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Sara sat quietly in the immense sand valley, an expression of pure shock frozen on her face, for several feet before her stood a stunning young man dressed in white silken robes and a tightly wrapped blue turban. The young man was clean shaven and seemed to glow royally. He stepped toward her.
“An illusion?” her voice was dry from lack of moisture, and her lips cracked as she spoke.
More a statement than a question, Sara had not expected a mirage so early on, and yet finely dressed boys do not simply appear out of thin air. He took another step closer.
“Hello Sara” his voice was calm and honest “lost in the desert are we?” his manor and kind face veiled the taunt with false sincerity. He moved forward, still several feet away.
“How did I get here?” She tried to stand, but famished and fatigued, the action called for more resolve than she could pull together.
“I brought you here.” He took a few more steps toward her and extended a slender sun bronzed hand.
“Brought me here why?” there was a kind of unsettling look in his eyes, but too tired to be stubborn, Sara halfheartedly accepted his cold steel grip.
“Do not be afraid, Sara.” His grip tightened and waves of cold pain shot through her body, pumping like adrenaline through her blood.
“Oww!” This is real! The pain is real, his hand is real! This isn’t a mirage this isn’t a dream. Her head spun at the sudden reality of it all.
Now standing, Sara slowly backed away in both awe and fear. “What… what are you?” he returned her stare silently, a sinister curl of the lip just barely camouflaged by his charm.
“Do not fear me, I will not harm you, this is a promise.”
“He must be some kind of angel or demon, some god or devil.” She pondered quietly, not pleased with his response.
“I am the prince of the desert, soon I shall be king, and you will by my queen.”
Sara’s head reeled, “I can’t be queen of the desert, and I should be going home in two days, need to feed the cat, is it still even Wednesday?” She shook her head, there was no way she could say yes to this freak, confident and straightforward guys are sexy, but this is ridiculous! “Sorry buddy, you’re cute and all, but I have to get home, thanks for the jumpstart, but I should really get going.”
No longer charming, like a freak change in the weather his demeanor became sinister and taunting.
“Do you even know where you are? No one is looking for you Sara; you are lost in the endless sands, good as dead.” The prince smiled “If you come with me you will die in a matter of days.”
The Prince stepped forward and looked down cruelly at the increasingly distressed Sara. Despite worthy effort hot tears fell from her face, her resolve began to shatter and fear took its place.
“I can’t… give up…” she cried out.
The Prince touched her chin gently, lifting her head up so that her gaze met his. “Live with me-” he stepped back and held his arms wide “All of this, every person, every oasis, every living thing on these sands for unending miles would be yours.” He smiled “It would be ours.”
The titan sand dunes watched in stoic silence “Be my Queen Sara Elisabeth Gordon, live with me in the desert till time itself comes to an end.”
She stepped away, closing her eyes and dreaming of home; birds chirping and yellow spring daisies, she could see it but it was so distant, a lifetime away, another world entirely. The plain blue house, white picket fence and freshly mowed lawn of her childhood was less than a memory, less than a dream. The Prince and his offer, the blaring orange day-star and endless hot sand, this was real, everything else was an illusion, a mirage. She tried to believe otherwise but such was futile, the dry desert air and the burning sand beneath her feet kept her from drifting far.
“Die or live” the Prince was becoming impatient “I have given you an offer many beautiful women would kill for, yet you are more than beauty.”
She opened her eyes, more than beauty? The comment distracted her for a moment before she steeled her resolve once more. Something was wrong, she was missing something. Her senses heightened as she closed her eyes and focused, she finally recognized the smell. Tears ceased and a strange thing occurred: she smiled. The prince was taken aback, her smile grew and she began to laugh, surely she had lost it, too much time in the desert sun had driven her mad.
“Either I am crazy, blessed or just damn lucky, but I will leave my fate to the desert not some boy who fancies himself god.”
At this the prince suddenly began to grow much larger; his face became dark and aged, suddenly tall and inhuman, so that the very rays of the sun avoided his presence. As the anger of the deity brooded like a storm cloud, so did his appearance grow and change. Thunder boomed in the distance, and Sara stood proud and fearless in the shadow of the colossus.
“Do not TOY with me princess, my anger is not something to be trifled with!” his voice rolled like cannons and echoed with ferocity through dusty air. They both stood still, like a standoff, him holding boundless power, and her with only a hunch. His word, his promise not to harm her was his word and his bind, she did not know why she could be so sure of it, but every fiber in her body told her that this prince was a Djinn, a Genie, she knew it as soon as she saw his true form, but now wasn’t a time to ask for wishes she was given the advantage, and she didn’t wish to test fate.
The Djinn glared at her speechless, intimidation could only go so far, and he wouldn’t dare risk harming the girl.
Sara ran to what she believed was the north, following her nose and the smell of smoke, despite the wind blowing in the opposite direction, and despite hundred feet tall sand dunes, and despite the village being nearly a mile away, the blood of a certain ancestor gave her the sharpest senses humanity had to offer.
The bluff was called, the sky was clear and the Djinn was gone, she thanked her grandfather’s fairy tales and as she ran walked and dragged herself to the small cattle town she wondered; she wondered why the Djinn had called her princess, was it just getting ahead of itself? She wasn’t a princess yet was she? No, and she never would be, she would go home feed the cat and forget any of this happened, there was no such thing as genies, no such thing as Djinn, she just had heatstroke or something. She would go home, get therapy and move on with her life like everyone else. Yeah right.