Younger daughter Emani, never took the time to primp. Not that she could if she wanted to. Older sister Ada was always there, in front of the mirror, fixing her hair, adjusting her sari. Jeweled necklaces draped Ada’s perfect slender throat. Intricately woven strands of gold encircled her wrists and sparkling gemstone flowers dangled from her ears. Ada’s face was a vision of beauty and perfection, its expression absolutely calm with an enchanting hint of slight smile that danced about her eyes.
That was how Ghostie came upon the two Ada at the mirror and Emani scurrying at her feet, like a little mouse picking up Ada’s discarded scarves to put away carefully for her beloved older sister.
In another room nearby Ghostie found the parents discussing Ada’s wedding. They had interviewed suitor after suitor to find this one. He was younger and not as rich as the others, but he came from a noble family and had the best manners. Upon first sight of Ada, he had been struck speechless and the parents were certain that he would worship her as they did and keep her safe. For all of her life they had made certain to keep her, their jewel, hidden safe from any evil.
Now they discussed her dowry, the parents felt they must give her everything they had. They were old, they didn’t need much. They would buy every strand of gold, every jewel, for their darling, Ada. Listening, Ghostie wondered, what about Emani? What would they use for her dowry? Looking deeper into their thoughts Ghostie saw that they did not think of Emani as pretty at all, they planned no marriage in her future. Instead Emani was to care for them in old age, a spinster.
Looking back at the girls, Ghostie saw little difference at all in their physical looks, it was their manner that was different. Ada was supercilious as she admired her own reflection delicately primping for her own pleasure. Emani was humble, bent over putting things away for her sister. Yet the way she did it betrayed a hidden grace. Each time she put away one of her sister’s belongings, Emani placed it with a reverence that showed how much she loved Ada.
At last the girls and parents lay down and went to sleep, Ghostie sat by a window wondering how she could help this family see the error of their ways. None of them had shown any ability to see her as she watched them. Still Ghostie knew her Lord always had a purpose for her. There must be something she was to do.
It was not long before she saw him. A demon with blue skin appeared in the room and looked down upon Ada. Ghostie could sense no malice, he seemed curious more than anything but as he looked upon her, Ada coughed and clutched her throat as if she was choking. Ghostie jumped up and leaped to stop him, for she saw that he desired her and was powerful enough to take what he wished. But she found her way barred by his black skinned servants. She had not noticed them, hidden in the shadows. Strange, Ghostie wondered, I sense no evil nor malice, rather the air hangs thick with the feel of . . . Justice. There was nothing she could do, Ghostie realized, if justice was being done, she had no power to stop the blue demon.
As Ada writhed dying upon the floor. Emani awoke, saw the demon and begged him to take her in place of her sister. Unmoved he shook his head, but observing her righteousness he placed a knife in Emani’s hand. Was it to kill her sister or to stike at him? Ghostie wondered, but realized too late. It was for her, Emani, if she wished she could kill herself and remain her sister’s servant in the afterlife. For a moment Emani looked at the blade and wondered what she should do. For a moment she imagined that when her parents found their beautiful daughter dead, would they be glad to still have the younger sister alive? No, she knew in her heart they would be just as desolate and would blame the younger sister for living, if they remembered her at all. They had told her so many times she was not pretty enough to be loved.
So Emani plunged the knife into her chest and died beside her rasping sister. Ada’s eyes filled with tears to realize her sister had killed herself rather than live without her. And as she cried over the body, Ada realized she could breath again. Looking down Ghostie saw one of her gemstone earrings drop out of her mouth. Then Ada looked up helplessly at the blue demon. He picked up the dead sister and shook her soul free. It was dark and black like his servants and a chain bound her left ankle to him. The blue demon and his servants bowed and went to the window to depart. But as he stepped upon the sill the Ada ran and grabbed her sister’s soul. Together the blue demon carried them both to his palace that they might spend the rest of their days in his gardens . . .
(to be continued)