“Probed” is a science fiction concept with a Nigerian setting about five extraordinary children trying to live ordinary lives. I hope you enjoy reading the story as much as I love writing it!
Hey guys I tried to be a bit timely but the good news is that the chapter after this is coming shortly after… depending on how nicely you ask (or like some people i know, how well you threaten me)
My readership for now is not so much, but i’m ever so grateful for those who dedicated themselves to my writing. When i become a famous writer I promise to put you guys higher than the other fans… because you knew me and loved me before them. muah!
Nneka gasped, and Abiye’s eyes widened.
“What’s the plan?” Aisha said, unperturbed, almost like she saw it coming.
Richard turned to look at Muyiwa and Mustapha. “What we have is a little rough around the edges kids, but it’s foolproof enough to work.”
Nneka’s mouth twisted into a frown. “If I had known about this a tad bit earlier I would have written out the address.”
“Of course I remember, thanks for remembering the usefulness of a photographic memory.” Aisha said, her tone lightly laced with sarcasm. “But I’m sure daddy is well aware of the fact that these people are most likely not hanging around that address they mentioned— it will only serve as a focal point for the transaction.”
“Of course I did.” Richard said with a nod, grateful for Aisha’s analytical brain. “But I let Mrs. Olisa go because I hadn’t come up with a proper story to convince her to let us take the case. The less she’s involved the better.”
“Why don’t you tell her you’re going to give her the money?” Abiye said.
“No can do dear.” Richard said, shaking his head. “The last thing I need is to make anyone feel I have that sort of money sitting in my account, especially since I don’t.”
“Or you could tell her that you would add to whatever she can raise.” Mustapha suggested. “I feel that sounds feasible enough.”
Everyone agreed to that too.
“But we’re not going to give them that money… right?” Aisha said, with an eyebrow raised.
“We don’t plan to.” Muyiwa said with a shrug.
“And when the money comes back untouched with Julian by your side, what does dad plan to tell Mrs. Olisa?”
“Simple… he got a security team to handle it.”
“I’ll be right back.” Their father said distractedly, dialing a number as he walked back into his study. Aisha looked at her brother and rolled her eyes.
“It’s not concrete enough.” She said, snapping her fingers indignantly. “No matter what your quest for heroism is, you should put dad into consideration… it’s bad enough that mum is going to chew him out when she finds out about all this and now you don’t even bother to cover up his tracks with the general public properly.”
“He’s a lawyer Aisha… he’s got a need for those kinds of things— she’d believe that.” Mustapha said, waving his hand dismissively. “Of course she doesn’t expect him to give her a lowdown on how they operate… she’d gulp down whatever she’s presented steadily.”
“These are men with guns and the like… I’m coming along, in case Mustapha get’s shot or stabbed or whatever.” Nneka said, resisting the urge to bite her nails.
“I’m coming too.” Abiye said expressionlessly.
“No way Abiye.” Nneka said, but before she could say more Abiye cut her off.
“Julian is my friend. And nobody will stop me from helping him.”
Everyone knew that tone. It was one that made them fear that he might turn bloodthirsty if he was out on the loose.
“Abiye… these guys are armed. They might get scared and fire shots at you in places that will kill you instantly.”
“Your spontaneous transformation might spur them to shoot blindly.”
“Yes… like hunters do when they see Lions at first sight.” Abiye said cynically, rolling his eyes.
“You’ve got a point there Abiye.”
“But won’t a lion be too… I don’t know, obvious?”
“Of course I wouldn’t pick a lion… at first.”
“You guys won’t leave me at home… I’m coming with.”
“Who’s coming where?”
Richard had walked back into the living room, eyebrows raised.
“Daddy please we all want to come along.”
“Aisha you of all people should know this isn’t child’s play.”
“I know when people are lying.” Aisha said with a shrug. “I’ll be perfect during interrogations.”
“I need to be there in case anyone got injured.” Nneka said. “And like me, Aisha’s also perfect with first aid.”
“I’m going to be a brilliant surgeon when the time comes, I can tell.” She said proudly, beaming at her sister for her support. Nneka looked at her in surprise.
“I had no idea you wanted to study medicine as well.”
“Why not? We could run a hospital together.”
“How exciting?!” Nneka said, clapping her hands gleefully. “Daddy what do you think?”
“Um… I’d rather we not digress from the real issue here?” Muyiwa said, and Richard sighed.
“I’m not happy about this.” Richard said. “Your mother will have my head when she gets back.”
“We’ll be careful dad… I promise.” Muyiwa said, patting his father’s shoulder reassuringly.
“Now… the real question is how do we find out where these guys really stay?” Aisha asked pensively, narrowing her eyes as she tried to think. But without raw data, there was nothing to process into information.
“I think I have all that covered.” Richard said with a smug smile. “I was on the phone with Mrs. Olisa earlier, and I managed to convince her to let me go in her place, on the grounds that she was a woman and it was more dangerous for her to go meet strange men, and the fact that I understood the situation well enough not to involve the police.”
“And the money?”
“I asked for the number they used to call so I could negotiate price with them before tomorrow.”
Richard said with a chuckle. “But of course we’re going tonight.”
The kids smiled. Their father was the real brains of the household.
“But why would they use a regular number? Can’t it be traced?” Nneka wondered out loud.
“It will definitely be a brand new sim that they can destroy afterwards.” Richard said as he scrolled through his phone. “Let’s give them a call shall we?”
The kidnappers had agreed to meet with Richard that night. As they drove to their destination they went over their plans. Muyiwa was to take the wheel and be the one to close the deal while the rest made sure they were hidden by the tinted windows of the family car. It was quite late, almost 10pm, and he wondered where they would sleep when it was all over if the whole process took a long while. They were asked to meet in a clearing, with the address safely stored in Aisha’s head. It turned out to be a mechanic’s workshop, with old tires and scrap metal piled up high, acting as the perfect camouflage for any night activity that might take place within the premises. Muyiwa got out of the car and pulled out the ghana-must-go bag from the front seat, acting like he was struggling with it. He pulled out his phone and looked around.
“I’m here with the money.” He said in a low tone, but loud enough for those in the car to hear.
“We can see you.” A voice at the other end of the line replied gruffly. “Step away from the car towards the middle… and if we notice any police around, we will blast the boy’s head.”
“There’s no one with me.” Muyiwa said, firmly. It was imperative that they maintained perfect silence, and training in the facility had helped with that. He began to drag the bag as clumsily as he could towards the middle of the clearing, where three men waited with a bound Julian, one of them with a gun to the shivering boy’s head, with his hands tied behind his back and a cloth over his mouth— it took a lot from Muyiwa to maintain his composure on seeing the little boy like that. He could detect the scents of other people hanging around, about five or a tad bit more— probably reinforcements for in case he didn’t seal his end of the deal.
“So na pikin dey talk for phone that time… na wa o.” one of them said with a laugh. “Because you carry small chest you think say you get liver.”
“Please I brought the money… let me have the boy.” Muyiwa said, trying to sound as helpless as he could. He only needed a few seconds to snap the scoffer’s neck. But he had no plans to kill any of them. But he couldn’t guarantee anything else though. A gust of wind whipped around them, but the robbers were not disturbed— just some night air.
“You come dey form English for here… may I no slap your mouth commot your teeth.” Another said, exposing a horrible dentition as he grinned at Muyiwa. He moved towards the bag and leaned over to open the bag when he heard a shout from behind him. It was the guy holding Julian— he had claimed to see a snake wrapped in between his legs. But there was nothing there. Abiye had turned back into a cockroach and scuttled away, granting Mustapha and Muyiwa the opening they needed.
“Wey the boy?” The one in front of the bag exclaimed, and Muyiwa lunged.
Mustapha felt bad that he had to cover Julian’s head with a bag, but it was better that way. He opened the door and put the boy in carefully, letting Aisha work her magic. She hit a few points in his body and the boy fell asleep immediately. It was then that they removed the bag. The amnesia move may prove to have fatal consequence on such a small kid, so their best bet was to blind him then put him to sleep.
As Muyiwa lunged for the first man, he knew the others would stir. Mustapha had sensed them too, and had begun to disarm each of them as they crouched in their hiding spots. As they found themselves disarmed by some invisible force, they tried to run, but Abiye was faster, alternating between a cheetah and a lion in split seconds, mauling them and breaking their jaws. Muyiwa dealt with the ones in the clearing, squeezing their guns shut like a soda can with one hand and dislocating their jaws with the other before they could scream, resisting the urge to bash their skulls in as he did so by displacing the sockets of their arms out of their joints before they fell to the ground. He needed them alive; they had questions to answer.
Richard looked out of the car at the clearing, taken about how his oldest and youngest son looked so different now that they were doing what they had been initially designed to do. It made him remember the first day he had met them, but these weren’t the blank expressionless children of that day he passed out. These ones looked bloodthirsty, almost like he had never met them before. But underneath all the damage they were dealing to those now helpless men, he could tell that they were holding back from killing them and that terrified him and gave him relief all at the same time. Aisha and Nneka watched the countenance of their father as the boys dealt with the kidnappers, and the older daughter put a hand on his shoulder, making him flinch as he snapped out of his reverie.
“Muyiwa… he was the real deal.” Aisha said gloomily, as if she knew what he father had been thinking. “The rest of us were just accessories to aid the process.”
Richard didn’t respond, more because he didn’t know how to rather than him not wanting to. He just stared at the boys as they put all their groaning victims in a messy pile in the clearing and gathering around them. Muyiwa raised a hand without looking behind him.
“That’s my cue daddy.” Aisha said, hopping out of the car to meet her brothers. Nneka put an arm around her father in a bid to comfort him.
“He went through the most pain at first… they broke his body and spirit more than ours so he would come out the least human.” Nneka said softly, trying to help her father understand his eldest son more and hoping within herself that Richard wouldn’t take it as some sort of attempt to justify his actions. “It got better as he got stronger, so he could brace it. But those first stages, I remember them well. I knew how much I suffered, but there was no one amongst the horde of kids in that facility that suffered anything close to what those with Muyiwa’s abilities suffered, and he was the only one that survived each stage.”
Aisha walked to where her brothers lay, unfazed by the groaning men amongst them. As a matter of fact, she chuckled. “I doubt these men have any strength left to lie.”
“Who send you go carry that pikin?” Muyiwa said, resting on one knee and leaning over the pile. Their jaws were broken, but they could still talk, though it would hurt a lot to do so. The four kids had to lean close enough to make sense of their disjointed speech. Abiye stared at them for a while, and then pointed to the head of one at the top pile, one of them hiding out in the corner.
“That’s him.” He said in a ghostly whisper, his hand still outstretched. “He’s the one that picked Julian up from school that day.”
Muyiwa pulled the culprit out of the pile by his collar. “Let’s have a talk brother, and maybe I’ll let you live.”
The guy’s eyes widened, his face and body scarred with bleeding claw marks.
“What’s your name?”
The kids returned to the car and drove off, with Julian still sleeping in Nneka’s arms.
“Dad… you wouldn’t believe who planned this whole thing.”
Richard raised an eyebrow. “Tell me.”
It was quite late when they returned home, but not more than an hour from when they left. Muyiwa carried Julian to Abiye’s room while the other children retired to bed. Mustapha sat with his father who was absorbed in his thoughts, silent until Muyiwa returned to join them.
“Your mother must hear about this.” Richard said, not looking at them. “You know I can’t hide this from her right?”
The boys nodded gloomily.
“I can’t let you guys keep doing this.” he said, his voice lower than before. “I barely recognized you and Abiye out there. I took you in so you could keep your past under wraps, not—”
“Daddy… thank you for all you’ve done for us.” Muyiwa said, squatting in front of his dad so they were at eye level. “You might prevent us from using our powers for its original design, but we can never forget who we are. I will always weigh more than I look, Mustapha will always be an insomniac, Nneka will always draw unwanted attention to herself, Abiye will always be wary of documentaries, and Aisha will forever be a know-it-all.”
Richard looked at his son and sighed deeply.
“But if we didn’t have you dad, we will forget what it is like to be human.” Mustapha added in a small voice. “I had always thought of us as non-human. The kid that survived that bus accident years back was gone… until you took us in and showed us love.”
Richard found himself smiling a little. “I doubt I’ll be getting any sleep this night… how about a game of chess Mustapha?”
“I’ll be glad to keep you company till you knock out dad.”