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Salvation on the Tongues of Djinn

Been a while since I wrote any story under 4,000 words. It's something of a homage to Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper, which I read in my late teens. I forget how I came upon it exactly, but that smell that is the colour of paper was in one of the school libraries I frequented. I have a strong suspicion it was in the second-last high school I went to, where I discovered M.R. James in a large stack of Penguin paperbacks. The story resonated with me because as a kid who was alone and awake at night a lot, I kind of wanted to be pulled back into the walls. As it was, the story pre-empted many events in my life, and a lot of the feelings of helplessness I would eventually face when I dealt with the worser of depression throughout my early 20s.

While researching this story, I learned interesting this about the etymology of the Djinn. Islam sees them as the only other creatures apart from humans to have free will. They exist concurrently with us on their own plane, occasionally stepping into human lives to lead them astray. The ghul (precursor of "ghoul) tricked people by turning into a variety of shapes, led them away from society and killed and ate their corpses. We know they are made of smokeless fire, and can be anything they so choose. They travel in the blink of an eye. Iblis, the djinn who is synonymous with Satan, whispers evil in people's ears because he would not bow down to Adam, made of clay. The Djinn may actually be the Bedouin, who only rarely leave the desert and have little worldy knowledge. The word "djinn" itself comes from the Arabic root word implying hidden, like places or people hidden in the dark. My goal with the story is to achieve all these meanings, and for that, it was worth the effort.

Title: Salvation on the Tongues of Djinn
Word count: 3,502 words
Finished: 03/23/2011
Time Since Inception: 3 days


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