Authors: Ibraheem Abbas,Yasser Bahjatt
A lightning-fast shadow flew toward Shnan, throwing him away and shutting him up. It was Grandfather! That ill old man who could barely move or talk was now squeezing this Marid with his two hands as if he were a hundred years young! Mother followed, and Xanam hesitantly attacked her. I intercepted him without thinking, and he slammed into me. I held him by the throat, almost snapping it in my hand before I threw him across the room. I do not know where I got that strength!
I turned to Grandfather and saw Shnan frantically fighting to get out of his grip. Shnan noticed me, and I could see the terror in his eyes. I also saw Grandfather’s injuries from the battle, I
wash shocked and angry, I rushed towards him as I was screaming! A scream that would only stop when I hold that damned’s heart in my hands! I can’t remember what happened at that moment, all I could remember was that the white smoke dissipated and the houses electricity flickered; and Xanam picked up what was left of Shnan and fled for his life. Although they did not see the details of our fierce battle, tension between Dr. Abdulraheem and his guests was building. The sudden silence of the alleged righteous servant and the dissipation of the smoke caused clear confusion on Mussa’s face.
He went on, “Did you hear that, Doctor? The treasure’s protectors clearly did not like the presence of our righteous servant. But do not concern yourself. God is on our side!”
Abu Attiyah noticed that even the sorcerer looked confused, and decided to end the visit. “As you have seen for yourself, Abdulraheem, if we do not act quickly, they might harm you and your family. Let me take Shaikh Mussa back to his place, and I will talk to you later.”
Dr. Abdulraheem saw them to their car looking puzzled and worried. He came back into the house saying some prayers, and went to read the Quran.
Mother and I carried Grandfather, who had exhausted what remained of his strength, back to his bed. As we lay him down, he smiled contentedly, as if he had completed his mission with excellence—his mission that had taken only four hundred and twenty years to complete!
od bless your soul, Grandfather. I buried him in Baqee Alghraqad, next to the rest of the Nafar and the companions of Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him. Grandfather’s final request was for Mother to stay in Yatmah, near Madina, in the protection of what remained of the Nafar, who, despite their disagreement with Grandfather over mother’s marrying a Marid, still welcomed her and respected Grandfather’s wishes. I stayed with her for a month there although the Nafar did not appreciate my living among them; they made me feel like a meddlesome Marid. Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, said the only differentiator is one’s righteousness, but unfortunately the Nafar gave more value to lineage than to righteousness. I think differentiation based on righteousness has disappeared for us Jinn as well as for you Humans. It is now based on lineage and interests!
Had it not been for Mother, I would not have stayed a single day in Yatmah. I decided to spare the Nafar the discomfort of kicking me out, and I left after I was confident that Mother was okay. I went back to carry out Grandfather’s wish of protecting Dr. Abdulraheem and his family. To protect Sawsan! I had been away from her for one full month. I hadn’t even told her goodbye. I wondered if she
missed me as much as I missed her. But how could I let her know I had come back? I would wait until she opened her tablet, and try to move her fingers with mine. I wanted to see her so badly, I went directly to her window. However, she wasn’t there. No one was at the house other than the maid, and everything seemed bleak, as if the place had been abandoned for days. I wondered what had happened in my absence.
My worry grew as I searched for anything that would hint at where they were. The house phone rang, and the maid, who was watching TV in her room, did not hear it. The caller might have been a family member. The maid had to answer! I tried to push her TV over, my hand would slam into it but it wouldn’t budge. I tried to unplug it without success. The phone stopped ringing,
then started again, and in my anxious effort to unplug the TV, it suddenly fell to the ground. Both the maid and I were frightened. The phone’s ringing pulled her out of her daze, and she moved to answer it.
Hurry up, for God’s sake! I thought. She picked it up, and her words tore my heart.
“Yes… Mister, Madam everyone went to hospital for Sawsan… Very ill… Room 307, specialty hospital.”
I didn’t wait to hear the rest of the conversation. I had all the information I needed to be next to Sawsan in just a few short moments.
Hattan tried to take the burden of talking with the doctors and visitors off of his father’s shoulders. Dr. Abdulraheem was quite frozen, with tears in his eyes and his arms around Mrs. Raja. She cried too as she recited versus of the Quran. This sight was enough to make me collapse, but I got a hold of myself and went to Sawsan. She lay alone in a room, behind a glass window through which visitors could look at her. I went right through. Her body showed no signs of life other than her chest’s slow movement. Tubes went into her veins and her lungs; her life would end if these machines stopped. Her breathing, pulse, and eyes, which were open but without life, all showed that Sawsan was in a deep coma—one from which she might never get out of, only to go to her grave.
It seemed the tumor had caused pressure on a vital area of her brain, causing the coma. The cross-section images of her brain and the chatter of her doctors and consultants all pointed to the fact that Sawsan, if she were lucky, would live this way forever, or might regain consciousness but with major damage to her brain that could hinder her capabilities for the rest of her life.
“You have my condolences for your grandfather, cousin!” Xanam said behind me. Fortunately for
him, my sadness curbed my anger. I didn’t even turn to face him; I just kept watching Sawsan. Although, I was sure, he had something to do with her current situation, he continued to pretend to be sympathetic.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to the funeral. But if you need anything, I’m at your command. As for your sweetheart…”
I turned to him now, and was about to cure my sad heart and anger by breaking his neck.
But he quickly responded, “Any rash actions from you and she’s gone. You will have finished off both your grandfather and your love! Stay calm and listen to what I have to say so we can both benefit.”
This meant Sawsan was somehow under his control, and he might have harmed her or even killed her. I could hardly control myself, and could not hold back my tears of sorrow.
“Damn you,” I said. “What have you done to Sawsan?!”
“First of all I’ve come to you with full respect and good intentions, but if you misbehave you will force me to—”
vital signs fluctuated, and two nurses rushed over to check her. A doctor entered the room and monitored her. He looked anxious. Xanam was serious and meant what he said; unfortunately I had no choice but to listen to his demands.
He went on with his profanity as
Sawsan’s vitals return to normal. “While you were busy with funeral arrangements, I took care of Dr. Abdulraheem’s family. What are cousins for? But unfortunately Dr. Abdulraheem got a bit greedy and was pulled into some nonsense about a treasure and servants. He also asked the Marids for help, and as you know we cannot refuse anyone who asks for our help. But as you also know, everything has a price! And the doctor did not have enough. So he was forced to take out a loan and put down the house as collateral. Damn greed! In the end he wasted his life’s savings running after delusions. I truly tried everything I could to get them to forgive the remaining balance. I even pitched in my efforts for free and lived in the doctor’s house so they would not send another evil Marid who might hurt him and his family. I even had to impersonate you to talk with Sawsan and entertain her while you were gone. I mean, I couldn’t stand how worried she was about you. She would cry every night on her tablet, calling out your name, so I thought I should answer.”
Each word coming out of
Xanam’s mouth cut me with sadness and anger. For a moment I thought about attacking him to avenge Grandfather and Sawsan, but I also wanted to hold on to any chance of saving her life.
Xanam went on. “I tried to play with her, but her soul ignored my existence at the start. But it had to
give in to my charm at the end. By the way Sawsan is very boring. I tried to entertain myself with her a bit, but she acted like a sensitive prude. So I was forced to take shape in front of her—to show her what her beloved Hawjan looks like. If she ever asks you if your eyes are vertical and come down below your nose, and if your head is shaped like a pear, please say yes, otherwise she will think you are a liar. Anyway, I showed her a form that was way more handsome than you, and she could not contain herself, so she collapsed and went into a coma.”
I knew he was enjoying pinching my nerves, so I decided to put an end to his disgusting theatrics. “What do you want from me, Xanam?”
“I want what’s best for both of us! By the way, I saved your life—otherwise the Marids would have torn you to shreds in revenge for Shnan’s death.”
“Yes, Shnan died. Not from his battle with your pathetic grandfather, but from your scream. I fixed up the scenario to benefit the two of us, but you must help me out.”
And he started to explain his devilish plan—the one he had used to trick the most powerful Marids and Devils.
“I told them you’ve been working with me from the start, and you swore to defy the Nafar after you found out they had cast out your father and denounced your mother. I said you had decided to set a trap for your grandfather with my help, to win over Sawsan, your love. But we were surprised that Elyaseen still had some oomph in him and was able to kill Shnan before we killed Elyaseen, and you lied to your mother and the Nafar, and convinced them that you were trying to defend him.”
“God damn you, Xanam!”
“You’re welcome, dear cousin. And by the way, a good Samaritan warned them that you participated in the killing of the old Nafar in exchange for your Human love. So if you ever get anywhere near them; they will kill you. What do you think of my plan so far? It’s up to you. You can kill me right now and lose everything, or serve me with a small favor and live the happiest life with Sawsan, or even return to your family as a king.” Xanam said.
“What do I need to do? What use do you have of me?”
“Come with me and greet King Hayaf, and tell him you helped me to kill the old Nafar. Marry my sister, Jumara, and have a child, and the moment you hand me the child you will be free to go. At that point it will be up to you if you want to stay with Jumara or
not, or even kill her and come back to your Human.”
King Hayaf was the ruler of the kingdoms of the Marids south of the Red Sea, in Arabia and Eastern
Africa—the king my father was supposed to precede. I never knew my blood line was so important to him and the Marids. I knew my father had inherited his father’s powers, and it seemed I had inherited them as well. Apparently the Marids wanted me to have a child with one of my closest relatives to ensure my powers were passed on, and then keep the child to become the next king of the Devils and Marids. Oh, Allah, I prayed, what should I do?
Xanam cut of my trail of thought. “Your wedding is tomorrow at sunset, in the presence of King Hayaf. If you don’t like that, I can make it on the day of
Sawsan’s funeral. Your choice!”
As soon as he finished that sentence, he vanished. I felt numb. I sat in front of Sawsan, watching her as if I had forgotten that I had only a few short hours to save her life. I put my hands on her stiff fingers, her withered cheeks, her frozen eyes. I noticed Khulud behind the window. She could not bear seeing Sawsan like that, and she left. I followed, though I didn’t know why. Maybe because Khulud was my only hope to talk to someone in your world, and this was an advantage I had to use when dealing with a shifty character like Xanam.
What had happened to Sawsan caused terror in Khulud’s heart. She feels it had something to do with the Ouija game. Khulud’s feelings were all over the place, from sadness for Sawsan to guilt for teaching her the Ouija game and fear that the Jinn who had hurt Sawsan would harm her as well. How could I get through to her with all of that in the way? There was no way Khulud would play the Ouija that night, I followed her home.
I listened to her cry as she talked on the phone with Areej. “Sawsan is gone. She’s gone.”
“May Allah have mercy on her. I swear to God, I can’t visit her because I’m afraid! I always felt what we were doing would not end in a good way.”
“I burned my Ouija. I’ll never talk about them again.”
Areej ended the call, and Khulud started calling someone else. I raced to her hand and held the phone with her. I tried to use her fingers like I had with Sawsan’s, but her fingers did not respond to my movements,
I yelled at her, “I need to talk to you! Move
you fingers please!”
I tried again, and her fingers moved randomly. She was shocked to see her fingers shake like that. I tried typing something to grab her attention and was able to move her fingers this time to type S
A W. Sawsan’s name appeared along with her number. Khulud let out a scream and threw her phone away as if it were a snake about to strike her. Khulud was gone and with her my hopes to communicate with your world.
There was still one person who might be able to help me, I would only be able to communicate with him if I could touch
Khulud’s phone that was right in front of me to find his number.
A person named… Eyad!