Thousands of years after Aladdin's reign, his relative, Al Dinn, gets swept away from his normal life, and gets swept into a modern day version of Aladdin. A new Aladdin. New Cave. New villian. Sam...
First, his eyes traveled to an elder man lying on a soft pallet. Aladdin, the Sultan of Agrabah. He was eighty-six years old, and, in his weakened condition, very close to death. A woman, his wife, Jasmine, lay beside him. She had kind, brown eyes, and her gray hair surrounded her wrinkled face. At eighty-four, she was soon to die. Next, his eyes traveled to a young woman and man standing gravely above the dying couple. I was their daughter, Saleen, and her husband, Karien. Karien was soon to be the Sultan, and Saleen, the Sultana, as Jasmine had been.
The last being in the room was not human. He was immortal, and although he was normally a joker, his blue face showed great sadness. It was the Genie. The death of Aladdin and Jasmine would be especially hard for him, because he could live forever...and once they were gone, he would go on, and on, and on...never seeing them again.
Aladdin slowly, painfully, lifted himself onto his elbows. "So tell us," he said softly, "What is the prophecy? What is so important?"
The prophet, Ishard, began to speak in low, gravelly tones. "The spirits have shown me a vision. For many years, your country will prosper after your deaths. But then, evil will strike. Your Genie...will be taken back into bondage, and a new Cave of Wonders will be formed. He will be imprisoned there. A man full of evil and hatred will attack...only one will be able to save Agrabah...one whose worth lies far within...the diamond in the rough...the diamond in the rough...the diamond in the rough...the diamond..."
Seventeen year old Alvin Dinn shot upright in his bed, the prophet's words still ringing in his ears. "The diamond in the rough."
That dream...again? This was the fourth night in a row. Always the same old man and woman, the same young man and woman, the same prophet, and the same...Genie? This was getting ridiculous! Before he could ponder anymore, he heard a knock on his bedroom door. "Al? Honey, are you ready? It's almost time for school."
Alvin, or Al, as he preferred being called, jumped up, forgetting all about the dream. "What? Mom, I just woke up! I guess my alarm clock wasn't working!"
"Well, hurry and get ready," Mrs. Dinn said sternly in her slight accent. When she was four years old, she had immigrated with her family to the United States from Saudi Arabia. Being born there, she had dark skin, and black hair and eyes. Mr. Dinn, Al's father, who had died just recently of cancer, had been from Saudi Arabia as well. Although he had been born in California, Al looked just as Arabian as his parents, with his jet black hair, brown eyes, and tan skin. He often joked that he was "Saudi Arabian American", then would comment on what a mouthful that was.
He was quite popular in his school. He had a beautiful girlfriend, Jessica. They were shoo-ins to be the homecoming winners this year. Al took a deep breath. His senior year. One more year, and he would be free of school...forever.
Al quickly ran downstairs after getting dressed. "Hey, Ma," he said, pecking her on the cheek. He gave his younger sister, Jordan, who was eleven years old, a quick pat on the head. He raced out of the large home and jumped into his dark blue Mercedes.
He was met by his large group of friends upon arriving at school. "Hey, Al," Rick said, pounding him on the back. "What's up, bro?"
"Hey, babe," Jessica said. Al kissed her, ignoring the cat-calls and whistles from his friends.
His first class of the day was World History. His teacher, Mr. Gene, got up and began to speak excitedly. "Class, today, we're talking about Saudi Arabia, and its history. Mr. Dinn, please stand up." Flushing, Al stood. "I take it your family is from Saudi Arabia, yes?"
Tossing his hair, Al grinned, noticing several hot girls looking right at him. "That's right, Mr. G. You see, my Mom-"
"Yes, yes. Have you learned much about your culture?"
"You...don't know." It wasn't a question.
"Look, all I know is that I'm related to some old, dead king."
"You mean, Sultan. Do you happen to know which one?"
"No. No offense, Teach, but...ah...I don't think getting to know your culture is all that important."
"Hm. Well...Mr. Dinn, please take your seat. Today, we will be talking about the Arabian Empire at its greatest, under rule of the greatest Sultan of all time...Sultan Aladdin, although," he glanced at Al meaningfully, "it was said that his close friends called him...'Al'." Several people snickered. Al didn't respond. The dream was coming back to him. The old man...Aladdin? Was it just a coincidence? Or was there something behind all of this? His teacher frowned, and went on. "Little is known about his early life. We do know that he was born to a poor mother. His father disappeared when he was born. His mother died not long after his birth. He wandered the streets for eighteen years, until he met and fell in love with the beautiful Princess, her name was Jasmine." Jasmine? The old lady in my dream?
"It is said that he suffered many trials in his quest to win her hand. No one could explain how he came to woo her, dressed as a prince. Some say he had a rich relative. Some say he found a cave with riches beyond imagination. But the most popular legend is that he found a genie that gave him three wishes." The genie, from my dream! This is getting too weird!
"He fought against evil for years. This is where fact meets legend. According to legend, he acquired many powerful, magical enemies, the most famous of which were named Jafar, whom he defeated to marry the princess, and Mozenwrath, an insane, yet totally brilliant, young sorcerer."
The bell then rang, and the students filed out of the classroom. Al spent the rest of the day pondering over the strange events of the day.
As he was going to his car, he felt as if someone was watching him. He shook off the eerie feeling and began to unlock his Mercedes. That's when he felt a gun pressed into his back and a harsh, accented voice hiss in his ear. "Get in the car. Don't do anything you'll regret."
Fear filled Al, and he asked, "Who are you?"
"Never mind who I am. Get in the car before I blow your brains out. Make one false move, and you can kiss breathing good-bye."