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The Jinn and The Girl

by Andy Holmes 17 days ago in fantasy

A Short Story by Andy Holmes

The notebook held a secret. There was a Jinn inside.

The notebook’s black leather was ancient, cracked by the passage of time. It’s once bright and gilded edges had rubbed away long ago. The notebook smelt of ash and sea spray. Trickles of blood decorated the pages in the middle. In the Fertile Crescent, the cradle of civilization, the notebook’s paper had been constructed of papyrus.

The Jinn’s power, hidden between the pages of the ancient book, opened up to a curious Egyptian Vizier. The Vizier dreamt of greatness and wished to erect monuments that would echo into the afterlife.

In the night, inspiration struck. The Vizier dipped a bamboo reed into his vessel of deep black ink and sketched the blueprints for the Great Pyramids.

When the Pharaohs fell, the notebook was lost in the Nile. It was whisked through the warm waters of the Mediterarean Sea, narrowly missing the beaches of Tangier and floated deep into the icy cold of the sea.

A Viking explorer pulled at the ropes of his ship, cutting a path through the cobalt waters of the Atlantic. A rogue wave crashed over his bow. When the bone colored white wash receded, the notebook dripped on his deck.

The explorer picked up the notebook. The Jinn inside was awoken by the explorer’s gentle, yet calloused and battle worn hands. The dark leather and papyrus shifted. The paper transformed to birch bark within the explorer’s grasp. The book’s worn string binding turned to fish bone and the beaten leather shifted to sheep’s skin.

England was behind him. The explorer’s shipmates slain and butchered in battle. He’d yearned for a New World, a place where his children could grow, a place where the god’s would smile upon his family.

The Jinn’s power worked through the explorer’s coarse knuckles. The explorer burnt the tip of a stick and with it’s ash, drew a route to America in the notebook.

The Viking explorer died three days later. His son discovered the notebook hidden away on his father’s ship. The birch bark was strong and the black-ashen route was stained deep in the veins of the bark. The explorer’s son led the Viking People to a New World where he married a young native, grew fat and died in the winter.

The Jinn, satisfied with his accomplishments, returned to his slumber. He would not awaken for another thousand years.

The notebook was tossed in a chest by the natives of the New World. Not knowing its value or purpose, it was traded and passed from hand to hand until it fell off the back of a horse in Virginia and nestled under a large tree root protruding above the ground.

A young soldier running from the red coats slipped under the tree root. As the Crown’s troops passed over him and disappeared into the night, he crawled out. His elbow brushed up against the notebook and the Jinn awoke.

The soldier’s mind was simple. His ambition was only to stay alive and the Jinn fell back into his slumber. The soldier carried the notebook with him in his satchel and turned it over to his superiors in the army. The notebook came into the possession of a General who kept it in his personal library until the founding of the Library of Congress. The General gave his entire collection of books, including the notebook, to the Library of Congress in 1800. The notebook sat there collecting dust until 1863 when a very tall and lanky President pulled it off the shelf.

The President wished for the right words. The Jinn awoke.

The President worked under candle light. The pages of the notebook turned to paper and the fishbone rings in the binding melted into cloth. The Jinn whispered in his ear. The tip of the fountain pen scratched against the worn paper as the night deepened.

Soldiers bowed their heads as the President read the words written in the notebook: Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

A year later, an actor pulled the trigger of a Philidelphia Derringer, the bullet striking the President in the back of his head, near the left ear. The world mourned. The President was dead.

The notebook was lost. The Jinn went back to sleep.

One hundred and fifty years passed. The slumber must have been exceptionally deep as the Jinn could not remember the journey leading to the little girl’s discovery of the notebook.

The little girl ran her fingers over the worn and cracked edges of the notebook. The cloth binding molded into glue, the paper once brittle became soft and blue lines appeared, the expensive black leather now faux and shiny under a layer of dust.

She sniffed the cover. Desert scents and sands filled her nostrils. She could taste the Atlantic on her tongue and she imagined the wet splash of blood under her fingertips.

There was something special and dangerous about this notebook.

The spine creaked as she opened it.

Her teacher had taught her to sound out words, slowly, syllable by syllable. But the notebook was full of drawings and languages she did not recognize. The letters she could understand were strung together in long-winded words that seemed to curl and move in her mind like a centipede.

She’d found the notebook in the attic of her home. It was hiding in a wooden box, under a slit in the roof where rays of sunlight burst through.

The Jinn peered into her mind, looking for her wish. Her mind was full of joy and color. Unicorns danced and princesses married handsome boys. But there was a sad memory too. The Jinn saw the girl's father, leaning over the kitchen table in the night. A ruffled and menacing piece of paper was spread before him.

The girl’s father was in some kind of serious trouble. She heard her father tell her mother that If he didn’t pay someone soon, men in dark suits, crisp white shirts and thin black ties would come take their home. The girl watched from the shadows as her father wept.

The Jinn sang her a lullaby.

The girl picked up a pencil, scribbled six numbers and went to sleep.

Her father found her sleeping in the attic, curled around the notebook. Her yellow pencil stuck out of the middle of the notebook. He found the numbers she scribbled there and hoped they were lucky.

Three days later, the girl found her father once again crying at the kitchen table. But, this time his tears were different. They were warm, and a wide smile crawled across her fathers face.

She crawled into his arms. He told her everything was going to be okay and lifted her up to carry her back to bed. She looked over his shoulder and saw a yellow ticket next to his computer screen. The numbers she had written in the attic were on the ticket.

The screen glowed: Congratulations on winning the California Lottery!

The girls’ father tucked her into bed. The notebook rested on her tiny desk in the corner. The Jinn rested his eyes and decided to stay awhile.

The tiny girl might have more wishes. The Jinn was tired of history and wanted to see a few small dreams come true.

fantasy
Andy Holmes
Andy Holmes
Read next: Understanding the Collective Intelligence of Pro-opinion
Andy Holmes

Andy is an author raising two daughters in San Francisco. He writes short stories, novels and occasionally makes YouTube Videos.

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