The Third Wish Martin's first wish to the djinn was to die. It had taken Martin a decade to track down the 6th-century amphorae in which the djinn’s essence was trapped. During that time Martin had destroyed the lives of those around him, and grown to hate the very power he seeked. He first killed out of self-preservation, then greed. Greed was another word for self-preservation. Only a fool would choose to be the back instead of the knife. Now, with three choices to make, Martin knew that what he had become was something that belonged in hell. The djinn grinned at Martin’s request, nodded, and then wrapped its spectral hands around Martin’s neck. Martin spasmed and died--then began to writhe in a hundred new agonies. He was being burned, frozen, ripped apart, squeezed, shattered, broken. Every moment of pain relived in an everlasting constant second. The djinn, still accompanying his master, had never seen the place he had sent so many. It was aghast for it to be in a realm of such unfulfillment. It asked the writhing Martin if wish number two should be a resurrection. “No,” Martin said, “I want to be at the top of this mountain. I want the throne.” The djinn’s murderous hands began to tremble in fear. “Can you do that?” The djinn waited an eternity, not wanting to answer, yet compelled to be truthful. Then it nodded. “Good,” Martin said. His pain stopped, but the decadent smile from newly-won power seemed almost as grim. “By the way, I may take centuries to decide on my third wish. But you’ll be by my side every second for all those years in case I change my mind, right?” Another eternity's pause. Another nod.