A Bottle of Djinn
Genies or djinns are great fun. Robin William’s genie in Aladdin was a hoot. But when is Robin Williams not a hoot? Okay, don’t tell me about One-Hour Photo, Insomnia, or Death to Smoochy. Nobody bats a thousand.
Ahem. That’s not the subject here. It’s genies.
Let’s not talk about I Dream of Jeannie. That is clearly a complete and utter corruption of the wonderful race of magical beings brought to us from Muslim tradition. So, here’s the skeenie on genies.
In Arabic, a genie (also jinn, Djinn, jinni) is a supernatural creature which occupies a parallel world to that of mankind, and together with humans and angels makes up the three sentient creations of God (Allah). Possessing free will, a djinn can be either good or evil.
The Djinn are mentioned frequently in the Qur’an, and there is a Surah entitled Al-Jinn. While Christian tradition suggests that Lucifer was an angel that rebelled against God’s orders, Islam maintains that Iblis was a Djinn who had been granted special privilege to live amongst angels prior to his rebellion. Although some scholars have ruled that it is apostasy to disbelieve in one of God’s creations, the belief in Jinn has fallen comparably to the belief in angels in other Abrahamic traditions.
Golly, that’s not near as much fun as Robin Williams. Still, a supernatural being that can wreak havoc on humans is right up our alley, right?
In my book, “Setara’s Genie,” Basit, the genie, serves Setara. Well, ‘serves’ is a bit of a stretch. He suggests, advises, and pretty much makes her figure out how to get things done. Every once in a great while, he will whomp up a little magic if Setara is about to fall off a cliff or something else dangerous.
Basit appears in all of Setara’s adventures except one. In that story, an evil genie has tricked Basit into the bottle that Aladdin put him in years before. He introduces himself to Setara as Sharif, Apprentice Djinn Second Class, and claims to be taking over for Basit while he’s missing. Setara is naturally concerned for Basit. The evil genie (disguised as a boy djinn) wants to lure her into helping him kill the Great Vizier ---- screeeech! Calling a halt here. The plot is too complicated to explain in full.
The short of it is that Setara and her gang have to rescue Basit from the bottle. To do that, they have to put the bad genie into another bottle. Setara, Kairav the water demon, Azizah the cave demon, Sheik the dog, and Sulawesi the eagle are all needed to put that dang bad genie back in his bottle and get Basit out.
To learn what else happens to the gang, you’ll just have to buy a copy of the book.
Setara slumped to the cave floor. What, she wondered, could these superstitious tribesmen think was a mountain demon? Cloistered she may be, but she was well educated and did not believe in demons. These were old men’s tales to frighten children. It made no difference, really. Dead was dead, whether by a demon’s talons or a mountain cat’s fangs.
She smacked her head against the rock wall and realized she had dozed off. How stupid of me. I’m waiting here for something to eat me, and I take a nap! She edged toward the entrance, kicking herself mentally. Why hadn’t she simply tried to push the bushes aside and get out?
She found the answer in the inch-long thorns on the shrubs, tied down so she couldn’t move them. When she pushed on them with her tied hands, she got a gash for her effort. Now, the mountain cats would smell blood, and it would be all over.
She retreated from the thorns and put her back to the wall. At least she could face the lions when they came.
A loud crash, followed by a slither of loose gravel sounded no more than twenty feet from where she crouched. Setara pressed herself harder into the cave wall, closed her eyes tight, and clenched her teeth.
Her eyes and mouth popped open simultaneously at what she heard next.
“Why can’t they clean up these blasted caves?” a deep voice rumbled.
Suddenly, a torch flared, and Setara could see the source of the voice. An eight-foot tall figure loomed in the light. A turbaned head nearly touched the now visible cave roof. Setara gaped at the man. Or was it a man? While his features were man-like, the three-inch fangs, sharp talons, and beastly snout belied his humanity. The being was dressed in the old style, with ballooning trousers tied at the ankles, and a brocaded vest which hung open to reveal a broad, hairless chest.
The creature held up the torch, which Setara could now see was a flame jetting from his upraised index finger. The monster glanced around until his gaze rested on Setara.
“Ah, a bargain made, goods delivered.” The deep voice chuckled, sounding like the beat of a drum. Huh huh huh. “Good evening, my dear. Please, come out into the light. Nothing to be afraid of, I assure you.”
Despite his words, she did not feel reassured. She could only whimper as she continued to try to melt into the stone wall. This was the demon! How could such a thing be? Demons and ogres were only legends and fairy tales, yet here one stood before her. In the flesh, so to speak.
The demon grinned, a most disconcerting grin, exposing his fangs to their full length. “Come, come, my little lady, don’t be afraid. I’m not an ogre, you know.” The beast’s fangs and nose shrank back to a more normal size.
“You...you’re a demon,” Setara barely whispered.
“A what? Oh, good heavens, what kind of nonsense have they been filling your head with? I most certainly am not a demon. Why, the very idea! Any fool can see I’m a genie. You know, a djinn.”
“If you’re a djinn, where is your lamp?” Setara managed to ask.
“Lamp? Oh, that was just Aladdin’s genie, Shairan. Most of us don’t hang around in lamps. Old Shairan was tricked into that one. Evil as the devil, but not too bright, I’m afraid.”
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Where to buy Setara's Genie:
MuseItUp Publishing (all ebook formats)