When I released my first eBook back in 2011, I originally only posted them as free downloads. As time passed, I decided to post one of my short stories onto Amazon Kindle, and with that my journey into selling eBooks began.
As I am now writing to a different standard than I did some years ago, I have decided to post one of my premium short stories for free on my blog. With this being said, I would like to thank everyone who purchased it, as without your kind donations, I would not have had the confidence to move onto bigger projects.
Without further ado, here is Jackpot, the very first short story I ever published on Kindle.
Arnold ‘Arnie’ Walker had just found his latest victims stash of valuable commodities. Although he had been a master thief for many years, it wasn’t often that he came across such a fantastic amount.
Not wasting any time, Arnie decided to start loading up his bag. He had watched the house for several days, so he knew that the owner would be back any minute. With any luck, he could sneak out of the back window without being seen, and the hole he made in the front door could be blamed on the next door neighbour’s kid hitting a cricket ball through the glass panel.
Just as the thief was about to leave, he noticed something lying on the table. It was an ornate glass bottle made with opaque silver glass and topped with a diamond shaped stopper. Arnie walked over to the object, and handled it carefully with one of his heavily scarred hands.
“Why would someone leave this on display?” he wondered aloud.
Shaking it up and down, the man noticed that it was unusually heavy for so simple an object. Surely there must be a reason for this abnormality. His twisted criminal mind didn’t usually question, so Arnie was caught off guard. On a normal day, he merely grabbed, stashed and pawned if he could be bothered to. Deciding to take the initiative, Arnie grabbed the diamond stopper. With a tug that would have given an anorexic man a hernia; he made the seal come loose with an enormous pop.
As soon as the stopper was released from the bottle, thick green smoke began to spew out of the top and swirl around the room. Coughing profusely, Arnie tried to see through the increasing gas but it was damn near impossible. After a few long and confusing seconds, the obstruction in the air began to fade away and within no time at all, it had completely disappeared.
Gazing through the now clear air, Arnie jumped, because out of the swirling smoke, something had appeared.
It was a tall tanned man, with long dark red hair that could almost be considered black. He stood buck naked, bar a towel wrapped around his waist, hiding what Arnie assumed to be a considerable package, if the sculpted man it belonged to was any indication. His eyes were a different shade of crimson to his hair, almost the same as a horizon pulled out of sight. His arms were folded across his chest and two golden shackles were snapped onto his wrists.
Before Arnie could move, the man spoke.
“Who has dared to release me?” he asked, his voice echoing from every wall. The thief didn’t answer, because he was still locked in disbelief. He had expected for the man to simply disappear, assuming it had been a hallucination caused by the gas. But that was not the case; the man was here to stay.
“I … I … did” he croaked.
The man turned to look at the thief.
“Then I am your slave, my master. Ask me for any three wishes, and they shall be done!”
As if he had done this ritual a thousand times before, the man bowed briefly before returning to his stoic position.
The realisation of what he had found hit Arnie like a brick, and his eyes lit up. This man was a genie, or a djinn, or whatever they were called. And Arnie, a humble if slightly underappreciated thief had summoned him.
Now he could have anything he wanted. All he had to do was make a wish.
“What are you?” the man asked his new slave.
“My species is that of the djinn. One of many that are bound to serve the will of humanity. As I am not free, my title and position is named as the genie of the bottle, and I am bound to serve you until your third wish is made”
Arnie snorted. He hadn’t needed the whole explanation, but it would have been rude to interrupt the man. He was a thief, not a bastard.
“Is there anything I can’t wish for?” he asked gruffly, coughing slightly to try and remove several years of smoking from his lungs.
Remaining as emotionless as ever, the genie nodded.
“I cannot make anything die, or bring it back to life. I also cannot interfere with the free will of any living creature”
Arnie sighed with slight disappointment. Those conditions ruled out making his enemies suffer, and charming everyone to think he wasn’t anything but a common thief. But there were plenty of opportunities to undertake with such powerful magic, and he would exploit them as best he could. As he thought about this, he decided that searching through the house for valuables would take too long. He wanted all of them found now.
“Genie, I wish that every item that I would consider valuable in this house would be placed on the bed”
His slave closed his eyes, then clapped his hands together. As soon as this was done, he reopened his eyes and looked his master.
“It is done”
Turning to the bed, Arnie saw that the genie had indeed granted his wish to perfection. There were pieces of technology, rare and valuable paintings and even the occasional piece of jewellery lying on top of the duvet.
Barely able to keep himself still, Arnie placed the bottle on the floor and admired all of his potential treasures. After gazing around for a while, he spotted something that made his eyes light up once again.
It was a mobile phone, one of the latest models with a touch screen, and it looked in practically mint condition. He held down the power button to test if it worked, but to his disgust, nothing happened. It was then he realised that there was no battery inside it, and there wasn’t one anywhere on the bed.
“Goddamit! I wish this thing had a battery” he said, without thinking.
A clap sounded from behind him, making Arnie jump a foot in the air. But before he could bring himself to calm down, he heard three words made his stomach drop of the floor.
“It is done”
Looking in his hand, the technologically advanced phone now had a battery. Unfortunately, he had wasted the second of his three wishes getting it, when he could have stolen one from any supermarket or local electrical store.
Cursing himself for his recklessness, Arnie pressed the power button once again. A chime sounded from the device, and the screen lit up, indicating the phone had turned on. Looking around it’s interface, Arnie saw it was in perfect condition, and the battery was fully charged. Swiping his finger across the screen, he marvelled in the sight of all the settings, graphical features and most of all, the applications.
“This is amazing! There’s practically everything I could ever want on here”
He browsed the phone, trying each one of the programs in turn whilst his slave stood patiently still, awaiting his next command.
“All these applications, they are amazing. And I never would have got this if hadn’t found that bottle. Screw getting just three wishes; I can have as many as I want. All I have to do is make a perfect last wish …”
Arnie’s mind was made up. He turned to his genie and smiled a defiant smile.
“Genie, I’ve decided on my last wish. I wish I had a bottle just like yours, one that could give any wish that is asked of it. One that is mine and mine alone”
If the magical being would have had a sense of humour, it was undoubtable that he would have smiled at that moment. But regardless of his personal feelings, he had to fulfil the wish. Closing his eyes, the genie clapped his hands. But this time, instead of his words, there was an enormous flash of light. Momentarily blinded, Arnie stood completely still so he wouldn’t walk forward and accidentally step on one of his valuable goods.
The effect lasted a few seconds, making the thief grow slightly annoyed at the time it was taking for the wish to come true. But before Arnie could say anything to express his discontent, the world was back in full view.
The genie was still there, but this time he was holding a bottle that was bronze instead of silver. Arnie smiled with satisfaction, and reached forward to grab the bottle, To his great surprise, the genie moved quickly, and pulled it out of his reach. Realising what had happened, the thief wanted to punch his immortal servant, but for some reason, he was unable to do so. It was as if he couldn’t do anything, without being told to by someone else.
“What are you doing? Give me my bottle!” he shouted.
The genie held out of the bronze bottle, and with a swift movement that echoed Arnie’s own effort, the other man pulled out the stopper. In an instant, brightly coloured orange smoke poured from its funnel, and headed straight for Arnie. The thief yelled in surprise and tried to run away, but the smoke had surrounded him completely before he had moved two steps away. The smoke swirled around for a moment and then, just as quickly as it had emerged; it was sucked back into the bottle.
Where the thief had been, there was nothing but a pile of clothes, and the mobile phone he had held in his hands lay on top, still charged and ready to be used. When the last of the smoke had disappeared inside the bottle, the genie placed the stopper inside it, and then placed it on the dressing table where his prison had been only minutes before. Picking up his own bottle from off the floor and placing it on the bed, he blinked his eyes and clapped his hands.
Green smoke poured around the room and when it had gone, the genie was back inside his bottle. The diamond shaped stopper flew back on, and with a flash of golden light, the bottle disappeared, to where his next master would find it.
In his mercy, the genie had placed all the valuable objects back where they belonged, and repaired the damage that Arnie had done to the front door, so there would be no trace of entry in any respect.
Inside the bronze bottle on the desk, the orange smoke faded, leaving Arnie to fall onto a bed of white tasselled cushions. Slowly getting to his feet, he looked around the room he had been transported to. It looked to him as if he was in the bedroom of a palace, one that he had seen many years ago whilst watching a film set in ancient Persia. The thief was greatly alarmed by this change of scene, and as if this weren’t distressing enough, he noticed that he was not wearing anything on his torso.
Looking down at himself, Arnie noticed that he also was not wearing his jeans, or his white trainers. In fact, he was naked apart from a towel around his waist and a pair of golden shackles on his wrists. Seeing a mirror in the corner of the room, Arnie ran over as quickly as he could and looked at his reflection. His hair was now dark red, and his eyes were a different shade of the same mystical colour.
It was upon seeing this that Arnie realised what had happened. The genie had given him his own bottle, that much was certain. But the thief realised that something had gone wrong, and when he thought about it, he knew exactly what had happened. The slave had made him not the owner of the bottle, but transformed him into one of the very creatures he had released. Letting the reality of the situation wash over him, he instantly regretted making this decision,
Arnold ‘Arnie’ Walker was now a genie. And so he would be until his master or mistress opened the bottle, and used one of their three wishes to set him free. Although he hated to admit it, he knew that karma had finally caught up to him. He guessed that every single item he had ever stolen, he was now paying the price.
Slamming his fists down on the table in front of the mirror, the new genie said the only thing that seemed to feel appropriate, only this time he said it in a manner that was completely different to the way he had used it before.
And the one word was,
Thank you once again for reading my work. I will hopefully have some new content for you to read very shortly.