March 24th, 2021

Venus

Idol Survivor: "The Lamp"

The Lamp
idol survivor | daily-fic challenge, day five | 5x100 words

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I.
Ahmed wished for a virgin bride, a beauty with skin like milk and long, silken hair the color of darkest night.

Then she arrived. She was exquisite, certainly, but no younger than forty—too old to give him the heirs he required.

His second wish, a palace, had poor defenses. It was overtaken by marauders in a few days' time. Its treasury and servants (his third wish) were lost in the same fight, and Ahmed was lucky to escape alive.

The gold coins he had saved proved useful then: he repurchased his perfume stall, and returned to his former life.


II.
Ali was a beggar in the Old Market who discovered the lamp behind a carpet merchant's stall. Three wishes were offered, and he leaped at the chance to use them: a thousand camels, a warm new suit, and a feast for a king.

The results were unexpected.

Most of the camels wandered off the first day, for Ali had nowhere to keep them. And while the feast was grand, the desert heat spoiled most of it by morning.

But Ali remained undaunted. The suit was perfect.

He wore it to search for work, winning a position that changed his fate.


III.
Yasmin was a scholar who dreamed of knowledge, for there was no limit to the things she wished to know.

But the genie gave her the power to see the future, the most dangerous knowledge of all. She was persecuted, and forced to flee.

She wished for safety, then, and found herself transported to a land far away. After her last wish—financial ease over the course of a long, happy life—she sold the lamp and began the business of learning French, working as a seamstress, and embracing the opportunity to be more than she ever could have before.


IV.
Overlooked and long unloved, Henri was a singer who thought he deserved better. The lamp lured him from a junk shop with promises of granting all his heart desired.

Henri wished for fame, for love, and for the greatest of voices, for there was nothing measured or modest in anything he did.

He sang magnificently then, in a strong, high tenor so beautiful that audiences wept. He was given leading roles at L'Opera Dramatique, and won the heart of its finest soprano, Sophie Broutin.

Henri's name lived on in infamy after the scandal in which Sophie's husband killed them both.


V.
Trapped in his dark prison, Z'alharzin cursed the man who had bested him centuries ago. A seeming simpleton, the man had challenged him with a riddle, the price for losing anything the winner named.

Enslaved to the lamp, granting the wishes of fools, Z'alharzin fumed at the insect who had called him too dangerous to roam the world freely. Who was anyone to judge him? He refused to be bound by their chains!

Thus, he twisted those wishes, enjoying the unplanned Fates they inflicted.

At times, he showed mercy, but rarely.

Z'alharzin was a Djinn.

He could never be tamed.


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