Authors: Ibraheem Abbas,Yasser Bahjatt
Father, I Will Avenge You…Or Join You!
ou Humans hold on to life with much ferocity although you only live for a few short years. Those of you who die in your nineties are considered immortals, but in our world they would be children who had not yet enjoyed life. You spend your limited years grinding conflicts and disputes and panting after your greedy desires that you gain—if lucky—when you are very close to death
Humans Humans by nature are greedy and stingy, desperate and panicked, alarmed and in despair although you know your time is set and you will never die of hunger! If I were Human and knew I would live for only sixty or seventy years, I would spend that time with my loved ones, to satiate myself with their company before I left them and regretted it, as you do.
That is how I felt as I went closer to the place where I might have faced my death. This might have been the last day of my life. Ninety-four years had passed in front of my eyes in an instant, though the last few months had moved very slowly. Two specific images were frozen in my mind: Sawsan lying in the hospital hanging between life and death, and Jumara waiting for me amongst Marids. Both had no hope of surviving other than me. If there
were anything to make me hold on to life, it was saving theirs.
Hayaf’s hall was the lowest floor of the palace, a huge square with circular steps where dignitary Marids sat. In the center was a round table with an opening on the side of the entrance gate. The ministers and elders of the kingdom sat around it; in the exact center was a tall chair with a symbol carved in its top—a symbol I knew very well. I had seen it a lot in our world and in yours. It was the symbol of The Empire of The Damned.
The guards led me to the center of the circular table. The sounds in the hall faded, and all eyes were on me. The elders looked at me with their cold eyes, their faces blank like poker players. I thought they were immortal Marids; I wouldn’t have been surprised if amongst them was one who was more than a thousand years old.
King Hayaf entered with a fast pace indicating his seriousness, activity, and preoccupation. The guards stood straight, and everyone else stood up too save for the elders, whose cold looks kept me frozen in my place. King Hayaf sat down and gestured to everyone to sit, then leaned on the table in clear boredom. He gazed at me without speaking. Nervous whispers rang through the hall, then it all suddenly went silent:
“Hawjan… Son of Meehal,” the king said in a loud voice. The elders gazed at me.
“Al-Fayhee! What brought you here?”
I recalled what Xanam had told me, then collected my courage and answered: “I came to let you know I got married to my cousin Jumara, daughter of my uncle
Santool. And that I will hand you my first child!”
The king still leaned his head on his fist and toyed with something in his hand. He didn’t even look at me as he said, “So? What do you want?”
“Release Sawsan the Human, and give her father his money back.”
He sat up straight and clapped slowly. “Honestly? What about if we throw a wedding for you and the Human as well? And employ some Marids to serve you?”
He suddenly let out a loud giggle, and so did some of the audience in fear of his tyranny.
“No,” I replied. “Only release Sawsan, and send your Marids away from her home.”
My clear, decisive answer cut his amusement short. He slammed his fist on the table and yelled , “I cannot believe that the blood line of the valley of Fayh has any remaining trace after the death of your father!”
“My father was killed.” I said it clearly, challengingly. A hint that my father’s revenge was another issue I would not let pass in peace. I would have time for that once I ensured the safety of Jumara and Sawsan. But I did not expect my
reaction to befuddle King Hayaf as it did:
“How did you kill Shnan?”
How did he know? I’d thought Xanam had convinced the king that Grandfather had killed him! And that I had worked with Xanam to kill my grandfather!
King Hayaf went on as if he had read my thoughts. “Do you think that your stupid cousin fooled us? That we believed an old Nafar had killed a Marid? Had I not wanted to meet you, I would have killed Xanam a long time ago! Show us how you made that scream. Prove to me that I have use for you so I will not kill you and that Human of yours.”
“I don’t know how I did it.”
He threw that thing he was toying with in his hand, and it fell next to me.
It was one of your cell phones—an old one, one of the very first you have ever manufactured.
How had it been brought into the Jinn world?
I picked it up and was amazed when I easily held it in my hand. For the first time in my life I held something from your world.
“I heard you play with the Humans on their devices,” King Hayaf said. “Do you know how use this?”
I threw it away and shook my head.
He screamed in anger. “Then what use are you? Listen to me, Hawjan. You know Marids cannot enter the homes of Humans without magic or contracts. You live among them and can enter any house. You have the powers of Efreets and above that are a Muslim, so the Quran does not affect you! Do you know what you could gain if you cooperate with us? I don’t care what religion you follow or who you worship. All I need is a five-year contract. I’m willing to bring the Marids that heal the wealthiest Humans in from Morocco and heal the girl of her cancer. And if you want, I can make you form in her world as the most handsome Human, so you can marry her and even live with her.”
It was a tempting offer, but I would have to become an infidel if I accepted it. Plenty of Jinn and Humans had turned for the temptations of Marids. They were convinced they would repent the moment they gained their profits from the Devils, but they became slaves, and I would never give up my beliefs. Not even for Sawsan.
“Should I give you some time to think about it?” the king asked.
“No, that’s not necessary. I’ve made up my mind.”
“So you accept? Should we write up the contract?”
“No. I reject your offer!”
“Now I know for sure that you’re the son of Meehal! You have a hard head like he did.”
Raaaaaaan!” Hayaf yelled out as he turned his head, and a giant Marid came out from behind him. He was hideous—his face was deformed, and his smile made it even worse. He carried something that resembled a sword or an axe. It was so heavy he dragged it, making a disturbing sound as it scratched the floor. He came close and looked at me. One of his eyes had lost its shine.
The king encouraged him: “Do you wish to become one of my ministers, Raaan? This is Hawjan, son of Meehal Al-Fayhee, who deformed your face! Bring me his head and the job is yours! Oh, forgive me, Hawjan,” he said, turning back to me. “I forgot to introduce you to Raaan, my most powerful Marid.
The only survivor from the squadron that was sent to execute the traitor Meehal!”
So this was the monster that had killed my father! He came toward me, slamming the floor with his weapon as he said,
“I’m sure you miss your father. Don’t worry! In a few moments you’ll meet him again!”
He suddenly moved with great speed, holding his weapon above his head. There was no place to run. The weapon was going to strike me, no doubt. I moved with all my strength toward him, pushing him off of balance as he punched me with his fist, sending me into the round table. Part of it broke, along with a part of my body.
The fight caused confusion among the audience, who ran out of the hall as it turned into a vicious battlefield. King Hayaf did not give them any thought as he watched us with clear delight. Raaan came close to me, and my pain held me in place. I saw his weapon rise and fall toward my eyes. I closed them. That thing could split my head in half in a fraction of a second, and in that time I saw Sawsan’s face. I saw her smile at me. Was she calling out to me? Was she saying goodbye? Her image vanished, and I called out to her as loudly as I could. I shouted her name.
In that moment, I should have been among the dead. But with my shout, everything around me changed. It was an unexplainable feeling! It was as if I had moved into another world. Actually…I did move to another world! I was in total darkness and under cold water; I couldn’t breathe. I battled the water with all my power, and my heart felt as if it would explode as I fought to push my body out and take a breath. I didn’t comprehend at that moment that I had materialized in your world, and as Malaj was a spot in the Red Sea, and the king’s hall was built in its depths, but water in your dimension feels like thick air on ours, I had survived
Raaan’s sword only to drown!
My heart beat grew weaker, but before it stopped I moved back to my world. I found myself in the middle of the hall, only a short distance from
Raaan. He was behind me, looking with astonishment at the spot from which I disappeared and his sword that had split the floor. He turned to me and jumped on me angrily, wrapped his arm around my throat.
I heard King Hayaf say as he watched Raaan pass his weapon’s blade over my neck, “Give my regards to your father, would you?”
I felt the cold blade on my throat, and pain and blood exploded as I struggled to release myself from his grip. I gathered what was left of my courage and hope, took a deep breath, and screamed. I felt the cold water again flowing inside my mouth while Raaan’s hand was still around my throat. We were in the sea together. I easily got away from him, as he could not comprehend what had happened, and he was suffocating and drowning. I went around and squeezed his neck with all my strength. He moved around, clearly panicked and filled with horror. I was not afraid this time. I knew I would get back to my world when the moment was right. And I did.
The water disappeared, and we both fell into the hall as water currents in the material world had lifted us a few feet. I ignored my pain and moved toward Raaan’s weapon, which laid on the spot where he had almost slit my throat. I picked it up, though I have no idea how I was able to do so. Raaan was coughing and crawling. I know you expect me to show some noble gesture and forgive him, but I do not know forgiveness and nobility when it comes to the blood of those I love. I had never intended to kill any one before, but I raised that thing, remembered my father for a moment, and let it fall on Raaan’s body. He let out a gasp, but showed no real resistance. His head and part of his shoulder and arm just fell off with ease. I took his head and threw it in King Hayaf’s lap.
“My father said hi, and sent you this gift!”
A Human and a Jinni for you Sawsan!
oming out of Malaj, I was a totally different person. I came out with my marriage contract to Jumara and a contract with King Hayaf, who had agreed to my terms after he knew for sure that I had my father’s powers. He agreed to let Sawsan go too if I gave him my offspring, my son. The contract ended in exactly one hundred and fifty days (the time we need to give birth), and if he did not get the child then, his Marids would kill everyone with no mercy—Jumara, Sawsan and her family, and me.
I looked at Jumara, who seemed joyful but concerned as she followed me. She didn’t even ask where we were going, where we would live, or how I would support her. She didn’t care that she had married me only to give up her own child as an offering to save a Human she had no relationship with other than the fact that her husband was madly in love with her. Would any Human girl offer such a sacrifice?
When we arrived at Yatmah, I did not know how I would face my mother and tell her what had transpired. I didn’t know how the shock would affect her—and not just one shock but several. I went directly to the chief of Yatmah, Grandfather’s brother, may Allah bless his soul. Jumara’s look and dress made her stand out as a stranger and suspicious looks followed us.
We knocked at the door; a servant opened it and raced to call my mother immediately. Mother must have been worried for me.
Poor Mother. How she had suffered because of me. She came running to welcome me and slowed down when she saw Jumara; I did not wait for her to make it to the door before I threw myself in her arms. She received me coldly.
Jumara went down and kissed Mother’s hands and feet. “How have you been, Mother?”
Mother held her arms and lifted her. “Welcome, my child. Come on in. Come on in.”
No one can ever do justice when describing how great mothers are. The fact that I had brought Jumara to Yatmah could only have meant that a disaster had happened and that others would follow, but my amazing mother was able to overlook that and welcome her with kindness. A mother knows how to weave her emotions for the good of her kids, being hard on them to push them away from what would harm them, and being the refuge they need if harm ever does come their way. While Jumara treated Mother with the utmost respect, Mother treated her as if she were a queen or more. They lavished each other with the emotions they had both been denied—Jumara had never seen her mother, and my mother had never had a daughter.
Mother did not ask me what had happened; she respected my fear of confrontation, so she accepted the current situation. All we cared about now was that we were okay, and our silence was enough for that.
The chief of Yatmah changed his tone now when he talked to me. He seemed more welcoming to me and my wife:
“Hawjan, my son,” he said. “I have prepared a house for you to live in with your wife and mother. Consider us your family.”
“Sir, I do not know how to repay your kindness, but I have to go back to the Humans and follow my grandfather’s will. I have to go tonight.”
“Promise me you will come back and live with us when you are done.”
“I promise to visit whenever I get a chance.”
Mother was very sad as Jumara and I prepared to leave. She insisted on coming with us, but I strongly refused I couldn’t put her in danger.
After all her pleas had failed, she told me, “Hawjan, promise you’ll come back to me safely.”
Her words crushed my heart, and I held my tongue, but Jumara answer her. “Don’t worry for Hawjan, Mother.”
Mother shifted her pleas to Jumara. “Take care of Hawjan and yourself, my daughter.”
Jumara hugged her and cried. “I will protect Hawjan with my soul, Mother.”
I joined their hug,
then we went on our way. We had no place to live other than Dr. Abdulraheem’s house—Sawsan’s house. Once there I asked Jumara to rest in the room where I stayed in the house’s yard, but she insisted on seeing Sawsan’s room. Luckily the window was open. Thick dust and memories covered everything in the room, but all was as she’d left it. Jealousy ate Jumara up; Sawsan, the spoiled Human kid, had gotten everything she had not: a family, a home, parents, and my love. And Jumara was sacrificing everything for her.
She passed her hands over
Sawsan’s stuff, her clothes and furniture. It was her first time in a Human house, She went to some pictures on Sawsan’s desk—one of her when she was a kid on her father’s shoulders, a picture of her on one of her birthdays, some pictures of her with her friends, and one of her with her parents at her high school graduation. Jumara tried hard to hold back her tears. I didn’t know if they were from sadness for Sawsan or her own jealousy.
“Is this Sawsan?”
Any words I could say would uncover how much I missed Sawsan and would stoke Jumara’s jealousy. So I just nodded.
“Is she really only twenty-three years old?”
My nodding did not quench Jumara’s fire. She looked me directly in the eye as she asked, “Tell me, Hawjan, do you love her?”
I looked the other way, avoiding her eyes, but she kept following me. “Answer me, Hawjan. Do you love Sawsan the Human?”
“Jumara, Sawsan is from one world and I am from another. I got her involved with these Marids, and I am only doing what Grandfather asked me to do before he died—to release her and her family from them. You, on the other hand, are my cousin and wife!”
I knew my answer had failed to mend her heart; in fact it had destroyed it completely. I tried to patch it up, but Jumara’s dignity refused it.
“I think I crossed the line,” she said. “You must go and make sure she is okay.”
She left the room and went to the yard to let her tears flow.
Time is of the essence, I must act quickly. The most important thing now was that I got to Dr. Abdulraheem before he sacrificed the goat. King Hayaf had promised to release Sawsan, but if the goat was sacrificed, the doctor and his family would be under the control of The Damned and his devils!
I raced to the hospital. Sawsan had left the ICU and been put in a regular room. She lay in bed; all the tubes were gone but the one in her arm.
“She’s stable now,” a doctor said trying to comfort her father. “She came out of her coma, and the awareness and senses tests are positive. We just
have to keep her here for a couple more days to monitor her. After that she can go back home and start chemotherapy.”
“Is there hope, Doctor?”
Abdulraheem with a mixture of hope and despair.
“There is always hope in Allah, and medicine is advancing every day.”
“Thank Allah, Thank Allah.”
The family stood at the door of
Sawsan’s room, whispering to one another; Mrs. Raja, who had not slept in weeks, was sleeping in a chair. Dr. Abdulraheem got a call, so he cut the discussion with the doctor short and answered his phone in a low voice, as if he did not want anyone to know who he was talking to.
“Yes, yes, Abu Attiyah. I told you the amount is not ready! I can’t come up with the rest. I took three loans from the banks and one from my work, put down the house as collateral, sold the car, and borrowed from everyone I know.”
He listened. It was difficult to hear him beg like this. “But two million is too much! I almost have a million and a half. Can’t he take that, and I’ll promise to give him the rest later? I’m losing my daughter… Thank you, Abu Attiyah. I don’t know how to repay you.”
That scoundrel Abu Attiyah! I had to get to him and his sorcerer friend before it was too late.
But how? I had to see his number. I reached out to the phone as the doctor removed it from his ear. I held it in my hand, and I felt it. Yes, I felt it! A solid object in my palm. I pulled it, and it moved out of Dr. Abdulraheem’s hand. He was frozen with terror. I looked at the screen, and the call was over; I pressed the “call” button and Abu Attiyah’s name came on. Then I lost my grip on the phone and it fell to the ground. I tried picking it up but could not. At least those few seconds when I’d held the phone had been enough for me to remember Abu Attiyah’s number!
All I had connecting me to your world were two phone numbers: Abu
Attiyah’s and Eyad’s. Unfortunately my ability to affect your world was almost nonexistent, as if I were watching a movie and trying to change its events. So I had get to one of the actors to help me change the plot. I had to get to Eyad!
First I went back home. Jumara had not slept
;. I sat next to her and held her in my arms. I owed her that, at least. I was all she had left, and she was all I had. As we embraced I felt as if my mountain of worries shied away for a moment.
After that Jumara slept like a child who had been playing all day. I entered the house and went to the phone in the living room. I gathered my strength, along with the abilities I inherited from my Fayhee ancestors that I started to discover and master! I moved my hand over the phone until it fell over. I
was able to catch it before it hit the ground, and I put it back on the table as I nervously and quickly punched in Eyad’s number. I failed on my first attempt, but then I remembered that you Humans use numbers from left to right. I heard ringing, then Eyad’s voice.
“Eyad? Are you Eyad? Can you hear me?”
I was talking, but he was not responding, I shook the phone in my hand and screamed, and it echoed in the room.
“Yes, this is Eyad,” he said, sounding scared. “Who are you? I said, who are you?”
I heard the sound of a car—the doctor and Hattan had returned. I begged Eyad, “Log on to
Facebook for Sawsan!”
I let go of the phone, and it fell at the exact moment Hattan opened the door, causing both of them to panic.
“Who’s there? Who?” the doctor shouted as he turned on the lights.
I had no time to waste. I raced to
Sawsan’s room, praying to Allah that her tablet still had enough battery for me to chat with Eyad. I reached for it, turned it on, and passed my fingers over the screen, looking for Facebook. I logged in with Sawsan’s username and found Eyad online, so I started a chat.
“This is not possible! Who are you? Hattan?” he typed back.
“No… I’m trying to save
“Who are you? Tell me!”
“It’s a long story, but before I tell you anything, you must answer me: does Sawsan’s life concern you?”
“Of course it does!”
“To what extent?”
“More than you can possibly imagine. But who are you?”
His words bothered me. They stabbed my ego. But then I thought, To hell with my ego! To hell with my entire life if it would save Sawsan!
“I am Hawjan.”
Eyad’s delay in answering exposed his fear—and the fact that he knew the rumors about Sawsan’s Jinni lover. But his courage was my only hope to save her, and I would not let him coward out, even if I had to threaten him.
I pulled him out of his silence. “Are you scared of me?”
“Me? No! How can I help Sawsan? I’m willing to do anything no matter what!”
“No matter what?”
“No matter what!”
“Even if I touch you?”
“Possess you! So I can interact with your world and help Sawsan.”
I was expecting him to refuse or to run away, or at least to stay silent. But he really surprised me, and at the same ignited my jealousy.
“Come on, Hawjan. I’m prepared to sacrifice my life for Sawsan.”