I was in the kitchen of my new neighbor, Willa Brooks, delighting in some milk and cookies she had laid out for me. I was 8 years old, so I could always be bribed to visit with cookies.
My mother had sent me over a week ago, when Willa had just moved in, to welcome our new neighbor. Willa and I became instant friends. She didn't scare or patronize me like most adults did. Willa was in her seventies, but sure didn't act like it. She was more active than people half her age, running circles around the stay at home moms. She had beautiful olive skin, pure white hair with the texture of candy floss, and the most vivid violet eyes I had ever seen.
She had become, in that short time, the grandmother I never had. I was chewing on one of the cookies, studying Willa, when I decided I could trust her and tell her my secret. "Willa, wanna see what I can do?" She looked at me and smiled, "Of course love, show me."
I took my glass of milk and spilled it on her floor. "Why would you do that Mags? That's quite a rude.." "Wait," I interrupted her, "that's not what I wanted to show you, this is!" I looked at the milk and concentrated as hard as I could. I pictured the milk swirling it's self up from the floor and going back into the glass. I opened my eyes and like usual, what I pictured happened. I had a triumphant smile on my face as I looked up at Willa. She however, wasn't smiling back. The look on her face wasn't the one I usually got from my parents (which was scared shitless), but one of awe.
"Child, what have you done?" Tears instantly sprang from my eyes. "I'm sorry Willa, I thought you would like that." She knelt down to my level and put her hand on my arm, consoling me. "Hush now, I know you meant no harm. I'm just surprised you're as talented as you are for one so young. You shouldn't even be able to do those things yet." After a few lingering sniffles I quieted down.
Willa stood up and walked over to the window staring out of it, the tension rolling off her in waves. "Mags, why don't you finish up your cookies and then we'll talk a little about you're secret." I nodded a silent yes to her and returned to my cookies. I left the milk to be forgotten. It didn't matter if I could get the milk to pick itself up, it had been on the floor, gross!
Ten minutes later, Willa turned from the window, somewhat more relaxed, "Come with me, we have some things to discuss." We walked down the stairs into her basement. There was nothing of special to note, it was a normal basement, except it had no windows and the ceiling was made out of the same concrete as the walls. I didn't think much about it until I noticed Willa rolling a large round stone in front of the door. "The stones keep secrets," she told me as if she was reading my thoughts.
"You can never tell anyone your secret Mags, you have to promise me that." Looking down at my toes, I was ashamed to tell Willa that I already had told someone...my parents. I told Willa the story. I was five years old and had told my parents on occasion I could do things. They always put it off as the imagination of a young child. One day, I showed them. I made three blue bouncy balls rise up in the air and travel around the living room. That was the first and last time I said a word about it until Willa moved next door.
My parents went to the psychologist for Valium and sent me straight to the priest for an exorcism. That's right, my loving parents had me exorcised. At five years old, most things that went bump in the night scared the bejeebees out of me. Being the object of an exorcism at such a young age was the single most terrifying thing I had ever been through.
Father O'Rourke looked like he was posessed himself. He started by flinging water at me and screaming incoherent Latin. I think the worst was when he pushed me to the ground. I started kicking and screaming because I thought he was going to kill me. He, on the other hand, thought some demon was fighting him back and held me to the ground, still yelling Latin at me.
After a terrifying twenty minutes it was over. I was pronounced demon free. My parents were ecstatic and I had learned a very valuable lesson. I was never going to tell anyone my secret again.
Willa shook her head, "Stupid priests, never knowing the difference from a demon posession and a hole in the ground. Well, from here on out no one else needs to know. What the priest did was negligible to what others would do if they knew your secret. Promise me Mags, promise me you will never tell anyone else." "I won't Willa.
"How come you aren't scared like everyone else," I asked. "I am just like you." "What do you mean, just like me?" I must have looked as confused as I sounded because Willa softly laughed at my question before she answered. "Child, we are jinn, made from a smokeless flame of the great scorching fire." "What's a jinn?" I asked. "Ever see 'Aladdin'?'" Mags asked me. "Oh I love that movie Mags, it's got a genie that grants magical wishes!!" "Child, genie is a jinn."
I thought I felt my jaw hit the floor. "Willa, I don't want to be a big blue blob without any feet, stuck in a lamp for thousands of years." "Well then, don't worry, none of those things are true, except the name. You, my love, are a jinn."