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The House of Sisters
By Imani Ingram

Once upon a time, in an urban tenement in Queens lived a beautiful ebony skinned girl named Aisha who was a straight A student in high school. She lived with her grandmother who was quite quarrelsome and never appreciated anything that Aisha did for her and always insulted her, calling her names like “slut.” In fact one would have almost thought that was Aisha’s name as that was always only how the misogynistic grandmother would refer to her as.

One day Aisha’s grandmother told her: “slut, you are too old to be living here. When I was 16, I was out on my own. So now it’s time that you do the same.” Aisha gathered her belongings and while sobbing softly, she left the apartment. She was not employed, nor did she have any other relatives with which she could stay with, plus she was still in high school. So in despair, she sat on a nearby bench and wept. As she wept, a sable-colored beautiful woman wearing black shades approaches Aisha and asks her why is she crying and Aisha tells the woman her story. The woman then tells Aisha that she has a place for her to stay. Aisha, in having no alternative options, agrees to come with the woman.

The woman drives them far from the Queens tenement into a place that seemed as if they were in another state as the environment that they drove in became increasingly more woodsy and remote. Aisha caught a glimpse of a black crow that seemed to be following them, all the while squawking as if it were talking to them. The woman said to Aisha, “crows are not always a symbol of death, and death just makes room from new creation.” “Who are you? Where do you come from?” asked Aisha. The woman answered “I am Busara. I come from a place in Africa that is very green and God is both male and female.”

At last they drove up to a neat but fairly grand sized house that was painted in several pleasantly contrasting shades of brown. Inside the house was sparsely decorated, yet very neat and clean with one long brown leather sofa, a black-framed coffee table and a wide screened T.V. There were four bedrooms that belonged to eight women. Busara brought Aisha in the bedroom of one of the sisters. All seven of the women were seated in a circle and dressed in ceremonial costumes and each had long dreaded hair and eyes with slanted pupils like those of a cat. They were engrossed in conversation in their ancient language but paused as Aisha and Busara entered.

Aisha began to feel quite uncomfortable in seeing these strange looking women. Busara removed her shades and she too had eyes with slanted pupils. Aisha exclaimed “who---what are you? Why are your eyes…” Busara explained “ We are djinun. We originated in a desert region 10,000 years ago but then traveled into the forested regions where we are now from. Come, we have been waiting for you. It is the day of your ceremony. We have waited three hundred years for your return.”

The women prepared her for her ceremony. They bathed her in an ancient elixur that dispels negative karma and evil spirits. They next covered her entire body in white chalk mixed with flower and shea butter and then wrapped her in a bright white garment. They oiled and braided her hair and decorated it with beads. Aisha was then brought down into the cellar which has many green plants and an alter of many different gods and goddesses, like Oshun, Elegba, and Yemaya.

In front of the altar, one of the women acting as priestess asks Aisha “ Are you ready to become the wife and daughter to Busara daughter of Aret?” Aisha answered yes. So the two women were wed and the house of sisters was complete.

Aisha’s grandmother was a very wicked woman who hated the idea of Aisha living a happy contented life. She went to a bokor and paid him to cast spells of misfortune upon Aisha. The sisters however were wise and all knowing. They came together and binded their powers and retracted the spell back to the bokor who died violently and instantly with his flesh being burned away.

One day Busara and her sisters had to go out. But before departing, Busara told Aisha, “do not let anyone in, no matter what and if you become too frightened, pray to Elegba to remove all obstacles.” Not long after the women were gone that a homeless woman came to the door begging for food. Aisha remembered what Busara told her and so told did not let the homeless woman in, saying that the kitchen was empty and she has no money to go grocery shopping. But the homeless woman persisted and gradually became enraged and threatened Aisha that if she did not let her in she would kill her by throwing a knife through the window aimed for her heart. But the house was magically protected and the windows and doors were locked securely. So the homeless woman chanted a powerful incantation that compelled all of the spirits and wild things of the earth to revolt. The house was enveloped in a blue haze and shook violently. Aisha, rushed down into the cellar and to the alter and prayed to Elegba. Elegba “mounted” her and directed her on what to do.

Aisha took one of his cigars and a bottle of rum. Aisha puffed the smoke all around the windows and doors and she poured the rum underneath the door so that it seeped through to the outside.

The homeless woman said “rum let me enter” the rum said “ I am spilled and stretched out across the earth so no I cannot.” The homeless woman went to the windows and said “smoke let me pass through.” The smoke said “ I have been waifed to Heaven, so no I cannot.” The sisters on returning saw what was going on. Busara took out a dagger and threw it at the homeless woman’s heart and she fell down dead. She next called on the crows to peck out her eyes. The blue haze disappeared and the homeless woman changed into Aisha’s grandmother. Aisha was never again bothered by any malicious forces and lived together the rest of her life with Busara and the sisters in that same house.

The end.