cantara, moving the stone towards me. I hesitated, but then carefully reached out and placed my fingers onto the stone.

Suddenly I felt a rush in my head. It felt like a title wave had just hit me, there was a push of power surging through my body. I tried to pull my hand away, but I couldn't move. My head hurt, my stomach felt crammed, my skin felt as though it would rip. More and more of whatever this was, was being pushed through my veins, the pressure in my body felt as though it would explode. And then, WHAM.

I fell backwoods onto my bed. I could hardly breathe. "What - was – that!?" I said huskily between large gasps.

"Its ok, its ok" said my mother, lifting me up "You're just winded"

"That, Aliya, was your first taste of magical power. Don't worry, it's a bit much for all of us when we first get it. You'll be used to the magic by the time you start school. I'll help you."

"What?" I said breathlessly. "Wha-What school?"

"Why, genie school of course! Where else do you think you'd learn how to control your magic?"

I sat there breathing heavily. I turned to mum, tears stinging my eyes and said "Mum I don't want this"

"Oh come now Ally, you're just-"

"NO. Mum I do not want this"

"I'm afraid you have no choice" said Cantara.

I turned to face her and gave her a pleading expression.

"I'm sorry Aliya, but you must accept your destiny. You are destined to be a genie, and serve the humans. A pact was made thousands of years ago"

"Well WHATEVER to the pact I'm not doing it! I don't want to learn magic, I don't want to change schools, and I DO NOT want to spend the rest of my life granting wishes to spoilt BASTARDS!"

"YOU HAVE NO CHOICE!" Cantara spat.

"Why not?" I spat back at her.

"Because-" Cantara's voice calmed down a bit, and she took a deep breath in. "When you reach the age of 21 you will loose your legs, and have a tail for the rest of your life. A genie's gas tail is a sign of what they are. You cannot live in normal society once you have that tail"

My heavy breathing started again "But…" I couldn't get the words out " But I don't – "

I looked at Cantara and gave her the dirtiest expression I compose. I grabbed my bed pillow and chucked it at her. "GET OUT" I screeched helplessly "GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY ROOM" Cantara gave me her disapproving look, turned and glided out of the room. I threw myself onto my bed and began sobbing.

I felt mum's hand cautiously place itself on my shoulder, and I angrily slapped it way with my hand, and continued to sob into my pillow. I heard mum's footsteps leading out of the room, and the click of the door.

Amongst my deep sobs it hit me.

This is real.

A/N: Ok well that was the new updated, no spelling errors version two of chapter one of "missing three wishes!".

FIRST OFF I HAVE A FEW THINGS TO SAY:

- Yes, this has got the whole magic-school plot, but let me assure you that it will NOT be the main focus of the story. Missing Three Wishes will DEFINETLY NOT be your everyday cliché' magic story.

-I'm from AUSTRALIA so for many of the words in the story i am using the Australian spelling. You'll find that many Z's in words are turned to an S. So don't worry about those.

-THAT SAID. let me know of any big spelling or punctuation errors. I'm terrible at stuff like that, and a lot of the time my crap spell-checker won't work. Haha.

ANYWAY:

It took me a while to write Missing Three Wishes... I've had the idea for a while. It's just been really hard to get it down onto paper (or computer ha-ha) without it seeming really lame. I mean I'm trying to aim this stereotypically childish subject matter into a young adult story. It's really hard!! I've had to write it, and rewrite it OVER AND OVER AGAIN. It's been hard... but hey this is probably the hardest chapter anyway. Once the audience has accepted the world in which I've based the story I won't have to be quite so careful :)

I've got so much I want to explore about the world of genies! I've got some cool ideas that I think really might interest some people! I've done lots of research on genies. Where they originated, how its been westernized etc. I think I'm mainly going to stick to the western interpretation of a genie. Of course I'll be employing some more traditional elements in it as well. But you know. : D

Anyway if you read and review I'd be happy to return the favor – constructive criticism is welcomed with open arms! Don't tell me its great if its not! I always love to hear where I can improve in my writing.