Rolling in the grass at the feet of her unimpressed benefactor, Jeanie gripped the horns which had begun sprouting from her forehead. No matter how much she struggled the smooth bone slipped through her grip while the jutting, obsidian protrusions grew past a foot long as they curved out and then back over hair that had brightened to the hue of amethyst’s heart.
After last time, when she had failed to live up to the Eldjinni’s expectations, she thought herself prepared for what was likely going to be a raw deal this time as well. However, what she was experiencing now was beyond the intensity of that first series of changes. Despite being mentally prepared, she was still surprised by the true cost of their trade as the growing wellspring of cosmic power within spread to swallow ever more of her.
No longer human, but not completely a jinni either, Jeanie was torn between relishing her increasing strength and panicking at the loss of her humanity. Regardless of how she felt, the transformed woman could not deny the sensations of that escalating power warping her body once more. Even as she resolved to turn this to her advantage, there was no doubt in her mind that she was being altered to better suit the whims of the Eldjinni who had granted her wish.
This had been the second wish of three, she shuddered to think what failing at the third would do to her...
A Few Days Earlier...
It was hard to believe it had been two years this morning since Jeanie had started at Intertechnicals LTD. The woman-owned business was a hybrid office. Part staffing agency and part advertising firm, it brought together vendors, candidates, and clients alike. With a sense of ambition as deep as her hair was dark, Jeanie had thrived in the fast-paced environment which rewarded being a confident self-starter. If anything, the highly competitive nature of the sales department, which her boss further fostered by rewarding aggressive goals, had only honed her wit and instincts to a razor’s edge.
So it was a bit of a surprise for her to see someone less productive get the promotion to senior account executive at the company's holiday luncheon. When the opening had first been announced, Jeanie had been confident she would get the nod. Just to make sure though, she had spent the last four weeks outperforming even herself.
Last weekend, in anticipation of having everyone in the company looking at her, Jeanie had gone out to buy a super flattering outfit to better show off her sculpted physique from years of hitting the gym four nights a week and doing dance the other three. Now, the athletic yet dressy clothes felt more like the crushing grip of despair as they hugged a body that had become an obsession equal only to her drive to succeed.
“Fuck this place,” she said, kicking open the bathroom door a few floors up. “I just--ugh! I have given this place nearly three years worth of work in just under two. Do I have to work an actual miracle, or something, to get recognized around here?! Pft... such bullshit.”
She pulled her phone out and furiously cleaned out her inbox of spam. Noise from the hallway made her look away for a moment, and her thumb only tapped an email titled ‘This is your BIG chance!’ instead of swiping it away. When she turned her attention back to her screen, there was an ad from IKEA featuring table lamps waiting for her. The irony of lamps, modern or not, appearing in response to her vocalizing the want to wish made her start to laugh.
“I mean, sure, magic powers might get me recognized...”
“Well, that could be arranged,” said a sultry voice from her right.
Turning in a hurry, Jeanie found herself looking at an older woman leaning into the counter as she blew smoke out the open window. Her light brown complexion contrasted with green eyes so bright they seemed to shimmer. A bubbly ponytail flowed down from her shoulder to vanish from view around her waist. She was sharply dressed in a bright pink blazer over a black v-neck shirt and matching, equally loud, knee-length pencil skirt--both of which hugged curves which were notable, but hardly extreme. A pair of black calf-length boots finished her ensemble, the polished leather glowing faintly pink from the skirt. Despite how striking the woman was, Jeanie did not recall ever seeing her before.
“Who--what are you doing here?”
“What am I--? Isn’t it obvious?” The woman grinned and raised her half-burned cigarette. Jeanie raised her eyebrow and the woman laughed. She shifted as if getting to her feet and then seemed to turn into smoke as she leaned forward. Jeanie blinked. The woman had vanished!
“Looking for me?”
Spinning in place, Jeanie found the woman sitting on the counter right next to her with one leg over the other. Her crossed legs were straining the pink mini-skirt, her flesh flaring out from the hem. Jeanie cocked her head. That skirt had been to her knees a moment ago--in fact, the older woman seemed altogether more sensual now. Her v-neck shirt was flashing a bit more cleavage which was framed by the edges of a creamy silk and lace bra which was a soft contrast to her natural tan. It was a look that verged on male fantasy boss-lady, something Jeanie normally had nothing but scorn for, however, something about this moment was making her heat up. Her gaze snapped up and the woman’s dark lips curled into what could only be a mischievous smile, especially with how her eyebrows were arched. Her eyes seemed to sparkle to mirth.
“Come here often, cutie?”
“Okay, okay, I’ll stop playing around. I’m here to grant your wish.”
“Excuse me? What?”
“You summoned me with Wislamp, so I’m here to work out what, exactly, I can do for you. Except... what you desire most is more than what one wish can do.”
“Easy,” the woman said, gently putting her hand on Jeanie’s shoulder. Her long fingers were warm to the touch. “All you need is offer me a trade, and then, I shall give you all the power you’ve ever wanted.”
“Hold on, back up. What’s Wislamp--Wait, don’t answer that. I don’t think I want to know. Besides, you’re going to give me magic powers? Just like that?”
“Of course. That is, supposing you have something of value to trade.”
“I have no idea what such a request would cost, even if you could make it happen.”
“Then perhaps we can work out another kind of deal, hmm? How about…” The woman crossed her arms, closed her eyes, and hummed. As she did, the outfit she was wearing shifted to a far more casual tunic and leggings combination.
“Oh, I know!” The strange woman said suddenly with a snap of her fingers.
“Good, because I am totally lost right now.”
“Okay, I’ll take it slow. Simply put, this is a win-win kind of situation.”
“You know, win-win. You benefit, I benefit… Is that not an expression you humans use anymore?”
“I know what win-win means, but what do you mean by--”
“Great!” the woman said, clapping her hands and sliding off the counter. “Then you agree that: if I give you the power, you’ll use that power to handle three of my wishes, yes? If you grant them to my satisfaction, I will consider your debt paid.”
“I guess?” Jeanie put a hand on her lip to hide that she was chewing on it as she mulled over the proposal. “I feel like there’s a catch.”
“No catch, power for satisfactory help is all I’m asking. In fact, if I am unsatisfied, I'll give you even more power so you get it right next time. Sound good?”
“What… What does that even--?”
“Look, cutie,” the woman said, her face going flat. “You said yourself that you're in no position to haggle. So, if you want me to give you the power to work miracles, I need you to do something for me. That thing I need you to do is answer three of my wishes for me. If you don’t want to do that, well, who knows if another Wislamp request will ever land in your inbox again…”
The irritation from called cutie over and over mingled with the sense of angst that always arose when getting outfoxed in a deal and she snapped. “Okay! Okay! I get it! You know what? Sure. Magical Powers in exchange for doing you a couple of favors sounds like a super easy trade.”
The next thing Jeanie knew, the other woman was kissing her. The stranger’s tongue slipped between her lips. The smell of creamed coffee and nutmeg filled her nostrils. Warmth flowed down into her core from that contact, and within, something began to swell. That sense of increasing pressure built and built, pressing out in every direction, the feeling of fullness spreading until she was having a hard time breathing. Just as she started to panic, there was a rush of buzzing heat down her arms and into her hands which were clutching to the other woman for what felt like dear life. Over and over, a feeling that must have been power flowing into her erupted like a geyser within and diffused into her being. Melting into the older woman’s embrace with a moan, Jeanie could sense that something profound was happening to her.
While the tingling warmth flooded her extremities, her body temperature rose even more. It felt like she had stepped into an oven and still, the kiss with the strange woman continued, the embrace growing more and more passionate with each passing second. Strong hands gripped her butt. Her hand cupped a heavy boob. Beyond that, Jeanie could not remember anything else. The feeling of lips on her own and the taste of the other's skin drowned everything out.
Then, quick as it came, the overwhelming heat and passion dissipated when the woman stepped back. Jeanie found herself fumbling for the edge of the counter as her weight settled onto knees that felt like gelatin. Her ragged gasps felt like the first breaths of her life. The air still carried the woman's taste, and she drank it up eagerly despite herself.
When she finally looked up and opened her eyes, she was aware of everything around her. The world itself was like a construct before her. A system of nodes interconnected. It felt like all she had to do was reach out, and her fingers would brush the very fabric of reality. Threads, which likely represented all of the people nearby--and who knew what else--wound around her. Who knew what tugging on one would do? With that realization dawning, she pulled her hand back
“Hokey as it is, what you see overlaid on everything is The Dashboard of Wislamp.”
“Why is this so, well, digital? Aren’t you like… a genie or something?”
“Genie isn’t the right word, cutie. I’m an Eldjnni. Anyway, who do you think inspired your technology, hmm? We did of course.”
“Well okay, not me specifically, other jinn from times long past. Suffice it to say, as tech began to flourish in your world, jinni after jinni was called to offer wisdom and we each did our part to advance humanity--for a reasonable fee, of course.” The woman laughed at that. “Now, you’ll feel it when someone summons you. Until then, the power that I've granted is your own. Do with it what you will, so long as you do not attempt to cause harm to another.”
The Eldjinni kissed her on the forehead this time before her form faded away into smoke for a second time. “I’ll be in touch, cutie!"