The Jinn by Tracy Walsh
She’s such a drama queen, my sister-in-law. Loves to be centre of attention. I remember when me and my brother were kids, we were inseparable. He never minded when his friends laughed at him for playing with his little sister. But then Sumaira arrived and everything changed. They’ve been married a year but they still live here at my parents’ house – hard to afford a place of your own nowadays.
A few raised eyebrows lately, among the aunties, about there being no sign of a baby yet. Well, I overheard a few months ago that Sumaira had been pregnant but had an early miscarriage. I think they started trying again but no luck.
Then Sumaira started to behave very oddly. She was afraid to be left alone in the house. She said there was a Jinn, an evil spirit, after her. One of my uncles was called in to help. He’s dealt with this sort of thing before. He spent hours roaming the house, checking every room. I listened behind the door when he reported back to my parents. “There is no Jinn in this house.” I was impressed – I thought he might have put on a show to impress the family, claiming credit for ridding us of the evil spirit. But no, he suggested in hushed tones that Sumaira should be taken to the doctor.
They took her next day and returned without her. They said she’d gone to stay with an auntie but later I heard them discussing hospital visiting times. As days turned into weeks the discussions turned to divorce or the possibility of annulment. After all, this sort of thing doesn’t happen in our family. It seems she’s gone for good.
Next time I get the house to myself I need to retrieve my spare mobile phone. The one I hid in the airing cupboard. The one I would ring three of four times whenever Sumaira was alone in the house. The one with the crying baby ringtone.