Excerpt: “Burning Down the House”
Nobody ever took a jinni anywhere. The only reason Jvala made it to The Sixth Circle was because of Eddie. Now that she was corked again (in a recycled bottle, which that bitch of a sorceress hadn’t even rinsed. It’d take Jvala forever get the smell of fennel out of her hair) all she had to look forward to was another forever on Eddie’s mantle while he polished the wording of his three wishes. If he’d had the brains to ask her—which considering how they met, wasn’t likely—she’d have told him it didn’t work that way. She hadn’t made any promises to help the person who released her. She hadn’t committed any sins against humanity, so Solomon hadn’t laid any compulsions on her, either.
The only thing between her and freedom was a few ounces of enchanted glass and Solomon’s seal on the “door” of her new home.
She pounded insubstantial feet against the curved walls of her prison. The drum line of the song pulsing from the club’s speakers taunted her. The rhythm was so primal, so necessary, she found herself struggling in time. Guitars and keyboards and wailing vocals flooded her mind. It was the music of sex, by sex, for sex, and it had been so long since she’d danced to anything like it, she thought she’d explode—which would’ve been wonderful if she could’ve taken the damn bottle with her. But all it did was stir her disembodied atoms into a clouded stew of frustration.
“Powder blue sweatsuit? Really? This place is going to the dorks.”
The unfamiliar woman’s voice was high, sharp and so close Jvala’s smoke form jumped. She managed to catch herself before smacking the seal, but the magic’s stabbing cold still made her yelp.
Not that a normal human could hear a cry made without a mouth. “Out cold and he hasn’t even touched his drink,” the woman continued. “Asshole.”
She swung the bottle onto a flat surface marginally softer than glass. Plastic? Jvala huddled around the dimple in the bottom of the bottle as they sailed into the music. Her vision was as muddled as her form, but the bottle seemed to sway in the general vicinity of blobs that almost looked like heads. She’d been abducted by a waitress. Served Eddie right.
Her bottle clanged against a hard black surface. In a well-run universe, the bottle would’ve shattered or at least cracked enough for Jvala to expand herself out of there. But noooo, the spells on the damned thing rendered it rock solid. She’d have better luck trying to kick her way through the Himalayas.
“Where’d that come from?” a man’s voice demanded. The bottle rose and a giant, concave eye peered over the top of the label.
(To read the rest of the story, check out “Burning Down the House” in Hellfire Lounge 3, Jinn Rummy