The beeping from the Hotler monitor beside my hospital bed was slowly driving me insane. As if I needed another reminder that I was dying. I reached up and scratched an itch on my head. One that used to be filled with long luscious locks of black hair. Another thing that had been taken away from me. All the chemo had been unsuccessful. I was stage four and the outlook had never been that good. It was always a long shot.
A hand caressed my arm, as I heard my name being called. I slowly turned toward my mother and father. Their loving faces and warm smiles gave me the strength I needed to stay somewhat grounded in this world. To fight for as long as I could, but I was so tired. So ready for it all to be over. I smiled back, but I’m sure it only came out as a grimace.
“You both need to eat,” I told them. “You haven’t eaten in a while.”
“It can wait, baby,” my mother said back.
Her voice was like a sweet melody. The Sundays we would spend in church came back to me. Her soulful voice belting out sounds that no human should possibly be able to make. A gift I myself received from her but never really used.
“No,” I said back. “I will be fine for a couple of hours. I promise.”
My mom didn’t budge. She was stubborn like that, so I looked at my dad. He nodded at me, gently grabbed my mom’s hand, and led her out the room.
My dad and I had an unspoken language. It was like a telepathic link without words. It seemed like we always knew what the other was saying, just by looking at each other. We were close like that. He knew I just needed some time to be alone. Some time to myself.
I closed my eyes as the door shut and thought about all the good things in life that I had experienced. Tea parties with my dad when I was a little girl, playing dress-up with my mom. I smiled as I remembered the first boy I kissed and the first time I snuck out the house. Graduation from high school and college. I cataloged all of my friends’ faces I’ve met throughout my life. Every single one of them.
The door squeaked open, pulling me from my thoughts. I kept my eyes closed, feigning sleep in case it was my mom refusing to leave my side. Someone stood at the end of my bed. The presence felt larger than my mom, larger than my dad too.
“I know you are awake, Amanda.”
That voice caused memories to flood my mind. The night I went on a run in the park. The lamp. The genie. The chance I had to reverse the stages from four to none. My eyes shot open and Liandrin, third of his name, from the ruins of Palestine, stared back at me. His silver eyes twinkling in the fluorescent lights.
“Liandrin?” I gasped weakly as my eyes shot open.
“The one and only.”
“What are you doing here?”
“I have come to see how you are doing, of course. You look utterly dreadful!”
His joke brought a smile to my face.
“Cancer will do that to you.”
He came and sat by my bed, the place my parents had frequented so many nights. He placed my hand in his and took my appearance in.
“You should have wished for your health, dear.”
“Maybe, but setting you free seemed so much more important.”
“But—“ he began, but I cut him off.
“Tell me about your year. What have you done? What have you seen?”
Another twinkle gleamed in his eyes and a mischievous smile formed upon his lips.
“I’ve been everywhere! But first, let’s start off with when I left you. I was summoned to Eternity and was given my freedom, just as you wished.”
“Is that where genie’s come from?” I asked, my interest piqued.
“No and yes. We are all born of this world. But, Eternity is the center of magic. All magical creatures can dwell there.”
“There are more?”
“Where do you think the tales come from, dear? Did you think humans were really bright enough to create us from nothing but their imagination?”
I giggled as he continued.
“Anyway, after my freedom was granted, I visited Palestine, the place I first drew breath. Then I traveled the world. England was wet but wonderful. Africa held some of the most beautiful palaces I’d ever seen. Las Vegas… Let’s just say I understand why they say, what happens there, stays there.
Liandrin let out a thunderous laugh and I joined in the best I could.
“It seems like you have had a wonderful time,” I said.
“The best, and I owe it all to you.”
“You don’t owe me anything, Liandrin.”
“Oh, but I do. The lamp, do you still have that wretched thing?”
I nodded, “It’s in my bag, in the corner over there.”
Liandrin stood and walked to the corner of the room I was pointing at, went in my bag, and retrieved his previous home. The thing that shackled him in slavery. When he sat back beside me, his mood had become somber.
“This lamp was my prison and you set me free, Amanda. Now, you are in a prison of your own. A prison that is killing you.”
“I’ve made my peace,” I confessed as he handed me the lamp.
“I have not. You sacrificed yourself for me. I thought there was no magical way to heal you besides finding another genie. I searched endlessly for a solution on my travels and had come up with only one thing.”
Hope, it was something I didn’t need. Not if it would be pulled out from under me. Hope was not a friend of mine.
“Liandrin, I told you I’ve made my peace.”
“Just listen. Humans, always thinking they know best. I cannot fully enjoy my time free, knowing you lost your life over it. Now, when we genies are freed, we retain a portion of our magical abilities, but, it is not so powerful, and not so deep as it once was. I’ve thought about this the whole year I was traveling. I want to save you. It will sap me dry, but it can be done.”
“What will happen to you?” I asked, my interest getting the best of me.
Well, I’ll be mortal of course. I’d still live a few hundred years, but my magic will be gone.”
“I can’t ask that of you!” I said loudly, starting a coughing fit.
“Oh, but I’ve made my peace with it,” Liandrin said with a grin. “I’ll live in comfort, I have accumulated enough riches in this year, magically of course, to last plenty of lifetimes. So, let’s get to it!”
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“More sure than anything I’ve ever been sure about. Hold the lamp and close your eyes dear.”
I held the lamp close to me and shut my eyes tight. I heard Liandrin began an unintelligible chant. A language seemingly not of this world. My body grew warm and I felt a little stronger, a little better. I could tell the lights flickered behind my eye-lids, and the hum of the machines I was hooked up to became a tad louder. Liandrin let go of my hand.
“That should do it!” He exclaimed.
I did feel better, but I still didn’t feel like myself.
“I don’t think it worked,” I whispered to him, my heart sinking.
“Amanda dear, it worked, you will recover in around a week. The magic will slowly work through you. I couldn’t instantly heal you. That would look too weird. Trust me, you will be fine. Better than fine, in fact.”
I looked in his silver eyes, then noticed his tattoos had dulled a bit. He saw me taking in his appearance.
“Don’t worry, just a side effect. Anyways, I must continue my travels. If you don’t mind, I’d love to drop by every now and then. Maybe take you on a few adventures.”
“Of course, anytime,” was all I could manage.
I was choked up, my emotions a raging sea of hope over a future I had thought I lost.
Liandrin smiled at me as he stood, he leaned over, kissed my forehead, and walked to the door. As he opened it, my parents walked in. He dipped his head to them and strolled out of my room.
My parents looked at me confused, my father speaking first.
“Who was that? Was that…”
I nodded, tears streaming from my face, “I’m gonna be okay.”
They rushed over to me, hugging me.
“I’m gonna be okay,” I whispered.
Click here for part one and let me know what you think in the comments section!