The Twin Jinn in the Land of Enchantment
The Jinn family lands in Northern New Mexico, where they help Cowboy Roy, a fellow performer from the carnival, turn his ranch into a horse sanctuary. Jute and Fina learn about a new power — the ability to see and walk through walls, which comes in handy. And then Uncle Jeffer gives them a special gift: a magic nut for each.
Jute, then Fina Jinn leaped from the dusty ground onto the bare back of a white speckled horse named Daisy. The twins, brother and sister, bounced a bit as the horse trotted around the corral. The bells on the tips of their curled shoes jingled and jangled.9
“Howdy, Cowboy Roy!” Fina shouted.
“Yeah, howdy!” her brother said.
Cowboy Roy sat on the top rail of the corral’s fence. He was an old cowboy, so thin it appeared the desert wind of the Southwest had rubbed him away. He wore a red, yoked shirt with snap pearl buttons and jeans faded at the knees. His black boots were skinny at the toe. Cowboy Roy used to perform in Happy Jack’s Carnival of Mysteries, where the twins and their parents, Elwin and Mira, once had an act called The Amazing Magic of the Family Jinn. That’s how Jute and Fina knew him.
Cowboy Roy raised his white ten-gallon hat and whooped.
“You twins are natural riders,” he said. “Come on. Show me what else you can do.”
Jute and Fina grinned. The twins being jinn, or genies as many humans called them could do most anything. Jinn could disappear and reappear. They could get bigger and smaller, fly high in the air, and cast spells. They could do remarkable tricks with ease like ride a bareback horse, standing up and not holding on, which is exactly what Fina decided to do.
Fina bent forward to speak in her brother’s ear.
“Jute, what do you say?”
Her brother glanced around.
“Are Mama and Papa here?” he asked.
“No, it’s okay. Jute, stop being such a baby jinni.”
“Baby jinni! I just don’t want to get in trouble again,” he said. “You heard what Mama and Papa said about using our powers in front of humans. We both know you’re the one who always starts it.”
“Me? I wasn’t the one who came up with the idea to build an alchemy machine for a science fair project,” she said. “Remember?”
Jute closed one eye.
“Okay, it was my fault one time. What about all the others? How about when you shrunk the goat Resa or stuck Brian Morgan to his chair?”
“Hey, you stuck his feet to the floor.”
“Anyway, Cowboy Roy is the only one here and he’s our friend even though he doesn’t know who we really are,” Fina said.
Jute thought. Yes, Cowboy Roy didn’t know they were jinn but they could count on him. He always looked out for them at the carnival’s midway. He helped their family escape when their former master, Dann, showed up on the last day of the season. He would never tell on them. Besides, he and Fina were only using a teeny bit of their jinn powers when they rode Daisy.
“All right, what do you want to do?”
“Oh, something like this,” his sister said.
Fina barely finished her last word when she stood on the horse’s back. She spread her arms outward as if she needed them to keep her balance. It wasn’t necessary, however. Jinn have perfect balance. She could stand on tiptoes and not fall off. She could even do it on one toe. Fina waved at Cowboy Roy, who hooted from his spot in the corral.
Jute shook his head. He couldn’t let Fina show off without him.
“Ta-da!” he shouted as he joined his sister.
Jute and Fina rode around the corral. The twins had the same round features, browned skin, black hair, and silvery blue eyes. They wore loose black pants and a vest over a white silky top, and curly shoes.
Fina spoke in her brother’s ear.
“What do you think? One more?”
“Okay, I’m going to stand on your shoulders,” she said. “Ready?”
Just like that, Fina hopped onto her brother’s shoulders. The bells on her shoes tinkled in Jute’s ears. Her long braid slapped against her back as the horse, Daisy, pranced in a circle.
“Hold my ankles, Jute, to make it look as if we’re human,” she whispered.
Cowboy Roy waved his hat and hollered.
“Way to go, buckaroos,” he said.
Daisy made one more turn around the corral before the twins sat on the horse again. They raised their arms into the air.
“Whoa, girl,” Jute said, and the horse slowed and stopped.
The old cowboy clapped.
“In all my years I have never ever seen any young kids do tricks like that,” he said. “Even when I was in the movies.”
One by one the twins slid to the ground.
“Thank you, Daisy,” Fina told the horse.
“Yes, thanks,” Jute said.