Sitting in the library with several texts open in front of him Amir sat back and rubbed his eyes. He felt foolish for contemplating the possibility of what she might be but he simply couldn’t get it out of his mind. As logical as he was he couldn’t ignore strong hunches.
He read some more, and the shimmer he had noticed, or at least thought he had seen on their last encounter was mentioned more than once. If he proceeded from here on the idea that she was, in fact, a djinni, where did that leave him? Could he possibly believe in beings only mentioned within the context of Islamic teachings and still continue to deny faith?
That aside, if she was from another realm what was she doing in the human world? The texts were all over the place on the nature of the djinn. Some insisted they were evil. Others insisted they could be either evil or helpful. They all concurred that they were creatures of free will, indeed, that was what had lead to the downfall of the first djinn, exercising his freewill in refusing to bow down before the first man, Adam.
He tossed aside the book he was perusing and grimaced. What was he to think? Wasn’t she, after all, simply a beautiful woman flouting tradition and social mores? Wasn’t that the reason he found her captivating? It made perfect sense. Still, there was the matter of his gut feeling that there was more to the picture than met the eye. But how to know for sure? Perhaps he could simply work it into the conversation. So, by the way, what’s it like in the djinn realm? No, perhaps not.
It was getting late and he needed to do some shopping. He decided to walk back to his district. The heat of the day had abated and a pleasant breeze wafted through the streets, carrying the smell of spices, perfume and roasting meats. He stopped at a newsstand and bought the evening paper, carrying it rolled up under his arm as he strolled casually along the dusty street.
He thought some more about the many claims he had read about the nature of the djinn. Some said they only inhabited the desert and other lonely places such as graveyards and abandoned buildings. Others said they could travel great distances in the blink of an eye. All seemed to agree that they could enter the human realm at will, and were only visible to humans if they chose to be. One claim kept pushing itself to the forefront of his mind over and over. A djinni could whisper into the souls of men and cause them to do their bidding.
He laughed it off, causing a couple of people passing him to turn their heads, and he hurried along in embarrassment. As he crossed the street to a shop he liked he noticed a large black dog behind him. He thought no more of it and went in the shop to pick up a few items for his larder. When he came back out he saw that the dog was sitting on the sidewalk not far away, looking in his direction. He continued down the street, telling himself not to be foolish, and turned the corner and continued on his way. Three blocks later his curiosity got the better of him and he glanced over his shoulder.
The dog wasn’t there. Of course not, he told himself. He felt foolish for the second time that day and let himself into his apartment.