“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!
Thank you all for supporting Probed and my upcoming novel. For those that haven’t heard about this novel or voted, please read the first and the second chapter of the novel “Bounds” and vote!!!. I need a total of 5000 votes to get published with Something Or the Other Publishing. Trust me, it’s a about a world you’ve never seen before.
“I’m dreaming… I’m totally dreaming.”
Sade was hyperventilating. “I must have been thinking about this day too much… that’s why I’m dreaming it all up. I didn’t know I had an insane enough imagination to think up such—”
“Sade. Please calm down.”
“How can I be calm? How can I be calm when you—”
Mustapha hastily clamped a hand over her mouth. “You’re raising your voice.”
Sade bit into his palm, making him withdraw his hand. “What just happened? I don’t understand!!!”
Mustapha put a finger to her lips and spoke in a gentle voice he had never used on her before.
“No one can know about this.”
“I’m not dreaming?”
There was no use lying. “Got a minute?”
Sade nodded nervously, and all she saw next was clothes falling from thin air and the wardrobe opening and closing. Mustapha was back exactly one minute later, with his hair wet and wearing different clothes. What he had on previously lay scattered around them.
“Wow.” That was the only thing Sade could say. Mustapha smiled warmly at her, and she felt uneasy.
Muyiwa couldn’t stop smiling. He had never felt this liberated before in his life, nothing like his parents knowing— a far more exhilarating feeling. Now he understood how Muyiwa must be feeling.
“You never smile like this. It’s actually scary to look at.”
Mustapha raised an eyebrow at her, his smile lessening. “You prefer my usual face?”
“Err… let’s just say I’ve grown used to it.”
“About the story… still wanna hear it?”
Sade nodded, her heart thumping at the prospect of an unimaginable secret.
“Hello… did you just get here?”
“Good day ma.” He greeted, smiling at Aisha’s mother and big sister, as well as another lady he had never met. “Yes ma we just got here.”
“Yes ma… my sister and I.”
“Ah… Sade?” Nneka said excitedly. “She’s probably with Mustapha.”
“I wonder where.” Lillian said, frowning slightly.
“I made her get me something to wear.” Aisha called from the stairs, coming down with Mustapha and Sade, who looked a little dazed. “I’m afraid I was caught unaware when they walked in and I was still in my pajamas.”
Ronke and Nneka looked at each other uneasily. They weren’t wearing nightgowns but they were far from dressed from the party, just like their mother.
“I’m afraid we weren’t expecting anyone at this time.” Lillian said with a laugh. “But since Mustapha and Aisha are dressed they can keep their guests company. Let’s go girls.”
Aisha narrowed her eyes at Banji as soon as the others left, and he looked at the ground.
“Wanna see my books?” Aisha asked with an uneasy smile. Banji’s eyes widened in surprise.
As soon as they went to her room Sade turned to Mustapha and poked his chest, but Mustapha cut her short before she could speak.
“If my parents find out I told you I’d be in so much trouble.” Mustapha said in a low voice, and a lump grew in Sade’s chest at that moment.
“What about your siblings?”
“They’d be angry no doubt, but since my brother just told his girlfriend about his abilities I wouldn’t be in that much trouble.” Mustapha said with a passive shrug. “No one else knows about us and no one can… you understand that right?”
Sade snorted. “We’re Nigerians. Who’d believe me if I told them that kind of thing? But even with that, I promise that your secret is safe with me.”
Mustapha felt himself tempted to smile the way he did earlier, but he refrained from doing so.
“We still need to talk. All you did was talk about how you and your siblings were different and what special abilities each of you have, but you didn’t go into details.”
“That’s because this is not the right place and time for that.”
“But you promise to tell me later?”
“Sure. I mean, why hold back now?”
“One quick question though… was this the way you were born?”
Mustapha shook his head. “That’s a long story… definitely for another day.”
Sade’s eyes gasped in realization. “That’s why you’re this way.”
Mustapha frowned deeply. “Like how?”
Sade stretched her hand to touch his face. “This… hardened.”
Mustapha gasped as Sade began to cry. “What did they do to you?”
Mustapha did not know what to say. He didn’t expect Sade to be able to read anyone so deeply, let alone him. He grabbed the hand on her face and squeezed it gently before finally breaking away from her gaze. Could she really care? Or was she just being her usual dramatic self?
“You know I hate to see girls cry… don’t play that card.” Mustapha said, offering her a comforting smile as he wiped her tears. “I promise to tell you everything okay?”
Sade nodded, a small smile tugging at the corner of her lips. “Who knew Mustapha could be so… romantic.”
Mustapha started and frowned, though playfully. “Trust Sade to ruin a moment. I’m not romantic anything abeg.”
Sade burst out laughing, and at that moment Muyiwa and Michael appeared at the staircase from the back door, sweaty from working out.
“Hey Sade! You’re here already.” Muyiwa said, grinning at her.
“Happy Birthday Muyiwa.”
“Thanks dear. I hope Mustapha is behaving himself.”
Mustapha scowled at the mischievous looks on the two older guys’ faces. “Abeg two of you go baff.”
Nneka had barely returned from freshening up when she heard the doorbell rang. A familiar scent hit her nose as Mustapha opened the door and her stomach did a thousand flips.
“Welcome to our home Folarin.” Muyiwa said with a drawl as he moved aside for the nervous teenager to enter. Nneka refrained herself from running back into her room. Just then Muyiwa brushed past her with Ronke stopping right behind Nneka with concern and him at the foot of the stairs, his eyes scrutinizing the new visitor.
“Hey Muyiwa… meet Folarin.” Mustapha chuckled, shoving the terrified boy forward. The oldest brother didn’t have the fierce expression the other boy carried, but he looked like he could snap him like a twig without a second thought. He was leaned muscled, but Folarin suspected he was a lot stronger than he looked. The older boy looked at him like he was a vermin in need of extermination for even knowing his sister existed, let alone having the audacity to date her. He could fully understand more than ever before Nneka’s concern about her parents knowing about their relationship.
The older brother was about to say something, but suddenly Nneka wrapped both hands around him from behind and muttered something like “you promised”, and his entire threatening demeanor vanished.
“Hey Folarin! Finally we get to meet.” Muyiwa said, stretching out his hand to Folarin as soon as Nneka let go of him. “I’m glad you could share this day with me.”
“Good afternoon sir.” Folarin said shakily, and everyone in the room snickered. Muyiwa’s grip was like steel. “I’m glad I was invited.”
Muyiwa drew him up close and spoke in a low voice, which of course, his siblings could hear. “Sorry I get a little overprotective when it comes to my sister… no one messes with her and goes unpunished.”
Folarin had to swallow the hard lump that had formed in his throat in order to reply. “I understand perfectly— I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Suddenly the door opened again, and Abiye walked in with Julian and his mother.
“Dad just got back!” he said excitedly, pumping his fist into the air as Richard walked in with two plastic bags full of drinks. Unconsciously, Folarin lunged for the back along with the two brothers, getting his hands on one of them before Muyiwa could.
“There are more drinks in the car with Fredrick Muyiwa.” Richard said, looking impressively at Folarin. “You’re Mustapha’s friend right?”
Mustapha snickered before he could stop himself and Richard turned in his direction. That was when his eyes caught Sade.
“Nneka… did you invite Sade?” he asked slowly, and Nneka swallowed silently. It was at that time that Lillian walked in.
“Oh no dear it was Mustapha… this friendship of his with Sade should be monitored o.” she said in her joking voice that the kids knew better than to take for granted. It was when she set her eyes on Folarin.
“Hello there.” She said, her face plastics with a wary smile. Folarin bowed nervously in greeting.
“Good afternoon ma.”
“Good afternoon dear.” She said, turning to Nneka. “This is the schoolmate you were talking about shey?”
Nneka hung her head and answered quietly. “Yes ma.”
“Okay then.” Richard said curtly, clearing his throat. “You’re welcome to our home errr… what’s your name?”
“Folabi Adetunji sir.” The young boy said, bowing again.
Richard turned to the other guests in the room. “Thank you all for honoring our invitation.”
“Mrs. Ogunbade you have to be the best cook to ever exist, I must admit.” Mrs. Olisa said halfway through the meal, while Mustapha was already pining for a second helping. They were all seated in the living room while a delicious spread lay out on the dining table— fried turkey and fish soaked in peppered sauce, jollof and fried rice, and coleslaw.
“I didn’t cook alone… my girls helped out, along with Muyiwa’s girlfriend.”
“How wonderful!” Mrs. Olisa said with a smile before taking another bite.
“I can’t take it anymore… I need another plate of food.” Mustapha suddenly muttered to Sade.
“Then just go get it and stop whining.” She whispered back.
“No one likes me eating too much in front of visitors.”
“I think everyone here is used to you incessant eating, so don’t you think?”
“Not Mrs. Olisa, Banji or even Folarin.”
“Just go abeg.”
“Let me just eat from your own naa… I know you won’t finish it.”
“Who says I won’t?”
“I know how you eat. If not that mummy had served you herself you wouldn’t have taken this much.”
“But I don’t like food wasting… so I will finish it.”
“Let me just he—”
“Mustapha what are you doing?” Lillian asked her son, narrowing her eyes at him. His spoon was in Sade’s plate, and at that moment he looked like a child that had been caught stealing from a cookie jar. “There’s more food for you to help yourself with— stop harassing Sade.”
“It’s not like that ma.” Sade said, almost blushing. “I was actually begging him to help me finish my food, and you know Mustapha can never refuse such.”
“I just didn’t want the food to waste.” He muttered stubbornly and everyone laughed.
“So Folarin… are you in Nneka’s class?” Lillian said, trying to make conversation with the boy. She had plans to talk about him much later, but there was no use bringing it up at the party. Nneka was going to be nineteen and definitely old enough, but she was always wary about the children becoming too exposed when she was in a position to prevent that. Especially with Nneka, being female and laden with the Naiad complex— she needed extra care.
“No ma… I am in commercial class.”
“How old are you?” Richard had to ask. Folarin was getting uncomfortable, but he held his own. He knew that he was going to be interrogated on the long run, and her parents were kind enough to at least not be all up in his face, even if it was for the sake of the party and other guests.
“I’ll be eighteen in June sir.”
Lillian and Richard exchanged glances. Nneka was a year older than he was.
Her siblings stared at her. They had not known before now.
Nneka stared at her feet. There had never been a need to say it to her siblings; no one had ever asked of his age. Even Folarin thought they were the same age.
“So Sade how is the family?” Lillian said, deliberately shifting focus. “Aisha tells me Banji beat her in first position this time— keep it up dear.”
“No one got me a birthday gift.” Muyiwa suddenly said, trying to shift the focus completely from the guests before Michael gets probed. “Am I too old for that?”
“Guy… I’m helping out with your party tomorrow— for free.” Michael said, nudging him. “That’s worth something…. Could I have some more rice please?”
“I’ll get you some.” Nneka said, reaching out for his plate to get him a second helping. Their fingers briefly touched and a course of electricity ran through him. He looked straight at her in surprise, and she moved swiftly to the dining room. Muyiwa shoved him to keep him from staring at her retreating figure.
“Guy that’s not enough o.” He said with a laugh that Ronke could sense was forced. “You gotta have a little something for your boy.”
“Well… your family does.” Richard said with a laugh. “Stop forcing people to get you presents.”
“Really? Wow dad you shouldn’t have.” Muyiwa said in surprise. He really didn’t expect any gift from his parents, not after all they had arranged for him.
His parents exchanged a mischievous glance with Mrs. Olisa, who giggled. “It’s at our neighbor’s place.”
“Wow mum, dad… could we check it out now?” Muyiwa asked excitedly, and Richard nodded. Muyiwa jumped up and rushed out of the house to Mrs. Olisa’s place, with his family and guests trailing behind him. He stopped at her gate, and turned to his neighbor for permission to enter.
“Underneath the sheet!” she called out as he opened the smaller gate. By the time everyone had gotten in he had removed the sheet. The brand new Tundra pickup stood in front of him. He put a fist to his mouth briefly, before running to prostrate in front of his parents.
“Daddy… mummy… thank you.” Muyiwa said, glad his face was down where he lay outstretched so Michael couldn’t see him tearing up. Richard helped him up to his feet.
“We’re proud of you son.” Richard said, giving him an encouraging smile.
“And we know you will never disappoint us.” Lillian said, tearing up as soon as she saw the tears in her son’s eyes.
The adults decided to head back to the house while the children looked over the car. Richard let the women pass through the small gate before heading out with Fredrick, only for them to find the last person he and his PA expected to see standing in front of their gate with an obviously plastic grin.
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