“‘Arabic for Beginners’? You’re taking a trip I don’t know about?”
Maggie almost jumped out of her skin. “You scared me, Jeff! I didn’t hear you come in.” She got up and gave him a big hug, not wanting to let go. It was the first time she felt safe since he left.
“I missed you,” he said as he squeezed her one last time before stepping out of the embrace.
“My trip went well. I closed with our client!”
“You seem distracted.”
He frowned. “What’s wrong Mags?”
She bit her lower lip. She still wasn’t sure what she should tell him. “Our house is haunted.”
He laughed. “Come on.”
“What happened?” He could sound so condescending.
“Two nights ago, I had this weird dream. I was in that laundromat down the street. I only had dishwasher soap, but the laundry had to be done. No one was around, so I used it. You can’t use Dawn in a washing machine. The machines overflowed. I was knee deep in suds. Osman, the man who owns the place, entered the store. He was livid, claiming I ruined everything and it would cost a fortune to clean up. I apologized and tried to leave. He grabbed my arm and insisted we share a cup of coffee.”
“That sounds pretty harmless. Except for the fact that you hate coffee.”
She nodded. “It was just a random dream. However, it got worse. Osman was sipping coffee when a man appeared, except he wasn’t a man, he was a demon. Evil radiated off him.
“Without warning, he broke Osman’s neck. He turned to me and laughed. The sound was horrific. He said, ‘You have no idea, do you?’ I ran. He chased me. Before he caught me, I woke up.
“Osman was shaking me. He said, ‘Beware of Afreet. You must defeat him.’ I felt a piercing pain on the back of my shoulder.
“Afreet materialized. He said, ‘You should have chosen better, Osman.’ He moved towards me. Osman jumped on him and they both disappeared. I was never so scared in my life.”
“Maggie, it’s just a nightmare.”
“Was it? Osman was found dead in his shop the next morning. His neck broken.”
“I woke with this.” She exposed the back of her shoulder. Something was branded into her skin in Arabic.
“What does that mean?”
Fun fact: This story is from the fotnightly story goup I belong to. Last year, entries had to be 300 words long, and this year it’s 400 words. The way the group work is we’re given 4 words that have to be used in the story, a word count and our freedom to write whatever we please. This weeks instructions were “Arabic to start your story, and nightmare, fortune, and deep to be included in the body of the story (in any order).”
If you’re interested in learning more about this group, just follow the following link: