The History of the Djinn
As we explored the various realms the Djinn could have possibly gone to, Mark and Davis filled us in on their origins. Despite their depictions in pop culture, they didn’t grant wishes or live in lamps (well, some may have). They were rather similar to the gengi vampires, and with good reason. Several Djinn had mated with ragnir vampires to create the gengi race. They could be formless or solid, invisible or visible. They’d been worshipped as gods, decried as demons, and viewed as guardian angels. Some of the more talented Djinn could possess humans (putting them in ghostly territory). There was some debate over whether ghosts were a particular form of Djinn, descended from them like the gengi were. That perhaps human ghosts were a possibility because they had some Djinn in their ancestry. Maybe that’s why Evin had fallen in love with a Djinn; he was tapping into his Djinn side without even realizing it.
It might also account for the different types of ghosts: recursive, poltergeist, and elastic. Recursive ghosts were thought to be primarily distantly-related to any Djinn and so only had enough formless ability to echo moments from their form-filled lives. Poltergeist and elastic ghosts had more recent, stronger family ties to the Djinn and so retained their ability to possess and interact with objects and people. Poltergeists tended to let their emotions get the better of them and elastic ghosts were fairly well-balanced. Thank goodness Evin was elastic! Anyway, so amongst the Djinn there were morphers of various types and five levels based on how powerful they were. Most of them had a mischievous streak and they often held pranksters in high regard. They’d also kept Others and human survivors hidden from the evil bitch that had created the Shadows during the Toba Event. That might explain the double whammy of the Hunters and Shadows taking out the Djinn and the ghosts first. Whoever this angry woman orchestrating all of this was, she absolutely, unequivocally hated all Others.
Right now we were searching for Djinnestan. No one had ever seen it before due to that mischievous nature I mentioned. The Djinn kept it well-hidden. Djinnestan was the name given to the Djinn’s original universe. There weren’t any descriptions of it and no leads as to how to access it. But Mark’s abilities to hunt and see further had given Davis a fuller picture of the ways the realms connected and, thankfully unlike ghosts, the Djinn did have call signs, even if faint. Mark had picked up their scent, so to speak. As we followed the trail to stranger and stranger places, Mark shared some disturbing news. The reason there’d only been one Djinn colony left was because something else was happening. It wasn’t the Hunters or Shadows; it was someone else. Many of the recent UFO sightings had occurred near or on Djinn territories (or occurred near their settlements; they tended to be nomadic). At first Others had assumed that perhaps they were returning home after sensing the impending War of the Species. But those Others who had friends in other places noticed a new energy drink on the black market: jin (as opposed to gin). Djinn were some of the highest energy creatures around. In other words, they made quite a delicious meal and someone was profiting from it. I nearly vomited.
We all fell silent as we came to a realm blocked by a gigantic door. We stood on an edge of fog staring up at the big brown door. “This is it. The trail ends here,” Davis told us.
“It looks like it’s sealed to those who don’t hold the key,” Ram observed.
“We need to find someone who does. Can we send any messages through?” I inquired.
“I doubt it,” Mark said.
“At least we know where they are now. Let’s find our way home. We can come back with Evin later. Maybe he can open it,” I suggested.
“It’s worth a try. Come on, lass. We all need rest,” Mark urged me.
Davis skipped us through the realms until we arrived back at our own. The jolt of arriving without a tether combined with sheer exhaustion left my whole body in pain. We’d shown up in the middle of the woods, as close to our town as Davis could aim for. We all laid in the dirt, simply breathing in real air. What the hell did we breathe in the realms, anyway? Or did we not need to breathe at all? Weird. I wonder what day it is? I rolled on my belly and laid my head on my hands. Mark slowly sat up and stretched. Beautiful the way he moved. I could watch him move for the rest of time. “I can run you guys back. Won’t take but a few minutes,” he offered.
“I need to get home to check on my coven,” Ram let us know. We thanked him for his help and Mark lifted him and vanished. Davis reached out for my hand while we waited for Mark to return. About five minutes later Mark showed up. I climbed up on his back and Davis hopped into his arms. We sped off to my house. I climbed down to unlock the door. It was late night so we tiptoed in. Evin never needed sleep, though, and spotted us crossing the living room. He bounced up and down, super excited. He hugged and kissed us repeatedly. Finally, Mark told Davis and me to escape while he filled Evin in. Davis and I trudged upstairs and passed out in my bed, not even bothering to change or get under the covers. We didn’t awaken until late evening, and only then because our bellies wouldn’t stop growling. I suppose Mark had warned everyone to give us time and space. But the second I stepped out of the bedroom Jack was there, steering me straight for the bathroom.
“Welcome back, Ani. I missed you so much. Get clean; I’ll whip up some grub and tea. Take your time. Oh, I’ve put a new outfit for you in there. If you don’t want to wear it, there’s a robe as well. You won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t like it,” he laid out, not giving me a chance to protest. He kissed my forehead, my cheek, and started to rub my belly but pulled away before he got carried away. “Oh, little ma’am, did I miss you,” he murmured, ducking back down the hall to give Davis a similar a treatment, sans pent up sexual desire.
I smiled at his back as he escorted Davis downstairs and shut the door. I took a nice, long shower (remind me to tell you about the water sometime; it’s an interesting story), washed my hair twice, and scorched my mouth. I examined the outfit Jack had got me. It had the Happy Monster on the front of the tee. The pants had crisscrossing chains and zippers. He’d set out my favorite underwear. But the socks…were striped white and pink. My house slippers were in here so no one would have to know I wore the socks. I sat on the toilet staring at the socks in my hand, wondering why Jack had picked them out. He was trying to tell me something. He knew I didn’t mind pink so much now. He’d seen me wear some pink before. But he was giving me an option to hide them. Why? I put the socks on and wriggled my toes. I slipped the house shoes on and then it hit me. He was asking me a question. I smirked and shuffled out into the hall and down the stairs. The dining room table was set and Davis was already there eating. “You couldn’t wait for me?” I complained, ruffling his hair.
“Sorry, sweetie. I was starving and Jack’s got some mad skills,” he shrugged, wolfing down more.
“Leave some for Ani,” Evin scolded, floating in midair safely out of reach.
Mark pulled out a chair for me and I sat down and fixed my plate. Mark then took a seat next to me. I ate heartily, savoring the taste. Jack sat across from me looking smug. “Where is everyone?” I asked them.
“Your family is waiting next door. The Overlys, Cambaccis, and Cal are all there. We let them know what happened. We all know you guys need rest but they would like to see you when you’re ready,” Jack replied.
“We’ll have to leave again. But we won’t be gone nearly as long. We simply need to ascertain that the Djinn are safe,” Mark informed him.
“That should be fine,” Jack answered.
“As quick a visit as we can manage. At least for now. Aeryn and someone named Jeffery have been asking about you,” Evin told Mark, smiling wide.
“I bet he’s heard about the wedding,” Mark groaned. “He’ll be just as pissed as I am.”
“Stay here another day or so. Have breakfast with the family. We’ll go try the door later tomorrow and hopefully be back in time for dinner,” I invited.
“Of course I’ll stay. I’ve been with you for months and haven’t gotten to use your bed yet.” Mark winked at me.
Flirt! I snorted and stretched my feet out under the table. I felt Jack’s feet and rubbed mine on his. Jack peeked under the table, saw that I was wearing the socks, and turned red. Mark noticed and looked back and forth between us, gathering information without knowing the cause. “In that case, stay as long as you like,” I addressed Mark, tucking my feet back into my slippers. Jack and I could go over that later but he officially had his answer. I took my tea into the living room, where the chairs were a lot comfier. Mark lit a cigarette and stepped into the backyard to make a few phone calls. Evin went next door to let our families know that we’d see them for breakfast in the morning. Jack let us know that Evin was officially bound to me (oddly enough, my alarm bird contained enough of my essence to substitute for me) and regaled us with tales of the latest happenings.
“I’m headed to bed now to give you guys time to readjust. I’ll find some time tomorrow to make plans with you. I know Jesse’s been dying without you as well,” Jack chirped after a while.
I pulled him down and squeezed him, giving him a sloppy kiss before releasing him. He shot me a goofy grin and grabbed my ankle before heading to his room. I wondered if he’d make good on his name and chortled. “We should get some more sleep as well,” I said to Davis. “Big day tomorrow.”
“Let’s watch a movie first and cuddle. Everyone’s going to want time starting tomorrow,” Davis requested.
“I’m going to grab another cup of tea first. I’ll meet you upstairs.” I went to the kitchen as he went upstairs. I poured myself a fresh cup and cracked the window.
“I know, babe…” Mark’s seductive laughter drifted in. “You really did that? What did Aeryn say? … I’m shocked she didn’t jump at the chance to be kidnapped by you… I miss you, too, Jeff. No one bites me like you do… Soon enough…”
I peered out to see Mark slowly pacing back and forth. I’d never met Jeffery but Aeryn talked about him a lot. He and Mark had started off hating one another. Mark would deny it if anyone asked but he loved him to death. And I could hear it for myself in Mark’s voice. I could see it in his eyes. I did my best to sneak away and leave him some privacy. I made my way upstairs and changed into pajamas, setting my outfit on the chair to wear again tomorrow since I’d only had it on for an hour or two. Davis held me close and put on a new movie that had been released during our absence. We petted one another as we watched, sharing kisses every so often. We stayed up late listening to music afterward and dancing in bed. And when we dreamed, Evin joined us and we planned our day more fully. In the morning we had to set up breakfast in the backyard due to the amount of people present. Jesse and I set the table. Or rather, we attempted to. Stan had to come peel us apart several times and finally remained outside to ensure we wouldn’t start making out again. Jack, Matt, Mr. Cambacci, and Mom served the food as everyone found seats. They were all quite fascinated by Mark. Most of them had never met a vampire before and they bombarded him with all kinds of questions. He took it well and answered as many as he could.
After breakfast I called to check on Ramailo. He and his coven were doing fine. He let me know they’d extended a standing invitation to their circle and wished me luck on contacting the Djinn. I thanked him and then joined Evin, Mark, and Davis in my living room. “I hope this works,” Evin muttered.
I rolled my eyes and jumped us to the Djinnestan door. Evin examined the door top to bottom while the rest of us sat on the edge of the fog. “Evin, what do you know of your family’s history? Were there any magicians, illusionists, actors, or circus folk?” Mark asked him.
“Ah, good thinking. They’re more likely to have been Djinn or more closely related to one,” Evin realized. He turned to the “sky” and placed his palm facing towards it. He projected his memories in visual form. He searched through his family tree for people matching Mark’s descriptions. Mark gestured to a few of them, indicating he’d like a closer look. He asked for more details on their lives and their work. Evin relayed their tales in turn and eventually we came to Agnes Beaudreau. She’d been an acrobat performing with a travelling circus. She was famous for performing stunts that seemed physically impossible. Many of them involved disappearing and reappearing acts and eating fire. She was freaking awesome! Evin recalled everything he remembered about her. “I used to watch videos about her. Before every act she used to say the same thing and do these gestures,” he reminisced. The projection changed to play the video he remembered. He played one part on a loop: Agnes bowing her head, moving her hands, and speaking to herself. The projection seemed to zoom in on her. Evin mouthed the words and mimicked her movements. He repeated the words and actions until his blue eyes started to glow.
Davis and I jumped to our feet as Evin faced the door. A white beam snaked out of the door towards Evin. It unlocked with a sound that echoed out around us. We all gaped at it in wonder and a bit of fear. “You did it, Evin! Way to channel your inner Djinn,” I cheered.
“Should we go in or wait for someone?” Davis inquired. “We don’t know the rules for Djinnestan. It’s a completely different universe. We should be careful… Or send Mark through first.”
“Gee, thanks,” Mark snorted.
“Evin should be safe, too, right? Not needing to breathe and all. Plus, he’s at least 1/8th Djinn,” I pointed out.
“Hold on.” Evin held up his hand as if to stop us. “Someone’s coming.”
“How can you tell?” I asked.
“I can feel it,” he said shortly. We all stood still and waited.
The door cracked open and someone stepped out. She was a full albino, with purple eyes and white hair. “Oh, the irony. Here I am a Djinn but low-level at that. Can’t see ghosts for shit. And then I return to me home in the Outback and wouldn’t ye know it, we all get narked. And then here I am all non-corporeal meself and wouldn’t ye know it I can see all kinds of ghosts now,” she laughed brightly.
“Adelaide! You survived. Kind of,” Evin gasped.
“G’day, Evin. I can’t believe you’re a ghost. When did you die?” Adelaide questioned.
“Abut 40 or so years ago. Shortly after you left.”
“That’s tough shit,” she whistled. “I’m glad you’re still around. Welcome to Djinnestan! Universe of the Djinn and more.”