“Probed” is a science fiction concept with a Nigerian setting about five extraordinary children trying to live ordinary lives. Subsequent chapters will be released each week. I hope you enjoy reading the story as much as I love writing it!
For my dear readers that waited, please don’t bite me. My august tutorial session didn’t hold because of a deal from the authorities, but i got involved in a couple of engaging projects.
Welcome to the second part of PROBED, *wriggling in seat*
Hopefully i haven’t lost touch with my readers, but i really want them more involved than the first part of the story, since the background and character description have been formed. If you have an idea you want to be included in the serious leave a comment and i’ll do my best to integrate it into the story the best that i can.
Also there was a major change i had to effect, which meant editing a bit of chapter eleven. i hope you would not be offended, but i wrote that the date on that chapter was 15th of February, when within the story timeline the year had not ended. it only happened that the fifteenth of each month Mustapha reflected on his past, in anticipation to the coming anniversary, so it was supposed to be dated the 15th of December.
Other than that, enjoy this short brief piece that will reawaken your anticipation for the new chapters of PROBED!!!!
Lillian loved Christmas.
She was the third out of five children, and their father was the typical family man, who loved to make sure the whole family ate and spent time together. He said that was how his father handled his home, and he adopted it into his own. Lillian wasn’t born into a life of affluence, but she knew how much the happiness in her home compensated for all that, so even when there were no gifts during Christmas, they would always get Christmas clothes and a bigger piece of chicken with their rice. She always dreamed of the day she would have a family of her own, and sit around with her children and husbands, surrounded with lots of food and gifts. Lillian had been married to Richard for the past two years, after three years of dating.
It was during the second year of their relationship that Lillian had her first and only abortion. It turned out to the reason for Lillian’s inability to have children. They had finally agreed to adopt a few weeks before Richard had to go to Cameroon. So when he came back with five strange children a wave of foreboding washed over her. She scanned the nervous looking children slowly, and turned silently to Richard for an explanation. He took her aside and told her the whole story, right from Ndidi’s visit to his office down to the Cameroon trip. When he was done Lillian’s face had changed from one of apprehension to concern.
“These children… they can’t go anywhere.” She said, her eyes pleading. Richard gave her a grateful look and took her hands in his. “We’ll raise them… we’ll help them.”
And from that day she had tried her best to be a mother figure to them. They were respectful to her, but only Nneka and Abiye seemed to have warmed up to her fully. She was convinced that in time the others would come to see her as a mother too.
She was finally going to have the Christmas of her dreams. It was in about a week’s time, so that Saturday Lillian brought up the topic at dinner.
“How are we going to celebrate Christmas?” she asked, her eyes beaming. Richard shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He knew that look well. Lillian already had something planned. The children looked at themselves, and then at Lillian.
“We’ve never celebrated Christmas before.”
“I know that Mustapha. I’m just asking if you wouldn’t mind doing something special on that day. Maybe you have something in mind? It’s a holiday after all, and I’m sure by now you guys have an idea about how you’d want to spend a holiday.”
“I hear they share gifts on Christmas day. Is it true?” Abiye asked excitedly.
Lillian’s grin widened. “Yes. What would you guys like for Christmas?”
Even Mustapha looked excited at being asked that. The others glanced at each other uncomfortably, then at the Ogunbades.
“We don’t want to be a bother.” Muyiwa said quietly.
“You’ve done so much for us already.” Nneka said, with a smile.
“Clothes, shoes, our laptops, our gym equipment, our freedom to drive your cars, an education….” Mustapha said, counting with his fingers as he listed. “You’ve definitely done more than “so much” for us.”
“Well you do have the most shoes.” Abiye said with a chuckle.
“Don’t even talk. You have the most clothes.” Mustapha retorted.
“He shares the same obsession with Richard.” Lillian said with a long laugh before turning to her husband. “Honey, I think you’ve finally found something in common with your son.”
Richard laughed nervously, looking at Mustapha’s reaction to her words. He could tell his wife was doing the same. To their surprised, Mustapha laughed along with him, and it wasn’t his usual impassive chuckle. Even his siblings were surprised.
Aisha leaned over to whisper to Muyiwa. “Mustapha is acting weird today.”
“I’m not acting weird.” He said. Naturally, he heard that. “I’m actually happy I have something in common with dad. Because of the way I act, I feared I’d be the only one that wouldn’t fit in with the family. But as each day passes, it surprises me that mum still shows me as much love as the others, even when I smile or laugh the least with her.”
“Well, you do eat two to three times of what the rest of us eat.” Muyiwa said, pretending to look pensive. Mustapha laughed heartily.
“You eat almost as much as I do o! Don’t think I haven’t noticed.”
Lillian turned to look at Richard. Christmas was going to be wonderful.
The parents had decided to go on a long trip from Christmas Eve to the New Year. They were going to lodge in a five star hotel outside Lagos where Richard had been invited to a Boxing Day formal party. The kids tried to hold in their excitement as they looked around the exquisite lobby as their parents checked them in. Since Mustapha didn’t sleep, there was only need for three rooms with double beds. Everyone retired to their rooms, weary from the long trip. In the boy’s room, Muyiwa stared at his brother seated on the couch with the corner of his eye.
“Mustapha what are you looking for sef?”
“My bread.” Mustapha said briskly, not looking away from the duffel bag he had with him. His eyes lit up as he pulled out a full loaf of bread that had been made into sardine-and-butter sandwiches. Abiye sat up straight as soon as the smell hit his nose.
“Mustapha I want!”
“No o… this one is mine!” Mustapha said, laughing cruelly. “When mummy said you should pack lunches for the road why didn’t you?”
“I did… you even ate out of it!” Abiye cried. Muyiwa had to hold in his laugh so Abiye wouldn’t feel worse. “Just one naa… please Mustapha!!!”
Mustapha was already on the fifth sandwich by that time. He passed them the bag.
“It’s because I ate from your own ooo… if not!”
His brothers dove for the lunch, ignoring Mustapha completely.
When the girls were rested they decided to look around the hotel. They marveled at the rich interior of the place, absorbed in the splendor of their surroundings. By the time they were close to the swimming pool area Nneka looked around her confusedly.
“Aisha… did you take note of our surroundings as we went?” she said embarrassedly. “Because I don’t think I can find my way back to our rooms.”
“Of course. You know whatever I take note or a particular interest in never leaves my memory.” Aisha said proudly, tapping her head with her index finger for emphasis.
The poolside looked inviting, and Nneka was determined to learn how to swim before the holiday was over. As she gazed longingly at the pool she was snapped out of her reverie by a deep voice right behind her.
The sisters whipped around to the direction of the voice to find three guys that looked no older than twenty four grinning at them, or to be specific, Nneka.
“Damn!!! Her face come fine join!” One of them yelled crudely. Nneka frowned. If she had been wearing shorts, there would have been more than this.
“Don’t scare the girl away Ayo.” Another said with a laugh, flashing Nneka a smile before stretching a hand to her.
“I’m Tade.” He said, his grip a little too firm.
“And I’m Muyiwa.”
Before Nneka had time to react, her older brother had wrapped a protective arm around her waist and had given the boys a once over. She let out a sigh of relief.
“You two decided to check the place around without us eh?” he said, looking into Nneka’s eyes and grinning mischievously. Nneka grinned and the guys frowned, misinterpreting the reason for her actions. He turned from her to look at them.
“You’re still here.”
The boys gave an impassive shrug and walked away grumbling, pretending that they weren’t intimidated by Muyiwa’s stance. Aisha had to bite her tongue in her cheek to keep herself from laughing. Nneka laughed and rolled her eyes at her brother.
“I swear at this rate I’ll never get married.” She said with a chuckle.
“Hey I just want you to be careful. Just because you have found a loophole to the complex doesn’t mean you should take for granted the lengths people can go to get what they want.”
“You need not remind me.” Nneka said with a shudder, briefly remembering all what she suffered in the facility. They didn’t need to be subjected to the complex to take advantage of her. Muyiwa noticed her mood switch and decided to joke around to get her out of it.
“Is it because I haven’t asked you to bring that your boyfriend over to the house for interrogation?”
Nneka gave her brother an amused look. “See what you called it… interrogation. That alone is enough to prove that Folarin is on his own if he comes over.”
Aisha burst out laughing. “Now that would be something to see. But it’ll be nothing compared to what daddy will do if he even knew you had a boyfriend.”
“Ehn?!” Nneka exclaimed. Everyone knew that Richard was just as guarded when it came to Nneka as Mustapha and Muyiwa were. She was sure their parents were going to think that the loophole story was an excuse to date freely, so she preferred not to talk to them about it.
“Speaking of interrogation… you don’t think Ronke needs to pay us a visit eh?”
Muyiwa’s eyes widen, and he began to frantically beat his trouser pockets.
“I swear I could feel my phone vibrating.”
“Lies! You’ve forgotten that I can feel gadget vibrations within a 3 meter radius.” Aisha said in a low voice, trying to suppress her laughter. Suddenly her face changed. “It’s actually vibrating now. Pick up the call… it’s probably Ronke.”
Muyiwa rolled his eyes before pulling out the phone. Suddenly he shot his sister an embarrassed glance before clearing his throat and lowering his voice.
The girl’s laughed loudly, and Muyiwa started to move away from them, feeling more embarrassed. “Oh that? It was nothing. I was just hanging with my sisters at the poolside…”
Lunch was an intercontinental buffet. As they walked in Richard explained to them that they were sitting with a colleague and his family, but as soon as Mustapha saw the food he suddenly couldn’t hear his father’s words anymore. All is attention had been diverted to the variety spread out on fine buffet tables. He didn’t hear anything Richard said, except the part where he told them they could go pick what they wanted from the buffet table. He moved gingerly to the table, his mouth shamelessly watering as he got closer. He picked a large plate and a much larger tray, picking samples of each food, ignoring the onlookers who gaped at the pile rising on his plate. It was after he was done with what he considered the first round that he realized he didn’t know where his family had arranged to be seated.
He started to look around intently, trying to catch a familiar scent as he searched for them, but the scent he caught was quite different, and shocking.
“Tall… holding a massive plate of food… you remind me so much of—”
Small arms wrapped around Mustapha’s waist before he could turn to face her. He sighed irritably. He couldn’t believe he sort of missed her.
“What are you doing here?!” they asked at the same time, before bursting out laughing.
She wrapped her arms tighter and sighed. “See? We’re even beginning to talk in sync.”
Mustapha’s smile disappeared immediately. “Don’t ruin the moment.”
“Where are you seating?” Sade asked excitedly. “Can I come with? I want to meet your family!”
Mustapha shook his head violently. “Don’t even think about it!”
Sade pouted angrily. “I pity the girl that will date you, I swear!”
“If I wasn’t holding all this delicious food Sade, I’d have stuffed you in my pocket.”
Sade chuckled at that. “Some of those food suck when u don’t eat it hot.”
“Yeah I figured. I just can’t seem to locate where my family is seating.”
“I was distracted by the food.” Mustapha said with a straight face.
Sade slowly shook her head disapprovingly. “Come and sit with my family.”
“They’re just over there… not far off at all.” Sade insisted. “Let me just grab what I came for.”
Mustapha didn’t know why, but he decided to wait and follow her, while secretly hoping she wouldn’t say anything annoying when they got there. When she led him to her table, his eyes lit up. He looked at Sade in surprise, and she giggled.
“I found him by the buffet table.” she explained to everyone.
“Mustapha can you imagine that daddy’s friend is your gir—”
“Aisha don’t even start that kind of joke here.” Mustapha said sternly. Aisha was unfazed.
“Don’t worry Sade, your brother had already told us you have feelings for this guy when you went to look for him.” Her father said, with a nervous laugh before turning to Richard. “I’ve got my eye on your son ooo.”
Richard chuckled nervously too and looked at Mustapha. He and Sade had their eyes narrowed at Banji, who was too intimidated by Mustapha’s gaze to look at anywhere else but his plate.
Christmas morning Abiye woke up to find his brother on the couch listening to very loud rap music. He took them off and smiled when he noticed Abiye was out of bed.
“Merry Christmas little brother.” he said with a huge grin. Abiye grinned back before changing into a dog and started to lick his sleeping brother’s face.
“Who be that?” Muyiwa asked angrily. “Stop na!”
“Wake up joor!” Abiye said, before barking loudly into Muyiwa’s ear. The oldest sibling sat up instantly and glared at the German shepherd in front of him. He scratched under his little brother’s chin and narrowed his eyes at him.
“You’re the reason I’m never having pets.”
Suddenly someone knocked on their door and Abiye changed back to his normal self. His eyes lit up at the sight of his parents.
“Merry Christmans mummy and daddy!” he said excitedly, running to hug them. Mustapha and Muyiwa greeted them good morning, a little confused at the fact that Lillian had begun to tear up. She noticed the looks on their faces and laughed nervously to dispel their fears.
“Don’t worry about it boys I’m just so… happy.”
Suddenly she felt long slender arms wrap around her from behind. Nneka and Aisha had crept in unnoticed by their parents.
“Merry Christmas mum and dad.” Aisha said shyly.
“Mum… if you’re happy you shouldn’t be shedding tears.” Nneka said, wiping her mother’s tears away with her finger.
“If she’s crying now what will she do when she sees the gift we bought her and daddy?”
At the stern tone coming from all his siblings, Abiye turned into a rat and crept under the bed.
“Let’s take a selfie Mustapha!” Sade said, tugging at Mustapha’s arm as they toured the hotel.
“You never even put pictures of yourself on your bbm. And you change pictures like, once a month.”
“I only have bbm because my siblings insisted on it, and you only have my pin because you wouldn’t stop bugging me for it.” Mustapha said, scanning the large aquarium in the lobby as they spoke. “Bbm is not my thing Sade, and i dont use whatsapp because i cant control the contact list. I dont want to have to block people.”
“What is your thing then?”
“Music, and playing FIFA all night.”
“Wow… all night? I thought I was the only one that had trouble sleeping.”
Mustapha stopped in his tracks. “What do you mean?”
Sade let out a defeated sigh. “I’m an insomniac. So I pass the time reading manga till I finally fall asleep, which is usually 1am earliest, if my drugs don’t kick in on time.”
They sort of had something in common, only that he didn’t sleep at all. He doubted her meds would work for him, or any other medication in the world… except maybe horse tranquilizers.
“We finally have something in common!” Sade shouted, snapping him out of his reverie. He gave her a look and shook his head.
“You’re doing it again.”
Sade didn’t answer him. She was busy staring wide-eyed at a clutch bag displayed in a gift shop right in front of them. She frantically began to search her bag for her wallet.
“Okay Mustapha I can’t find my wallet so I need you to stand here and guard this bag while I run back to my room and get it.”
“Really? Guard a bag on sale?”
“Yes! From those trying to buy it as well!”
Mustapha rolled his eyes and dragged Sade into the store. The bag was on sale, so it was very affordable. He walked up to the sales attendant and pointed to the bag before paying in cash. Before Sade could react, he was out of the store. She ran after him, and when she started shouting his name because she couldn’t catch up he stopped.
“Until the whole hotel knows my name shey?” he said, not turning to look at her.
“Just turn around so I can thank you properly.”
“But I didn’t get you anything.”
“It doesn’t matter. Merry Christmas Sade.”
“Okay let me take you out for Pizza. All on me!”
Mustapha smiled, even though she couldn’t see it. “I’m not hungry.”
That was enough to daze Sade so she let him go without a fight.
Slowly the children had begun to feel normal, and blend in far better than they anticipated. But a new year was approaching, and it was bringing with it much more than any of them was expecting; situations that called upon a reconciliation of their past with their present, and only time would tell home much harder it would be to keep their secret.