Zeinab’s mother covered her daughter’s eyes through most of Aladdin. She hated the eponym’s mystical companion, the shape-shifter with his feet curled like devil horns.
“Djinns!” She would exclaim, “Ghouls of smokeless fire!”
Zeinab learned to similarly fear these apparitions that slunk invisibly between worlds. She dreaded the thought of a spectral spectator who could silently stalk its victim for years, only to appear someday at a preselected moment of clairvoyant comeuppance.
Fear, it seemed, was common sense.
A schoolboy brought a genie lamp to play with at lunchtime, gold-glittered and plastic. He menaced Zeinab, rubbing his grimy hands upon it, smearing on its surface the ketchup and errant condiments from his chicken nuggets.
Footsteps plotted a path against the child’s existence, curled in anger, through smokeless fires of barbecue bacon hot sauce.
He just couldn’t see it yet.
~by Alex Creece