Do you know what a djinn is?
Mischievous sprites they are, who tinker and tamper with the way the world runs.
Made of smokeless flames that dance like embers in a night sky, they exhale the scent of chocolate and their bony fingers mess with your hair until even a bird wouldn’t consider you for a nest. Sometimes they steal children’s baby teeth from the fairies that collect them and use them to make necklaces that rattle and chatter.
The djinns live in an old house at the end of a twisty lane in the middle of the ancient city. Everyone knows they are there, for the sweet smell of chocolate hangs in the air like mist, and sometimes, if you listen very, very carefully, you’ll hear cackling like so many dried up old witches – it’s not a horrible sound, but it does make a shiver creep deliciously down the back of your spine.
Half of you wants to enter the house through the blue front door decorated with golden handprints, but if you do, the djinns will spin you round and confuse you so much that you feel dizzy and can’t find the door of the room you are in. My advice is to tie a piece of string to the door handle and keep hold of it at all times.
Be careful of the staircase, it’s extremely old and some of the treads have been eaten away by woodworm. That doesn’t matter to the djinns of course; they fly up through the house, burning tiny holes in the ceiling. Once, when the house was new, each room was painted the colour of a different jewel, and although the paint has peeled away, you can still see dusty patches of emerald, ruby and sapphire.
If you do make it through the house, you’ll find some peace in the garden, for the djinns don’t venture outside in the daytime. They’re afraid of the tall trees that whisper secrets about them, and the blackbirds, who loop around the rosebushes singing, ‘go back, back, back’ to any curious djinn who’s even so much as stuck a fiery toe outside. But don’t you do as the blackbirds say – climb over the back wall as fast as you can and run down the twisty lane to tell your friends of your extraordinary adventure.