A Bunch of Words · Creative Responses

The Mark

A man in a suit sat in the living room with my sister. He had started to question her and I wasn’t allowed inside. I pressed my ear up against the door, trying to hear every word they said.

“Avena, do you know why I am here?” he asked

“It’s because of my mark, isn’t it?”

“Yes, and do you know what it means?”

She’s not dumb. Why does he have to keep asking her stupid questions?  No one likes to admit that it’s true but everyone knows what the mark means.

“It means I’m a chosen one,” Avena replied.

My sister has a birthmark on the back of her shoulder in the shape of a dark smoke pillar, or that’s what it resembles. That is the mark of the chosen ones who, at the age of fifteen, are taken away to the Middle East, or that’s what we’re told. The chosen ones never return.

            “Good, so you know you have to come with me.”

“Yes, but what have I been chosen for?” Avena asked. The man was quite for a while before he spoke. I can only guess that he was confused; people weren’t meant to talk back to him, ever.

“That’s not important right now. Come along.”

“I don’t want to go,” Avena said. “You can’t take me. Arya, don’t let him take me!” Hearing my name, I opened the door and ran to my sister. I stood in front of her protectively.

“It’s no good fighting it, girls.” the man stepped closer to us.

“Run. Quickly, run,” I told my little sister.

I kicked the coffee table at the man, smashing glass everywhere. Then I turned and ran out of the room, following Avena. We ran out of the house and down the street as fast as we could.

I won’t let him take her. I can’t. I’m the only person she has left and vice versa. We’re basically best friends, but stronger. The bond between sisters is always stronger than any friendship. I have to stick by her. If they took her then we’ll never see each other again. How could I live without her, or if something happened to her and it was my fault?


Crack! Smoke filled our vision as we ran into something, knocking us to the hard ground. As I looked up the smoke cleared and I could see the man standing over us. My arm instantly reached out and held my sister close as I saw him reach down for her.

“Why do you have to take her?” I asked

“Why do you insist on stopping me? It won’t work.”

“I’ll never see Arya again if I go,” Avena said.

“You don’t have a choice.” the man folded his arms and looked down at me. His eyes  stared straight into mine. He didn’t blink for at least a minute or two. The whole time it felt like someone was poking around in my mind, trying to find something. Then, finally he blinked, the poking stopped and he spoke.

“You might be useful. Fine, I’ll take you both. I have no time for meaningful goodbyes.’ He knelt down and held my wrist while I held Avena. “You won’t be together for ever but for now you can relax.” Smoke started to surround us again and soon the street was gone.

When the smoke cleared I saw stone walls all around us. We were inside what looked like a cave. I looked up and saw the man. He was no longer wearing his formal suit; instead he had some old Arabian outfit on.

“This is the Majilis al Jinn. This is where you will be training until you’re both ready to become one of the Jinn. If you ever become ready. There are you lamps,” he gestured with his hand over to some tables with old oil lamps standing on them. “Your training begins now.”

A jinni, that’s what the chosen ones are. The offspring of the Jinn.

“A jinni never leaves their master unless released. That is why we never return to our hometown. Do you understand?” We nodded. “Good, now change into some decent clothes.” Once again he folded his arms, but this time he nodded once at us. Slowly our bodies started to change into a smoke pillar starting from our feet. Our smoke bodies were blown over to our oil lamps and forced inside.

“One day you’ll learn to do that yourselves,” The man said.

there was so much room inside the lamp, much more than I was expecting. I couldn’t help but think of Aladdin. “PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS, itty-bitty living space,” well that wasn’t true. There was more space than I had in my room back at home. There were mirrors on the everywhere and lounges all around the walls. Lying on one of the lounges was an Arabian outfit.

“A jinni also never lets their masters live happy lives. Every wish granted will be turned into a misfortune. Humans must be careful what they wish for. Although if it is selfless, you must grant it properly, no tricks. Otherwise, have fun with your masters, Torture them if you wish. It’s a terrible misfortune that we must be slaves to master until we are freed. We have all the power anyone can imagine but while we are connect to our lamps, we cannot use it freely. So it’s only fair that we can have some fun with our masters.”

Only fair! That sounds more like pure evil to me. I thought.

“That’s part of the fun, young Arya. You have much to learn about our ways.”

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a faint smoke pillar mark on the back of my shoulder.

That wasn’t there before. I must be becoming a chosen one.


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