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I lived the kind of childhood someone would want to make a movie about. Before age 12, I spoke six different languages and had been to 24 different countries accompanying my dad on his adventures. Now, I’m not going to say my dad was a criminal, but his adventures did involve looting ancient cities and tombs for their riches. By the time I was born, my parents had already made their fortune by stripping ancient sites of their relics, their biggest score being the Mayan sub-city now known as Site X, which is still considered lost.

After I was born, my parents took a three-year break from looting. After I could walk and learned to follow simple instructions, they were right back at it. It was the year I turned eight that my mother met her demise from the bite of a mosquito; after that, it was just Dad and I. He took it extremely hard; losing her broke something in him. He became careless, sloppy… looting isn’t just sneaking into an ancient site and running out with your buggy full like in supermarket sweepstakes. Sure, some monsters do that, but we had the utmost respect for history, especially its value. We did EVERYTHING an archaeologist would do. We took our time, ensured that the piece didn’t get damaged in any way, and sold it to someone who would worship it more than the people did oh so long ago. Unfortunately, some relics should stay burrowed in the fucking sand.

I was a grown man by the age of 12. With my mother gone, my dad treated me less like a son, and more like an adventure associate. When he looted, I looted, when he drank, so did I, and when he felt the touch of a woman, there was always one for me. Eventually, the alcohol is what became a problem.

After receiving a tip about a sandstorm uncovering a man-made hole in the earth, we headed to the Ash Shalfa province of Saudi Arabia. Our good friend, Abbas, the contact that tipped us off, already had a team down below the sand. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived, they were already wrapping up. A few stone tablets that were viciously torn from the walls and a pot. On the tablets, I caught a glimpse of one word… Jinn. That’s all that was found in the 4000-year-old hole… By the team of savage manual laborers that is. After they left, it was time for me and my dad to get to real work. The only problem was, by this point, my dad could barely stand…

As I lowered him down into the hole, all the while slurring about how slow I was going, I felt a cool breeze which seemed to howl from the depths of the earth. Obviously, a bad omen.

The 30 by 60 ft room was as dark as a black void, which my father demonstrated by instantly falling over the debris from the hole which we came down through, cutting his hand open pretty bad. Luckily, we came prepared. We always came prepared. With it lit up like Christmas Eve, we could see everything they missed. It wasn’t much, but the ceiling was beautiful. The savages obviously didn’t see it. Beautifully carved stone depicting not only our Solar System but the entire Milky Way galaxy. It was clear as day. Our Solar System was even located between the Orion arm, and in the center of the galaxy that decorated the ceiling, which marveled that of the Sistine Chapel, was an absolute black sphere. As much light as we had, it should have reflected something, but it didn’t… I didn’t have much time to ponder about it as I saw my father stumbling towards the center of the room with his arm in the air, palm up.

“What is your drunk ass doing now?” I asked.

“It’s not me! My arm is being pulled!” he yelled.

I quickly met him in the center of the room and grabbed his arm. With the leverage I had over his stretched out arm, I should have been able to move it easily but it wouldn’t budge. I peered up at the void, now above our heads, and then at my father's hand. The blood from his freshly opened wound was being taken by the sphere. I pulled and pulled and my dad yelled but I couldn’t pull him back! More and more blood was being pulled from his hand up towards the ceiling. Suddenly, his arm was released. We stumbled back not taking our eyes off the sphere. Every one of our 120 bulbs blew simultaneously as blue flames erupted from the sphere! The heat, forced us against the hard limestone wall. The room rumbled furiously causing more debris to fall from our crumbling entryway! A fierce wind circulated forcing me to dive to the floor and cover my face to protect against the flying sand that was slowly grinding off my skin! The room continued to shake apart!

“Dad?” my voice echoed back to me. “Dad!”

I looked up towards my exit. My six-foot hole was now a six-inch hole with the moon barely shining through. My rope was gone; we were trapped. The sound of groans filled my new prison. I followed the groans through the cloud of sand to the image that would be burned into my retina. My father lay on the floor, a two-ton slab of limestone hiding the lower half of his body. He tried to speak but just gurgled up blood... He was completely crushed. His face hit the floor with the force only a dead man could handle.

As I sat there with my father's corpse, a voice comes from behind my left shoulder.

"I accept your sacrifice."

I turned to face the creature as its arm tripled in length, lifting my father's body by his head with its massive black claws. Its mouth opened to the size of a manhole cover, revealing several rows of jagged, rotting teeth and tossed the upper half of my father's body in… After a few chews, he was gone.

The pitch-black creature which seemed to glide on a twister of smoke leaned in close, licking the crumbs of my father from its thin grotesque lips. I felt urine run down my leg.

"I shall now grant your true heart's desire."

With a snap of its finger, which seemed to pierce my eardrum and cause temporary blindness, my vision slowly came to as I realized I was in my bed, back in the states. Not as if I were waking up from a dream. I was sitting straight up, sand covering my bed, and in my hand was a small stone box. The ancient Arabic text which covered the box loosely translated to, “A sacrifice require for true heart's desire.”

Why was I sitting in my room? Where was my dad? My mom?! Surely their resurrection would be my true heart's desire; although, in that split second the only thing I truly wanted was to be as far away from that creature as possible.

You can imagine how hard this was on a 12-year-old. I had the power of the universe sitting in my palm, and it terrified me. Of course, I would never use it again. No desire I could ever have would be worth sacrificing another human being or seeing that monster again, so I stored the box away where no one would find it. After that followed 15 years of intravenous drug use, and blowing through of my parent's money. Miraculously, I got clean, found the love of my life, and had a family. A beautiful little girl, but something threatened her life. A neurological disorder, treatable, but not afforded. I wasted all my family’s fortune on needles; now I don’t have enough for my daughter’s. But I did have one last option…

After being admitted to a children’s hospital for what seemed to be the final time, I became desperate. I would do anything to save her, anything.

After my daughter went to sleep, I decided to take a drive. I wasn’t surprised by the hooker on the corner of 5th and Main; I knew she was there. I wasn’t surprised when she accepted my offer and hopped in the car; that was the plan. I asked if she was okay with an alleyway.

“I have the perfect one,” she said, “Very secluded.”

I wish I could say it was difficult, but it wasn’t, not in exchange for my daughter's life… As the blood flowed from her throat down into the box, I still felt it was the best decision I had ever made, until I was reminded of how terrifying the creature from 15 years ago was. It hovered over me, as the legs of the prostitute disappeared into its throat.

"Thank you for the sacrifice, I shall now grant your true heart's desire."

I rushed back to the hospital, smiling for the first time in months. I was so excited to tell my wife and daughter that everything was going to be okay. I didn’t even take the elevator. I pranced up the three flights of stairs and down the hall to my daughter's room, where I heard the sobs… It was my wife, our daughter had died.

I didn’t understand. Why hadn’t it worked? My daughter was the ONE thing I wanted. My true heart's desire was her, healthy and happy. But she was gone... Why?

It would take us a few days to notice the increase in our bank account. After realizing it was raised to the exact amount of the expensive treatment, I started to understand. True heart's desire, isn’t what you think you want or what you feel you need. It changes like the shifting sands of time and relying on your brain to tell you what your heart wants is a dangerous game, especially when dealing with Jinns. That didn’t stop me from trying a third time though. As I sit here, next to my wife’s hospital bed as the beeping slows, I don’t regret my choices. I don’t regret the nurse's blood spilled on the floor. I don’t regret the final gift I received. I don’t know the laws dimensional beings have to abide by, but I’ve learned that Jinns can’t save a life… They can't breathe life back into a vessel, they can only take it. For whatever reason, it’s all it can do…

A single gunshot rang through the halls of the hospital.

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