Updated: Aug 17, 2020
The world was an ugly place. It wasn’t the esthetics that made it that way, it was the people who inhabited it. Buildings knocked down could always be reconstructed, but the innate desire to obtain power no matter the consequence was an evil that ravished the lands and left entire civilizations in ruins.
When the supernatural world was revealed, everyone knew the shit was going to hit the fan, and it did… repeatedly. As it became clear that the human population wasn’t going to easily accept sharing their world with these newly discovered creatures, the world prepared for the unavoidable outcome. War.
The humans tried their best to fight back, resulting in nuclear warfare that destroyed much of the habitable lands. People like Mike, his snakelike friend, stayed far from civilization for fear of being either exposed to those his people had betrayed, or caught in the crossfires of another disagreement. They’d learned that the outskirts, those lands deemed unfit for even the most trivial version of a quality life, were their safest place to dwell.
Jinn, not wanting to be confused with siding with the fairies of the inner city, stayed just before the outskirts. Far enough from the general population, but not so far that he couldn't enjoy the finer things in life. He had no enemies, but he wasn’t exactly flush with friends either. There were few, those he collected along the way. Sadly, he lost the majority as casualties of war or simply old age. Then there were those who betrayed him, wanting nothing more than to use him for his power. After one too many deceptions, he learned to keep to himself.
After roaming the earth, encountering some of the worst people he could imagine, he retreated, and gave up on the hope for a better world. He didn’t want to be around humans, those who wanted nothing more than to have him grant their wishes. No longer able to force him to bend to their will, they resorted to bargaining, bribery, and some of the lowest forms of trading he’d ever heard of.
In time their greed and malice made him sick to his stomach. To escape this, Jinn crafted a world all his own, a paradise that only he could access. His world existed in a bubble of space just beyond the reaches of the Earth and was a simple place that made him happy because of its familiarity. A farm where cows roamed, grazing on grass that grew abundantly. There were animals of all sorts, innocent, only taking what they needed to survive, never more. Each morning he woke up to a beautiful sunrise, and each night he fell asleep watching the moon kiss the sky and hearing the hum of the woman he loved. She wasn’t with him, but the memory of her voice would never fade from his mind.
It was easy to hide, but in time he became bored with the things created by his own magic. He wanted companionship, outside of animals who were less than great for stimulating conversations. The memory of the voice that once brought him comfort became something to haunt him. Each time, he felt guilt, anger, shame, for what happened to her. He tortured himself with the echoes of her for far too long and eventually realized that if he didn’t leave his designed world, he would lose his mind.
“How long are you going to hide out here?” the voice of the woman he knew wasn’t really there asked her question again. It had been three weeks of the same, once a day he was visited by her. Once a day she asked him the same question.
“I can’t go back there.” Jinn responded as he tended to his crops.
“You can go back, and you should.” She stood in front of him, a translucent figure, the way he remembered her.
“There is nothing back there for me.” He shook his head and turned away from her.
“There is life, real life.” She spoke. “You know this isn’t real, Jinn. It won’t make you happy.”
“I’m not looking to be happy.” Jinn was honest in his response to her.
“You’re lonely Jinn. You’re immortal and that’s not changing. Forever is a long time to be alone.” She faded away as she did each day and Jinn entered his home where he would wait for her to come again.
She came five more times and then the visits stopped. He waited for her to return and realized in his waiting that she was right. He was alone, and as much as he hated to admit it, he didn’t want to be.
When he returned to Earth, back to reality, so much had changed. To him he’d been gone for just a few years, but the reality was that he’d been away for much longer, centuries in fact. Gone was the time of corsets, and men in white wigs. The women wore less fabric than he could fathom, and the men were just as… expressive with their appearances. He came out of his shell just in time to see the world go to hell in a handbasket.
It was the 80’s. He’d missed the times of discos, he kicked himself for that, and the 40’s. If there was ever a time for a djinn to shine, those were the days. He read up on all that he could and brought himself up to date on all the wonderful and horrific things he had missed out on. So much life had passed. The world had taken leaps toward technology, and he could see that happening more and more as time passed.
There was a different energy to the world. The energy he felt was strange and yet familiar and in time he would understand that what he felt was the restless spirits of those in the supernatural world. They were all still in hiding, lurking in the shadow, being sure not to be discovered, but an uprising was coming. He could sense the rebellion in the air. Another thirty years had passed before the first exposure, thirty years before their world would be revealed to the humans. Fifty years after that they would take over, following a twenty-year war. For the first time in the history of their kind the human population fought together. They put aside their petty differences to face a common goal. Their forced union was poetic in the obvious way. Tragically beautiful how they would band together in the end. Jinn had no idea how far things would go or how ugly things would get once they’d crossed that line… no one did.
Though he was back, with the way things were, he decided to keep a low profile. Odds were that no one would recognize him, but there were immortals, a few he’d run into before he slipped away to his own paradise. They would know him. If they were still around, there was no doubt that they would come for him if they found out he’d come out of hiding. He thought about changing his appearance, but he liked the way he looked. How could he take away from his six-foot four-inch broad frame? How could he fathom diminishing the muscles, or fading out the melanin in his skin?
His appearance was the last thing that kept him grounded—looking in the mirror and seeing the face of a man who wanted nothing more than a good, simple life. The face that reflected back in the mirror reminded him of who he really was, not the person they wanted him to be. Instead of the tall afro of reddish curls he once had, he sported a low cut that paired well with the full beard at his face. He’d later grow his hair back out, missing the length of it, but at the time the close cut helped him blend in a bit better.
His first encounter after returning to earth, was with an older human woman named Claire. He remembered her well—light skin, dark hair, and a smile that brought him back to his childhood, however long ago that was. She looked so much like his mother, he nearly asked her if she knew who her ancestors were. Perhaps there was some relation between the two of them. She’d sat next to him on a park bench, overlooking a small man-made pond. He was contemplating the world, and what place he would assume in the order of things now that he had returned. He looked over to find her smiling face, eyes focused on the ducks dancing across the surface of the pond.
“You look lost, young man,” she addressed him when he continued to watch her and not speak.
“The world, it’s so different now.” He sighed, taking his eyes from her, and joining her in watching the family of ducks.
“Different, from what exactly?” The wrinkles of age and wisdom stretched around her grin. “World’s been the same as long as I’ve known it. Different faces, different people running the show, but it's all the same.”
“I remember it being so much quieter than this, simpler.” Jinn’s nostalgic expression confused the woman for a moment until recognition flashed in her eyes.
“You one of them?” She squinted, studying his face, and shook her head. “You don’t seem like a vampire.”
“Vampire?” Her blunt delivery shocked him. She spoke the word as fact, not fiction, as if it was a common topic of conversation. One that she was well versed in.
“Yeah, bloodsuckers. They’re all around here. Reason why I have a daily dose of vervain and garlic smoothie.” She laughed. “Bite me if you wanna, and you’re going to burn!”
“Sounds delicious.” He chuckled, knowing very well the concoction couldn’t have been a palatable one.
“Tastes more like cat piss, but it keeps me safe from those bloodsuckers. Works like a repellent. They can smell the stuff on me, and they steer away. You, I don't know what you are, but you aren’t a vampire. Your soul is quieter, your spirit less frantic.”
“How do you know so much about this?” This was a time when beings such as vampires kept their existence hidden, and yet she not only knew of them, but how to avoid them at all costs.
“I grew up in a place where this world, this quiet, peaceful reality, isn’t all it seems to be. I escaped, years ago, but others were not so lucky. Trust me, I know that this world is not what any of us choose to think it is. For now, everyone gets to go on about their lives, not knowing all those creatures they read about in their fantasy novels are real. That the accounts are more like their history. Who do you think penned those stories? They belong to them. Their way of coming from the dark, even if the world thinks it's just for entertainment. Soon, and I hope like hell that I am long gone when that time comes, but those creatures, well they’re gonna come to light, and this world will be an entirely different place.”