A not so little golden ball

I started fearfully as the ball went whoooosh past my head. I was not prepared for the full velocity the ball would carry; little did I know that this was just a tip of the iceberg. This was just a little of the power in this ball and what it can do.
Let me retrace: a few days ago, as I was walking on the sidewalk to my apartment building, looking down and counting the number of steps I will take before I get to my door, I bumped into an old man accidentally. This man was bent and wrinkled, carrying a grocery bag, and shuffling along slowly. He staggered when we collided and it was only my speedy reflexes that kept him from falling. I apologized profusely while holding on to him and held on as he straightened back up.
As a direct result of my guilt, I offered to carry his bag for him to wherever he was headed to. He readily agreed and we started on our way. After several minutes and having walked a few blocks, he finally stopped in front of a decrepit building and reached for his grocery bag. As at this time, he had not spoken a word to me. I handed him his bag, thanked him and as I turned to retrace my steps back to my building, he spoke.
“Son,” he called. His voice was raspy and had a gritty feel to it as if from too little use. I looked back. He smiled. His teeth were all but gone and this made his smile creepy.
“Thank you for your help. I have something for you.” He reached into his coveralls and withdrew a tiny golden ball. He gave it to me. “Take good care of this ball and use it well. It has immense power and can grant you three wishes. Use it wisely.”
Needless to say I was dumbstruck. In this day and age to think something like this could still happen; this being the 21st century, I would think archaic practices like this have gone with the Stone Age. I took the golden ball from him, not believing a word he said of course and thanked him.
I was about leaving when his voice stopped me once again. “I can feel the doubt in your heart and the fact that you didn’t ask me how to use it confirms your unbelief. As you go on your way, you will meet a fair, tall, very pretty lady who will ask you for directions, maybe this will convince you.
When you want to use the ball, throw it and make a wish, its wings will unfurl and it will carry your wishes to the universe. The ball will come back to you as soon as the message has been passed to the universe. Remain where you are as you make the wish so it can retrace its steps back to you. When you make the third wish, the ball will cease to have its power; it will become an ordinary golden ball. Don’t waste your wishes.”
I looked at the old man skeptically, by this time wary of him and eager to be on my way magic ball or no magic ball. I looked at the ball in my hand, saw no wings with which it will fly and decided to dismiss this talk as ramblings of an old man. I thanked him once again and as I looked into his eyes, I felt strange; a current went through me like a power surge. I dropped my eyes quickly and shuffled away from him, never once looking back, golden ball heavy in my pocket.
Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next…

To be continued…

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