“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 meant to post waaaayyy earlier, but I’m done with NYSC and just moved back so I’m adjusting and catching up with all the work I left behind… hopefully I’d find balance soon.
Also, if you like dark scary pieces you’d love my new piece on the demented poet. Just click on the title to redirect to the short piece… i think it’s short enough to be called flash fiction.
Muyiwa was in the gym working out. He had a term paper due on Monday and he hadn’t even picked a topic yet. While waving off the temptation to beg Aisha to assist him with it he found himself wondering if Ronke had done hers. He was snapped out of his thoughts when Mustapha sped in, leaning over the bench press with his phone held above him.
“Phone call bro… you left your phone in my room.”
“Thanks.” Muyiwa said as he sat up straight to answer the call. It was his roommate.
“Muyiwa… where are you?”
Michael had never spoken to Muyiwa with such intensity before. He frowned deeply in concern.
“I’m home… What’s wrong?”
“That means no one has called you yet.”
“Called me about what?” He was getting restless, and his patience was running thin just from not knowing what was going on.
“Ronke is in the hospital.”
Muyiwa bolted up from his seat, making Mustapha raise an eyebrow.
“What happened to her?!”
“Muyiwa… I don’t know.” Michael’s voice was less intense now, almost sympathetic. “I got wind of it from her roommate Fatima since she knew we were roommates and didn’t have your number. She refused to give me details though… but she told me to let you know what hospital she was in.”
“Text the address to me— I’ll be there as soon as possible.”
“I’m heading over there too. I’ll wait for you so we can go in together.”
“What’s wrong Muyiwa?” Mustapha had to ask. Muyiwa looked so distressed. He was pacing, trying to calm himself down.
“Ronke… Michael told me that Ronke is in the hospital.” Muyiwa said in a breathless whisper. “I have to go Mustapha.”
Mustapha was gone in a flash, and was back in just the same amount of time with a bunch of clothes.
“At least go there looking a bit presentable… in case you bump into her parents.”
Muyiwa nodded in agreement as he threw on a shirt and a pair of jeans over his gym clothes. “Thanks.”
Ronke didn’t want to talk to anyone, not even Fatima that brought her to the hospital. She had not been allowed any visitor since yesterday, especially because of the proceedings that followed her admission. She turned her back to the wall even though Fatima was sitting right across her with the hope that she would at least say a word to her. She wasn’t even aware of what the doctor had told her. Fatima wished she knew the password to Ronke’s phone; maybe she would have called her mother.
“I’m just glad that you’re alright.” Fatima said meekly in her corner. She was frightened when she saw the blood, and feared the worst. What she was most grateful for was the fact that their other roommate Maria had not been in the room with them, for she was a terrible gossip. She had even made sure to clean Ronke up before signaling for help, so that others that had seen her unconscious or helped her get Ronke to the hospital wouldn’t spark up rumors. Even when she narrated to Maria when she got back, she didn’t give out details. For Ronke to be this depressed there was a need to be afraid, and her fears would probably make more sense to her if only her roommate could open up to her. She was a private person, so she understood why Ronke might not want to talk about what happened. She didn’t want to know because she was curious; but because she didn’t need her imagination going wild.
It was then that her roommate turned to look at her with tears in her eyes. “Fatima… I didn’t know… I had no idea.”
Her voice was so low Fatima could only make out what she said by reading her lips. She got up the chair and moved to the bedside, squatting so she was on the same eye level as her friend.
“Fatima… you know how my eczema kept coming back?” her friend nodded. “I’m sorry I accused you guys of using my soap.”
“Ronke please you aren’t making any sense.”
Just then the door of her ward opened. Her mother had arranged for her to be put in a private ward so she was allowed more visitors. They were expecting Maria who had gone out to get her lunch, only to see Michael walking in with Muyiwa. Ronke gasped, and Fatima looked at her roommate sheepishly.
“I told Michael you were ill because he was the only one that could reach Muyiwa in time.”
Ronke narrowed her eyes at Fatima. For some reason, she knew Fatima didn’t give off any details. She was someone who had kept a lot of her secrets, even some that her best friend had let slip. She felt she had done so much for her, and deserved to know the truth— but that would be a discussion for later. She looked at the boys and tried to force a smile.
“What… what happened?” Muyiwa asked softly, moving closer to Ronke’s bed. Fatima made room for him so he squatted right where she had left. Ronke looked at the others, and then turned back to the wall. Fatima and Michael exchanged glances before excusing themselves. As soon as they left Muyiwa touched her arm softly.
“They’re gone Ronke… talk to me.”
“Why?” she still had her back turned to him.
“I mean… you were fine when I last saw you.” Muyiwa said hurriedly, looking at his hands as he spoke. “Then all of a sudden Michael tells me you’ve been admitted. I wondered if you didn’t get sick out of depression… or if you did something stupid because I broke up with you.”
Ronke turned to look at him and sighed.
“Muyiwa… I am telling you this because you need to know, and because I once hid something important from you the first time, although not because I wanted to, but because I didn’t know how to tell you.”
Muyiwa’s eyes widened and his heart beat in anticipation. “You can tell me now…”
Ronke signed again. “It wasn’t just eczema Muyiwa.”
“That was the only thing I had been complaining about prior to our breakup.” Ronke said quietly.
“Yes… you complained about your roommates using your soap.”
“It wasn’t them.”
“Ronke… I’m a little confused.” Muyiwa said, adjusting from squatting to kneeling.
“I was pregnant Muyiwa.” Ronke said, in a low voice. “That was why I had the eczema.”
Muyiwa’s throat became so dry he could barely speak. “Was?”
“Yes… the eczema medication killed my baby.”
Muyiwa’s eyes widened. He put both hands on his head unconsciously in confusion.
“How come you didn’t know you were pregnant?”
Tears began to spill from Ronke’s face. “I really don’t know.”
Muyiwa wiped the tears off her face, his countenance mirroring hers, even though he was dry-eyed. “I hope you’re fine… no complications from losing the baby?”
“I had to clear out my womb… It was so scary Muyiwa…”
“I’m so sorry.” Muyiwa said in a voice barely above a whisper.
“It’s only half your fault… the rest is mine.” Ronke said softly, resisting the urge to reach for his face.
“I should never have left.” Muyiwa said under his breath. Ronke’s face fell. The last thing she needed was him sticking around because of pity or guilt. As much as she wanted him around, she didn’t think she would ever trust his resolve if he decided to patch things if with her.
“Let me go get you lunch.” He said, getting up from where he was kneeling. “I didn’t come with anything because I didn’t know the nature of your illness, or what you would be permitted to eat.”
“It’s alright Muyiwa… Maria went to get me some already.”
“I’m going to be out of here tomorrow… only because the doctor insisted on putting me under observation.” Ronke said with an encouraging smile. “If not I wouldn’t even be here.”
“Have you told your mother?”
Ronke shook her head furiously. “No way! I don’t want her to get worried… the doctor assured me everything went well.”
“You can’t be too sure dear… I don’t trust doctors.” Muyiwa said. “You should go for a scan in another hospital or something… please.”
She adjusted to make room for him on the bed. Muyiwa took a deep breath as he sat next to her, then clenched and unclenched his fists. “Are you going to tell me what you hid from me the first time?”
Ronke sighed again. It seemed like that was the only thing she really felt like doing. Maybe telling him about her father’s plans against his father would give him an excuse to stay away, despite the guilt of the pregnancy issue. “My father has plans to implicate his ex-partners son, and he planned to harm your dad to frame the guy.” Ronke said hurriedly. “It seems his first attempt didn’t work out, but I fear he might try again, or do something worse.”
Muyiwa rested his head on the bed. It was his turn to sigh.
“Yes… I’m aware.”
Ronke’s eyes widened. “You are?”
“It was the reason I broke up with you in the first place.” Muyiwa explained. “I just didn’t want your dad to use our relationship as an excuse to get closer to our family.”
“You don’t mean it Muyiwa.” Ronke said, still genuinely surprised. “I thought it was because of the issue with Maria and that friend of yours.”
“Despite how I behaved to you and the few others that knew about what happened, I really would have heard you out after I had calmed down.” He said, looking back at his hands again. “I couldn’t find a reason to leave you— you were so good to me. So I had to take the opportunity that came along.”
For a reason she couldn’t pinpoint, Ronke began to cry. The tears ran down her face endlessly, and Muyiwa’s countenance moved from confusion to concern. He held her hand, afraid she might be too fragile for an embrace.
“Baby what’s wrong?”
“I am just so happy that you really trusted in me but I’m scared about what was going to happen with my dad and I really don’t want to let you go but as you said he would find a way to use our relationship to—”
She was talking too fast and getting herself worked up. Muyiwa stroked the side of her face and smiled.
“It’s okay… we will talk to my father about it.”
Ronke swallowed. Her mouth suddenly felt dry. “We?”
Muyiwa chuckled. “I think it’s time you met my parents.”
Ronke’s eyes widened, but before she could reply the door opened, and Maria walked in.
“Sorry to interrupt you guys, but Ronke needs to eat.” Maria said, not able to look at Muyiwa as she spoke. She and Ronke had settled the matter between themselves, but she wasn’t sure how Muyiwa saw her now because of what had happened, or if he was still mad at her.
“I understand.” He said, forcing a smile. He truly wasn’t very comfortable around Maria yet, but she was thankfully someone he didn’t see often, “I should go call the others in.”
Ronke nodded in agreement, and Muyiwa went to the hallway to find that Fatima and Michael were still outside, their conversation interrupted by Muyiwa’s presence.
“How far?” Michael asked with concern.
“I hope she got to tell you what was wrong with her.” Fatima said, and Muyiwa nodded in response. “I know you guys aren’t together anymore, but I’m sure you’re aware that she needs you more than ever.”
Muyiwa smiled shyly. “Everything is settled now. I really never should have left her.”
Fatima squealed and Michael pumped his fist in excitement.
“I’m proud of you for taking responsibility you know.” Michael said mischievously, and Muyiwa tried not to show how much that was closer to the truth than his friend was aware of.
“Yeah yeah whatever… let’s go inside.”