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A Chuck Wendig Challenge
murgatroid_98

This week's challenge was to use 5 of ten words. Here's the link: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/03/28/flash-fiction-challenge-five-random-words-2/

The words are:



Whalebone

Foxglove

Djinn

Orphan

Lollipop

Casket

Hermit

Hound

Acid

Topaz

I used six of them. Here is:

Djinn and Tonic

Lorelei approached the end of her run with an easy jog. Dappled shade tempered the late afternoon heat. Orph trotted along beside her, his tongue lolling in a doggy smile. Sparks flashed in his eyes when the sunlight hit them. The irises were more yellow than the amber-brown seen in so many dogs.


Mama had called him the orphan instead of giving him a proper name. A very young Lorelei called him Orphie until she grew up. Now he was Orph. He answered to all of them.

The path led them from forest into a cleared area where Mama’s herbs and vegetables grew in neat garden beds. Next to the beds was a fenced area with more herb beds. A wrought iron gate bore a skull-and-crossbones symbol.

Foxglove, belladonna, poppy, and others occupied their own spaces in the enclosure. The potency of these herbs, enhanced by magic, came in handy when someone needed healing or killing—or taught a lesson.

Lorelei slowed to a walk as the backyard came into view, breathing deeply and swinging her arms in circles to loosen her shoulder muscles. A light breeze cooled her sweating body with gentle strokes.

Orph stopped at the edge of the yard, the hair on his back rising. She stopped beside the dog and placed a hand on his neck. His silent growl vibrated up her arm.

“Orph? What is it?” She kept her voice steady, but a knot formed in her stomach. Orph never growled without good reason.

The dog’s gaze focused on a spot a few feet in front of them. Dim at first, a shimmering spot grew until it reached the height of a man. It hung in the air, unmoving. Lorelei backed up a step. She had left her talismans in the house. Her cell phone was in her pocket, Orph was her only defense.

“Okay, show yourself.” Please don’t be a monster. Orph bared his teeth, his growl now audible.

The shimmer formed into a tall male figure. Golden-tan skin, black hair pulled back into a braid that reached to his butt, white teeth in a smile that made her girly-bits tingle. The leer on his face was odd.

“You might call your hell hound off, love, so I can completely transform,” in a deep, mellow voice laced with laughter.

“Salaman. I should have known.” Her stomach relaxed a little. She was in no danger from him, probably. “Orph won’t bother you if you behave.”

He placed a hand on his chest and bowed. “You wound me, sweet thing. I always behave.” He wiggled his dark eyebrows at her. “Have you lured any unsuspecting men to their deaths, Lorelei?”

Lorelei rolled her eyes. “What do you want, Sal? Surely the owner of the local Djinn joint has better things to do than harass women.”

Salaman was leader of the area Djinn conclave as well as owner of the only tavern that exclusively served the supernatural community. It must be serious if he came instead of sending a minion.

“I am here to consult with your mother but, alas, her wards do not allow me near the door.”

“Those wards are meant to repel those with evil intent. You must be up to something.”

“I assure you, my dear, I have no intention of doing evil.” His gazed roamed over her body. “As for what I want.” His voice deepened and roughened. “I want to lick you all over like a lollipop while you beg me to take you in every way possible.” He stepped toward her.

Orph growled louder and his body grew larger under her hand. She cast a quick glance at him. His eyes had gone from topaz, to orange, to ruby red. His size had doubled.

“You might want to back off, Sal, if you want to keep all your body parts.” Salaman’s behavior had never been so forward. It gave her the creeps.

“It is past time I show my desire for you, Lorelei.” He licked his lips, but eyed the hound. “We could be so good together.”

“I don’t think so, Sal. You and I are too different. Different philosophies, different goals. Different species.”

“Perhaps you are right, love, but we could have a lot of fun learning those differences.”

Lorelei was hot and the enjoyment of her run was rapidly wearing off. She sighed. “I know you didn’t come here to flirt with me, Sal. I’ll see if my mother is home.”

“I appreciate that, Lori, though I would do much more than flirt with you if you allowed me.” Eww, not gonna happen.

Lorelei pulled her phone from her pocket. “Chill, Orph, I don’t think he’s going to do anything nasty.” She gave Sal a you’d-better-not look as she pressed the numbers and waited. Her mother answered immediately.

“Is that creature still out there?”

“Yes, Mama. If you knew he was here, why did you have the wards keep him out?”

“It was an accident; they sort of got away from me. See if you can escort him in. Hold his hand or something.”

Mama’s wards never got away from her. Something weird was going on. Sal’s eyebrows shot up when Lorelei reached for his hand. It was cold.

“I’m so glad you are warming up to me, love.” This guy was about to get on her last nerve.

“Get over yourself and come on; Mama wants to talk to you.” She grabbed his hand and tugged him toward the house. “Come on, Orph.”

Salaman sent a wary glance at the hound. Orph snarled, but made no move to attack.

The back door opened and a petite, middle-aged woman beckoned frantically. “Hurry-up before the world-as-we-know-it ends.”

Lorelei’s stomach clenched. As they entered the house, Sal’s hand was yanked from hers. She turned in time to see him vanish in a column of smoke and fire. The two women looked at each other.

“Oops,” they said in unison. Orph snorted, a satisfied look on his face.

“The Djinn won’t appreciate us killing their leader, Mama.”

“That wasn’t Salaman, and we didn’t kill him.” She stood silent for a moment, looking at the spot where the faux-genie had been. “That wasn’t even a genie. Come one, we need to make plans before that thing finds his way back.”


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