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Djinn Book 1: What's in Your Box?

Djinn Book 1: What's in Your Box?

Author:A.R. Moler



Dale Edinger has just inherited a house from his aunt. It's a good thing too because traumatic shoulder damage and PTSD has forced the Marine lieutenant to retire. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Aunt Mildred's inheritance is more than an overfull and chaotic house. All kinds of surprises await Dale as he sorts through his aunt's hoard.<br><br>Riadh is one of those surprises. He's a djinn, a being of magic from another culture -- and Dale is his new owner -- much to Dale's dismay. Riadh has his own history and a set of rules that make it impossible for him to be freed. It's not only Riadh that Dale has to contend with either. In fact, just finding the magickal objects that his aunt had squirreled away in her house will be a trick. When he finds them, what does he do with them? And what about Riadh?

The funeral for Aunt Mildred was over. Dale Edinger pulled the key from his pocket and unlocked the front door of the house that had suddenly become his. The attorney had informed him that Mildred had left him—the house, its contents and the nice sum of six hundred thousand dollars. What more could a Marine lieutenant on terminal leave ask for?

As Dale went inside, he flipped on the foyer light. The first glance told him that the house was even more of a stuffed and cluttered mess than the last time he’d been there more than a year ago. A serious amount of cleaning was in his future, but not tonight. Tonight he just needed some sleep. He walked upstairs toward the bedrooms and instinctively headed for the one he’d slept in as a child when he’d visited his aunt.

In that bedroom, Dale sat his duffle bag on the bed. The bed itself was a beautifully carved, dark wood, four poster. He could live with that. The wedding ring quilt on the bed wasn’t too bad either, done in shades of green and gold, but the doily decorated pillows with the ruffles had to go, or at least the pillowcases and the foo-foo crocheted bits on them. Erg, maybe he should check out the master bedroom, before he committed to using this bedroom.

He walked down the hallway and opened the door to the bedroom that had been his aunt’s. A frothy turquoise blue quilt edged in lace adorned that bed and there were heaps upon heaps of books and knick-knacks overflowing every surface and onto the floor. He shut the door. There was no way he was going to tackle that tonight.

Going back down the hallway to the other bedroom, he went in again. It wasn’t like this room was uncluttered, but some of the stuff was in boxes and most of the rest was neatly piled along the walls. There was enough space to walk around the bed. Dale stripped the doilies and fluffy ruffled pillowcases off and laid them on top of a stack of afghans. Dang, there had to be at least ten of those. He remembered Aunt Mildred giving afghans away as gifts when he was young but it would appear that hadn’t happened in recent years. He was in luck that underneath the ruffled bits there were just some plain cream colored pillowcases covering the pillows themselves.

He dumped his duffle bag off on the floor and crawled into bed. It was a comfortable mattress, if a little on the dusty side, and he fell asleep.

But sleep never lasted more than a couple of hours at a time these days.

* * * *

Artillery fire and crashing debris and death…Dale woke covered in sweat, heart pounding. He had no freaking idea where he was. He sat up and slowly realized he was in a bed. The room was dark and very quiet. It still took another few seconds for him to remember he was in his aunt’s house, the house he’d inherited. It meant he was alone, and presumably safe.

His heart rate had other ideas, as did his nerves. Dale pushed back the blankets and got out of bed. Maybe if he went to the bathroom and got a drink, he’d stop feeling like he was going to crawl out of his skin.

He flipped on the bedside lamp. It was a vintage thing with dangling glass pendants that cast odd rainbow edged glints of light. Slipping out of bed, he padded down the hallway to the bathroom. Business taken care of, he decided he needed a drink.

Carol, his cousin, had told him the refrigerator had been emptied while Aunt Mildred had been in the hospital so presumably there wouldn’t be any nasty life forms lurking if he opened it up. Of course it might be completely empty, but surely he’d be able to snag a few ice cubes to dump in a glass of tap water.

The open door of the bedroom cast some light into the hallway and he went down the stairs, knowing the kitchen was off to the right. At the foot of the steps he nearly wiped out tripping over a stack of magazines. Crap, those were going to have to go if he was going to spend some time in this house.

Deciding a light was the better part of valor, he groped for the wall switch in the kitchen. The counters were cluttered with empty jars and a crazy assortment of small appliances and a few pans. The sink, however, was clean and empty. He reached into the right hand cabinet and took out a glass. That hadn’t changed. His aunt had always kept glasses and cups there. He filled the glass about halfway with water and then opened the fridge. It contained a couple of bottles of water and a six pack of coke, nothing else. When Carol said emptied, she meant emptied. The freezer did have two trays of ice and he popped out some cubes and dumped them in his glass.