The Djinn's Dilemma

Free The Djinn's Dilemma by Mina Khan

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Authors: Mina Khan
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal
to give the governor a chance to refute the charges.”
    “Why?” The phone continued its jolly song, annoying the hell out of him.
    “It’s the right thing to do.”
    “What if they trace the call and find us?”
    “Garza’s guys will be right behind,” she said. “He’s got the state police keeping an eye on everyone involved.”
    Huffing out an exasperated breath, Rukh moved away from her. He didn’t like it, but Sarah had made up her mind. Stubborn woman.
    He heard her say hello. She must have hit speaker because a voice, boyish and weary at the same time, floated into the room. “Hey, Sarah. I’ve got good news.”
    “And it is…”
    “Jake’s agreed to an exclusive interview with you. Be at the governor’s mansion at 3:00 p.m. today.”
    That was less than two hours from now. He whipped around and they stared at each other. Tension stretched taut between them. Still holding his gaze, Sarah grimaced. “Sorry, that’s not possible.”
    “You’re turning down an interview?” The man’s voice spiked with surprise, then turned grim. “You’re running the story without giving him a chance? I always respected you as a journalist.”
    “I’ve earned that respect,” she said. “And you know better than anyone else that I’ve been trying to get an interview, even a statement out of him.”
    “He’s been busy.”
    “The story about his relationship with Alex Gingrich is still running,” Sarah countered. “I can’t meet with him, but I’d be happy to talk to him on the phone.”
    A deep sigh rolled into the room like an arctic wind. The temperature dropped and light from the windows dimmed, muted to gray, as if the sun had disappeared. Cold shot through Rukh, turning his essence to ice.
    Static crackled on the line, accompanied by the hollow sound of rushing wind. Sarah scrunched up her face and snapped the phone shut. “Shit, seems like I lost him.”
    Rukh couldn’t stop staring at the phone, which now lay on the table. Pale green mist poured from it like soft tendrils of smoke, thickened and gathered into a cloud. The charred scent of ash tinged the air as the sickly haze drifted toward Sarah, who sat frozen and gaping.
    Awareness of a malevolent presence swept over him. “Sarah, move!”
    The shapeless miasma hardened into a shape—a hand—and lunged for Sarah.
    Cold fingers wrapped around her throat, choking off her breath. Oh God, oh God, oh God . Her mind screamed in silence at the familiar touch reminiscent of nightmares and death settled on her skin. The other world, the one she’d convinced herself didn’t exist, had broken through once more.
    Behind her, the computer died with a soft blip. Next came the soft tinkling of the shaking chandelier, followed by the sound of shattering glass. Sarah flinched as slivers fell around her like snowflakes. She’d never sit under a chandelier again…if she survived.
    Her body shook in terror as the sulfur fog roiled and compacted into a thick, muscular male shape. A surreal swamp monster. Two eyes, angry and yellow, glowered.
    “You had to make this difficult.”
    Eric’s soft voice emerging from the thing’s black maw stunned her, stopped her struggles. His fingers loosened and Sarah drew in a huge lungful of fetid air stinking of brimstone. Coughs burned her throat and left her teary-eyed. “Eric?”
    “My name is Eyr-hek.” Ripples shivered across the green mass in front of her until Eric’s features bubbled up from beneath. He shot her a sad smile. “I didn’t want it to come to this.”
    “What? Why are you doing this?”
    “I had it all planned, get Jake into the White House and then I’d continue to be the puppeteer. Life as the power behind the Oval Office would be sweet.” His face darkened into a scowl. “But you had to find out about Jake and Alex.”
    “The story’s already gone to press.”
    He laughed. “Nah, it’s just gone to your editor, otherwise you wouldn’t still want to talk to Jake.” His eyes

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