An Excerpt from
CHAPTER 1 - A Family of Jinn
Three Genie Brothers
Aristede and his wife, Cassidy, lived in a gray stucco-coated house in Ontario, California. Actually, their home was in an expensive bottle made of amethyst that sat unnoticed on a shelf between picture frames and other knickknacks. Every afternoon, the sunlight beamed through the windows of the French doors and bounced off the purple bottle's surface.
The bottle house was spacious and didn't show the true size of the living area. It was more like the inside of a round tent. In addition to a large center room, there were sleeping chambers, an eating area, and a sunken retreat with many pillows strewn around. Silky curtains draped down from the bottle spout, which served as the portal to the outside human world.
Aristede and Cassidy were jinn. Jinn was actually the old word for genie and is now used most often in formal conversation and on official documents. Aristede was a tall, muscular genie with hair cropped short and a goatee. Cassidy was a slender woman who wore a thin, see-through veil that draped across the front of her neck and pulled back tightly to the crown of her head, tied off by a golden band. Her wavy blonde hair flowed down the middle of her back.
They had three ten-year-old sons: Justin David, Morgan, and Blake, who were triplets. When the boys were younger, it had been extremely hard to tell them apart. They had learned early on that the triplets could create confusion just by answering to each other's names. But they also had capitalized on their identicalness. One time Justin David (whom everyone called JD for short) had replaced the mirror in their room with a glass pane; Morgan hid behind it so when Cassidy walked in on them, JD's mirror image didn't seem to follow the same movement as JD.
Another time Blake had pretended to be hit by a wooden block that had supposedly zoomed across the room, like an arrow, and hit his forehead, causing a bloodied injury. His shrill scream had brought Aristede and Cassidy running to see what the commotion was all about. When their parents weren't looking, JD had switched places with Blake. With a twist of her hand, whipping up a wash towel, Cassidy had found JD sitting there, smiling as if nothing had happened. They certainly enjoyed confusing their parents with their playacting.
Like most genie boys, JD, Morgan, and Blake wore loose-fitting baggy pants and vests over their white button-down shirts. Although there was no question that these sibling brothers were identical -- with dark green eyes, straw-colored hair, stubby little noses, and dimpled smiles -- they were also different in many ways.
JD had a sense of adventure, which was enhanced by his fascination with the human world. He was also the first of his brothers to show his genie powers. It had happened when he was five and had wanted his stuffed griffin one night. He put his arms straight out in front of him, and the griffin began to flitter its wings back and forth before floating to his waiting arms.
Morgan, on the other hand, had an extensive vocabulary, using words like preposterous, meticulous, and furthermore, which made everyone consider him the smart brother.
Finally, Blake was the youngest triplet by ten minutes. He was sweet natured and loved animals. But unlike JD, who neatly brushed his short hair up in front, or Morgan, whose eyes were almost covered with his parted hair that hung down, Blake could go for days without combing his hair at all.
One morning, an official-looking parchment appeared in the dented and dimpled mail jar. Not only did the parchment have a red ribbon tied around the rolled-up paper, but also it had a gold seal that could be broken only by Aristede and Cassidy. It was a typical measure by the Academy for Jinn Studies. This is where our story begins.
Aristede ushered JD, Morgan, and Blake into the sunken retreat.
"What's going on?" JD asked.
"You're coming of age when you can be summoned," Aristede said to them. "Do you understand what that means?"
Before JD had a chance to answer, Morgan stepped forward and eagerly shared what he knew.
"In the life of genies, usually beginning the tenth year, and in accordance with jinn law, genies must leave their containers, whether it is a bottle or a lamp, and go to the outside world, where they are forced into the service of a human master who receives three wishes," he said.
Impressed with his son's understanding of a genie's life, Aristede then asked, "What happens after a human's wishes are granted?"
"A genie returns to the life in his or her container until another person takes possession of it," Morgan added. "If the portal remains open, genies can come and go into the human world."
JD sneered at his brother and whispered coolly, "Show-off."
"Because of that, the masters from the Academy for Jinn Studies are coming to evaluate your powers. That's what this letter is all about," Aristede said. "They'll be here tomorrow."