I had not heard them approach from the night’s darkness. It was only after they spoke that I heard the sounds of their movements. As I turned to face them, I reached into my satchel out of instinct to grab something, anything, that I might be able to use to defend myself from the type of spirit that was now just two bodies’ length away from me.
As if I could defend myself from a djinn.
They were crouched at the limit of the campfire’s light, carefully squatting on the boundary between claimed and unclaimed territory. They were smirking at my reaction and drinking in the alarmed expression on my face. They weren’t so much dressed as they were covered in a thin layer of shifting smoke that clung to their skin in an attempt of modesty. Their skin glowed warmly. Their eyes were inexhaustible coals.
They were as beautiful as they were dangerous. I was reminded why most djinn I have seen are veiled. Their face was intoxicating to behold.
“I am not here to hurt you.” They spoke smooth and even, but they did not open their hands in a gesture of peace. Instead they kept them balanced off their thighs in their toe-tip stance. They turned their attention to my hand still in the satchel. “Go ahead. If you have taken up what I believe you have, then you will know the reason for my visit.”
I strained to recognize them. I have the echo of a memory, but the djinn in that memory is not the djinn crouching like a patient predator in front of me now. They lift a smouldering hand and point to my satchel. I note they are very careful not to move closer to the campfire in the process.
Even before I move my hand, I recognize by touch what I am holding. A recent acquisition in the physical realm, I have been wondering why I felt so compelled to obtain it when the context in which it was revealed to me is tangential to me at best. As I pulled the collection of beads out of the satchel, the campfire suddenly increased behind me in heat, light, and height. The beads warmed and glowed in response, adding to the light.
The djinn lowered themselves to one knee and crouched further. I realized they were trying to stay in my shadow. They placed one hand on the ground, raised their other hand in a sign of yielding, and spoke a seriously toned statement in a language I could not identify.
The campfire receded slightly. Just enough that my shadow increased and the djinn was able to sit upright again in the space my shadow created, though they kept one knee on the ground.
“Do you understand, Weaver?” They cocked their head to the side when I did not respond. “Or have you forgotten, again? No shame to you if you had, you know. It will not be held against you. There is so much happening to you all at once now, so it would be expected that you would focus your attention and memory on what you perceive as the immediate threat. It is a weakness of being incarnate, after all. Flesh is so demanding.”
I finally speak. “If it would not be held against me to have forgotten, then please remind me in a way that will cause no further harm.”
They cocked their head to the other side. “Heh. Such restrictions! I see you have learned other lessons well. Very well, as I said, I am not here to hurt you, and so, I will not.” They lifted their left arm and turned it so the forearm faced me. With a charcoal talon, they pulled aside the smoke “sleeve” covering the gently glowing skin. They “wrote” on their skin in a language full of flourishes and diacritics.
The trail of their signature appeared on the inside of my left forearm. Red, orange, and yellow colors swirled to the surface of my skin as a forgotten mark was restored to my knowing. I was reminded of when and how the mark was placed, but why I consented to it continues to elude me. I gripped the beads tighter in my right hand as I forced my fright to yield.
“I know you cannot read that. It is my name. In time, that and its meaning will be revealed to you, as well as the reason for our union. I know you will be afraid and that you will have fear. But remember what is in your other hand, and who I yielded to.”
They lifted their knee so that they were squatting on the ground again. “I have waited patiently thus far. I can wait patiently more.”
Before I could form a thought they converted their body into a shaft of smokeless flame and launched themselves into the night sky. The mark on my left arm cooled and faded. I sat fully on the ground, only now realizing that I had been half-crouched myself in preparation for any physical action.
I held the collection of yellow stone beads to my face and noted that it was good that I have become more comfortable with angels in my life. There are conversations that are going to have to happen and crash courses that I am going to have to take.
I am not adult and/or knowledgeable enough for this shit. They should have picked an academic.