Short Story Challenge #4: Djinn Dreams

He is far more revolting than even I could imagine,

His breath fouled up with wine.

 

I do not recall how we ended together

How tangled we became like twine

Only that while the moment lasted

And heat dragged on to the night

I never once woke from that state with him in me

In a start or a cry of fright

However terrible he was in smell

However his features did seem

His touch was so gentle

Sensual and sweet

That a brush would draw me to keen;

An arch and a sigh, a soft moment later

He pulled us both down to bed

I sorely wish that this king among men

Were my husband

And wed

In his stead.

 

—-

 

Dawn broke slowly

Like lightning or fire

It forced me to wake from my dream

A strange one it’d been

I’d drifted in sin

For which I’d be beaten

If ever they gleaned

The things I had done with that One

In my head

(A woman should never have dreams such as these)

But all is well for even in hell

The demons cannot read my thoughts as they please.

 

The whitest of doors greets my hand and abhors

The touch of my skin, slippery with win-

-some sweat of the night before

My grip will not stick and it takes three times thick

Before finally it opens to more

Of the same

A hall and a flame

Set in a socket in stone

Its flickering light casts shadows

So bright

They blind me when first I lay eyes

On them.

“Good morning!” she shrills

As breakfast now chills

Before me on plate of iron

So raw

 

“Did sleep find you well?”

I’ll never tell, so I shrug my shoulders and sigh.

“Why the long face? A boy’s heart should race; make merry,

Go forth and do all of the things!”

I look at her square,

a cold, bitter stare,

and in her eyes reflected-

My sorrow stares back.

 

The tears will not come

I feel too glum

My heart will not beat anymore

I watch her prepare

To pull from my chair

The body I hate

The one she adores.

—-

I walk alone

No dark to my throne

Queen- not king!- of myself

Free in the air

Without much I care

About

Nearby

Or in range at least

To touch.

 

The world is wild,

The wind is a child

Plucking at hair

Or feathering my clothes

It teases

It whispers

It calls and chants

And suddenly before me

A djinn wants to dance

It spirals up out

Of the nothingness and cold

Its eyes like hot coals as they seek me out

It holds itself there, puts hands to my hair

And tugs my head down

Down

And out

 

Out of sight

Out of mind

Away from the world

I’d grown to love

 

I pull away from that creature

So terrible

Its heat I find hard to endure

Still my flesh it bares

With a flick

And then stares

Brazenly

Openly

At me.

 

“What do you want of me?” I hear myself say

Knowing the answer

Asking anyway.

 

“I want your body,” it replies with a grin

Its voice is slick

No, dripping, with sin

Like the dream I had had

That dream long ago

I stare but a moment, and shake my head-

No.

 

“The choice is not yours!” the demon then snarls

A fire appears

Withdrawn, prepared, to strike.

“I’ll take you for mine

I care not what you like!”

 

I step back to

The wind and the cold

Watch that djinn

With eyes dull and old

 

“I can not stop you,” I murmur so soft.

“But one thing you’d know

Before you carry me aloft

On wings that burn

And pleasure that rides

You are no king

Of where my soul hides

I keep it elsewhere

A place you can’t touch

What you do to this body

Bothers me not overmuch.”

 

“Suits me just fine,” it says with a purr

It whisks me away

Unclad, undeterred

—-

I know not time

In a place between worlds

A burning in heart, head and body

Unfurls

In the whole of me

All of me

Everywhere it touches

Sends heat through skin

That simmers and sparks.

 

“Djinn,” I say, impassive, yet drained.

“What is it truly that you have gained

By keeping me here to have at your side

By holding me here to reign over

To ride

Who do you please by doing this deed?”

 

It pauses in passion, its eyes embers now,

Glowing with mischief, hot flint on snow

Unbidden beneath me, I feel it rise, watch the fire rise

Up to those eyes

They look me once over,

Bottom to top

Pause on my hair and the curve of my back

Lashed now with scratches of passion

Like a cat’s;

Torn but not broken

My skin lies adorned

With the marks of a djinn

As gentle as scorn

 

“I keep you for you,” it says with a smile

“To hold you safe from that world, my dear.

I’ll keep you here as long as you like

Longer still even than your old friends would like

Together we’ll be here

Master and slave.”

 

The last sends rage boiling up through the clouds

Of impassive acceptance,

Startlingly loud

I exclaim in a voice

That quivers and quakes

“I am no slave!”

 

Its hand brushes my face.

 

Long claws like a tiger’s

Drawn over my cheek

Never digging in

Oddly

Quite meek

 

It’s almost tender

The motion it makes

 

“You know what I meant,” it says without strife

Without pain in its voice

Or anger or fright

Nothing but tenderness

Or sadness

Or hurt of a type

Not caused by claws

 

“What do you wish?” it asks, at length, when after again

We lie in the den

It made out of cloud

Between worlds and the shroud

Dividing the living

From the land of the dead

 

My answer is firm, at first and then not

As it forms in my mind and my lips start and stop

I stare at it plainly

Suspecting a trick

But the djinn’s face is empty of guile

And quick

With worry

I see it

In the ember-like eyes,

In the red of its skin

In the reflection of glittering

Sweat

On its thighs

 

“You who have been here

More than an age

At my side

With me

In me

Around me in phases

Down on your back

Or down on all fours

Barking perhaps

Curled by the door

Of any number of places

Palaces too

Mine and yours

Now the master is you;

What do you wish of me

Mortal I took– and not once

Not twice

But several thousand times

Here in the world

Between that which lies

Beyond the veil?”

 

I think and think

But cannot forget

The times I have spent here

The times I would get

To have back on earth

Away from its touch

Away from the djinn and its demands

Overmuch

On my form, taxed and wan

The burns and the marks

I feel nothing on

Anymore.

 

The words are out

Before I know them

The words climb out

And tears then follow them:

“Keep me here djinn,

It’s all that I ask

Marry me to you

I’ll do all that you task

Me with

Anything at all

You’ve won my heart

And you’ve stolen my soul

With your tender attempts

At true, kind love

Surely that you took me

Was a sign from above

Or below! I care not anymore.”

 

“That is no wish!” the djinn booms with a roar.

“I stole you and raped you and now you want more?

Have sense, little creature, have sense in your heart!

Is there not more that lurks where you start? Isn’t there something

Your soul must desire? My death, your happiness, a lack of my ire?”

 

Trembling then as I feel its rage, I curl up and stare at the page

With my soul written on it

Deep in my mind

Straining to read

But failing to find

Written in there

In my heart in gold

The reason I wish

For this tale to be told

For me to give in

And let the djinn win

To let him keep me

For his own

In sin

I struggle to find it

But the answer untrue

Bursts from my lips

In a rush without hue

 

“I do not know,” I whisper

To a demon’s rough growl

 

The sound echoes out

In a hall made of tile

That appears underfoot

And before me, some scales

 

“We shall soon see,” it murmurs

So softly

The threat of a storm

Still burns within

But now it seems calm

And I shut myself in

 

Numbly I walk

On legs that know pain

From burns and scars

I knew were in vain

If wiped from me

They are when I fly

Away from this place

Where a part of me died.

 

“Stand you here, mortal, in the court of the just,”

So said the djinn, so spake him thus.

“Bring me your heart that we may weigh it

Bring me your sin

That we may cleanse it

But bring me your self first

That I may hold it

In hands one last time

Before just demands

We part.”

 

I step up to it

That magical beast

 

It takes me in hands

Not meant to release

It brings me up then

Close to its chest,

Holds me there once

While my arms wrap

Invest

Themselves around it

 

The fire burns never

As once it did

It hurts not at all

I fathom not why I hid

My face from its sight

Or my body from it

At all

From the beginning

When first we met.

 

“Who are you to me?”

I ask its neck.

Its voice is hot spice

And a sad, ruined wreck

“I know that not,” it replies with a sigh.

I struggle with myself

And do not ask why.

 

We part once more

It lets me down to the floor

I would but collapse

My legs they ignore

me.

 

It pulls me to feet

That quiver and shake

And raises me up

Again

Onto the dais

Then from there

It bids me to step

To the scale’s cold platform

An inch to my left.

 

I take that step

And stand there

Alone

In a hall

In a nightrobe

More like a gown

Staring back down

At the light of my room

Where it rests in the dark

In the dark and the gloom

 

Walk down the stairs

On a table

With chairs

My breakfast chills

On a plate.

 

As djinn dreams abate

I hold my head

In my hands

And wish

Just wish

They were real.

 

 

©2013 Sam Oliver (Eris)

——–

 

This is a story styled like a poem, but believe you me, it IS a story.

I hope you enjoyed it.

-Eris

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