Delirious, largely attributed to the copious amounts of salt ingested, and positively crispy, everywhere, I spied shelter from the whipping sand and ruthless sun, needless to say I invaded it. I’d like to say I conquered it at full gallop, striding in, chest puffed out in defiance all righteous and just – but the truth is a little less…epic. In reality I whimpered through the askew mouth, suspiciously accessible, on the lowest outcrop of viscous desert crag.
From this position I could see everything…miles and miles of endless sand, maybe something else, I couldn’t be certain- no, just more sand.
I had no idea how far I had travelled, or, from which direction. I could have been running in circles, probably was, she could have already passed me by now.
If Gift three was still out there – still alive, still hunting me – then she’s madder than a chicken in Kiev.
At the time I just assumed she had given up, or died, either one was more preferable than the truth. The truth, huh! What the fuck does that even mean?
The skin pulled across my back painfully, perfectly insinc with the shrinkage of my scrotum. (Did you forget I was naked?)
The cave was growing colder the further I explored it. Fortunately, large splits in the roof of the tunnel allowed shafts of light to cut across the darkness, ripping through the fabric of timeless rest, making it possible to see reasonably well. If I hadn’t been so wearisome, so naked, maybe I would have been alarmed by the fact no animals, or even the evidence of animals, dwelled within this serendipitous respite, as it were though, I continued, ignorant, into the cold depths.
Beams like sheets of golden shine sliced through, intermittently, perhaps even more frequent but still the tunnel grew darker and colder.
A squelching sound penetrated through the stillness deep within the shadow. I stopped, reacting mainly to the hairs on my arms and neck hackling. Suddenly the shadow shifted and a pale foot appeared on the dust coated rock. That was when I realised that the shadow wasn’t a shadow. My heart thumped painfully as I scrambled backwards, upwards, in the direction I had just come, never daring to take my eyes from the huge blackness that was unfurling before me.
It appeared to have been crouching over something, a body, a women. She wasn’t wearing much and a bloodied blade lay helpless besides her.
Smoke filled my mouth. It was fuming, like fire, and it had unfolded to its potential. I expected it to come at me but it didn’t. Instead something else happened, it spoke to me in a language forgotten by men, in letters that do not exist today.
In the interest of clarity I will translate, as literally as possible.
It said, ‘spawn of Shaitan. Given you come to punish, or live on me reward?’
I struggled to fully understand what had just happened. He used the name of my father, the true name, which cannot ever truly be translated, as with all things of that nature. I noticed now that it was afraid of me. I smiled, relaxing a little.
‘I need clothes.’ It was the first thing that came to mind, more of a thought really but before I could say another word the black monster had ripped open the space between us.
My breath caught in my throat as the air sucked through the tear like a vacuum. Then, suddenly as it happened, it stopped, and before me was a neatly folded pile of clothes. Exactly as I had imagined in fact. I picked up the white shirt and tried it on for size, the fit was perfect, of course it was! What else do you expect from a Genie, or at least that was what I figured.
The black monster’s ripped wings wrapped around itself for a moment before shaking, violently, then dissipating in wisps of smoke, revealing a perfectly healthy looking, Gift three.
She cocked her head to one side.
I laughed, maybe the drugs hadn’t worn off after all!
‘You need clothes too.’
To be continued…