From the Inside Flap
I was in a strange room -- it looked likea palace but the walls and the floor were white. I knew they were made of icebut I didn't feel any coldness.
On the contrary, my blood was burning, asif I had run miles or drunk a few glasses of wine. The rooms in this palacewere empty and yet I was looking for someone or something ...
I turned left down the hallway and then Isaw her -- waiting for me at the end, her head lifted provocatively -- IslaKelly. I ran toward her but she turned downthe hall and I lost sight of her.
I ran again and finally caught a glimpseof her, just as she went through a door that quickly closed behind her. I triedto turn the handle but it was locked. I was banging on it desperately when Iheard a strange melody and the door opened on its own.
Surprised, I stepped into a small room.Isla Kelly was there, standing next to something like a desk. For a moment Iwondered what the hell I was doing there.
"Genie," she said and offered her hand tome.
As if against my own will, I drew nearerand took her hand. I felt her breath on my face.
"Come to me!" she said. "Don't you wantme?" She ran her fingers over my face and neck. I froze on the spot -- I didn'tknow what to do. On one hand, I really wanted her, but on the other...
"The Wizard Code of Conduct doesn't allowus to mingle with mortals," I muttered.
Isla was looking at me with eyes full ofyearning. It took me a great deal of self-control to restrain myself.
"I might be suspended and my magical powerstaken away if I violate it." I remembered what Halroy from the Mortal MindIntervention Department had once told me -- how one of his clients had filed acomplaint with the Commission and Halroy's contract had been terminated.
"Ah, my sillyGenie. Who will find out? This will be onlybetween you and me." She pressed her body tightly against meand hugged me.
"No way -- The International Commission of Wizards constantlywatches every one of us..."
Laughter interrupted my thoughts and senta chill down my spine. I turned around and saw someone sitting behind the desk.It was a woman wearing a formal dress. There was something magnificent and atthe same time horrible about her presence and I was instantly repelled.
"The International Commission of Wizards doesn't have to find out, as long as you signthis agreement." A piece of paper suddenly appeared in the woman's hand and sheplaced it on the desk.
"What is it?"
Isla wrapped her arms around my neck andwhispered in my ear,
"Just sign and we can be together."
She was so close to me that I could feelher heart beating against my chest. This time I couldn't restrain myself andbegan kissing her wildly with all the passion and feelings I had been suppressingso far.
"Hmm-mm," the unknown woman said, "Idon't want to interrupt you, lovebirds, but I need a signature."
With great difficulty, I turned my eyes backto her -- the sheet of paper was just an inch away from me. Like in a trance, I walked closer to the desk and took the quill fromthe stranger's outstretched hand.
"Where do I sign?"
She pointed at the spot silently and Iwas about to put my signature when I suddenly remembered something.
"Wait a minute! Why exactly am Isigning?"
Isla came up to me impatiently.
"To be with me, to break free from thetutelage of the InternationalCommission of Wizards; don't you remember?" She stroked my arm and thetouch of her skin made me dizzy. I gripped the quill firmly but instantly aquestion came to my mind.
"And who the hell are you?" I asked the unknownwoman.
"Who am I?" she said with a smile on herlips. "I am a humanitarian. I love to help my fellow beings. All of them."
"That doesn't mean anything to me. So,again, who are you?"
The stranger narrowed her eyes and saidthrough clenched teeth, "I am a friend of Isla."
"Ah!" This answer seemed sufficient to meso I leaned again to sign the contract. Just before the tip of the quilltouched the paper, I heard a clap of wings and looked up. Ezemalda's owl wasflying straight at me.
"Oh no! What now?" the stranger hissed.
Isla grabbed my hand and tried to make mesign but I pushed her away. She didn't seem so attractive to me anymore.Ezemalda's owl landed on my shoulder and dropped a small bottle in my hand.
As soon as I took it the stranger shouted,"No-oo!"
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