“Probed” is a science fiction concept with a Nigerian setting about five extraordinary children trying to live ordinary lives. Subsequent chapters will be released every Tuesday each week. I hope you enjoy reading the story as much as I love writing it!
“Beautiful… you look lovely darling!”
Nneka let out a shy grin at her mother, who squealed in delight at how good her daughter looked in the bottle-green gown she had bought for her. The senior secondary class was having a Christmas dinner and Nneka was excited about it. Mustapha didn’t care much for the dinner, but he secretly wasn’t comfortable with the idea of having his sister go for a night event all by herself so he decided to go with.
Muyiwa had offered to drop them off, and promised to pick them up by 9pm when the dinner was scheduled to end. Nneka held her brother tightly as they walked in, her heart thumping with excitement and her knees weak from nervousness. When she saw her friends from class though, she relaxed and let go of her brother after he gave her an approving nod. Being relieved of his sister he went straight to the buffet table to load his place before scouting for a perfect place to get away from the crowd but within range so he could keep an eye out for mama.
“Nneka look who’s heading this way.” Bisi said in a low voice, pinching her arm. Nneka looked away from Amaka briefly and froze as soon as her eyes met his. Folarin Adetunji was in the commercial class. He was of average height and very handsome, with light skin and soft curly hair that could be attributed from the fact that his mother was Austrian. Nneka had a massive crush on him, though she would deny it everytime any of her friends talked about it.
“Folarin what’s up?” Amaka said casually, giving him a small hug. She was more familiar with him than the others, though she genuinely had no interest in him. Nneka groaned inwardly. She could never be that comfortable around him. She focused on wriggling her toes instead.
“You girls look good! Where are Jimi and Samuel hiding?” He asked in a taunting voice, referring to Bisi and Amaka’s boyfriends. Bisi gave him a playful shove and they all laughed. Suddenly Folabi asked to see Amaka and Bisi privately, and by the time Nneka looked up to see why they were taking so long, it was just her and Folarin standing by the window where she was leaning. She swallowed a little loudly and prayed hard that he didn’t notice her trembling hands.
“You look nice.” He said with a smile. She returned it nervously. She wasn’t looking forward to striking a conversation with him. He only noticed her enough to talk to her because of the Naiad complex, and engaging in conversation with him would only reel him in further. She sighed inwardly. If only there was a way to get him out of the complex without telling him the actual truth.
“I can’t believe I finally get the opportunity to talk to you.” He said after an awkward moment of silence. “Whenever I see you it’s so hard for me not to stare, and I’m pretty sure it’s the same for almost all the guys in our set, if not all. I had to work up a lot of courage to be able to talk to you like this. Asides that Ovie dude, you never seem to talk to anyone. And even Ovie can’t get you to talk with any guy.”
The Naiad complex. It makes you the object of admiration; a symbol of beauty only admired from afar. You seem aloof, unreachable— unobtainable even —to your admirers, who would long for you, and even strategize on how to get you, but would never summon the courage to put their plans to action; only going as far as you allow. Even the strongest man was susceptible to the allure.
“Too bad he relocated the United States — your closeness with him made him pretty popular.” Nneka smiled. She did miss Ovie. She never told him her secret, though he shared his with her. He was indeed gay. But she pretended that she had no idea, because he did a good job hiding it from everyone, and she didn’t want him getting self conscious about it. Despite that and her countless fights with him for attempting to set her up with a guy they were pretty close.
Nneka didn’t realize how easily she could relate with Folarin. He was funny, and was very good at making interesting conversation.
“Could we… go somewhere less crowded?”
Mustapha dug into his fifth item off the table: a jam doughnut. He stared at the snack lovingly before taking a huge bite. “Jeez! You can eat o!”
Mustapha looked up from his doughnut irritably to find Shade in front of him with her hands on her hips, shaking her head disapprovingly. Mustapha gave her a once over. “And you’re so lean! Where is the food going?”
“What do you want?” Shade shook her head again.
“You’re so rude. You can’t even pay a compliment. Say I look nice or something.”
“Why?” “Cause that’s what polite people do.”
“But you just said I was rude. To be rude means you are not polite.”
“Of course I know what being rude is. If I didn’t I wouldn’t use the word.”
“People use words without knowing their meaning all the time.” Shade rolled her eyes and hissed at him. “I told you not to talk to me.”
“And I have to listen to you why? I do whatever I want.” She said, folding her arms.
“Go away. I’m busy.” Mustapha said gruffly. “Don’t you have friends or something?”
“Busy doing what? Eating doughnut?”
“Yes.” He said unashamedly despite her condescending tone and proceeded to scan the crowd, but there was no trace of Nneka in the hall.
Since there was no way to turn off the Naiad complex, Nneka avoided social interaction with males completely. The more she interacted with them the more they were roped in, especially if she was actually trying to seduce them or if she had at least an attraction for them. To avoid getting them into a position where they couldn’t help themselves or their actions, she stayed away from them completely. But she didn’t stop Folarin from grabbing her hand as they strolled down the empty hallway where their classes were situated. They had managed to sneak past the teachers, and the thrill of being at the risk of being caught actually made her more excited to go with him, so much that she forgot about how much trouble she could get into if someone saw them. She knew she was putting herself in a very compromising situation, but she didn’t step back when Folarin moved closer to her, not closing his eyes until his lips touched hers. The heavy breathing getting heavier. The low growl that escaped his throat without him realizing. He was getting tangled in the Naiad complex. The reason for her given ability to heal herself was because of the volatility of the complex. Once she seduces her victim, she becomes an object of their will, their in-depth fantasies, ones that often result in inflicting pain and harmful consequences. She had to be able to recover from whatever they had on their table, because after she lets them have their way, they become her slaves, only free from her command when or if she wills it. He grabbed her roughly by the waist and pushed her to the wall. She winced in pain and tried to get him off her, but she wasn’t as strong as he was, especially since he was unlocking his inner beast. She held her breath and a lump formed in her throat.
“Fo-folarin.” She managed to let out. He paused and looked at her. He could still respond, which meant he wasn’t so far gone. “Don’t do this… please.”
There was no point in begging, but she felt she had nothing to lose if she tried.
“Why not?” Nneka looked at her in surprise. She wasn’t expecting him to respond, let alone with that type of question. Her shoulders fell in defeat. If only she could tell him about the complex without saying the actual truth.
“Because… because I’m designed to be irresistible, and it only gets worse once you go all the way.” She said hurriedly, not sure if what she said made any sense to him. It did to her, though. Folarin looked at her quizzically, and then burst into an uncontrollable laughter. Nneka looked at him in confusion, unable to make sense of what was happening.
Laughter, and not the intense, pervy kind. This is new.
He looked at her and gave her a guilty smile. “Yup… God really designed you to be irresistible.” He said, shaking his head. “But that doesn’t justify what I just did. Might sound like a stupid excuse, but I really don’t know what came over me. I’m really sorry Nneka.”
She gave him a small smile. “I believe you. As long as we keep this a secret, we won’t have any problems.” Folarin let out what sounded like a relieved sigh and stretched out his hand towards her.
“Deal.” Nneka giggled and shook his hand. It seemed she had found herself a little way around the complex.
“Shade stop following me!” Mustapha moved frantically through the crowd, searching for his sister. Shade was right at his tail wherever he went, demanding to know what he was looking for.
“I’m just trying to help.” She said, sounding hurt. Mustapha came to a halt and let his shoulders slump in defeat. Maybe she could be of good use.
“You’re always nosing in my business so you probably know my sisters yeah?” Shade didn’t know whether to answer the question or feel insulted.
“I’m looking for my older sis. She’s really fair with a low cut.”He said quietly.
“It’s a dinner party. Give her some space and let her have a good time.” Shade said with a sigh. “See all the veins in your neck popping out just because you can’t find her.”
Mustapha shook his head and started moving. He didn’t know why he thought she could be useful to him. He started to search the crowd again. “I’m sure she can take care of herself. Are you afraid they’ll rape her or something?”
“Shade… don’t get me angry.” Mustapha said angrily, turning briefly to glare at her. Shade flinched at the intensity of the stare.
“I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to get you upset.” She said, shaking visibly.
“Mustapha stop scaring the girl.” Mustapha turned towards his sister who had her hands on her hips and a disapproving frown on her face. He strode up to meet her, and Sade tagged along. Nneka glanced at her amusedly.
“Where did you go? I was looking all over for you!”
“I’m fine. You don’t have to be so worried.” She said with a giggle “I can take care of myself you know.”
“I told you.” Shade whispered to Mustapha. He ignored her. He turned to the guy next to his sister. Her scent was slightly mingled with his. “Who’s he?” he said, looking the guy over.
“This is Folarin. He’s a friend of mine.” Muyiwa raised an eyebrow at her, and she gave him a reassuring smile. “I have gist for you. Have fun with your date!” she said with a wink before getting lost in the crowd with the Folarin guy, leaving Mustapha with Sade.
Mustapha groaned and began to murmur “She’s not my—”
“This is the first time I’m seeing your sister up close. She’s so pretty!” Sade said with a squeal. Mustapha didn’t respond. He just kept looking into the direction where his sister had disappeared in, thinking about the guy whose hands she held when he felt a tap on her arm.
“They just bought in the last batch of snacks. Let’s go raid the buffet table.” Shade said, tugging on his shirt sleeve. He turned to look at her and sighed.
Curse his love for food.