This story is from the Chuck Wendig (www.terribleminds.com) flash fiction challenge of 3/28/14. We were given 10 random words and were directed to choose any five and write a 1000 words or less. The words: Whalebone, Foxglove, Djinn, Orphan, Lollipop, Casket, Hermit, Hound, Acid and Topaz. I actually used 6 just because it made sense to my story. Check out this post: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/03/28/flash-fiction-challenge-five-random-words-2/ to see all of the other responses to this writing prompt.
The Djinn and the Orphan
Emil walked along the beach looking for treasures. He’d already found a whalebone that he could sell to the carvers in the market. That would pay the street gang to leave him in peace on his tiny bit of street at night. He hoped he could find something else that would buy him a few meals too.
A mile along the beach he saw something sparkle. Using a clam shell he dug it out of the sand. It was a glass bottle, with the stopper still in place. A quick examination showed it was not cracked or chipped. What a lucky day!
He pulled the stopper and was knocked to the ground by a blast of air and smoke. When the air cleared, there was a huge man standing on the beach in front of him. Emil shrank back, large men were usually mean.
“Greetings young master,” the man bowed low. “How may I serve you?
Emil had to think. Generally large men served only hits and kicks. He crabbed backward and then stood up, poised to run. “Who are you?”
The man straightened. “I’m Abdul, the Djinn of the bottle you hold. I offer you three wishes for setting me free.”
Emil blinked. He’d heard tales in the marketplace about the djinn. He remembered they were tricky. “Oh great djinn, I’d like a hound.”
The djinn cocked an eyebrow. “Why a hound, young master.” His deep voice sounded like thunder.
“I’m an orphan and the hound will protect me and keep me warm at night on the street.” Emil dug a foot into the sand to help him push off into a run if needed.
“Fair enough, young master.” The djinn waved his hand and at Emil’s feet sat a massive hound. It gave Emil’s leg a lick and submitted his head for Emil to scratch behind its ears.
Filled with wonder, the orphan petted the hound. This seemed to be working out well. He ventured another wish. “Great one, I’d like a casket of topaz.”
Again the djinn waved and at Emil’s feet was a casket, one by two feet, lid open, topaz of every shade of yellow sparkling in the sun. Emil looked around the beach, no one was near. He bent over and snapped the lid closed before anyone chould see. He tucked it under his arm. This was a windfall that would support him for a very long time.
“Great Djinn, does the hound have a name?”
“That is for you to decide, young master.”
“I shall call him, Aslan, for he came to me out of the sky.” Emil gathered his courage for the next question. “I am Emil. And what is your name, Great Djinn?”
The djinn bowed, low. “Very courteous, young master. I was known as Khan, in my youth.”
“Sir Khan, what is the custom when it comes to the third wish?”
The djinn shrugged. “Some ask for even more wealth. Some wish for fine houses. Some,” he arched his eyebrow, ask to rule the world.”
It was Emil’s turn to cock an eyebrow. Ruling the world seemed a bit greedy to him. It would be nice to have a house and servants though. It was dangerous on the street all alone. He thought back to the storyteller’s tales about this problem. The third wish was the trickiest.
“Great Djinn, I am but a poor orphan boy.” He reached out to pet Aslan. “It would be nice if I had a home and servants and a teacher so that I could grow up to be a fine and wealthy man. If you were me, what would you wish for to achieve that great goal?”
The djinn clapped his hands together, making a loud thunderclap. “Well asked, young master. I can make that happen if you allow me.”
Emil swallowed, this could end horribly for him if the djinn was evil. He tucked the chest of topaz under his arm more securely. “What happens to you when you grant the third wish?”
A look of surprise crossed the djinn’s face. “No one has ever asked that.” He shrugged. “I go back to the bottle until the next finder.”
“That doesn’t seem fair. How can you be freed from the curse of the bottle?”
The djinn narrowed his eyes and stared at Emil. “The bottle must be broken. Then I will be free. But it must be broken before the third wish, otherwise I am returned to the bottle for another hundred years.”
This was a hard choice indeed for Emil. He really wanted that house. The hound began to chew on the whalebone. Emil moved it away from the dog. He could still sell it. The djinn waited patiently, huge arms crossed.
“I have enough, Great Khan. Break the bottle.”
The djinn’s arms fell to his sides. He blinked. After a moment he told the boy, “You must break the bottle, young master.”
Emil nodded. He walked down the beach to find a rock. He came back to the djinn and Aslan and put the bottle on the whalebone. With all his strength, he brought the rock down on the bottle. It scattered in a hundred multi-colored pieces. The djinn sank to his knees and wept.
Emil put the casket down and sat on it. Aslan laid his head in the boy’s lap for more petting. When Khan stood up, he bowed deeply to the boy. “I am grateful, Emil. I have been prisoner for many centuries. Now, I will help you. I will be your guide and protector.”
“Thank you, Khan, but I’d rather have a friend.” He held out his hand.
Khan stood and shook with the boy. “To friendship.”
They lived long and prosperous lives ever after.
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