by Mason Bushell
chilli hot chocolate, fiery and sassy like the Jinn is
Talia once again sat on her bed wearing her new nightdress. The Jinn had torched her old one when she summoned him last night. His advice hadn’t worked either, the bullies were worse today. She picked up the talisman and looked at the horned creature of fire upon it. She hoped he’d keep his word. With a hopeful sigh, she said the incantation. In moments, her room grew orange and muggy warm around her.
“Yes." Boomed the Jinn's voice from atop the wardrobe, "You, summoned me. What do you want?” he said picking at his nails as he leaned against a stray nail. Talia gasped at the five-inch tall man. His muscle appeared carved from granite and dripping in flames.
“Jinn, what are doing? Get down before you incinerate my wardrobe! My mother nearly killed me for the pig you destroyed yesterday.”
“Oh, it's you again.” The Jinn blinked out of existence, reappearing on Talia’s saucer of biscuits. “Sorry about the pig. I trust my wisdom failed.”
“Big time.” Talia indicated her black eye with sadness consuming her. “They said they weren’t jealous, and started pummelling me again.”
“I see.” The Jinn smoothed a hand through his flaming hair. The chocolate melting off the biscuit beside him. “Did you fight back?”
“No.” Talia shook her head.
“Why, you heard the phrase slap-happy, right?”
“So, it’s for this situation. You slap the bullies, you feel happy.” The Jinn took a bow.
“No, I slap bullies, I get expelled, and killed by my mother.”
“Expelled, Huh, I’ve been expelled from dimensions, more times than I can count, for standing up for myself. I always marched right back through the portal and won the next round.”
“You’ll be surprised what burned sausages, and balls of fire can achieve.” The Jinn raised his smouldering eyebrows and smirked. “So, will you give those bullies a flame grilling tomorrow?”
“No, they’ll just beat me even more.” Talia flopped back on the bed, a defeated figure. The Jinn kicked free of the pool of chocolate he was standing in and flew into the air above her.
“Not if I bring the flames, they won’t,” he said, leaving her smiling.
The following lunchtime, Talia walked from the school building on to the playing field. She looked pretty in her uniform of emerald green skirt and blazer over a white blouse, and tie. The only part she liked was her plaited pigtails, as her mother had specially put them in for her this morning. She sat upon a bench near a telephone mast, with her cheese rolls. She wanted to watch the footballers on the field, while she ate. Trouble soon came her way, it always did.
“Ah, there’s Ta-Ta, Charlie” jeered an overweight girl.
“Yeah, shall we rip her pigtails off, Paulette?” asked her friend with folded arms. Talia ignored them and made to bite into her roll. Charlie snatched it away and stomped it into the grass. Paulette picked up the other with a fat hand and took a big bite.
“Oh, you’ll pay for that,” Talia said with a fire in her eyes. Paulette snatched her right pigtail and forced her to stand.
“Go on then, make me pay,” she said through her mouthful.
“You asked for it.” Talia squeezed the talisman, saying the incantation in her mind. Only she felt the temperature rising, just a little.
“Well go on then, do something.” Charlie put her hand in Talia’s bag and shrieked. Withdrawing it, she revealed all the hairs were singed, her false nails had melted, and her signet ring was smoking.
“Naughty girl, that’s not your bag.” said a voice.
“Nice trick.” Charlie threw Talia to the ground. “Make her pay, Paulette.”
“My pleasure.” the big girl stood astride the fallen student and made to grab her by the blazer. Talia looked at her with a fearless stare and folded her arms.
“My pleasure too.” The voice came from the muggy ether. The weighty bully looked about her in confusion. “You’re rather sparky for a bully, Paulette. Shame it’s causing an inferno, in your rucksack.”
“Paulette, your bag's smoking,” Charlie cried. Paulette threw it off and watched flames engulf it in a small blaze.
“No. My homework, Miss Childers will, kill me,” she cried. Talia stood and grinned.
“Shame your homework wasn’t on combustion,” she said.
“It’s all coals on a bonfire now,” the voice broke into laughter. Charlie was scared, she backed away and sat on the bench, shaking with fear. Paulette, on the other hand, was seething.
“You did this.”
“How? I was lying on the grass remember?”
“You did it.”
“Liar.” Talia grinned.
“You burned her hand.” Paulette grabbed her pigtails.
“You burned my homework.”
“Pants on fire.” Talia broke free and watched the bully’s eyes grow wide. Her backside was getting very warm, very quickly. She screamed and began running across the field with her hand clutched beneath her smoking skirt. Everybody watched, and stood laughing at her, as she ran across the football pitch. Flames burst forth from her crotch, and she jumped into the pond, creating a lot of steam.
“Talia, what's going on? How did you do that?” Charlie asked.
“Never you mind. Just promise to leave me alone, and it won’t happen again.”
“Deal. I’m sorry for bullying you.” Charlie put out a hand and Talia shook it. The bully looked frightened as she walked toward Paulette in the pond. It was then Talia looked to the aluminum phone mast and smiled. The Jinn sat on the top, pretending to file his nails.
“Thank you,” she said.
“I haven’t had this much fun since the seventies.”
“Really, what happened in the seventies?”
“Oh yeah, I loved Disco Inferno.” The Jinn began dancing on the pole.
Talia chuckled at him. “Well, I’m glad you had fun, I appreciate your help.”
“My pleasure, Talia. I told you I’d set their pants on fire. didn’t I?”
“You did. That was hilarious.” Talia laughed again. “Oh Jinn, I command you to be free of the fire, and to be the wielder of all the powers you need to help good people.”
“Yahoo!” the Jinn performed a somersault and snapped his fingers putting his flames out. “Thank you for freeing me, dear lady, I’m forever indebted to you. It’s time for me to party.” The Jinn clicked his fingers and vanished into the air, leaving disembodied laughter in his wake.
A large ham and cheese baguette appeared in Talia’s hands and she sat to eat. She wouldn’t need the Jinn anymore. The bullies wouldn’t dare touch her again. At least if they wanted to keep their pants from combusting, anyway!
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