Trishna nodded with a smile, "Yes Mem Sahib," she said with a small smile. "Your family will not be too sad. They will bury you and continue with their life as they have."
"Now, Trishna," the older woman's voice chided. "You know that they live around the world. You know that they can't be here every minute of every day." as she struggled to sit up, dusky, strong arms surrounded Mrs. Dorset's pale weak body and straightened the weak woman up. "They call twice a week, they send pictures," her wide gesture to the pictures taped up around the room only stopped when the IV cord pulled tight. "They visit for Christmas, my birthday, and at least one other time a year. They consult with my doctor just as often as they contact me. They care."
"But they aren't here," Trishna said resettling the pillows around her charge. "In my culture -"
"Your culture is dead genie."
"Same thing," the old woman said with a shrug and a smile. "And you have said so yourself. Your culture died a thousand years and more ago, unless those stories you told me as a little girl were all a pack of lies."
"They weren't. My tribe was the last, and we were overcome by one of the magnificent pre-historic empires that took over the world," Trishna said with a smile as she squeezed the older woman's hand.
"Which one?" the brown eyes were bright, still snapping with intelligence as the old lady met the blue eyes of the raven-haired nurse.
"I'm not telling you my Lady," Trishna said, smoothing down the blankets, and pausing when her patron's face scrunched up in pain. She glanced at the morphine drip, "Why don't you use it?"
"Why don't you take my pain away?"
"Because if I do that too often your doctors will wonder why you are not using the morphine drip, nor passing out from the pain."
"So take my pain away, and make the morphine go somewhere else as well," the tiny woman said.
"Of course Mrs. Dorset," Trishna said moving closer to the old woman's head. Smoothing a hand down the woman's head she thought back on all the years she had spent with Mary Dorset. Given to the girl in a small trinket of a necklace at the age of five while traveling in the middle east with her family had been the last act of her previous owner, a man who finally realized the futility of trying to wish for things that his wish granter continued to warn him against. Miss Mary's first wish had been to restore the man to his pre-djinn days, and to erase his memory. Mary Dorset had always been a shrewd woman. Trishna did not know where she would end up when the woman died.
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Trishna was shoved aside as the doctor's and actual nurses rushed in to try to save their patient. Trishna stepped out in the hall. With a shaking hand, she pulled her cell phone from the pocket on her scrubs. "Mr. Dorset? Hello. Yes, it is Nurse Smith. I'm calling to tell you that your mother's heart has stopped. I don't think they will be able to revive her this time." She stared into the hospital room of her beloved friend, listening to the man's momentary grief stricken reaction silently. Before the ties could unbind from her now dead bond, she continued, "Please Mr. Dorset. Mary wouldn't have wanted you to ... to stop everything. She would want you to go on, happily, remembering the good times with her." the djinn said giving a little tug on his emotions.
"You're right," he said, stiltedly. "I'll see to the arrangements and my family, and I will be there right away." Trishna nodded as the doctors emerged from the hospital room. She knew that the stilted, nearly robotic voice would continue as part of his mind continued through the grieving process. It would fade as his life returned to normal. He would remember being saddened by his mother's death, but more often remember her happily, just as Mary wanted.
A few days later, Mr. Wainwright stood at the head of the large dining table in the old, turn of the century mansion. "To my family, who travels the world, and doesn't want to settle down, I leave the majority of my fortune," the lawyer looked over to the son, his wife, and their three children with a small smile. Mr. Dorset's smile trembled in return, but he nodded, and the lawyer continued.
"The mansion I leave to the Daughters of the Civil War for the museum in the area which they have always desired," a blue-haired matron nodded regally, wiping her dry eyes with a hand made handkerchief. The lawyer met her eyes for a moment, and then continued.
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Trish looked up startled, not moving. Mr. Wainwright moved the box closer to her, and Trishna's eyes refocused on the small black velvet box. With trembling hands, she reached out and took it from the executor of Mary Dorset's will. Snapping it open, Trishna felt the ties that bound her to the ring grow tighter. She would never be free of it. Simultaneously, she felt the ties from the ring to the human who should have owned it fade, trailing out into the ether. Anyone, anything that could sense such things would hunt for the last free djinn. Trishna would not be safe until she found someone to bind the other end to.