Prečítajte si krátke poviedky na tému „Genie in a bottle“, ktoré pod vedením pani profesorky Evy Dobiaš tvorili žiaci IV.AJ na seminári z písania – spisovateľstvo si predsa môže na vlastnej koži vyskúšať každý. Fantázii sa medze nekladú!

Genie in a bottle, Hannah Gilan, IV.AJ

They entered another room, which meant there had to be another trap. Another place that seemed so familiar, yet so estranged. This place was in comparison to the previous one ginormous. The floor was covered in colourful tiles forming a mosaic image of a black creature, its dark body reaching the walls. Other than that, the room was empty.

„So Mr Collins, what’s your next step?“

This annoying voice was really getting on his nerves. As if this whole situation wasn’t stressful enough. Andrew grabbed his crucifix that his mother had gotten him before he left. It was made from some sort of metal, not anything expensive, but the emotional value made it priceless. She advised him to wear it at all times as a protection charm, which he did.

„Do not rush me, Sir. I have told you – I need to take my time. Or do you wish to end up like your friend?“, Andrew smirked. Sir Livermore felt a tingle down his spine. The image of Dr Taylor getting beheaded was burned into his mind. He felt nauseous and wanted to barf.

„He was not my friend. He was my business partner. There’s a big difference between those two.“ It was obvious that he pretended to not care. Of course, he cared. His trembling voice and pale skin didn’t let him hide his feelings. And Andrew was well aware of that. Maybe he would not be this unempathetic if Taylor hadn’t betrayed him and his mother, but Taylor did betray them. He still could not believe that the man that was supposed to look after him and his mother used them for his own profit. There was no doubt in Andrew’s mind when Taylor recruited him for this operation. Taylor promised Andrew’s dad on his death bed to keep them safe. And now both men are dead and Andrew might be next.

„Whatever you say, Sir.“

„C’mon, we don’t have all day!“ Livermore yelled and pushed Collins right on the mosaic. The ground started to quake. Pearls of sweat formed on his forehead. Is this the end? Not yet. A marble pillar reached out of the ground. On top of it was a bottle. It was golden with ruby’s embedded into its rim. A truly magical moment, but something didn’t feel right.

„It’s the genie’s bottle! Oh my god, I cannot believe it is actually real!“

„There has to be a catch. This is too easy.“ Andrew mumbled as he slowly stood up. His eyes hadn’t left the bottle. He did not know what to believe anymore. This journey started with him being willing to find a long-lost artefact, this is why he had become an archaeologist. But now, now he believes that there might be something supernatural. Something that cannot be explained logically. Something that is hidden inside that bottle.

„Too easy?! This place cost hundreds of idiots lives! This is the reward!“ Livermore reached out for the bottle. Suddenly, Andrew remembered the old man he had met on the market in Manama. He told him the legend of the Dschinn, a dark creature created from smokeless fire. He’s either an angel or Satan. He either saves you or ruins you. Your mind is his. Don’t make him or he will make you. And that’s when it hit him. It was never a genie, it is the Dschinn lurking for his next host. Now he understands why the man had stopped him. He was trying to save him from this exact moment.

„No! Leave it!“ Andrew screamed, but it was too late. The bottle was already in Livermore’s hands.

„Put it back!“

Livermore was shaking. His fair skin turned hot red, his blood pressure has skyrocketed.

„I am holding it! It is real! And it is mine! Do you understand what that means? I hold all the power now! I…“ before he could finish his sentence a huge flame flashed out of the bottle, setting Livermore’s coat on fire. His screams were met with the Dschinn’s shrieks. His eyes turned to charcoal, as did his teeth and fingernails. Livermore was gone, but his body was still there. Although, it wasn’t his body anymore. It belonged to the Dschinn from now on.

“Long time no see, Abdul.” The creature stared at him. Adrenaline rushed through his body.

“My name is not Abdul.”

“Oh, it is. Do you know what your name means?” Andrew was freaking out. What was this supposed to mean?

“I think Andrew just means man or manly.”

“But your name is not Andrew.”, the Dschinn yelled and sighed. “Abdul, you know this. Deep down you have always known. We were meant to meet. Abdul – the servant of God.” As the last words left his mouth black fog started to leave his body. The smell of burnt skin and petrol filled the room. The tiles disappeared into the dark smoke. The only visible thing was Andrew and the Dschinn in Livermore’s body, or what was left of it.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about! Please, let me go!”

“Hahaha, oh sweet boy, you are never leaving. This is it. Countless souls attempted to reach my chambers and failed miserably. You are the chosen one. Your parents thought they could protect you. They thought that moving thousands of miles and changing your name would change your destiny. Silly humans. You always think you can escape us. I feel pity for you, I really do.”

“But what do I have to do with it? Why me?”

The Dschinn roared: “It is your destiny. You are the chosen one. You are supposed to be the one who might have a chance to stop me. But do not give yourself hope. There had been many chosen ones before you. You are not that special after all. Say a last prayer and hope that hell is not your final destination.”

Everything started to make sense now. His childhood. His overprotective parents. His fascination for the Arabic world. This was the reason for so many of his battles. If only they had told him. Maybe he would have been able to prepare for this. Maybe he would now know what to do. And maybe he already does.

“Okay, I accept my faith. May God be my saviour.”

“Silly, silly human. He is not your servant, you are his. Tell him I said hi.” the Dschinn roared and made a jump towards Collins. Mid-air Abdul reached out his arm with the crucifix pointing at the monster. As soon as the metal touched its skin, flames started to burst out of its skin. Its screams were deafening. Abdul got badly burned, but he didn’t even notice. He was looking deep into the Dschinn’s face, which got malformed in its agony.

Abdul smirked and said: “How about you tell him yourself.” and plunged the crucifix deep into the Dschinn’s chest. The screams got even louder, the flames lashed higher. The remains of the body crumbled onto the ground. All that was left was a man, who had won the fight he was supposed to lose.

Genie in a bottle, Katarína Jakabová, IV.AJ

„Huh, I always thought genie was a male name,“ I hear myself wondering out loud after I got over the shock of seeing a strangely dressed otter fly out of an empty wine bottle.

„It’s universal,“ yawns the genie as if she’s heard it a thousand times before.

She probably did.’Can I have a question?“

I realized my terrible wording as

soon as the words left my mouth. Why am I like this?

‚Of course you can, but you know you can wish for something better right?‘

‚That wasn’t supposed to be my wish!“ I exclaim.

‚Well, that sounds like a you problem, not a me problem. Now, what’s the question? Will you find true love? Have you found it already or what?

My question suddenly seems so silly.

‚Why…why the wine bottle?‘

She looks at me utterly bewildered. After a while of deliberation she says: ‚ No one really ever asks about me, but not many people like to touch trash so I can have my peace.‘

‚Oh, well that sounds about right. Sorry, to bother you.‘ I felt the need to apologize, I can only imagine how tiring and sad the life of a genie must be. No friends or family and the only people you meet just want to use you, as if you were a vending machine.

‚It’s okay. You’re not bothering on purpose. So, what do you want next?‘

What do I say, there’s so much. I want to have friends. I never learnt how to do a backflip. I mean money is always an option, you can’t go wrong with that, can you. Okay Potti let’s be smart about this. They always tell you that you have the brains of the family. Shame I don’t have the looks. It must be nice to be handsome. Focus, Potter!

And then it hit me and for once in my life I was sure about something.

Taking a deep breath in I say: ‚Genie, I wish for my last wish to be something that will make me and those I care about the happiest.‘

She looks at me, she really looks at me and I feel as if she’s really seeing me for the first time. I notice a tiny smile appear on her face. ‚Okay, both wishes are granted. It was nice to meet you Pottie.‘

As soon as she finishes the sentence she vanishes back into the bottle, leaving me no time to say thank you or goodbye at least. At most I would like to know what is the thing that will make everyone happy. Damn it, I should’ve worded it differently. Not me thinking I am smarter than a Genie. What was I thinking? Well, she did say that she granted both, meaning two wishes, so she didn’t scam me or anything. I guess I’ll find out when I come home.

The impossible wish, Jasmína Miťková, IV.AJ

Philip worked silently. There was not much to say after all. The sun was slowly setting down and the shadows of the surrounding trees lengthened. He knew he didn’t have much time left, as once the night was to fall over the forest, there wasn’t any chance for him to see through its thick void.

Philip adored his companions. The trees. He trusted them because he knew they wouldn’t look down on him. There were no prejudices, no accusations, no sticker attached to his forehead that screamed A FORMER CRIMINAL, BE AWARE in their presence. Philip was free from those whispers, free from his previous life and free from people, who reminded him of everything he no longer wanted to be.

Philip bent over and reached for another candy wrapper that was left carelessly on the ground. Five years of taking care of the woods all gone to vain. All it took was a homo sappiens sappiens to cross the ground and his work could reset itself.

Philip almost laughed. He threw the candy wrapper into the bag by his feet and made sure to do so with every other. By the time his work was finally done the sun had finally settled, leaving little to no light behind. The forty-six-year-old man carefully straightened, wincing at the pain that shot through his lower back as he reached into his back pocket and fetched a small torch. He intended to simply gather his things and return back to report on another day of successful de-polluting when something sparkled in the dark.

Philip squinted and noticed an empty bottle of wine laying several feet away from him. Confused by its sudden appearance in the light, Philip frowned and slowly limped towards it, determined to finish his work properly. His fingertips lightly touched the dusty glass and the bottle shattered in his grasp. Philip yelped and quickly backed away from it, watching with wide eyes as a figure slowly formed in front of him – sandals, pants, floral polo shirt, mop of fire-like hair…

“Oi! Could you lower that thingy down by any chance, please? Please?”

A kid. Standing in front of him surrounded by trees was a kid. Gangly, ridiculously dressed kid with a hand shielding its eyes from the light directed at its face. A light from Philip’s torch. Philip lowered his hand shakily.

“Thanks!” the kid smiled widely, cleared its throat and sang brightly. “Hi! I’m Genie, the light in the dark, the hope in despair and the truth in all lies. You called, I came, now I let you have your three wishes that ought to repay your braveness and luck, if you may.”

In loss for words, Philip gaped at the anomaly in front of him. Had he accidentally stumbled and hit his head? Was he dreaming? It didn’t look like it, though it definitely felt like he did. Gulping down a lump in his throat, Philip closed his eyes and shook his head in quiet denial. No, he must have gone crazy. This couldn’t be real. Believing this, Philip turned around and started to walk back to where he left his things laying on the ground.

“Hey, sir! I didn’t catch- What are you- Oi! Wait!”

A person could run away, right? Even more so, when the thing they were trying to avoid was a product of their imagination. He would only do the same thing he did with the whole society after all. And Philip tried. He truly tried. But wherever he went, whichever path through bushes he chose, the kid followed him rather loudly.

“Sir, is this what you do every day? Wow, so awesome! Like a true renunciant indeed- away from everyone and everything.”

“Renunciant,” Philip heard himself repeat the word with a scoff as he skipped over the stream that went through the whole area he took care of.

The kid followed closely behind with a huge grin. “Yes, renunciant. I used to dream of something similar back in my younger days, but then this guy came and bottled me up in that glass… Oh my, are those the real stars? They look completely different from when you see them through glass! They are so close! Is this where you live, sir?”

Philip headed towards the small cabin that stood down the stream. Once standing safely on its threshold, he turned around and frowned at his giddy follower who didn’t evaporate into air the way he thought he would. That could have possibly mean one thing only and Philip wasn’t sure if he was prepared to wrap his mind around it yet.

He cleared his throat and lowered his eyes on the sandals the kid was wearing. “So,” Philip winced at his own voice. “Who are you again?”

The kid didn’t lose its wide smile as it repeated the words from before. This time though Philip paid attention to each word it- Genie said.

“But be careful,” Genie played with the hem of his polo shirt. “You have time only ‘till the sun starts to rise. Then I’m gone.”

Philip thought about it. There were a few things he would have loved to change actually, starting with his past as a thief and following with ten years spent in prison. The way he couldn’t find a job afterwards and had to do all kinds of mundane and humiliating tasks until he got finally lucky and landed here. In the middle of nowhere yet with everything he could have ever wanted. Once he might have asked for a change but it wasn’t what his heart ached for anymore. It wasn’t about him at all.

“Help me change the world,” he blurted out. “Make them all see and understand, please!”

Genie’s fire-like hair awakened when Philip voiced out his wish, but the kid had been pouting by the time it settled against its forehead.

“I’m sorry, sir.” Genie scratched the back of his head sheepishly. “That’s a big wish you’ve got there. I can’t do it.”

All the excitement Philip was feeling was gone within seconds but he wasn’t angry. It made sense. No magic could change the world he grew up in, only real people were capable of such things if they tried hard enough. It was a magic on a whole new level.

He sighed and waved his hand. “That’s alright.”

“I can help with your hip though!” Genie’s eyes sparkled again. “I noticed you limping on that leg. I know what to do!”

Philip didn’t know what to say, so he simply nodded and watched silently as the kid snapped its fingers with a quiet murmur under its nose. The itchy tension he’d been feeling in his leg for the past decade was instantly gone. Philip blinked and looked at Genie in front of him as if seeing him again for the first time.

“Would…Would you like a cup of tea?”

Genie smiled kindly at him and all of the sudden looked much older than before. “I would love to.”

“Please, be my guest.”

And so, Philip invited Genie into his humble home and they talked. Talked and talked until the sun started to rise and Genie thanked him like a true guest would and silently disappeared through the front door.

The days at Philip’s work didn’t get easier after that. People didn’t drastically change as he had once hoped they would, but he didn’t give up on the hope for the magic on the whole new level. He spoke to those who were willing to listen and silently planted the seeds of change in them the same way he’d been once plating the trees, certain that his actions would make them see and understand.