I rub the gris-gris between my forefinger and thumb, tugging on its leather thong, holding the klämdagar in my other hand. The Swede in me amused at the manipulations of language. The dagger has clams glued to it with djinn blood, language twisted from its original meaning -- squeeze day.
Dusk settles over Timbuktu's walls. The few hundred of us remaining pray, reciting the verses the marabout taught us. Djinn devils dance across the desert, rebounding off the salt slab wall. Our Qur’ānic chants fill the void. Hope forcing us to believe. Otherwise, we'd go mad.
Dip... slide... claw! Dip... slide... claw! The djinn resound like a drum circle. Our lips quiver. A wisp of djinn magic steals Haidara from the wall. Dip... slide... claw!
Dawn rises and the djinn retreat. Our numbers thin, I worry our days are numbered. Exhausted, I kiss the klämdagar and slump against the wall.