flash friday · General · Writing

Jinni

My J word jinni. My take on it is slightly different.

Only the tip of his nose, lower cheeks and jaw was spared. The rest of his face was covered in shadow as dark as night.

His stared at me with eyes like chips of the sun-drenched sky, given life. I had failed him, I and I alone. Seated on either side of me, the other village elders trembled like leaves in a gale. The villagers gathered around us, shocked speechless.

Oh, but for all the honor we did our dead, had either of us expected this?

I kept my gaze fixed on his face; I didn’t want to look at the rest of him. I knew what I had done too well. “Blessed jinni, what may we do for you this night?”

His mouth opened; broken, bloody teeth shone in the firelight.

I rubbed my knuckles under the table, massaging away remembered pain.

“Die.”

I jerked. He’d been blindfolded. He couldn’t have recognized me.

He turned his burning gaze next to me, on my twin, whose life I had chosen over the fruit of my own blood.

The jinnis’ words came again: “Die.”

The villagers gasped. I looked up to see my son staring at me. His head whipped between me and the jinni of his own dead son. Understanding appeared on his face like a storm,  with soft rain and gentle breezes, than with the force of winds powerful enough to uproot whole trees.

He knew I’d betrayed him. I failed to protect his boy from the filth of my twin, as I’d failed to protect him decades earlier.

My son’s anger was a blade sharp enough to let free my lifeblood. And, this time, I didn’t fight him, didn’t try to protect my twin.