Aelfdene admitted his truth publicly, he was indeed an authentic djinn but all his magic has been depleted years ago when he granted his final wish. He asked to be left in peace for his remaining days but people came anyway and they wouldn’t stop coming, at all hours, each of them bearing worthless trinkets and gifts, begging to be made beautiful, healthy, rich, and powerful. Some even asked to become a djinn, which was the wish that made him mortal.
The snow pushes me back but I try to be a good boy and hold onto my person. We have to stay together. The snow closes cold over our heads and all our earlier quarrels are buried with us. I push my head free, gasping, throat burning from barking the name of the best friend I lost in the avalanche.
The feast spread out before her was impressive indeed and it was all in her honor, comprising many of her favor meals for everyone knew Valeria was a carnivorous young lady, as far from being vegan as humanly possible, but eyebrows were raised when she refused the meat dish offered by her hosts because there was absolutely no mystery as to where it originated. It was human flesh. She remembered the grain from the time she accidentally had her brother for dinner as a child.
Although raised amongst pious people, religion was something which could find no purchase on my soul but the day a firenado appeared from a storybook blue sky and struck only my house, reducing it to cinders, was the day I realized that I had transgressed against Divinity one time too many.
The sad truth of the matter was that mankind only managed to get a small fraction of the information correct regarding the rapture. All those who kept the faith within their hearts both alive and resurrected, did indeed rise up into the clouds to meet the Maker. What followed on Earth, however, was not the seven years of tribulations as prophesied, for all those left behind were immediately consumed by flames that reduced flesh and bone to a slag that slowly dripped into the hungry maw of Hell.
I tried my damnedest to save Madeleine from the demon part of herself, but the moment I saw those black eyes and blue lips and my nostrils filled with the acrid scent of her burnt soul, I knew I was too late.
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“Let’s just talk about this some other time,” she sighed in exasperation. She being Lexi, my once and future girlfriend who is currently merely an ex. Don’t tell her I said merely, that’ll only set off another unnecessary argument.
“Why not settle it now?” I asked.
I watched the topography of her brow change as Lexi bit back her honest response. After a controlled exhale, she offered, “Because I don’t have your full attention.”
“Don’t be silly. Of course you do.”
“Can you please not lie to me, just this once?”
“I’m not lying, I swear.”
Lexi rolled her eyes. “I can see the movement behind your irises.”
I wanted to turn away from her, but that would have been an admission and I wasn’t in the mood to be caught in a lie. Again. “That’s nothing but a trick of the light and your overactive imagination.”
“My overactive imagination? Seriously? Project much?”
“That’s you all over, isn’t it? Creating drama where none’s present.”
“There wouldn’t be any need for drama if you simply cut the shit and tell me what you’re thinking.”
“If I was thinking something, and I’m not saying I am, what business is it of yours? We’re not a thing anymore, remember?”
Lexi threw her hands up. “Precisely why we’re not a thing, because of you and your secrets.”
I craned my neck and peered over Lexi’s shoulder, scanning the server area behind her. “Where’s our server?”
“On his lunch break if he has any common sense. Probably duped some poor unsuspecting clod into covering his tables.”
Wouldn’t it be great if people, much like good short stories, came with prefaces since sometimes the inspiration for how someone came to be the person standing before you is far more interesting than the stories they choose to reveal? Like glimpsing the person behind the curtain. The problem with that logic is a good introduction can’t be composed until the story is completed and we can’t very well write our own prefaces after we’re dead. Which I guess makes it more of a postmortem than an actual preface.
“You hold my very moment.”
“What does that mean?”
“Simply that you keep me here, grounded to this spot at this moment in time. When I am with you, I am nowhere else. My mind does not wander, I do not desire being anywhere else than with you, right here, right now.”
“You say the oddest things at times, but thank you, I suppose. It is kind of a sweet thing to say, actually.”