|The Transformation Story Archive||Mythical Beings|
Eric gaped at the apparition floating before him. Stories usually skipped over the initial disbelief and terror of having some gigantic, all-powerful genie appear in front of the subject. In this case, he was still trying to gather his wits to speak several minutes after the djinn had emerged from the battered old lamp he'd bought on a whim from an antique shop.
"uh...." He swallowed, trying to clear a very dry, tight throat.
"So, my new Master can speak! How convenient. I thought perhaps you were mute." The Genie's voice dripped with sarcasm. "So, are you going to continue standing there like some mindless fool? Or do you actually have a wish to make?"
Flushing a bit, Eric frowned and crossed his arms. "Look, there's no need to be rude! This isn't an everyday thing, you know." Then, remembering who and what he was talking to, he eased back on his anger a bit. "Sorry. It's just that you are so, so..."
"Spectacular?" The Genie primped a bit as he finished the human's sentence.
Eric rolled his eyes. "Well, not exactly." Quickly correcting that at the start of a smoky scowl, he forced a smile. "Not that you aren't! I mean, you are! Really spectacular. What I was going to say was, impossible. I mean, Genie's can't really exist. Can they?"
Raising an eyebrow, the Genie regarded him for a moment. "That depends, my rather confused Master. Do you think I might be a hallucination caused by eating bad anchovies? Or perhaps the tin can you are about to have for dinner?"
"Baaaaaaa." Eric jerked his head up, spitting out the beer can he had automatically picked up in his mouth and started chewing. The Genie had certainly gotten his goat that time. A moment later, he was human again, though the taste of aluminum was still strong in his mouth. "Bleh! Please don't do that! I believe in you, I believe in you!"
"Oh goody." This time it was the Genie who rolled his eyes. "Now clap your hands, children, so that I won't die. Whaddaya think I am, some stupid little fairy?"
Now a five year-old, Eric gritted his teeth, trying to stay calm. "I'm sorry! Please, no more kidding around? Uh, look. I guess being locked up in a little lamp like that is rough, but can't you give me a break? I mean, if..OW!" He grabbed at his arm. "Not like that! Damn! I didn't mean to bother you! I was just trying to clean up what I thought was an interesting old piece of brass!" The pain vanished, and Eric flexed his child's arm carefully. "Umm. Thanks. How about making me a grownup again?"
The Genie shook his head. "We haven't even gotten to introductions yet. At this rate, you'd be dead of old age before you made your first wish."
"Oh, sorry." He extended his small hand awkwardly. "I'm Eric. And you are...?"
"Tired of dealing with you mortals and your tiresome wishes. Money, power, youth, fame, women." The Genie scowled at him, but finally extended a tiny wisp of smoke which touched Eric's palm. "Rhajid. So, let's get this over with, OK? There's a party over at Shaherazad's next year, and I don't want to be late."
"A party? I thought..."
The Genie snorted. "What? You believe all that crap about 'ultimate cosmic power and itty-bitty living space?' Ha! The Djinn live in another plane of existence. I'm tied to this accursed lamp, but it's more like a doorbell I have to answer, not where I live. And you rang it at supper time."
Eric flushed, feeling embarrassed and a little annoyed at the same time. "I already told you I didn't know about the lamp. Look, just go back inside. Forget about the wishes. Probably too dangerous, anyway."
"Putrid Worm!" Rhajid swelled even larger, the air turning into rolling black clouds around him. "Now that I have been summoned, I cannot leave until you make at least one wish. Bwa-ha-ha! Choose your fate! Wealth? Power? Eternal youth?"
Thinking carefully, Eric took a deep breath. "I don't really care about money, and I don't want power. As for the youth bit, well, I sure don't want to spend the rest of my life sucking my thumb." He sighed. "I'd like to stay young and healthy, live as long as possible, be basically happy, and maybe have a little magic of my own. You're the expert. Could you do that if I gave up all three wishes??" Eric was trying to stay calm, but the combination of fear and overwhelming curiosity was almost too much to bear.
It was the Genie's turn to stare silently for a bit. "What!? No exceptions, no rules, no endless conditions to keep me from doing evil things?"
Shrugging, the little boy looked down at himself. "Anybody who can do this can get around any limitations or conditions I could possibly think of. So I might as well trust you."
"Trust?" The Genie's eyes got larger, and his mouth fell open in obvious shock. Then he started to chuckle. The chuckle grew to thunderous laughter which lasted for quite a while. When the impressive guffaws had finally faded, he wiped a tear from his eye and grinned down at Eric. "In a hundred centuries, no one has ever dared! Open your mind to me, Eric, and meet thy fate!"
There was a flash of light, and Eric suddenly found himself in a huge, rolling field. There were white horses all around him. No, not horses, not quite. More delicate than the equines he had seen, with a golden spiral horn pushing up through each silky fetlock. Unicorns!
One of the females brushed by him, her tail up in invitation. It was quickly obvious that he was also a unicorn, and a very male one at that. New instincts and thoughts showed him the proper response, yet he retained memory of his human life. As he began to discover the joys of his new form, Eric managed a quick thought of gratitude to his benefactor. And then nothing mattered but the mare.
The Djinn watched from the astral plane, feeling a bit unsettled. He'd started to transform the fool into one of the mindless cherubs who flitted about some of the magical plains, but changed the spell to grant Eric his actual heart's desire. A trusting mortal. Rhajid shook his head as he headed for the party. Even Shaherazad wouldn't believe this story!
Trust copyright 1997 by Bob Stein.
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