This story is by Laci McGee and was part of our 2016 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the Winter Writing Contest stories here.
My ancestors met when cultures clashed, European Faeries and Arabian Djinn. Here I am, a mongrel mix of magics with a splash of human in for fun. My magic is odd and in my natural form I look unique to say the least: silver hair, black spiral tattoos with sapphire skin beneath, the tattoo free skin is the color of coffee with cream. Thank goodness for fey glamour, although I keep some of the tattoos visible. I grew up traveling the world, looking for a place to fit in and ended up in America. I’ve experienced much of the growth of this land and it’s people. Currently I’m in Dallas, I like the heat and the growing culture. This century is intriguing, this technology can do so much that even to someone with magic, technology has its own.
“Rhynn!” Hearing my name pulls me from my thoughts. I look up to see two people walking towards me, humans I’ve befriended. Very few from the magical races prefer big cities. There are few here with a glimmer but I doubt they know. A woman with long phoenix fire hair and a variety of facial piercings sits in the empty seat next to me at the bar, Mel, her quiet companion has a shock of amethyst locks.
“Where have you been for the past few days? You were supposed to meet us at the concert yesterday and never showed. We missed you.” Margaret was the first friend that I made here, she is always trying to get me to be more social and thinks my self imposed exclusion is bad for me.
“Sorry, I got tied up in a composition and forgot time.” In my travels I collected sand and plants. The djinn in my blood loves hot sand, even cool it makes me smile. The fey loves berries, flowers, and leaves. In collected sand, plant dyes and charcoal I do my best to recreate on canvas the places I’ve seen and loved. I try to capture the people too sometimes, friends lost and new and the occasional enemy. Most of the design created is a memory. I step back and remember, the forward flow of time ceases to exist. In that moment and I can see again that which is lost. In three centuries I’ve seen a few things that no longer exist.
“Come on,” says Margaret, “we are headed down to Deep Ellum for some music.” I agree and we call a ride share.
Deep Ellum means drinking and having magic does not increase my tolerance, although alcohol and magic combined does have some interesting effects. Craft beers don’t have nearly the alcohol content of some of the liquors I’ve tried but I still have to be careful. It’s a Saturday night and the place is filling up quickly with smoke and people, doing their best to appear unique. Mel gets the first couple of rounds, beers and tequila shots to starts off the night with a punch. She is a trust fund baby gone rogue and likes to show off that the grandparents are still supporting her rebellious side despite her parents wishes.
Nights out don’t stay calm, before we know it the three of us are one sheet in and the other two are coming up quick.The girl behind me is fighting with her boyfriend at the bar, yelling at him so loudly that she can be heard over the music. “I can’t even look at you right now! I wish you would just disappear.” Oh crap.
Being part djinn gives me the ability to grant wishes, being part faerie means that the normal restrictions for wish granting don’t apply, I cannot control the ones I respond to. Magic to grant a person’s desire is fickle and has a mind of its own; which is why djinn wish granting is governed by rules. Rules like, limit of three and they can be answered to suit the wording not the meaning of the words. Despite the loss of those restrictions I have control over how the wish is granted through my fey blood, although normally liquor is not making my blood burn hot when I grasp for that control.
Energy is pulled out of me and through the girl and to the guy and for a moment we are all connected by a rope of power. Gripping the magic with my mind I arrange the grating of the woman’s wish in the least harmful way I can in that moment.He shall become invisible until dawn and until then will not be able to interact with anyone in anyway. When he becomes visible again he shall forget the experience, like he has done a hard night of drinking and she shall think that he left after she told him to disappear. Until dawn he will know he is invisible and she will see him vanish.
The power rope snaps, he vanishes and she screams. Surprisingly only a few others in the bar have noticed, one of which is Margaret. Mel has disappeared to talk to the first band after their set. My fiery haired friend raises a dark studded eyebrow at me, Margaret knows what I am and has seen a few similar incidents before – mostly in bars. I might have a problem but being an immortal in a sea of humans is difficult; I prefer them to being alone most of the time.
I should have more control but I was born when the belief in magic began fading from the world. The old creatures of magic: fey, djinn, and others began to fade. Our power comes from the earth and man’s belief in the impossible, in the possibility of magic. People moved away from the agrarian, pastoral life to the urban areas where the newest technology reigns supreme. The older magical people faded, becoming shades. Sad reminders of days long past and there are few left who know what real magical control is.
Shaking away old thoughts I look at my friend, “yes, that’s my fault. At least this time I didn’t grant the wish of a guy high on hallucinogens.” She shudders, he had wished for the fireworks to never end. I let them end when the drugs were all out of his mind. They went on for three days, sparks fading as the drugs left his system.
Margaret shakes her head and heads outside for some air away from crowd and magic. She thinks I’m irresponsible at times, maybe I am. I lean against the bar, I want another drink. A man comes up to the bar, it’s crowded and his arm presses tightly against mine. “What can I get you to drink,” he inquires. Tall, dark, handsome and sporting three-day old scruff that looks good on him. I want another drink.
After spending days locked away in my studio, remembering the past I love nothing more than to forget afterwards, for a night at least. But as the evening has has already reminded me, my control is sub-par. Granting wishes takes only a spark of power, actually controlling how they are granted and how long they last for takes immensely more magic. I want another drink but I am magically drained and it’s not a good idea. I don’t have enough power to control the outcome of a second wish.
Giving him a small smile I respond, “nothing, I’m done for the night.” He looks like a bad decision anyway. The smell of his cologne is mixed with sweat and perfume, on his collar I can see pink lipstick and glitter from eye-shadow. No thanks, I crave companionship, yes, but not for a night. The company of friends is better.
With that I head outside to find my fiery friend. It’s time to go home. Tomorrow, maybe, I’ll think about where I might find an older fey or djinni. Being an immortal doesn’t mean I can stop learning but it does mean I can take a while deciding that I should, it’s time.