Freya hated traffic. She detested the roar of a hundred engines, the metallic twang of petrol in the air, how every time she had to cross the road was a chance of death. She wanted more than anything to escape to the countryside, but her job lay deep in the centre of the city, a thirty minute trudge past cars, motorbikes, lorries and buses.
When she found the magic ring that granted her three wishes, getting the rid of the traffic was top of her list.
This was a disaster. Dozens of business close because their workers simply could not get there. Supermarkets dried up in hours. The streets clogged with commuters holding keys. Freya watched the crowds, listening to the jangling of thousands of blades of metal, and made another wish. This time she requested that instead of cars, everyone had a magical beasts that they could travel on instead.
This was no less of a catastrophe. The wheezing and grunting of strange, obedient beasts with hollow innards was no better than the engines of before. The streets had a strange wet dog smell that got in the houses and put people off their dinner. Pedestrians got swiped by long claws, or knocked over by scaly tails. Scat blocked every drain.
Freya had one wish left. She knew she was under tremendous power to get the traffic to return. But then she remembered what she had wanted in the first place. She whispered to the magic ring, and flew far away to where the woods stretched in all direction.
From a survival point of view, this was the worst possible choice. The hundred square miles of evergreens provided nothing in terms of food and water. A darkening sky coincided with a temperature quickly dropping below zero. Freya should not have worn flip-flops, and a thin cotton dress.
But Freya did not mind. She sat down under the branches of the pines, and closed her eyes. The engine still roared in a million other spots across the globe, but here there was, and always would be, absolute silence.