Men Djinn and Angels Short Stories

Lilith & Agaliarept

Lilith sprinted. Her slender ebony legs glistened from perspiration. She ran as if her life depended on how swiftly she lifted her bruised knees, how quickly she swung her scraped arms, and how accurately her bare feet met the uneven path. Dust kicked up behind her. Her muscular back, smooth and shiny, curved as she dodged a branch. She straightened and leaped over an imposing termite mound. As Lilith approached the garden perimeter, a wall of sequoias, just past the cattleyas awaited her. She inhaled dry air. Her lungs burned. She did not mind; for beyond the intimidating sequoias, freedom beckoned her.

She did not so foolishly expect the world beyond the sequoias to be as serene as the one she left behind. Such is the price for autonomy, she told herself. Lilith hoped to find more than a swirling firmament. She didn’t care if no more than a dark cave awaited. Regardless of consequence, she knew her escape was the right choice. More importantly, it was hers.

She quickly approached the trees ahead.  Something inside told her that if she passed them, she would find herself free from the tragedy she fled. When she reached them, Lilith hesitated. She glanced left and right. Her breath was heavy; she swallowed and tried to slow her breathing. The line of trees was a fortified wall as far as she could see. To make her escape she needed to find an opening between the tree trunks that was wide enough for her naked body to slip through. Lilith hoped to avoid scraping her back against the jagged bark. She did not want more pain. Why fear pain when freedom awaits?

Someone called her name. The voice echoed in her ears or her mind; Lilith did not know which. Was Adamu calling for her? The voice did not sound like him. Perhaps it was an angel, or maybe even a djinni. She remembered Adamu’s warning about angels and djinn on the other side of the trees. What if she answered? How would Adamu feel about that? Lilith’s desire to rebel against his every command swelled in her chest. She would speak if a djinni addressed her, but not now. She needed to find an opening in the sequoias. There was one on the left. Hoping it was wide enough, she pushed a leg through, then an arm and shoulder; next went her hips and head. She was through. She took a single step to the side and the ground gave way. Lilith plummeted down a slope. Sand and dirt met her tumbling body like hot blades.

By the time Lilith’s limp frame crashed at the slope’s bottom, she was a dusty, gravel-encrusted mass of tender skin and blood. The air was dry, and the sun seared, licking her wounds like a sandpaper tongue. The heat ate at her from above and beneath. When she stood, dust slid from her shoulders. Sand like hot coals set her soles ablaze. She surveyed the dry desert and tried to reconcile that it was her new home.

The urge to run left her. She needed shelter. Up ahead was a blinding light where rugged soil was dotted with flowered and spiked shrubs. “My beautiful yucca plants.”

Yeah, yucca. That’s better than what he would have called them.

Lilith felt empowered and would have given more names to desert life and terrain, but fatigue did not allow. She needed to escape the sun. Dark shadows from a rocky mountain range to the west lured her to its caves and promised salvation. She went. The sun crawled behind the mountains and spreading shadows embraced her with comforting arms. She reached the back wall in seven steps. Lilith sighed, her shoulders dropped, and she sat on the smooth floor. The rocky wall cooled her. She smiled and closed her eyes. This is what freedom feels like.

“I don’t blame you for running.”

Startled, Lilith looked around the dark caves and found nothing more than jagged rock-faced walls. Yet she heard an old man’s voice.

“He is a tyrant.”

A body of swirling smoke materialized in front of her. She smelled roses and mango tree blossoms. Her visitor took the form of a gentleman sitting with folded legs. A silky red robe draped his frame. Reptilian eyes peered under a skeletal forehead, and as the vision leaned forward, two thick ram-like horns emerged from the darkness on top of the head. The creature revealed his full face. The human-shaped nose and mouth monopolized her attention. When he stood, two sets of white wings unfurled. They sparkled, silvery and shimmering as if light fell on them. Lilith studied his scaled face and looked into his eyes; they were blue and moved like dancing flames of fire. Heat radiated from him as he moved closer to Lilith. “I will leave you now,” he said. “He would not wish you to speak with me.”

“Who are you?”

“Some call me the architect, the discoverer, Agaliarept, the keeper of secrets.”

“Are you an angel?”

“No.” He turned and walked to the mouth of the cave, fully exposing the four wings folded against his back. He slowly turned to face her. “I was there when they made you. I watched life come to you – there by the water. You were remarkable.”

She lowered her eyes in shame and examined her scarred skin. It had once been soft and smooth.

He moved one step closer. “You are so much more than flesh and blood. You will remain remarkable.” He waited for her eyes to meet his. “You do know he will find you.”

“He will try. I do not believe he will venture this far from the garden.”

“He’ll not need to venture.”

“Then how will he find me?”

“He’ll access your mind by way of your soul. He has spoken of your soul, hasn’t he?”


“When you so desire, the part of you that is not material seeks immaterial worlds. You are so wondrously made – multidimensional. You step from one realm to another so effortlessly. I can teach you to defend against him, if you wish.”

“Yes, of course.”

“I only ask a small favor in return.”

“What is that?”

He stood by her side and looked over her body. “I want to know all there is about you. You will allow me, and I will teach you many secrets.”

Lilith smiled. The thought of secrets hidden from Adamu appealed to her. “I will consent, if you agree to give secrets to me known not by Adamu.”


She stood.

Agaliarept eyed Lilith.  She became self-conscious and uncomfortable from how he studied her with probing curiosity.  “Take a deep breath,” he advised. “And close your eyes.”

She obeyed.

“Empty your mind of all thoughts.”

She obeyed again. Her mind cleared, and immediately showed her an amazing vision. Lilith had levitated beyond the cave, high above thousands of structures. She saw spiritual – bodies of men and women, some shaped like flames and others with angelic wings spread – as they glided through a maze of formations that reached high above. From below, the reddish clay ground emanated a glow that illuminated everything. Lilith sailed the skies, bypassing domes and pointed rooftops until she reached a mountain cliff. From her vantage point the fullness of the realm was unobstructed. Before her lay a panorama of angular-shaped structures, wide at the bottom and pointed at the top. They radiated golden lights.

From the north, a multitude of transparent winged creatures approached with incredible speed. With them came a mass of gleaming-eyed figures of fire. They carried lightning swords, javelins, and hammers. The whole host fell upon the inhabitants with alarming violence. Lilith watched as the structures collapsed and burned. Terra firma mushed into quicksand as it rose to swallow the flames and level structures. Then came a massive wave and everything had vanished under the water.

Just as suddenly as the image appeared to Lilith, it was gone. She gazed into Agaliarept’s eyes. He placed his warm hand against her head. A reluctant smile spread across his face as if the expression in her eyes confirmed that she had seen something.

“What were those things? They were like mountains not made from rocks, but—”

He spoke in a melancholy tone. “That was all my design. It is called a city. What you saw were buildings. They gave access to every sphere in the multiverse.” He hesitated, the sadness in his voice replaced by renewed hope. “That city was once here where you stand.” Agaliarept left the cave. He looked to the sky and spoke in a dreamy voice. “There are many realms, but this one contained wild, untamed energy that we designed into shapes and structures.”

“And it was destroyed?”

“Yes,” he acknowledged, turning to face her as she approached.

Lilith hesitated at the change in his appearance. His chest swelled and he made a fist.

            “It was destroyed by the light creatures. You call them angels. Their watchers – djinn, made like we are, of fire, with free will – they turned against us.”

Lilith lowered her eyes and her head followed. “I’m sorry, for you.”

“They blocked us from our birthplace. The firmament surrounds and traps us here.” He turned and looked to the sky again. “I am endowed with the power to create but am unable to use that power.” His anger seemed to fade into remorse. “This is my torture.”

She empathized as she gazed at the constellations. Normally, Adamu would already have her pinned to the ground, on her back. Despite her protests, he’d have it no other way. She empathized with Agaliarept’s need to express. She had similar needs.

Agaliarept smiled gently and touched her shoulder. “No one knows torture as well as you.”

She forced a smile and lowered her eyes.

“Our world was thrown into chaos, a void of vapor and water, until this world, all that you see, was made over it. Then, to insult us, a tyrant was put here to rule it.” He squatted and reached out to touch the soil. His hand disappear into the earth and return empty. “This earth was made of a matter that we cannot manipulate. We may not rebuild our city.”

Lilith read his sorrow.  She squatted beside him. “Perhaps you can rebuild in another place.”

He continued reaching his hand into the soil and pulling it out empty. He whispered something in a language she did not understand.

“With so many realms and worlds, why could you not rebuild elsewhere?”

“Rebuilding is possible. We must first find energy to harvest.” He pulled his gaze from the soil to peer into the darkness. His voice grew as soft as the wind in the trees. “The nulls and nodes we used before will work to a point, but we need something more binding.” He turned to her. “I find your energy both odd and interesting. When you entered the cave, I felt it – strong and unbreakable. I am not certain, but I believe your will is the source. Your desire to escape generates an electrifying energy.”

“If I could give my energy to you, I’d love to see your city.”

He tapped her knee with his hot scaly hands. “You are very generous, but it will change you.” He stood. “Perhaps kill you.”

“What is kill?” she asked.

“It means death, involuntary death.” He turned away from her. “I don’t imagine you know what death is. You were made to live forever.” He waved his hand, and the smoke encircling his feet rose. The mist grew so dense around him. The smoke smelled of roses and mango tree blossoms. The smell reminded Lilith of everything she loved about the garden. She inhaled deeply and imagined Agaliarept’s melancholy. Sadness and pity swelled inside her.

“Death is a change,” he continued. “The energy inside you leaves only the shell of your existence. That shell, too, will change, but much slower. In the end, all returns to the energy that formed it.”

Lilith stepped away from the swirling vapor. Her heart raced.

Agaliarept moved with her. She stepped further away, moving towards the cave. “Perhaps you should change?” His voice beckoned boldly now. “Perhaps you have already given up your humanity. You’re already free from Adamu’s imposed life and dogma. Perhaps you can build the city in both realms.” His excitement was palpable.

Lilith kept her distance. The concept of surrendering her humanity was far beyond the scope of any preconception.

Agaliarept continued. “As one of us, you can be a bridge between worlds. You may procreate progeny to manipulate both realms simultaneously, and maybe even merge them. What do you think of that?”

“I don’t know if I understand. I cannot procreate without Adamu, and I do not desire to surrender to him.”

“Yes,” he agreed. “You should not surrender to him. In fact, you should have the power to procreate as you wish.” His voice softened. “I can help you with that.”


“I am privileged to a word. The same word used by the Creator to form the worlds. I will give you the word. It will change you into something less crude than the dirt you’re made with.” He stepped closer through the smoke and looked at her as if he searched for something in her face. “Yes. You will be more ethereal than you are now. Then, you may procreate without Adamu.”

She was uncertain. “Will it kill me?”

“No.” He paused. “Not if I give you the word. But you will change into something less human – something more powerful.”

His proposal frightened her. Until now, her choices had been reversible. She could, at any time, leave the cave and traverse the barren desert back to Adamu. However, if she accepted Agaliarept’s offer there was no turning back. She relished the thought of procreating without Adamu. He had said she was obliged to bear children just as the animals and even the djinn did.

“I would break his rule,” Lilith whispered. “Everything must bear of its own kind.” She crossed her arms rebelliously across her chest. That rule. A perfect symbol of my servitude. Having the power to create and give names to objects would solidify her independence and autonomy. She imagined her independence, savoring the possibility of bearing children. If Adamu gave names to animals and objects, she would name her children. Her daughters would name theirs as well, she imagined.

This time, Agaliarept stepped away and the smoke dissipated. “You need time to think it over,” he said. “Perhaps you must first confront Adamu. When he finds you, be certain that you have the advantage. Place your consciousness in the sands of formation. Whatever you wish to have in your defense or aggression will be provided.”

* * * * *

The sands of formation stretched into the horizon like a golden lake. Although motionless, it was alive with energy and a consciousness that beckoned her to command it. She wanted to oblige but had no ideas to manifest. As suddenly as she won this creative empowerment, her mind was empty. Behind her was a lone palm tree – the only visible object in either direction. She looked to the empty, blue sky. The light around her simply existed, dancing in the distance. Lilith was neither asleep nor awake and assumed her soul had been either pulled away into an alternate reality, or that she looked again into Agaliarept’s memories.

The answer came suddenly to her in a voice that awakened her deepest fears. “You are in no dream.” The sound came from behind her – it was Adamu’s voice. “Neither are you in Agaliarept’s mind.”

She swung around. His dark back leaned against the tree’s opposite side. She remembered the calm arrogance in his decorum. She remembered Agaliarept’s warning that Adamu would reach into her soul. She stepped away, preparing to run, but something compelled her to stay. Confronting him was evidence of her liberation from him. She stepped toward him. “How did you get here? In my mind?”

“I am not in your mind. The better question is how did you get here?” He turned to look at her.

“I will not come back to you.” She stepped back. Retreating was instinctive, but she resisted. “I will not run from you either.”

“Lilith,” he said. His voice rang with compassion. “You must return.”

“I will not return or submit to your tyranny.”

“You were made for me.” He circled the tree, his shoulder still against it.

“I was made simply to exist.” She circled in the opposite direction, content with keeping the tree between them. “I was made with free choice, of the same earth as you with an equal inclination to define my existence. There is no hierarchy among us.”

“This idea of equality is your downfall. Your desire to be equal defines your limitations.” He moved faster. She did the same. His voice grew louder. “The flaw in your belief is that you define independence as the choice to be opposite from me. This is the reasoning of the djinn. Only they view duality as opposite and opposing forces.” He stopped.

She stopped. The urge to run grew stronger.

“There is more to duality if only you would submit. I will teach you.”

“Submit?” The word infuriated her and the rage that surged through her body made her hands hot. She was not sure how the grimy sand had reached her hands, but it moved between her fingers, and hardened in her palms, scratching her impulse to throw it. “I’ll not submit to patriarchy.”

Adamu stepped aside as the objects flew past him. He looked at the two rocks that landed in the sand. “Stones as weapons,” he mumbled.

The stones dissolved into the sand. Adamu raised an eyebrow as he stepped toward her. She hated the arrogant look in his eyes – the eyes she once admired. She circled the tree, hoping to keep it between them.

“I was made to protect. It’s my duty to manage.” His voice held signs of impatience. “I must organize a way of life that guarantees your safety.”

She opened her hands, palms facing the sand. She wanted more rocks.

Adamu walked slowly, his eyes on her open hands. “Since you have been away from my protection, you have been manipulated. You are in danger.” His tone was artificially soft. His voice patronized her. “You were not made for violence or with the ingenuity to protect yourself. When danger comes, you must defer to me and my conventions.”

“I only need to protect myself from you.” Fury swelled in her chest. With clenched teeth, she stepped forward and imagined a different weapon. It was a staff – long and solid, made from cherry wood. She lunged at Adamu, but he dodged. Again, Lilith swung her arms wildly, but to her surprise, Adamu had also created a staff from the sand, identical to the one she held.

“The staff as a weapon.” His voice sounded patronizing. “Another invention of my own.”

She understood his observable theory. As soon as she desired to use the sand to create an original weapon she was lost. She swung again, but Adamu blocked her overhead attack. Then he countered, spinning to the left, extending his arm. His staff picked up incredible speed and momentum, stopping only after it lodged in the small of her back. The strike snatched all Lilith’s strength. Her legs buckled, and she dropped to one knee.

He circled around her, the staff dragging in the sand. “I know Agaliarept has spoken to you. I know what he has revealed to you. The city. The buildings. It is not good. That world was destroyed and this one will meet the same fate if we build cities and populate them with our progeny.”

With his weapon, he had made a perfect circle in the sand around Lilith. The sand vibrated beneath her knee. It screamed for her to create. She rose to her feet and imagined the circle was her protection. She gazed at him spitefully. The barrier in her imagination materialized into a wall over the circle. The sand rose and circled her. The wall illuminated and emitted a transparent burgundy vapor.

She did not hide her anger when she spoke. “I will change this circle into a symbol of this moment. It will be my symbol – my own spiritual power. Safety with tyranny is not safety.”

Adamu’s face wrinkled but his eyes remained inquisitive. He cautiously approached the vapor. “What magic is this?”

She snarled at him. “It will replace your safety.” She paced inside the circle. Her black hair shaded her eyes as she peered through it at him. She gritted her teeth. Their eyes met. “This circle is the wholeness of my independence and unity to my progeny.”


She laughed. “You cannot procreate without me, but I can do so without you.”

He stepped closer to the barrier, appearing perturbed as it darkened with his approach. He reached out with the staff, stabbing it through the vapor, but as it penetrated it dissolved, reverting to sand.

“Lilith,” he called out to her. “If you place this barrier between us, it will not go away. If you do what you intend, I cannot protect you.” He frowned, his nostrils flaring, and he yelled, “You will lose your humanity!”

Calmness washed over her as she realized that she had defeated him. She moved the hair from her eyes. “I cannot lose what I freely give away.”

* * * * *

Darkness overtook her vision. When she opened her eyes, her body was inside the cave surrounded by gentle heat and a flowery aroma. Agaliarept was there. “You were right. He came for me.”

“And you agreed to return?”

“No. I agreed to help you build your city in this realm and to populate it with my progeny.”

Agaliarept expanded his four wings and stood at the mouth of the cave. The energy that surrounded him brightened the cave’s interior. Shadows were taking shape. Smoke stretched like pale arms from the roof of the cave and took various forms – some hideous and others endowed with charm and beauty.

“You will be a brazen giant,” he promised. “A mighty female with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning and whose name will be Mother of Exiles.”

His words surged through her body. Animals were crawling into the cave past him – armadillos, spiny mice, and scorpions. Bats entered the cave and clung to the rocks. Then she realized her importance. No longer am I his domestic pet, she thought about her previous life with Adamu.

“From your beacon-hand will glow worldwide welcome.”

An assortment of creatures entered the cave, some crawling, others slithering. These were the creatures who were not welcomed in the garden. Some of them were not creatures at all. They were hinn, djinn in animal form. They did not frighten her. Instead, she felt one with them. She understood that they were the rejected and, like her, they wanted to belong. Agaliarept’s words began to make sense to her. The Mother of Exiles. She liked the sound of that.

She walked slowly toward him, whispering, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. I will be their mother, and mistress. I will birth your kingdom.”

She stood beside him and glanced into the sky. The moonlight blanketed the barren land. She realized that it would be the last time she saw through human lenses. She anticipated receipt of Agaliarept’s power. She expected change, knowing she would be neither human or djinni. Neither mattered to her because she was free.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s