During that last summer, as if in punishment for being happy, Kate was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
The last time we used the wishing stone was at the hospital the morning she died.
On that day, all three of us made a silent wish, certain the others had wished the same. Kate died that afternoon and I never thought about it again. It was the last time I believed in magic, in love or in the existence of God.
Then, after three miserable lonely years, the unthinkable, a second chance... Warwick.
A river stone smoothed with time and endless amounts of water, it was really nothing more than a regular rock. We found it on a camping trip to Deep Creek as kids. No more than four or five inches long and a dull tan with black freckles it looked more like a potato than anything else. Kate took it everywhere. She would close her eyes and stroke it three times before making a wish.
It started just before we returned home. She wished for the folks to stop and get us an ice cream for the ride home and they did.
The following week, she wished for a new notebook for school and the next day it appeared in her room. It didn't happen every time, but it did more often than not so it became our wishing stone. As we grew older it became the conduit between us. We would take turns holding it, vowing on our very lives to only speak the truth while it was in our possession, talking for hours before making our wish.
Kate was its guardian, swearing to use it only for good and only when the two of us were together. It became a regular ritual between us. We wished for things large and small, all with equal desire they would come true. Once a week, it gave each of us an opportunity to vent our frustrations and express our desire to make things right with the world.
Slowly, as I grew older, my interest began to wane. My wishes became more trivial and I had less and less time to share with her so I concentrated on making her wishes come true. It made me feel good to secretly fulfill her modest desires. The stone had changed from sharing secret dreams to open communication between us.
Eventually, we gained new obligations, leaving little time for the wishing stone. Kate went off to college and I dropped out. We saw each other at least once a month, until our parents died. She looked after me far more than I did her and the wishing stone became a thing of the past. From that moment to her last, we were joined at the hip.
Two years after our parents' death, on New Year’s Eve, it reappeared. I thought it had been lost long before and was surprised by its return. We spent the night talking, endlessly talking, and it made me feel like I was no longer lost in my grief, no longer alone.
At midnight we made our wish. Hers came true eight months later when she met Roger. I am still waiting, nursing a flicker of similar hope.
For the next twenty years, each year on New Year’s Eve, the wishing stone was passed from hand to hand, first to Kate, then Roger, then me.
During her last summer, as if a punishment for being happy, Kate was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
The last time we used the stone was at the hospital the morning she died.
On that day, all three of us made a silent wish, certain the others had wished for the same. Kate died that afternoon and I never thought about the stone again. It was the last time I believed in magic, in love or the existence of God.
|What the reviewers are saying
A Tegon Maus novel is a celebration, not only of storytelling but of the very act of creation. Maus can take a seemingly banal setup . . . and fashion it into a compelling, comedic character study. He can take something as common as UFOs . . . and put such a spin on it that the reader has no choice but to be delighted by every page. Maus is a gifted storyteller, a go-for-broke storyteller . . . The Wishing Stone, blows the hell out of Book 1 . . . The Wishing Stone is pure sci-fi, unapologetic, balls-to-the-walls sci-fi. But it's sci-fi for us pedestrians, for those who don't want epic space dramas or overly complicated mythologies . . . Could we say that the plot is a trifle derivative? Sure, but good god, that seems petty, especially when one considers that the plot really is secondary here. This is a character study through and through, a breakdown of what drives men, of what inspires men, and ultimately of what destroys them . . . Maus is asking big questions: What makes a person human? What role does memory play in defining a person? What role does the individual play in the larger designs of life? But he is asking these questions organically, in a way that makes sense in the context of the book. At no point does he stop and force the reader to ponder the answers. Instead, he allows the questions to arise as the story moves forward . . . Balancing all of this out is the humor . . . The Wishing Stone has humor in spades, humor that never gets in the way but offers the reader perfectly timed respite from the otherwise serious tone of the book. Characters like Hank, Larry, and Steven, for example, offer a wonderful opportunity for Maus to demonstrate his command over comedic voicing, and Marcie and Digsby's obsession with Ben being able to see through their clothing--he can't, but they refuse to believe him--makes for a terrific recurring joke, on par with Bob's innumerable cousins . . . In short, The Wishing Stone is pure Tegon Maus, a highly enjoyable book that I simply could not stop reading. ~ Jonathan, Amazon
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I strongly recommend reading the first book in this series, Machines of the Little People, before diving into this one . . . The Wishing Stone is a good choice for anyone in the mood for a fast-paced, science fiction novella . . . By far the best passages involved descriptions of the laboratory equipment and experimental procedures that are used in this piece. This isn’t hard science fiction, but the emphasis on what could be possible with enough funding and the right equipment piqued my interest. If the author is planning to release more sequels in this series, I’d be curious to see where the technological advancements go next. ~ LAS Reviewer, Amazon
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This story is fast paced and filled with scientific ideas that Sci-Fi readers will enjoy. It had me questioning what I would do if faced with a similar situation and then asking the following questions: How important is love? How important is it to live longer than a lifespan? What would you do to live longer and more fully than it is possible to do as you are now? And would you make the choice Ben did at the end of the book? ~ Cathy Geha, B&N Nook
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A great science fiction sequel
This is a great science fiction story, which follows on nicely from The Eve Project: Book 1, Machines of the Little People, however could easily be read as a stand-alone . . . It has it all for science fiction fans, top secret scientific projects, a great storyline, twists and turns round every corner, yet, at its very core lies, dare I say it, a love story . . . It has a great finish, however, at the end, all I wanted to know from the author – is there is another book in the series coming? . . . I hope so . . . ~ Susan Keefe, Amazon
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Roger is treated like royalty when they get there because this is a ...
This is an outstanding piece and the best news is that there will be another novel in this series. This reader thrives on the mysterious aspects of this story, the intrigue, and the deceit. No one is ever truly who they appear to be in these novels and they just leave the reader lusting for more. Tegon Maus weaves a beautiful story where reality collides with science fiction and creates something worth pondering over. Thank you for the promise of a third novel in this intriguing series! ~ Belinda Wilson, Amazon
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While The Wishing Stone is the sequel to The Machines of the Little People, part of The Eve Project series, it also does well as a stand-alone novel. Some supporting characters in the book are a little quirky and this adds a sort of unique trademark to Mr. Maus’ novels. Many of the characters are not who they seem to be and that is part of the interesting twist in this novel . . . The Wishing Stone is a thought-provoking novel in that with all the rapid advances in medical and scientific break-throughs, how long will it be before someone attempts to do what Roger attempts in this novel? . . . I thought that the pacing of this novel was good. The plot twists and turns were unexpected and intriguing. I enjoyed the quirkiness of the characters. The dialogue between characters felt natural . . . I very much enjoyed The Wishing Stone. I gave this novel 4 stars out of 5. I would recommend this novel to science fiction fans. ~ Kathryn Svendsen, Shelf Full of Books blog
The Wishing Stone is another wonderful inclusion in this series. Readers will be pulled back into Ben's story from page one, and will want to read this book in one sitting. Ben's rare affliction is a curious thing, and one can't help but be curious at the extent it controls Ben's life, and what he's willing to do for a cure. Roger seems to have all the answers, and we're drawn into his work with D.A.R.P.A., but we're also drawn into his own personal narcissism. Both characters are drawn so well that the situations in the story become wholly believable. And that's the benchmark of any great story, isn't it -- believability . . . Tegon has set the bar high with this series and continues to clear it with each new story. He packs in action and adventure, science and technology, creationism and technological evolution, and even some love and romance. The Wishing Stone is an awesome story and I can't wait to read book three -- The Cordovian Effect! And next time I'm out walking, I'm going to look for my own Wishing Stone. ~ Heart of Fiction