~A young girl encounters a djinn and becomes its master in exchange for her family but doesn’t want the job.
The very first creature I ever caught was a powerful Djinn named Baylor. He was hiding in a cave on my mother’s land that we’ve lived on for close to a decade. My two younger sisters, plus my mother went on a hiking trip and found a cave, which happened to have the Djinn there. It was also what had been causing all our family problems, because it ‘didn’t appreciate trespassers’. I found out about it when Angela came running into the house, bawling, and clutching me around the waist tightly. Angela was around fifteen/sixteen years old, but the way she was acting she had transformed into a five year old.
“Save me, Marian!” She pleaded, looking up into my eyes. I sighed.
“What from?” I paused, realizing something. “And where’s everyone else?”
“They’re trapped in a cave with a monster,” She sniffed, refusing to let me go.
“A monster?” I asked, raising an eyebrow. My family didn’t believe that magic was real, but they hoped it would be. I frowned. “What kind?”
“Your kind,” She whispered. She had stopped crying, but she wouldn’t release me.
“Mythical creature?” I asked, staring at her. She nodded. “Something from…uh…ancient times, or-”
“It was a giant like creature, with purple smoke and…and…it’s got mom and Amber!” She started crying again.
I thought rapidly, and then did the smart thing-got out the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing Monster Manuel.
“Is it a dragon?” I asked, and she shook her head. “Goblin, dwarf, unicorn, gremlin, Genie-”
“Genie,” Angelica said, and I grinned-and then paused. Genies were powerful. I wasn’t going to be able to fight it; I knew it from the start. I scowled, and thought.
“How far is it to the cave?”
“A mile, maybe a mile and a half,” She told me, and I nodded understanding. I had to prepare, but we really didn’t have any weapons in fighting mythical/magical creatures. I was surprised that they’d even run into one…
“You’re not twisting my leg are you?” I asked suddenly, and Angelica shook her head.
“Mom and Amber are trapped in the cave,” She said, and I sighed.
“All right, but if this turns out to be a joke, I’m not speaking to you for a month,” I grumbled, and went to pack some supplies in my old high school backpack.
I packed the first aid kit, a few knives, and-just in case it might work-mom’s pistol that she had. Granted, I had never fired the thing…but it might help. It would at least let the neighbors know that something was wrong.
On a whim, I also got the only silver item that I owned-a silver cross necklace that my grandmother had bought me because I had said that I liked it. I wrapped it around my neck, and then went downstairs.
“Stay here, okay? If we’re not back by tomorrow morning, call your grandparents. Our grandmother might know what to do with what’s going on, seeing as she was once a Gypsy.” I added, and Angelica nodded again.
My grandmother being a Gypsy was an interesting story, but not one that needed to be told at the moment. I got a compass, and then started towards where the cave supposedly at. (Angelica had told me exactly where they’d found the cave. I wasn’t surprised that it was located on a steep hill.)
It took around an hour of hiking to get there, and then a half hour of searching to find the exact entrance of the cave. I had bought some rope with me, thinking it would prove to be useful. And it did. After tying the rope off to a large boulder that was sitting near the cave entrance, I then dropped the remaining bit of rope down the hole. I could see where the floor of the cave was, so it wouldn’t be terribly hard in climbing down. Of course, I had never climbed down a rope except in Gym-Class back in High School.
I went carefully, saving my energy in case I needed to go into a fight. Of course once I reached the ground floor, I was unsure of which direction to go-right or left. I went right on a hunch, and because it seemed to be lighter in that direction.
My feet were aching-I hadn’t done this much exercise in ages. I went around a bend-and then came into an extremely large cave entrance, where a Jinni was filling the room with purple smoke and my two family members were against the wall, looking up at it in terror.
“WHO DARES DISTURB MY REALM?” The Djinn roared, making the cave shake slightly.
“I don’t know if you’ll be able to hear me, being so high up near the ceiling,” I called to him, hoping I sounded calm.
“But you have two members of my family hostage, and I’d like to have them returned to me, please.”
“HA!” The Djinn barked a laugh, though I didn’t see what was so amusing. “You are their keeper?”
“No, I’m just the oldest kid out of three. Can you lower your smoke please? I can’t hardly breathe let alone talk with all this purple smoke going about, and mom’s already asthmatic,” I said, waving away a bunch of it.
The smoke abruptly vanished, and I blinked.
“Oh, thanks,” I said, relieved. The Djinn was staring down at me with a curious expression on his face.
“You are not afraid of me?” He asked, in a normal tone.
“I’m terrified of you,” I reassured him, and he looked pleased. “But I also need my family back, and you have them hostage so I had to come here in order to secure a bargain. What is it that you want?”
The Djinn stared at me.
“You think you have something to offer me?” It demanded, and I shrugged.
“I don’t know, therefore I’m asking. Is there something that I can trade in return for my family members?” I asked, and it considered.
“You know what our kinds are? Good-then I request that I become yours until you have made three wishes. No true love, no bringing someone back from the dead, and no-”
“I already know the rules-but why do you need someone to be your Master?” I asked, curious. He sighed.
“It is…not only tradition, but also a curse placed upon our kind since we were first borne into this world,” He informed me. “A Sorcerer whose name none of our kind have discovered as yet enslaved us, giving us also the power to give a person three wishes on anything,” He said, and I blinked.
“Really?” I paused. “Was it Merlin?”
“No,” He answered, and I was relieved.
“Was it Morgan Le Fay?” I asked, and he hesitated.
“No,” He said finally, and I sighed. Those were the only two that I could be absolutely sure of.
“Well, how about this-I agree to be you’re Master, and assist you and your kind in finding out who the Sorcerer is that enslaved your people,” I suggested, and he brightened. “In the meantime, will you return with me to where I live? And be invisible to everyone but myself and those that can see you originally?” I added, and he nodded, and then was a small man on my shoulder.
My mother and sister stirred, and I assisted them back to the house. It took another hour and forty-five minutes to get there, due to climbing up the rope and going through the woods again. The Djinn was remarkably quiet as we went into the house, and I set my things aside.
“By the way, what’s your name?” I asked him, and he looked momentarily surprised.
“My name is Baylor, Master,” He said with a bow on my shoulders. “And yours, if I may be so bold to ask?”
“You may,” I said with a nod-and then paused. “Name’s don’t give you power over that person, does it?”
“Not for us, but for other such creatures it might,” He answered with a grin. “You are cleaver, aren’t you?”
“When it comes to mythical creatures and fantasy,” I agreed. “My name is Sandra Penn,”
“I shall refer to you as the Lady Penn,” He said thoughtfully. “That way, it shall keep other creatures from discovering your whole name.”
“Right,” I said, and dropped down into a chair in my room, before gazing around. My room was littered with books and other odds and ends. I had a few candles stashed at my window to provide nice smells. I had a hammock for a bed, and I also had a typewriter that I used to write my stories with.
It was a nice room, but sometimes-
“You don’t read my thoughts, do you?” I asked, and he smiled.
“Not unless you wish me to,” He said comfortably leaning against the wall of the desk that he had transferred to.
I nodded, and then thought of how I might like a telescope, or a bunch of things that I saw in that magazine the other day but was too expensive, or how I could wish to have the best writing talent of anyone within five states of where I was at. I could have a whole lot that I hadn’t had before, and then I paused.
“This is only a hypothetical question-but what would happen if I asked you to save someone’s life?”
He looked disappointed at it not being a wish.
“Well, I guess I would be able to-it never said anything about preventing death,” He said thoughtfully.
I nodded, and then realized something-Djinn’s would stick around until they had actually managed to give you wishes…even if you didn’t want them. It seemed as if I would be hard pressed for the next, oh, lifetime in avoiding thinking about anything that I might want. No wistful looks or even some random glances at something that seemed cool. A Jinni would twist it around until they felt as if they had granted you all three wishes.
I would have to phrase carefully what I wanted, if I wanted anything. I heard something about a Master Djinn who controlled all the rest and had them enslaved. I sighed.
“What are you thinking about?” The Djinn asked, and he seemed innocently curious.
“I’m thinking about what a-no offense-pain in the ass you’re going to be,” I said frankly. The Djinn-Baylor-seemed highly amused.
“You really are clever, aren’t you-how come you don’t have a husband?” It asked, and I blinked.
“Because-it’s none of your business,” I said, catching myself in time. He looked disappointed. “Look, I get that you’re trying to fulfill your quota until I wish for something,” I said, and he nodded. “Now, how about this-and this isn’t a wish-I help you, and you help me…and not by simply granting wishes, but through friendship and, uh, what?”
“Djinn’s can’t have friends,” Baylor said with a scowl. “Friends with benefits translates to the same thing as ‘wishes’, or so the Master says.” He added with a stare.
“Well, what if I wanted to see the Master?” I asked, and Baylor looked alarmed.
“If you see them, then I will be punished and you will be transformed into one of us!” He said quickly. I blinked in astonishment.
“He won’t see a single mortal?” I asked, incredulous. “Not even for, say, asking to set all of you free?”
Baylor looked at me in astonishment.
“Why set us free?” He asked, curious.
“Because slavery is something that I hate with a passion, even if it’s granting me wishes,” I said frankly. “We humans aren’t able to wish for things normally because we’re dangerous,” I added. He nodded.
“There have been a few humans I have known that have wished for death on other humans,” He said. “And then the Master made them one of our kind.”
I blinked, and then sighed.
“Listen, Baylor…I really don’t understand your people,” I said, and he nodded. “In fact, I don’t even see how you can exist since magic isn’t believed in any more, not to mention the fact that there hasn’t been any mythological creatures coming to life in…oh…forever.”
“That’s one wish easily granted,” He said, and made to snap his fingers.
“Stop-” I started to say, and then a flood of information entered through me, and I winced at a headache that sprang up from nowhere. Information on all magical creatures and their true stories were in my head. As well as a huge ton of information on Djinn and how to be careful around them.
I groaned and was glad that I was sitting in a chair at my desk, because I was sure that I would’ve fallen over. I tried to get myself back together, and glared up at the innocent looking Baylor.
But now I could understand them, and use their knowledge to my advantage! I thought suddenly.
It seemed as if I was incredibly smart, too. The Djinn had gone a step farther in getting me knowledge about magical and mythological creatures. I now knew a ton of other things about almost every other subject-languages, math, science, history, and…he had even put the knowledge of sex in my mind.
I sighed and stared at Baylor who looked perfectly innocent.
“Has anyone ever said to you that you’re a pain in the ass?” I asked, and then winced. “No, don’t make that into a wish to have sex with you either!” I said, as he looked surprised.
“Don’t worry, I won’t,” He reassured me, laughing. I nodded, and then sighed. With all this knowledge, I was sure that I could easily get into a college and pass exams with flying colors. I wouldn’t even be cheating.
“So, your Master was…is…some sort of God?” I asked, interested, and he nodded his face neutral. “Huh-I wonder who would win against one another in a battle between a Trickster and a God,” I said thoughtfully.
“Don’t!” He snapped. “I don’t want to be the cause of a human turning Djinn!”
“I wasn’t…okay, I guess I was,” I said, realizing this as more knowledge came to mind. “Hey, ARE tricksters more powerful?” I wondered, and the Djinn scowled. “Never mind, I won’t say anything more about it.” I said hastily.
I glanced around my room, and sighed. My mind was thinking so quickly now, it was hard to figure out what to do first. I then realized that there was one other thing that I could…no, I didn’t want wishes! I wasn’t greedy, I was just…
“Baylor, I…” I hesitated. “If I set you free, would you vanish?”
“I might,” He admitted. I sighed. I hated that this was so complicated. I thought and closed my eyes so that I could concentrate better. He was waiting patiently, it seemed.
What to wish for, other than his freedom? I was super intelligent now, and knew that mythological and magical creatures were real, so I could easily use that knowledge to go in search of them or help other people. Now…I inwardly snorted-I could be like Harry Dresden, only smarter.
I hesitated-I was tired of being alone, but I didn’t know if I wanted to wish for someone who would be totally devoted to me. That was like what Terry Goodkind wrote about as Confessors in his story ‘Wizard’s First Rule’. I could wish that I had magic within me-but that wasn’t right either. And I couldn’t wish for true love, anyway. Even though that was the one thing that I wanted most.
I could wish to be a handsome guy, but then that wouldn’t get me much. I could wish for money, as our family desperately needed it. I frowned, and realized that I could wish for being an excellent writer. That would be a priceless opportunity. I could wish to be in the world of Harry Potter, literally in the world of Harry Potter as an eleven year old about to go off to Hogwarts with powerful magic.
I hesitated, that one was something that I really wanted to use. I shook my head, and then considered. I could wish for the economy in the US to get better. I could wish to be the ruler of an entire magical country-like Narnia. I could wish for me to become a magical creature…I blinked at that one. I took a breath, knowing that I had to make this wish fast and make it seem like I was granting him something that I knew would hurt the Djinn’s everywhere.
“Baylor, I have my second wish-will you listen to me carefully, and please don’t grant until I finish speaking?” I asked, and he nodded. “After I make this wish, I promise I will set you free.” I added, and he brightened.
“Talk and I shall listen, and then grant you your wish.” He said. I hesitated, thinking, and then took a breath and said softly.
“I wish…that wishes wouldn’t come true when they are granted by Djinn’s,” I whispered.
The Djinn gave a howl of anguish and fury, and then all the lights went out.