Whoo! A tug on the cord above him made the train's whistle bellow its presence to the world. A young man looked out through the side window of the car to enjoy the wind rushing past his vessel. His black hair rode the winds a bit before he returned to operating the console that moved the train forward. "Looks like the whistle survived the crash yesterday, l wonder..." The conductor of the vehicle lost his own train of thought when his eyes caught a glimpse of something. "What's that glint?" he thought to himself. The connected series of wagons began to slow its journey. Their hovering above the desert sands came to a stop and settled on the ground.
Sulei then grabbed his vest hanging on a hook in the conductor car and walked through a few cars until he stopped at one with a bed. "Roxie...Roxie..., wake up please", he sighed while poking a lump under the sheets. Soon, a person got up from under the sheets with a mess of dark brown curls where a head should be. "You and your nickname-Listen sweetie, I'm heading out to bring something in but I won't be long. Also the hot water's back so you can take those waterfall showers you love so much." The woman in the bed responded by holding her thumb up, followed by plopping back into bed.
Sulei soon opened wide his door, and gazed at the sandy hills of the dunes before him. His olive tan and bright amber eyes almost glowed in the radiating sunlight. Walking down to the last step before the desert, he put a single foot on the surface before quickly pulling it away. "Ah, definitely hot", he thought to himself before putting a pair of sandals on his feet. Once he recaptured the sparkle from earlier within his sight, the trek toward its source began. A few sand dunes later, the treasure hunter pulled out a small paintbrush and began to sweep away the sediment from the metallic spot once claimed by the desert. After some excavation, Sulei began to wonder as he lifted the object into view, "Wait it can't be...its just a regular one, right?"
In his hands was a brass oil lamp once buried underneath the desert. He instinctively wiped the broad side of the lamp with his palm to get a better look but what followed was a odd white mist escaping from the spout. The white cloud quickly ignited into a fire of the same color. "Yup, it's one of those", the spectator commented plainly. The pillar of white flame became bigger and larger until it started to come together to form something in the air. What was once a large flare was now revealed to be the torso of an enormous grey man towering over the many sand dunes around him. He was adorned in a emerald green vest with a turban wrapped around his head and a pearl bead necklace. Below his torso, was a wisp of translucent mist trailing from the lamp in Suleiman's hand. The mystical being that sprung forth from the artifact spoke with a booming voice, "OH MASTER WHO HAS RELEASED ME! I AM THE SPIRIT OF LAMP FROM TIME LONG PAST. AS A SHOW OF GRATITUDE, I SHALL GRANT YOUR HEART'S GREATEST AND DEEPEST DESIRE."
Suleiman was a mere ant compared to this almighty being towering before him. Even as he tried to look up, there was no sight of his face due to its height. All Sulei could do was cup his hands around his mouth and shout, "Hey! You're a Jinn right?" The spirit somehow managed to hear him and once again with his booming voice responded, "CORRECT, I CAN GRANT ANY WISH THAT YOUR MORTAL MIND CAN FATHOM AND MUCH MORE. Suleiman continued, "Do you want to come to my house for dinner? Me and my wife are planning on something with honey and almonds." The mighty Jinn responded, "VERY WELL I SH-wait, what?" suddenly losing his echo for a mild mannered voice. "I said almonds, look could you shrink down here? This is kind of a strain to do, you know?" Sulei answered back. The jinn followed his suggestion and then the impossibly huge titan became the same size as Suleiman himself.
"See isn't that much better." Suleiman greeted the spirit of the lamp. He then picked up the oil lamp that the jinn once called home and continued, "You know thinking about it, it's more like breakfast. Ah well, come with me and we'll discuss it with something in our bellies".
He looked over to the wish-granting entity who now appeared before him as a tan middle-aged man adorned in a lime-green tunic and baggy white trousers with his feet bare in the sand. Looking on, Suleiman could now make out that the vest he wore in his original form was embroidered on the edges with sliver script, possibly Persian. His new feet were rather large and somewhat disproportionate with the rest of him. The wielder of the brass commented on his new associate. "I see you acquired some legs, and my taste in fashion", he answered back while using one of his hands to pull his own beige baggy pants to give his spirit a quick glance at them. "Well let's not keep her waiting", he finished.
The jinn asked his new caretaker, "Not to question you master, but you could always call on me to bring you to your home-Nah," his master interrupted him. "I wouldn't want to bother you for something as little as that, besides I want to see the look on your face when we get there. Also you can call me Suleiman. "Very well...Master Man", his spirit companion responded. Suleiman commented, "Uh, "man" is part of given name, not the surname but we have time to fix that." and made his way towards his locomotive home, looking at the lamp in his hands and the jinn following behind him.
Once he arrived inside, he announced, "Honey, I invited a guest over for breakfast, let me know if you're awake! After a moment a feminine voice answered, "A guest, huh? Yes, I took a shower and l am getting my clothes on now." Her spouse told her, "Okay, we'll just look around in the kitchen then."
The two walked over to a dining car with typical kitchen amenities. Suleiman walked over to his boxy copper stove, turned a dial to start the hissing of gas and lit a match above it to get a fire going on top. He went over to a marble-topped stand where a pitcher was waiting in a bowl, washed his hands with a soap bar and by pouring water onto them. Then he took a burlap sac from a cupboard above the sink and put in its contents of lentils in a iron pot of water. After putting the pot to boil, he then went into a tall wooden cabinet where he checked the drawer above holding a small tank of gas. He opened the oak furnished doors to take out two wooded bowls, one filled with green plantains and the other with wrinkled amber fruits. Walking over to the stovetop, he told his new friend, "I'm cooking a hometown favorite for us, chopped almonds and lentils with honey glazed plantain and soft dates. He peeled then sliced the cooking bananas onto a cast iron frying pan and dropped the lentils into a pot of boiling water.
Suleiman looked over to his guest who was trying to visually absorb all the foreign cooking devices in front him. Suleiman told the spirit, "Don't worry I'm a bit of an expert in the kitchen...Oh you've probably never seen a gas stove and fridge before. Yeah, they're marvels of technology alright, the fridge is like an icebox but a tank of gas does the cooling instead. Best part is they came with the train when I found it." He stopped stirring for a second to open the fridge within his guest's view. Although there wasn't a lot of light coming into the box, you could make out that it mostly stuffed with various food stuffs inside. "Not your average steam train is it?'' the current chef smiled.
"I see you're doing breakfast for me, again", the voice from earlier said coming closer. Coming from the curtain in the walkway, was a young woman with a curly deep brown textured afro, dressed in violet tunic with pearl white seams draped on her figure down to her knees. She was leaning on the door opening, staring at Suleiman with her light brown eyes and a dazzling smile revealing the tawny glow of her cheeks. "Wow Roxelana, you usually don't wear that unless we-" She wagged her finger in his general direction and told him, "Now, now, we have a guest, and showing off will do you no good, you know. Of course I'll let it slide if I can set the table and lay out some drinks for us." With a nod from her spouse, she turned to their guest and said to him, "I hope you stay for the meal, my husband's not just a handsome face, he knows his way around the kitchen too". She then left the car to get the supplies for their meal. Suleiman stared off to the distance sighing, "That woman, no wonder I love her."
He then looked to his guest and nodded, "So my wife's hot right?" He suddenly found a wooden bowl flung through the curtain, knocking dead center into his forehead before falling onto the ground. Rather than rub the impact to his head, a puzzled Suleiman responded, "But the dress, I thought... did I misread the signals? Sorry..." and went back to cooking their breakfast.
Finally the table was set and a bowl of lentils with mango slices was placed for every one along with a glass full of sparkling water. In the center of the table was a plate with honey glazed fried plantains to the side for anyone to add to their plate. Before eating the couple closed their eyes, bowed their heads, and Suleiman spoke, "Bismillahi wa 'ala baraka-tillah" and Roxelana followed with "Bismillah". After which, the two began to add the center food to their plates and eat the food in front of them. Suleiman commented, "Thanks for getting the dates the other day." She answered, "What about you picking those plantains? I'm surprised none of those bees stung you yesterday."
Their guest who opened his eyes after following his hosts asked them, "I take it that you two are of the Muslim faith." Suleiman took a moment to swallow and responded "Oh yeah, since birth I was raised with mother's religion along with my tribe's faith." "Well, not me", his wife added "both of us were raised with Erisija Village's traditions but Sulie got two kinds at home. So when I married I thought, I could try to be open and respect his beliefs". Suleiman looked to his wife with a smile and he responded the same. "And of course, I support her with it whenever she asks. I'll always have my culture but more than anything, I just want her to have a happy life." The two held hands and got lost in each other's eyes for a moment.
The genie nodded in agreement. "A fine pair you two are indeed, although I must say. I've traveled the Earth at least once yet I haven't heard of a human settlement called Erisija Village before." The couple slightly titled their heads before Roxelana asked the jinn, "Uh what exactly is an Earth? Is that a country from before the Ghulat Wars or something?" Their spirit friend gave them his own look of puzzlement at what he just heard.
Suleiman snapped his fingers just before he exclaimed, "Oh I see, you must be a jinn from Earth, not from Kaf like us. I mean-I was wondering why you were in an abandoned oil lamp. He went on, "At first I assumed you took refuge in a metallic object to recover from injuries but why do that in the middle of the sand dunes? Your lamp must have been transported to our world from a random portal popping up. Speaking of which..."
Suleiman put his arms under the table to take out the brass lamp from before. "I took a look at this thing on the walk over here. You were only in it for about 20 years, meaning if you didn't recognize the fridge then chances are Earth must not have an equivalent of that device either, at least not yet anyways." "How could you have deduced that?" Asked his faithful servant."Well you should know, it's easy with a simple mana detection spell." Suleiman put his hand near the brass when a blue light emitted from his palm. A violet swirl that mimicked a flame was suspended between the lamp and his hand. The flame then formed itself into indigo script floating just above the brass object. "See?", he showed to his guest confidently.
He then looked to his new friend with his jaw dropped and bulging eyes. Suleiman answered back with a confused face and a shrug of the shoulders. "What? You're actually like this is some impossible weird fantasy spectacle or something?"
Sulie then relaxed when a moment of clarity hit like Cupid's arrow. "Oh right, I didn't even get to tell you yet. See, I look homin cause my father is, but my mother was a jinn, Sil'at tribe to be precise, so I inherited spell craft from her. And I can shape shift and do other cool spirit stuff. It's also why I probably didn't react like you excepted to your grand entrance," he said with a big wise-guy grin on his face.Their guest recovered from the shock with a redness in his own.
Roxelana got into the conversation, "Aw, you're blushing, mister..." She waved her hand in the air to make up for the loss of words and quickly darted her eyes towards her husband.
Sulie's own eyes opened wide in the realization. "Ah, I forgot to ask you for your name. I'm so sorry."
His guest consoled him, "It is fine, Elijah you may call me."
The food cooling contraption and your unexpected gift of magic did surprise me but I'm still not convinced I have traveled to the fabled alien world."
Roxelana sighed and moved her chair from the table, "Well, I don't know what to tell you but my legs and feet feel asleep after finishing the meal." She then stretched her legs and slipped her feet out of her slippers to gently rub her feet. Elijah jumped up from his seat upon seeing this and exclaimed, "Egad! What has happened to your feet woman, why do they look like that of an ape?"
To be fair, her feet were nearly identical to her hands, each with a grasping big toe not unlike her thumbs. She answered "I just washed them, they shouldn't look that bad." Afterwards, a skinny long appendage covered in the same shade of brown hair of her locks came from behind the woman to scratch the top of her head in confusion. Elijah continued to shout, "And now she has the tail of a monkey, WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?
The woman narrowed her eyes at the earth bound spirit, "Pardon me, but my tail and feet were attached the whole time, you just wasn't paying attention before. And I don't know what a monkey or ape is, but that sounded like an insult to me."
Elijah looked to his master, "Excuse me but I thought you said you were humans?"
Suleiman stood up to respond to his hysterical guest, "Humans, no I said "Ha-min", Homin. The blank look on the jinn's face showed he was still at a loss.
"Okay, my mother explained this to me and to the village since she studied homins as a biological anthropologist. Ahem, humans from your planet came here a long time ago, even for jinn like us, but were probably chased high up into the trees of the jungle by big animals." Roxelana looked to her husband as she took where he left off, "Oh I remember this! Then those human guys became Homins like us, right Sulie?" Suleiman nodded in agreement.
"And really", she continued, "Next you're going to say that none of your humans have frizzy hair like mine either..." she said quickly brushing past her hair with hand.
"My apologies, this is all really hard to accept", he sighed just before falling back into his seat. "And you would be surprised, a very large number of them have that kind of hair actually", he retorted. "Really?" Roxelana said looking a bit intrigued, "Tell me more why don't you." Elijah pondered, "A whole continent at least, now that you mention it, it was there that a young lad from the Far East also had a Jinn bound to a ring of all things..."
Suleiman though for a moment, "How about this, the spell bounding you to the lamp is easy to break, but I need to get supplies. Luckily the capital city, New Jinnistan isn't far from here. Since I can't get you back to your planet, they should be able to give you some records, ID, and you can live your life here."
"Why are you changing the subject dear? His lover inquired.
"No wait, you would do that for me?", Elijah asked.
"Sure, Eli, I'm not going to leave someone from another world behind in the cold. Hmm, but I do need to start the engines." As he ran, he told his wife to put up the rest of his food in his quarters for later. Roxelana told Elijah with a smile and a roll of the eyes, "Looks like he's showing off again."
Suleiman ran to the caravan with a control console right in front of him. With both of arms on the controls and a tail growing behind, he used all three to push buttons, and flip some switches until he grabbed the key in the ignition. "Lets go everybody", he muttered under his breath as he turned the key to start the engines.
So this was a one-shot made in 2013 for writing critique. I was barely worldbuilding at the time so technically this verison of the characters and the facts littered here are no longer accurate (or "non-canon") to how they are now but that's how it used to be. I still keep this around to remember how I feel about my world before it was really a world.