“The Jinn” by Ancel K Houchen

An excerpt from “The Jinn” by Ancel K. Houchen

Arash, you okay?” Imad asked nervously. He didn’t like the look on his younger brother’s face. To Imad his brother looked like a doctor struggling to tell his patient he just saw something dark and amorphous in his CAT scan. Imad suspected something was wrong with him ever since he returned from overseas. He felt like his center of balance had shifted, he was bumping his shoulder into doorways and twice this afternoon almost tripped walking up a familiar flight of stairs. All those things were odd but he shrugged them off and attributed it to jet lag, but the look on his brother’s face, who had been struck blind at the age of three, told him all he needed to know.

“I’m fine Imad”, his brother said with a forced smile, then he turned his head way from his brother’s voice and said.

“Welcome home.”

“I’m glad to be back, I missed all of…” Imad trailed off when he noticed that Arash was wincing at his every word. He looked like someone who was bracing for a slap in the face.

“What is it Arash? I can see something is wrong. What are you’re hiding?”

“It’s nothing. You just seem…bigger is all.” Arash said nervously.

“What do you mean bigger?” Imad asked tentatively because it was a question which threatened to open doors he knew should remain firmly closed. His mind returned to the unsettling incident at the airport yesterday morning.

He had returned from a seventeen hour flight, from Qatar, and was looking forward to a long hot shower and a big lunch but when he went through one of the new full body scanners his plans for a lunch were forgotten. Just as he stepped out of the scanner he heard the muffled screams of the TSA agent coming from behind the door near baggage claim. He couldn’t hear clearly, he couldn’t even tell if the person were male or female, the room was too far away and well insulated, but what he heard was enough to haunt his dreams for years to come.

“Bigger,” Arash repeated abruptly. He suddenly wanted this conversation to be over. He no longer wanted to remain in the same room with this new person who sounded like his brother but had too much presence to be him.

“Bigger…as in did you gain weight or grow taller somehow because it feels like more of you is there now.” an excerpt from “The Jinn” by Ancel K Houchen

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