Bounds: The Acromidite’s Plight (Chapter One)

What is an Acromidite? Ever heard of it?

Most likely not. 

An Acromidite is a creature of the air; the strongest of its element, gliding through the clouds without wings, a living stature sculpted with precision, just like their lives.They literally live by the books. They play by the rules set by the authorities… no questions asked.

Nothing we can’t find in our world today.

Do we find ourselves not fitting into the ideologies of the majority? Or are we one of those that steer clear of such people?

Are you Aly… or the typical Acromidite? 

 

CHAPTER  ONE

“I give up.” Aly said with a groan as she let her hand drop to her side, releasing her hair from the ponytail she was attempting earlier. “I can’t do this.”

Her hair took up most of her mornings.  She usually had no trouble getting up— as she was by nature an early riser— or deciding on what to wear, but she spent a long time scowling at her reflection in the mirror.  In her opinion she wasn’t much to look at: she was a little shorter than average, with her honey-brown eyes and long chocolate brown hair that fell past her shoulders. Her hair was a bother to her though; because she could never pull it into a ponytail without exposing her slightly pointed ears. She didn’t need any reminder of her imperfections, as if her mum wasn’t enough for that. She always wished she could cut her hair— not cropped, but short enough to stop prickling her back and still cover her ears. But her mother would freak if she tried it, and that was not a pretty sight. She remembered the way her mother reacted the first time she brought up the idea, and she did not even want to imagine what her mother was going to do if she actually did it.

“The hair is the pride of the Acromidite women.” Her mother had told her then (after screaming and clutching her chest to be dramatic). “Whether in our true forms or not we ought to still look dignified.”

Her mother said things that annoyed Aly for no apparent reason. What did cutting her hair have to do with dignity? It wasn’t as if it was going to affect her real hair or anything.

But she kind of expected her mother’s reaction. Acromidites were more like super models… even better. No supermodel can fight off a Brocklin without breaking a nail (or numerous body parts). They looked fragile, but were known to be as strong and brave as any warrior in the four regions. She sometimes wondered why her ears still looked a bit like her real ones unlike the rest of her family but she didn’t give it much thought since she was different from them anyway.

She grabbed her backpack and raced down the stairs, her senses awakening as they registered everything around her. Though she was barely out of her room she could hear her father turning the pages of his newspaper; mumbling about how things were much better in their world than here (it didn’t make sense to Aly why her dad would compare the human world with their world— the humans were far from advanced compared to them, even with their technology). She could also hear her big brother Jordan munching on toast and even her mother pouring juice in a glass and scrubbing something off the kitchen counter; and the sounds became clearer as she moved down the stairs.

Carried away with her thoughts, she missed a step and tripped, but landed gracefully at the bottom of the stairs as if nothing happened. Her senses were far more advanced than the average human, resulting in the possession of amazing reflexes. She was always glad that their special abilities were retained even after the transformation, since she didn’t have perfect balance like the rest of her people, even in her real form.

“You really need to be careful Aly. Sometimes even your reflexes can’t keep you from getting hurt.” her dad said silently from the kitchen, not looking up from his newspaper. It was weird how he was so precise— almost as if he read her thought (which was impossible because Acromidites can only read the minds of creatures other than their kind). She liked the ability, though she wished that it was more than just hearing voices in her head. She wished she could see images like Lagarithans and Bormans (that was practically the only thing she would wish for that a Borman possessed— they do not possess admirable qualities or features, in her opinion).

 

She trudged into the kitchen and threw her backpack in the corner, avoiding any possibility of eye contact with anyone. She didn’t even have to make that much of an effort this morning. Jordan appeared lost in thought as he finished off the piece of toast he was holding. Her dad was still absorbed in his paper and her mother was making a list.

“I really wish you’d stop dragging your feet dear.” her mum said without looking up from the notepad she was scribbling in. “It hurts my ears every time you do.”

Aly turned to look at her mother without speaking. She looked amazing in her human form. Her wavy brunette hair fell all the way down her back, almost reaching her waist. Hers only fell to her shoulder, and she hated it. She took in a deep breath and began to let it out slowly. It was a way to calm down; which as something she had to do whenever she was around her mum. Taking deep breaths was also a way for her to concentrate. She concentrated on the scribbles her mum had put in the notepad, trying to figure out what she was writing by tracing her handwriting. She followed the movement of her mother’s pen as she wrote shampoo on the list, and to her surprise, lavender next to it.

“Why do you want to change your shampoo? You never use anything outside peach or passion fruit.” She blurted out without thinking. It made no sense to her why she was talking about shampoo, but she was trying to strike up a conversation. Besides, she hated lavender; and she didn’t want her mum going about the house with the scent.

“It’s for you dear.” her mother said, her eyes not leaving the notepad as she spoke. “I thought you should change your shampoo — sunflowers don’t work for me — you know I never liked them in your hair.”

Aly rolled her eyes as she was forced to remember how as a little girl her mum would shake her head in disapproval when she came in to the house holding a sunflower or with her mouth full of the seeds. Acromidites revelled in nature as much as the arts, though they could not be compared with their earth-dwelling and less sophisticated cousins, the Aviaters. They usually had a passion for their favourite flowers and fruits, and most of them were vegetarians and vegans.

It didn’t surprise her that her mother found her favorite flower distasteful. Her mother always had issues with her preferences. She felt it was because she wasn’t as perfect as her kind; and it was worse when she was in human form. She didn’t look like the average Acromidite in the human form. Her hair (that’s supposed to be wavy when she turned human) was spiky and straight. There was a time she curled her hair often just to please her mum but that stopped a very long time ago. Her ears were also pointedalmost as pointed as when in her true form— enough to be noticed and laughed at. Her appearance seemed to bother her mum even more than the fact that her interests differed from the average Acromidite female: She would rather get lost in books than take up visual art or music.  She took up art in school though (just to please her mum because it was either that or music. And her voice, though pleasant, could not be compared to the voices of the Acromidites back home— she didn’t need to be reminded about that). She was also a fairly good artist, but she’d rather be lost in the archives, though history was the interest of the males.

It was a general requirement for all Acromidites to learn the art of physical combat and defence, but their civilization had developed in a way that the men mastered various sciences and histories while the women were more proficient in the arts. Even though they all had equal rights, every man and woman knew their place in their world. Aly seemed to be the only one that didn’t.

She loved history more than any Acromidite female loved art. There were nights (even in the human world) that she would stay up with Jordan— and sometimes their dad— and read through the parchments in the library that bore records of the history of the Acromidites and other creatures (Acromidites were supposed to take a personal copy of the parchments along whenever they leave the kingdom). She was naturally drawn to learning about the ways of her people and well as other creatures and the fact that she had not exhausted the archives even after so many years of reading fascinated her more than anything. She even enjoyed history class in the human world, even though the humans got history facts mixed up a lot. She couldn’t explain that she knew how the pyramids of Gaza were really built because her dad had worked in disguise as one of the slaves that built the pyramid (getting another human form for an Acromidite was another long process— for Acromidites only possess one human form all their lives— but he managed to get a temporary form for the duration of his mission in Egypt).

There was no way she could say all these things, so she kept her mouth shut.

 

Even with her skills and abilities, she still wasn’t good enough. She wasn’t as graceful as the rest— she was sort of a klutz sometimes— and she wasn’t as pretty as the other Acromidites (she didn’t even think she was pretty at all). To humans she might seem almost perfect, but she was nowhere as good as most of her kind.

And her people live and breathe perfection.

She did not behave like an Acromidite, and she knew it. This made her feel out of place with everyone, and feel like the least in everything (beauty and skill mostly). There was a time she tried to do everything to fit in, but that didn’t last (since she couldn’t even do that right) and she got frustrated most of the time so she stopped trying. Perfection meant everything to Acromidites, and they were irked by anyone who fell even an inch off the pedestal, which was still a long way off from where she was after long years of trying. It was probably why she wasn’t a very social person and kept few friends. Besides, a lot of the Acromidite girls didn’t like her because her habits were peculiar to them. Even in the human world, she became more of a loner, being accustomed to segregation. But no one understood, and some people even considered her a snob.

She was different in every way possible, and her mother would not let her hear the end of it. She wondered why her mother would name her Alaria (which means different in their language) if she had a problem with the concept. Maybe her idea of different wasn’t what Aly was dishing out for her. Her father and brother didn’t care much that she was the way she was, but it was harder for her mum because she was admired by a lot of their people, and yet her daughter was so unlike her— or their people in general.

It hurt most when her mum compared her to Cornelia.

Cornelia was the sister she never knew, the one who died a warrior during the epic war between the Acromidites and Bormans. Everything about Cornelia was exceptional; she was extremely beautiful, with a voice that a lot of girls envied. She was an awesome artist with a confidence and flair that attracted others to her.

Alaria was one of the very few born a century after the war, since many Acromidites had not recovered from the effects it had on them psychologically, and were afraid to bring children into the world they felt was unsafe. The Acromidites were fighters when they needed to be, but they had never been involved in a war before that time. There had been countless battles, but never a war. And even though they had eventually won, they were greatly affected by the side of life that had felt foreign to them. Death and the dying were not new to them, but losing their people in hundreds was.

No war in all four regions had been known to exceed a day, but in that single day out of five hundred Acromidites that had fought a thousand Bormans only two hundred were left, and only a hundred of those bodies were successfully recovered for burial.

But another century passed and things got better, and people began to enjoy life again. There was no sign that a war would rise anytime after that, even though the detestation between the Acromidites and the Bormans had increased.

The Acromidites born in Alaria’s time had the memories of one of their deceased family members implanted into their brains to raise children that will ensure that the knowledge of the those that had died during the war were preserved. It was not a painful process, but it wasn’t one that was usually successful. Only five memories were successfully implanted, and Cornelia’s memory was one of them.

But out of the five with memories implanted in them, she was the only odd Acromidite.

Her mum probably thought that having Cornelia’s experiences encoded in her brain meant Cornelia was a part of her. But really having Cornelia’s memories meant knowing the general stuff she knew (like facts, culture and military tactics), not living her life or knowing much of her personal thoughts or any of her secrets.

Aly was no Cornelia, and she could not ignore that when her mother kept rubbing it in her face. Sometimes Aly would be very sad and intimidated; but most times she found herself actually happy she was totally different from Cornelia, because it would have increased her mother’s expectation of her to live in her late sister’s shadow. She had learnt from Jordan how much Cornelia had hated written history— she was content with the history she could accumulate through experience— unlike she who was endeared to history because she never got to live it (she had only lived a few hundred years)

Experience: that was a true edge Cornelia would always have over her. Being one of the newest breed of Acromidites, she had hundreds—even thousands— of years between her and most people she knew. It made her feel insignificant, and she felt that was why a lot of people did not respect her opinion because well, she didn’t really know much.

She might have the looks— the long straight silvery-white hair that shimmered in the moonlight; thin, slanted, clear blue eyes the color of the sky, porcelain white skin like polished marble, sharp, pointed ears and full lips— but she would always be different because of the way she thought and viewed life.

The sound of Jordan crunching toast snapped her out of her thoughts. He was biting into his toast louder than usual, and he knew his plan to bring her back to reality worked.

She grinned at him and he grinned back, not taking his eyes off her as he reached for the last piece of toast in the plate in front of him. When he touched the plate, he realized that the toast was no longer there. Aly grinned at him and held up the toast.

“Hey freak’s got super speed now.” Jordan said, laughing as she bit into the toast. As he said that he caught his mum glaring at him. He wondered why their mum always made a big deal out of anything he said to Aly. Aly knew he was joking and never took it to heart, but his mum always insisted he made fun of her because she was different (like putting up with their mum wasn’t enough damage). He treated Aly like everyone else appreciated her for being who she was; in fact he respected her for it. But for their mum, it was a problem. In fact, he felt like his mum didn’t like him teasing Aly because it reminded her of how different his sister was from others. To him, that just made her a lot more unique. Maybe realizing that helped him understand her more than anyone else.

 

“I’ve got to go.” Aly said as soon as she was done with her toast.

“But you’ve not had breakfast yet!” her mum exclaimed.

“But I just had toast.”

“You call that breakfast?” her dad asked. “Have some cereal.”

Aly stared at her dad as he set a bowl of cereal and a bottle of milk in front of her. He never used to make a fuss about her eating breakfast. Suddenly it occurred to her that they were trying to make her stay back, for a few minutes at least. She only hoped it wasn’t for the reason she had in mind.

Her dad cleared his throat and looked at her mum, who in turn looked at Jordan. He frowned at them and cast a sympathetic glance at Aly before walking out of the room.

“We— your father and I— wanted to know how things are coming along in school.” her mum said, making sure to point out that Jordan had nothing to do with this talk. She really didn’t need to be reminded that he was the only one that really believed in her. “I mean with the—”

“I know you are talking about the Borman mum. I have told you that there has been no disturbance in school; the Borman has done a good job with concealing himself. Either he doesn’t want any trouble, or he has not gained full power yet.” Aly said hastily, cutting her mother short. She had told them this a lot of times, but for them the report was unsatisfactory.

“Even though a creature’s conspicuousness is dependent on his level of power, it doesn’t take a lot to identify a magical creature, no matter how weak.” her father said wearily.

They always spoke to her like she didn’t know a thing about Bormans… like that was even possible. She was an Acromidite, and hunting Bormans was her life, something naturally encoded in her DNA even before she was infused with Cornelia’s memories. Her parents were extra careful with her though, so she did not get into a lot of action like the rest of them. It was partly because they felt she didn’t do too well in battle (they had never let her do much anyway) and they didn’t want her to get in Jordan’s way, since to them he was more valuable than she was.

Since she was born she and Jordan were magically tied together, so they literally felt each other’s pain. If either of them were to get hurt by something magical, the other felt the pain. She could vividly remember nights of pain when Jordan was captured and tortured in Midole, a remote land of rock creatures called Midols. It was more annoying when they had training. When it was with the swords and other equipment it was fine, but when they had to use their powers it was bothersome. So they never train on the same day, so one isn’t put off balance when the other is being hit.

Sometimes she wondered what would happen to the other if either of them died. This was the thought that calmed her down when she is put in the less heated part of the battlefield where she was likely to inflict blows less than she was likely to sustain them. But she knew within herself that the major reason for their paranoia was that they weren’t ready to lose another daughter. It was a reason that hung thick in the air when the topic was brought up. It hung there, but it was never touched.

 

She had tried to find the Borman, but it seemed like there was no trace of its existence. She began to wonder if there was really a Borman in the school as her family had been told. But she could never voice out her thoughts, for that would mean she was questioning the power of the higher authorities. Her people (the Acromidites) were magical creatures who were known for tracking down Bormans. They were creatures of the air, the most powerful. Bormans on the other hand, were the most powerful of all sea creatures. They possessed a lot of power, but sometimes usually had a lot of problem controlling them. Not many Bormans take time to learn how to handle the power when it comes in an abundance (especially because they’re very impatient creatures) so most of the time they usually go out of control. The Bormans that end up like that become ruthless, with an insatiable thirst for blood and dominance. In that state they often have the drive to conquer people or destroy things out of sheer amusement, just to show off their strength, so it is the job of the Acromidites to protect other creatures from Bormans.

But even though Bormans weren’t known to be pleasant creatures, not all of them gave other creatures much trouble. As an Acromidite you couldn’t get in trouble for putting a regular Borman in check once in a while, but you aren’t allowed to interfere in their lives unless they became a threat. It is only then that you were allowed to demobilize or even kill them if necessary.

Luckily for Acromidites, not many Bormans leave their underwater kingdom, as they saw other creatures as inferior; and felt it degrading to dwell among them, and Bormans that lose control of their minds and powers were found to be even more powerful than their average of their kind. But generally, Bormans depend more on strength than intellect— and it was a general fact that brains usually have an edge over brawn— so Acromidites were able to handle them since they relied on both.

Her family had been sent to the human world to monitor the activities of a Borman spotted within the town they were presently residing. But the Borman had been docile, and didn’t stay long enough to be identified. But the family stuck around just in case he was coming back again. Then recently, another young Borman was said to have moved into the same area, and that brought about a bit of concern because male sea creatures were highly territorial, and if the other Borman returned there might be trouble… that is, if they didn’t both have something planned.

The Acromidites would naturally have waited to see if he would be of any threat before monitoring him, but asides from the fact that he was trespassing on another Borman’s “territory” (and obviously asking for it, since a Borman could tell if a location was already taken) he was noted to be very powerful.

The young Borman though, was said to a teenager, and had been attending the local high school Aly also attended. So she was asked to identify and monitor him. But a month had passed and there was no sign of him— which meant Aly’s ability to handle the job was being questioned.

 

“Aly it’s not like we doubt you can handle it—”

Lies.” Aly thought, narrowing her eyes.

“But we just feel… Look we know you do not have backup and—”

“Except the Aviaters.” Aly said quickly, interrupting her mum again.

Aviaters were close cousins to the Acromidites, and looked almost like them, though they weren’t as strong and their abilities weren’t as advanced as the Acromidites.

Over the centuries they have helped the Acromidites fight the Bormans. They would have helped during the war as well if they had been allowed to— but only battles were fought with allies. They dwell a lot closer to the ground than Acromidites and are always of help to the ones that have to reside among humans for one reason or the other. Backup from other Acromidites only come when things get intense, and because of this, Acromidites on duty on Earth are mostly alone (except they are with their family— and even family members may be assigned to different units) and have the Aviaters as their only company. Though Aly did not usually ask the Aviater at her school for help (in fact, she tried to avoid him as much as possible) she felt she could use him at her defence. At least Jordan and her parents work with his family a lot.

“Yes, we know the Acromidites are of great help.” her dad said as he watched her mum stare at the window, clearly embarrassed at the fact she had not remember the Aviaters. Aly didn’t need to be a mind reader to know that her mum was silently hoping the Aviaters next door had not heard their discussion. It was obvious that she had forgotten that the hearing of an Aviater wasn’t as good as an Acromidite.

“I can do this alone… His help wouldn’t be of much use anyway.” she said angrily, pouring milk over her cereal just to keep her hands busy. She really wasn’t hungry, but she needed to do something with her hands before they started to tremble.

“Aly—”

“You don’t give Jordan trouble about not having backup.” she said, her anger building up as she stirred the cereal absentmindedly. “Is it because u thinks he would have located the Borman if he was the one in my school?”

“Aly don’t talk like—”

“I’m sure if we had the ability to reverse the ages of our human form you probably would have made Jordan seventeen again.” she said quietly.

Her parents’ silence confirmed she was right. Angry at them for not believing in her, she got up from the table to face them.

“Too bad you have a poor excuse for a daughter.” she said, her hands trembling now. Her hands only trembled when she was angry, and at the moment, she was furious.

“Why are you behaving so immature? Grow up Aly!” Her mum yelled in frustration.

“For your information I intend to stay seventeen for another decade!”

Her dad frowned and glared at her through his glasses.

“You’ve been seventeen for three decades now— and you still don’t think it’s time to grow up?!” He asked sternly.

Despite her anger, Aly almost laughed. It was funny when your parents tell you to grow up— and mean it literally. Like the strongest of the other elements, Acromidites are immortal. Immortality came with a special ability that allowed one to slow their aging process before the period they are to naturally stop aging. This means they can stay (or rather look) a particular age as long as they wanted. This ability wears off as they advance in age until they completely stop aging. In Acromidites aging stopped at forty fifty in Bormans. Aly had decided not to age because she loved being a teenager and it was a way she could unintentionally upset her mum.  This was one of the few “crimes” she had committed with her brother, since Jordan too had chosen to stay twenty-one for about two decades now.

But he wasn’t the one their parents were begging to grow up.

“I’m running late.” Aly said as she picked up her backpack.

“What about your cereal?” Her mum asked her. Aly stared at her, stunned by the question. She couldn’t believe her mum would still talk about cereal after what just happened.

“I wasn’t hungry.” she said slowly.

“At least clear your bowl.” her mum said, feeling defeated.

“Sure.” Aly mumbled, picking up the bowl and placing it gently into the sink. Concentrating air with her hand she directed it to the bowl. The airflow wiped the bowl clean and disintegrated its content. Using the move on the dishes was another way to get on her mum’s nerves— and it only took five seconds.

“Bye Jordan!” She yelled dropping the bowl and dashing for the door.

Her parents looked at each other and sighed as they heard Jordan chuckle in the living room. Her mum picked up the bowl cautiously and frowned.

“Now I have to wash the bowl.” her mum mumbled, as she cleaned out the sink. “Who knows how many dust particles she accumulated into the bowl with that air flow!”

“Mum you know the airflow didn’t pick up any dust.” Jordan said from the living room, still chuckling. “The air movement wouldn’t have sounded as clear as it did if she had.”

“Why do you encourage her?” Her mum yelled at him angrily.

Jordan walked into the kitchen, clearly amused at his mother’s frustration.

“Why shouldn’t I? It’s not like you ever do.”

 

Thank you so much for reading the first chapter of my novel. It’s going to get published once I get a publishing company willing to share that dream with me. And if no one cares enough to publish this novel, I’m doing it myself.

Sometimes we wait too long for the approval of others before we move forward. I’m not going to wait to long for that. I believe in this Novel.

I will put up more chapters (two more) if I get positive feedback on the piece. And if I don’t, i’ll still put it up (Haha.)

 

 

Chapter Twenty-Seven: Pre-Party

“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!

Hello!!!

Thanks for continually reading probed. I’m happy you secret readers who refuse to comment keep raising up my stats. I love you secretly as you make yourselves be. Muah!

Hopefully I’ll put two chapters up within the week. Enjoy!!!

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

 “This one has turned into in-law something o!” Maria laughed as Ronke packed her overnight bag. Fatima didn’t speak at first; she just looked at her roommate with wide eyes.

“You guys naa… I’m already nervous as it is.” Ronke said, zipping the bag up. “You guys are coming to the party on Sunday shey?”

“Of course!” Maria squealed. “Your boyfriend’s parents really tried o— two parties in one weekend!”

Ronke smiled, but said nothing in response. Just then there was a knock on the door. It was Muyiwa.

“Hey girls.” He said with a smile, picking up the overnight bag deftly. “Ready to go babe?”

Ronke nodded, and he flashed her roommates a smile. “I hope I’ll see you guys at Arinze’s place on Sunday.”

Michael had suggested house party instead, as it was relatively cheaper and usually more fun and two of their gym buddies shared a flat with a big living room. His father didn’t object, especially since it cost him a lot less. He instead sent him money for drinks and fuel.

“Of course! Take care of our friend o!” Fatima said with a grin.

“You know I always do.” He said, looking at Ronke this time. “Let’s go babe.”

 

Michael was already waiting in the car. He whistled at the sight of Ronke’s bag.

“Na semester you wan go do for bros house or wetin?”

“Abeg free me. No be box I carry naa.”

Michael laughed and shook his head. “Girls and load shaaa.”

The ride to Muyiwa’s place was fun, with Michael making jokes all the way. But by the time they pulled up into his street her stomach had begun to do a thousand flips. Muyiwa pressed his remote and slid the gate open, and her breath hitched a notch. They were finally there… at his place.

“Your house is really nice.” Michael said, slinging his backpack over his shoulder and sizing the large compound.

“Thanks.” Muyiwa said, grabbing his bag and Ronke’s, while she clutched her handbag desperately. Muyiwa flashed a comforting smile at her.

“They’ll love you.” He said as he pressed the doorbell. Mustapha opened the door almost immediately.

“Hey big bro!” Mustapha said with a grin. Muyiwa gestured to Michael and Ronke.

“You know Ronke… this is my best friend Michael.”

Mustapha smiled at them. “You’re welcome to our home. Please come in.”

As soon as Mustapha turned away from them Michael leaned in to whisper to Muyiwa.

“That your brother scary gan… pass picture sef.”

Mustapha paused all of a sudden and laughed, making Michael wonder if the teenager had heard what he said.

“Big brother’s here… and he’s brought some visitors.”

Muyiwa stepped in with Ronke and Michael into the living room, where his siblings sat watching TV. As soon as Nneka set his eyes on Michael she became self-conscious as she had on a pair of shorts, even though they were just above her knees. Her outfit today in comparison to the loose dress she had work to the hospital brought out her curves, and made Ronke a little intimidated. Michael was close to drooling— Muyiwa had to tap him in the back for him to snap out of staring at Nneka.

“So sorry about that… I really don’t know what came over me.” Michael said uncomfortably, and he gave her an apologetic smile.

“It’s okay.”

“Guys… this is my best friend Michael, and for those who haven’t met her yet… this is Ronke.”

Abiye’s eyes widened in excitement and he got up from the seat he was sharing with Aisha to look squarely at Michael and Ronke.

“It’s great to have you guys around.”

Michael turned to look at Aisha, who sat quietly scrutinizing him and Ronke with her huge eyes. He smiled and waved at her.

“You must be Aisha— it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“Likewise.” She said in an expressionless voice that made Michael unsure whether she meant it.

“Nneka please take Sade’s things to your room so that she can freshen up.” Muyiwa instructed, handing his sister Ronke’s overnight bag.”Michael will be sleeping in my room.”

“No problem.” Nneka said, smiling at the two guests. “I have lunch ready for you both.”

“Mama what about us?” Mustapha said with a mock frown. “Me I’m still hungry o.”

“We already had lunch. Go and eat bread.”

“Sha all of you know that the bread is remaining half.” Mustapha said, pulling his ears for emphasis. “Me I don’t want to hear you people telling mummy that I ate a whole loaf of bread.”

Nneka shook her head while Ronke stifled back a laugh. As soon as Ronke and Michael were in the respective bathrooms Muyiwa pulled Nneka close to him, making her raise an eyebrow.

“I can see it in your eyes.” Nneka said with a frown. “What did you do?”

 

“You can’t be serious Muyiwa.”Aisha said in a low voice, glaring at her oldest brother. She wasn’t the only one upset with him. Mustapha’s eyes were filled with rage, and Nneka disappointment. They were talking in low voices so they won’t be overheard, but they could hear each other clearly. “So what if you break up with Ronke and you get another girlfriend… you’ll tell that one too?” Mustapha asked sternly, rolling his eyes.

“Statistically speaking a regular guy goes into a steady relationship with at least a girl a year… so you’re telling us that every year a new girl will be in on our secret?” Aisha said with a frown. “Girls are the worst at keeping secrets, you know.”

“I have a boyfriend Muyiwa… you don’t see me blabbing such to him… or has Mustapha ever said he had let Sade in on our secret.” Nneka said with fists clenched.

“Sade is not my girlfriend.” Mustapha corrected, but they all ignored him.

“Even Abiye who is the least mature among us has been able to conceal his abilities so far, even with Julian.”

Muyiwa didn’t look at his siblings. He just leaned on the kitchen counter and sighed.

“Ronke isn’t like other girls. Even if we break up I wouldn’t open up to any other person like I did to her.”

“Bro you can’t know until the time comes.” Mustapha pointed out. “It’s not like you knew you were going to be in this deep when you first started dating her.”

“You’re right— I didn’t know.” Mustapha said. “But you need to understand… I really can’t explain it— why it felt so right to tell her. I have no excuse and I’m not going to make any.”

“Like Abiye back then… I remember how you planned to rip him apart for spilling.” Nneka said, giving him an accusing look.

“You guys… he has told her and there’s nothing we can do about it. Let’s not ruin his birthday by giving him attitude before mummy and daddy know something is wrong.” Abiye said, to the surprise of his siblings. Abiye was very mature for his age in the way he thought about most things; though he still acted very much like a kid.

“I don’t need you guys putting up a fake attitude because of mum and dad.” Muyiwa said despite himself. “It’s either I’m forgiven or I’m not.”

“You amaze me Muyiwa… you’re still claiming right.” Mustapha said, folding his arms. “You just want to mess up and be forgiven right off the bat?”

“It’s not easy to keep this a secret!” Muyiwa groaned. “Listen to me… one day you’d have to tell someone… maybe if you were to get married or—”

“And if we divorce them and marry someone else, more people will know.” Aisha interjected. “Because the divorce rate these days are accelerating with no sign of a decline.”

“I’m really sorry guys… please forgive me.” Muyiwa said, hanging his head as he pleaded.

“Does Michael know about us?” Nneka found herself asking. Muyiwa shook his head.

“Like Abiye said, it’s been done. There’s no point in holding on to it.” Aisha said with a sigh. “To be honest we do have to tell at least one person at some point in our lives, for one reason or the other. Mum and dad won’t be here forever.”

“Speaking of mum and dad, I think we all agree that it’s best they don’t know?” Aisha enquired, and the rest of her siblings nodded in agreement.

“Your guests will probably be looking for us.” Mustapha said, grabbing the half loaf of bread as he exited the kitchen. The others looked at each other and shook their heads.

 

Lillian and Richard did not return until much later in the evening, when Nneka was contemplating on dinner. Mustapha was the first at their side, almost forgetting that he couldn’t use his super speed at first. He and Muyiwa helped relieve the items they were carrying.

“I’m so excited! I think I’m going to cook all through the night!” Lillian said in her singsong voice. Mustapha’s ears perked up at the last bit.

“Mummy I’m definitely keeping you company.”

“Then there will be no food in the morning.” Nneka said with a laugh. It was then Richard noticed his guests standing nervously, their greetings overshadowed by that of the kids.

“Hello.” Richard said with a smile, and they greeted them again.

Muyiwa smacked his forehead. “Mummy, Daddy, forgive my manners… this is Michael, and this is Ronke.”

“Your roommate.” Richard affirmed.’

“And your girlfriend.” Lillian chipped in mischievously. Ronke tried her best not to look embarrassed.

“You’re welcome to our home.” Richard said with a grin.

“Thank you sir.”

“Have you guys had dinner yet?” Lillian asked.

“No mum, we hadn’t decided what I should prepare.” Nneka answered hastily.

“Not to worry— I’m home now.”

 

It was decided that dinner would be served in the living room, as the dining chairs were only eight in number. The family had a hearty meal, with Mustapha helping himself to two portions of what everyone else was having, much to their guests’ amazement.

“Guy… na before I dey think say you dey chop.” Michael whispered to Muyiwa, who only laughed in response. Ronke couldn’t eat as much, as she was so nervous.

“Watching your weight?” Lillian asked her politely, and she shook her head shyly.

“I’m really sorry ma. This tastes really good, but I don’t normally eat much.”

“I understand.”

“Don’t worry about it… I can help you finish that if you can’t.”

“Mustapha!!!!” Nneka and Lillian called sternly, and he put his hands up in mock surrender.

 

Ronke sat on Nneka’s bed and looked around her. It was quite feminine, especially because of the pink walls. She didn’t get to observe her surrounding as much as she could because Nneka stepped out of the bathroom and smiled at her.

“I’m glad you’re sharing the room with Me.” the young girl said gleefully. “I normally don’t do sleepovers.”

“I’m really happy to be here.” Ronke answered shyly. “Your house is quite big.”

“Yeah… it’s got eight bedrooms, all with their own bathrooms.” Nneka said without a hint of arrogance. “I’m surprised that dad had a liking for big homes even before he had a big family.”

Nneka had to admit that there was a thrill of being able to talk with ease. It was so easy to say things as they were since Ronke was in the know, and she felt she could almost understand why it was easy for Muyiwa and even the older Abiye to spill.

“Eight rooms… that means there’s at least one guest room though.” Ronke pointed out quietly.

“Yes. For guests.”

That made Ronke smile. All of a sudden Nneka’s door swung open and shut so fast Ronke almost thought she imagined it— that is, if Mustapha wasn’t suddenly standing right in front of her with a mischievous grin on his face. Nneka rolled her eyes while Ronke swallowed.

“Rude.”

“What? We just thought to wish our wife good night.”

Ronke tried her best not to blush, and Mustapha laughed hard at the attempt. Just then the door opened again and Aisha walked in with a parrot on her shoulder. She shut the door behind her and sighed.

“Sorry for the intrusion. We really just wanted to say goodnight.”

“Yes! Goodnight!”

Ronke smiled gently at Aisha, grateful for the information Muyiwa gave her at the part. Now she understood what he was talking about. If she didn’t know the little girl was a super computer she would have imagined she was a deadly shape-shifter that could gouge her eyes out. As the term shape-shifter came to mind, she found herself staring hard at the parrot on Aisha’s shoulder.

“Nice Parrot.” She said weakly, and the parrot flew off Aisha’s shoulder and landed on her lap— as a cute brown-haired Yorkshire terrier. Ronke tried her best not to scream.

“Abiye… ease up on her… please.” Nneka said firmly, and the terrier sighed.

“I’m sorry Ronke. Goodnight.”

Ronke really did feel he was sorry, and immediately felt bad for her reaction, so she picked him up and cuddled him, much to everyone’s surprise. “Goodnight dear. You’re so cute and hairy!!! Thank you for not turning into a snake or something scary like that.”

Abiye jumped off her feet and changed back to himself with a huge grin on his face. “Of course not. Even my parents aren’t used to that side of me yet.”

 

Lillian woke the girls up early, though the house had already been swept and dusted, courtesy of Mustapha. The staffs were usually off work during weekends since the children moved in, unless requested for— of which today wasn’t such an occasion. Aisha was to clean up and arrange the plates and utensils while Ronke and Nneka were to help her with the cooking. As they trooped to the kitchen they found Mustapha there, pouring himself some Corn Flakes. He looked at them and grinned.

“Good morning mummy… good morning girls.” He said, opening the tin of powdered milk right by the box of cereal. Ronke gave him a small smile.

“Good morning Mustapha… what time did you wake up?”

“I didn’t sleep.”

“He never does.” Nneka mouthed to Ronke so she wouldn’t ask him why.

“Sure you all don’t need any help?” he asked with a smirk before digging into his cereal.

“Do we still have foodstuff in the fridge?”

“Of course mama.” Mustapha said with a chuckle. “Wouldn’t want to leave our guests hungry.”

 

“Meeehhnnn this your gym ehn!!!”

Muyiwa smirked as he walked in to see Michael running his hands over one of the heaviest equipments they had. “Abeg who dey carry this one?”

Muyiwa looked from Abiye who was choking down a laugh and looked at his friend quietly. “Na for show… don’t you worry about it.”

Muyiwa’s stomach rumbled. He could smell what was cooking in the kitchen, and they were yet to have breakfast. He shook his head and chuckled, hoping Ronke was having a good time in the company of his mother and sisters.

 

“He’s mostly reserved in school.” Ronke said as she chopped the carrots, while Muyiwa’s sisters and mother listened with rapt attention. “It’s quite a relief to see him like this at home to be honest.”

“I wanted to hear something more exciting, like stories of him doing bad things.” Aisha sulked.

Nneka rolled her eyes. “She’s his girlfriend. You don’t expect her to dish out the dirt on him.”

Lillian nodded. “True that. Why don’t we dish the food into these coolers and get ready.”

“Yes ma.”

Just then the doorbell rang, and the girls turned towards the direction of the kitchen door.

 

“I still don’t get why she picked you.

Banji smirked as he used the doorbell. “What? Like I told you before… we’re friends.”

Sade gave him a dirty look. “Like I asked you before… since when?”

Before anyone could say anything further Mustapha opened the door. His eyes widened as he saw the first guests at the door.

“Hey…” Banji said, trying to avoid Mustapha’s gaze. Even his surprised look was disconcerting.

“Hi. What time is it?”

Sade looked at her watch briefly and shrugged. “11ish. that’s a rude thing to ask your guest, you know.”

Mustapha sighed. “Apologies. I was just not expecting anyone till well, 12ish.”

“We know we are too early, but our big brother had to go somewhere so he dropped us along the way.” Sade explained, and Mustapha nodded absent-mindedly.

“Okay that explained… may we come in?” Banji asked curtly, though his resolve weakened when Mustapha turned to look at him with an eyebrow raised.

“Please do. I hope you’ll excuse me so I can go change.”

“Sure.”

Banji and Sade walked in just as Aisha was bringing the plates to the dining table.

“Mustapha who was that at the—”

Banji’s eyes widened at Aisha’s sponge bob pajamas, and he bolted for the door. Right at that moment, Aisha dropped the stack of plates in her hand. But they never crashed.

“What… what just happened?”

Aisha and Mustapha exchanged horrified looks. The plates were still in his hands.

“Am I dreaming?” Sade said, almost to herself, and Mustapha dropped the plates carefully before stepping slowly towards her. She took a step back.

“This is some side effect from the new medication right? It has to be.”

Mustapha turned to his little sister. “Go dress up. And make sure you don’t tell anyone anything… at least until later.”

Aisha nodded and dashed up the stairs. Just then the front door opened and Banji walked in.

“Um… sorry about that. I was just—”

He looked around him, wondering where everyone went.

 

 

Chapter Twenty-Six: Pick A Guest

“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!

Hello!!!

It’s been a while… hope you’re not mad. I am going through too much… in a good way. I just need to be prove to the world… that I am bursting with that energy that will translate to something so…

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

“Wow. Okay daddy… I’m so… thank you sir— thank you so much!”

Muyiwa hung up the phone and rubbed his palms together with glee. His roommate Michael who had been walking beside him looked at him mischievously.

“Care to share the reason for your excitement?”

Muyiwa nodded. “My parents are throwing a party for me this weekend.”

“That’s nice.”

“Saturday and Sunday… We’re having a small indoor party on Saturday with a few of our friends, and Sunday to for just my friends only.” Muyiwa said excitedly. “My dad is renting an event center for the Sunday party at a hotel not far from school.”

“Mehn!!!” It was Michael’s turn to rub his hands gleefully. “We’re gonna make sure the party is off the hook!”

“Dad said he’s only organizing the venue and mum the small chops.”

Shak no be problem naa… me and the boys will organize the whole thing don’t worry.”

“I just hope the whole ish doesn’t get out of hand though.” Muyiwa said warily, and Michael put a hand loosely over his friend’s shoulder reassuringly. “I know how crazy you guys get.”

“We’re never that crazy… and you know it— don’t worry about it.”

“I guess you’re right.” Muyiwa said with a laugh. “But what if no one shows?”

“That’s impossible… especially when strongest is the one organizing the whole thing— I don’t think you know you’re popular. Besides, who wouldn’t show up to the party of my best friend? I mean association with me is enough cred.”

Muyiwa laughed hard and moved away from Michael’s grip. “Who’s best friend?”

Michael joined in the laugh. “Forget it o… we don’t have to say it to know that we are best friends, at least as far as this school is concerned.”

Muyiwa slapped Michael on the back. He truly did consider them best friends.

“So then… you wouldn’t mind spending the weekend at my place.”

Michael raised his eyebrow at him. “For real?”

Muyiwa nodded in affirmation. “I’m supposed to bring two friends for the party on Saturday, so I’m inviting you and Ronke to my place on Friday.”

“Thanks bro, I’m honored.” Michael said with a chuckle. “I’ll finally get to see your family, especially that your fine sister.”

“Guy… e be like say you wan die early.” Muyiwa said firmly, but with a small smile on his face.

 

Aisha stared at the report card on her desk, a smug smile plastered on her face. Her seatmate Brenda was staring at her in shock. Aisha averted her gaze to her close friend, her smug smile not faltering.

“What?”

“How so?” Brenda asked, gesturing towards the crowd of students around a bewildered Banji. Aisha shrugged nonchalantly.

“I was so sure you’ll carry first position this term.”

“I know right?” Aisha said with a chuckle, making Brenda give her a look.

“You’re not sad?”

Aisha shook her head. “Of course not. Carrying second position doesn’t making me any less smart.”

Brenda nodded in agreement. “That’s true.”

“Aisha.”

She didn’t bother to look at the person standing in front of her desk. “Yes Banji?”

Brenda looked at Banji, then at Aisha. “Let me go and check Binta’s score eh Aisha. I’ll be right back.”

And with that it was just the two of them; Aisha still staring at her report card with a smug smile on her face, and Banji staring at her only because she wasn’t staring back at him.

“I got first position.” He said in a low voice. “And with your perfect CA the only way that could have worked out is for you to flunk your exams, even if a little bit.”

Aisha only responded with a shrug. Banji clenched his left hand into a fist.

“So what are you trying to prove?”

“You get the stupid plaque you never let me rest about when I got it last term.” She said placidly with a shrug, still staring at her report card. “Now you can sleep well at night.”

Banji opened his mouth, but no words came out.

“I tried to be nice to you, especially when our family bumped into yours at the hotel last Christmas. We got along during the trip, only for you to turn back to your mean self back in school. You shunned me in front of our classmates, making them think that I was latching on to you all through that holiday.”

She finally looked up at Banji.

“Since you were nice enough to admit that you hated me because of your stupid first position plaque, I let you have it.” Aisha said coldly. “I don’t need first position to prove how smart I am, especially to my family.”

“Wha- what are you implying?” Banji said in a bid to conceal his growing shame. Aisha got up from her seat and gave him a once-over.

“I don’t need your stupid friendship either… so please move away from my desk.”

Banji wordlessly walked away, angry at how guilty he felt. He clenched both hands again; the grip of his right hand tightening over the plaque he held in that hand, while the left one was balled into a fist.

 

After school Mustapha was leaning on the wall of the car park, looking at the students hanging around while he waited for his siblings. But he was so wrapped up in his thoughts he didn’t notice them approach him. Nneka snapped a finger in his ear to bring him out of his thoughts.

“Haba what’s on your mind?” she said, putting her hand on her hips.

Mustapha gave her a once over and nodded at Folarin who was standing right next to her. “Guy what’s up? Mama nothing is on my mind.”

“Hmm… ok o.”

“So Folarin will you be around on Saturday?” Mustapha said with a mischievous grin. Nneka put a hand to her younger brother’s chest and glared at him.

“Yes he is, and no one is going to do anything funny.”

“Like what? Hint our parent that he’s your boyfriend?”

“For Christ’s sake Mustapha don’t talk about this like he’s not here.”

“So what? It’s not like he doesn’t know how protective dad and mum are of you.”

“Yes he is aware. So stop scaring him and making him second guess this.”

“What’s there to be scared about?” Mustapha said with a chuckle. “It’s not like lover boy over there is going to say or do something stupid that would tip dad off.”

Nneka put up a finger in a bid to give Mustapha a stern warning when he held her deftly by the wrist.

“Hold that thought for a minute mama… I’ll be right back.”

With that Mustapha broke away from his sister and rushed to where he had sighted his target. Banji had just walked into the car park. Mustapha rushed to meet up with him, much to his surprise.

“Banji what’s up?”

Banji narrowed his eyes at Mustapha. “Hello Mustapha.”

“Um… where’s your sister?” Mustapha said nervously, putting both hands in his pocket to give a casual air. Banji raised an eyebrow at him, trying not to smile despite how uncomfortable he felt. Mustapha was the kind who pierced through you when you looked him in the eyes— he had no idea how Sade did it without flinching or even looking away for a second. Love, the young thought, is indeed blind.

“I’m taking it she hasn’t turned on her phone yet.” He said, scratching the back of his head. It was Mustapha’s turn to raise an eyebrow. “I doubt she’s home yet.”

“I don’t understand. Where did she go?”

“She got admitted last night.”

“What happened to her?”

“Her meds stopped working, and she passed out last night from exhaustion.” Banji explained with a sigh.

“Wait… her insomnia meds?”

“You know about that?” Banji said with shock, and Mustapha nodded in affirmation.

“Okay then… I’ll tell her you asked after her.”

“Um… there’s no need t… no problem then.”

“I have to go… my driver’s waiting.”

“Yeah.”

“Banji!!!”

Muyiwa and Mustapha turned towards the familiar voice. Sade was heading towards them wearing casual clothes. She beamed at Mustapha, but he froze in place, unable to speak.

“You’re supposed to be at home resting.” Banji said with a frown.

“I’ve been at home since morning joor.” Sade said, folding her arms. “Home was boring so I followed Mr. Jones to come and pick you up.”

“Yeah…” Banji drawled. “Anyway thank God you’re here… Mustapha asked after you.”

“Oh really?” she said, giving him a side glance.

It was then Mustapha thawed out. He cleared his throat and looked away. “Today was pretty peaceful, is all. It’s not like I missed your company or anything.”

“I never said you did.” Sade said with a giggle, making Banji roll his eyes. “Let’s go little brother.”

As they turned to leave, Mustapha grabbed at Sade’s arm gently, making her and Banji turn at the same time. Mustapha’s lost his resolve immediately.

“Err… Sade… I thought…” He scrubbed a hand over his face and took a deep breath. “My elder brother is having a party on Saturday and we’re to bring a friend each… and I haven’t asked anyone yet.”

Sade’s stomach did several flips, but she did her best to act casual. “Okay… soooo?”

Mustapha let out a frustrated sigh. “You’re not letting me do this.”

Sade’s smile widened. “Of course I am.”

“You’ll come for the party right?”

“Ask nicely.”

Mustapha let out another sigh. “Would you like to come along for the party?”

 

This is fun! It’s been a while since I did this!”

“I have a feeling this is going to turn into a weekly routine.” Muyiwa said with a laugh. Ronke didn’t reply— she wrapped her arms tightly around him instead. He was giving her a piggy-back ride in Leke’s garden, which had very few people there at the time.

“It’s not like it’s straining you or anything.” She said, planting a soft kiss at the back of his neck.

“Better stop o. I’ll just drop you.”

“If I hear.” Ronke laughed long and hard, and then decided to share what had been on her mind.

“How do you want to spend your birthday?”

Muyiwa froze in place. “I was thinking about how to bring that up.”

“Oh really.”

“Yup. We’re spending it at my parent’s place.”

Ronke was so shocked she almost fell off Muyiwa’s back, saved only by his firm grip. He noticed, and let her down gently.

“What’s wrong? Do you have plans on Sunday?”

“It’s not that it’s just that—”

“My dad wants to throw me my first birthday with them, and wanted to do it with a few of our close friends— and you of course.” Muyiwa said with a small smile.

“Muyiwa… it’s going to be a little scary.”

“You don’t know the half of it.” he replied with a laugh. “You and Michael are to spend the weekend at our place, so we can all go for the main party Dad and Mum are throwing for me and my friends.”

“Now it just got a whole lot scarier.”

Muyiwa laughed heartily. “There’s nothing to it! You’d share a room with mama and Michael will sleep in my room, so you won’t have to feel too shy about being among us.”

Ronke tried to smile, but she was all twisted up inside. “It’s not about that Muyiwa.”

Muyiwa threw an arm over her shoulder. “They are going to love you. If only they knew you knew about our secret… Abiye would have turned into some pretty cute animals for your amusement.”

“I don’t understand… animals?” Ronke said, her heart beating furiously in her chest.

“Yeah… he turns into all sorts… but he won’t turn into anything scary— you’ll just die.” Muyiwa laughed heartily, but Ronke didn’t find it funny. She frowned, much to Muyiwa’s amusement.

“I thought I would ease it up on you.” Muyiwa explained gently, giving her a comforting smile. “But I didn’t want you coming over and dreading those you had no idea what they are capable of. Michael has no problem because well, ignorance is bliss.”

“Hmmm.” Ronke said, pinching the bridge of her nose. Maybe she shouldn’t have probed him. She found it hard to believe yet, but she saw no reason why she shouldn’t, especially since she witnessed what had happened that day with her ex-boyfriend.

“This is too much to take in.” she finally admitted. All Muyiwa did was smile.

“Of course it is, but you asked for it.”

He put up four fingers to represent each of his siblings. “Here’s the breakdown: Mama heals herself of all injuries and those of others to an extent— something you know already. Aisha is a super computer with a large knowledge base, and can temporarily take copies of documents for content duplication; Mustapha has super speed and our last born Abiye changes to different animals.”

“Okay… I think I need to sit down.”

“No problem. Are you coming over for the weekend?”

Ronke looked at him. There was something about the way he asked her that question, like her refusal would cost them their relationship. What he said next affirmed it.

“It will always be family above everyone else Ronke… If you have a problem with how we are it’s never too late to leave.”

Ronke’s feet were shaky, but she ignored it and smiled. “We still have to talk to your dad about the issue with mine… don’t forget.”

 

“Aisha… 2nd Position? What happened?” Lillian stared at her daughter worriedly as she skimmed through her report card. “You seemed to have decided to do a little less than perfect in your exams unlike in your CA.”

Aisha gave her mother a small apologetic smile. “I thought fluctuating grades will throw a lot of attention off me, asides from the fact that I got picked on in class by some of my classmates who thought I showed off my intelligence a little too much, when they don’t even know the half of it.”

“Oh I see. I understand dear.”

She reached out and put a hand on her mother’s shoulder. “It was quite excruciating for me to flunk mum, trust me. It’s even more laborious than those who have to study when they don’t want to.”

Lillian pulled in her daughter for a hug. “It’s okay for you to fluctuate every once in a while, but nothing lower than 2nd position, okay?”

Aisha stared at her mother, horrified. “Never!”

 

Aisha was reading one of the encyclopedias her father bought her in class during break for the umpteenth time. Although she had already absorbed the information within, it was like reading a favorite novel. She reached for her bottle of fanta without looking away from her book, until she realized that it was no longer on the table. She finally looked away, only to see Banji in front of her with the fanta in his hand, smiling her mischievously. She raised an eyebrow at him, her face expressionless.

“I’m thirsty.”

“Who are you taking to your brother’s party?”

“One. You take going straight to the point to far… you could have at least eased it into a conversation.” Aisha said, still staring at him expressionlessly. “Two. Who told you about that?”

“Mustapha asked Sade to the party yesterday.” Banji said, finally setting the fanta down so he could fold him arms stubbornly. “I want to come to.”

“Why?”

“What naa? I just want to.” Banji said, narrowing his eyes. “I like parties.”

“I don’t need your company as compensation for you getting first position. I already told you that I don’t need grades to determine how intelligent I am.”

Banji knew that. He had known that from the very first term, even before she had snatched his perfect first position streak from him— he was just too proud to concede defeat.

“I really just want to come and watch Sade make a fool out of herself in front of your brother and… see your books.”

Aisha muttered something in Dutch under her breath. She liked to speak to herself in other languages when she needed to make a decision. She was the only one among the children that understood all the three major Nigerian Languages, and she had the mid to learn more soon enough.

“That one sef dey.” She said, rolling her eyes. “Okay I’ve heard… you’re lucky I haven’t asked Brenda yet.”

Banji pumped his fist in the air with excitement. “Thanks a lot!”

Aisha didn’t expect his reaction, but she didn’t betray her surprise in her expression. “You’re welcome.”

 

“Mummy let me take you on a ride… pleeeaaassseee!!!!”

Abiye put his head on his mother’s lap as they watched TV while she played with his hair absentmindedly.

“Oh dear… I’m still not sure I’m totally comfortable with that yet.” Lillian said with a soft chuckle.

“But you liked it when you rode on me as a camel, and the other time when everyone took turns riding me as a donkey— they both have very strong backs.”

“Yes they do dear…  I still haven’t warmed up to your wild animals you know… but its one day at a time.” she replied with a laugh.

“I noticed it, that’s why I only change into house pets in front of you and daddy. But you really tried your best.” Abiye said with a laugh. “Imagine when I first transformed before your eyes? You passed out, just like Daddy did.”

“Your father fainted when he first met you? He didn’t tell me that.” Lillian said, trying to choke back a laugh. “He will so hear plenty stories when he gets back.”

“Mummy… I want to try something.”

“Hmmm…. Okay what is it?”

Abiye got off the chair and turned into a tiger. Lillian jumped before she could control herself.

“Mummy please… I need to know that I don’t scare you. Touch my head.”

“Abiye.”

Lillian was uncomfortable, and mouth and teeth were so big but she understood the young boy’s point. She hesitantly reached out to touch the side of his head, and he leaned into her palm. It amazed her that the small boy’s head that lay on her lap about a minute ago had become a massive animal’s. Her hands were still shaky, but she put the second one on his face.

“See mum? You have nothing to worry about.”

Lillian flinched again when he opened his mouth, but she didn’t let go. She drew close and wrapped her arms around Abiye’s neck. Suddenly her hands were suspended in mid-air, and small, long arms were wrapped around her own neck.

“I love you mummy.”

She drew him close and kissed his forehead. “Mummy loves you too.”

Suddenly she snapped her fingers as she remembered something.

“Abiye I didn’t ask who your guest for the party is so I can take permission from his or her parents.”

Abiye laughed. “There’s no need for that mummy, you had already invited Julian and his mother.”

 

Chapter Twenty-Five: Tell the Tale

“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 know it’s been a while, but i’m actually on a new learning phase in my life (i really should have paid more attention in school).

I’m learning quite a lot, and I’m psyched that I’m on my twenty-fifth chapter here. To all those who spurred me and followed me through this journey with the Ogunbades, I am truly grateful.

Hmmmm… twenty-five. Let’s see if we can make it to fifty shall we? Hahaha

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

Ronke sat on her bed wide eyed, staring at Muyiwa with a raised eyebrow.

“If you didn’t want to tell me, you should have just insisted.” She said blankly. “It’s much better than making a fool of me with this your sci-fi mumbo jumbo.”

Muyiwa gave her a look and hissed, much to his surprise. When she said so he thought he would appeal to her to believe him, but instead he found himself repulsed by her response. He rose to his feet.

“You know the best thing about this?” he said with a sneer. “No one would believe you if you told them either, so spare yourself the embarrassment you hear?”

As he tried to leave Ronke grabbed his arm and tried to draw him close, but he wouldn’t budge.

“If I detach myself from your grip with force, your joints would pop out from their elbows.”

The lethality in Muyiwa’s voice made Ronke recoil from him, but he refused to look at her.

“I will be twenty-two in a couple of days, and I have never in my life told anyone my secret.” Muyiwa said, clenching his fists as he spoke. “April 28th… it’s not even my real birthday.”

Ronke put a hand to her mouth. Muyiwa was trembling violently.

“All I remember… is being on a bus… and being waylaid by robbers… and being bounded off to the facility… to hell on earth. If not for mama I swear—.”

Instead of completing his statement he clutched at his shirt as if he wanted to remove it, but stopped himself. With a chuckle he turned to look at Ronke, and to her surprise he had tears in his eyes. She had never seen him cry until now.

“Have you ever looked closely at my body before?” he asked softly this time with a small smile. “I know you’re stubborn, no matter what I tell you.”

Ronke understood what he meant. At the beginning of their relationship whenever they were together Muyiwa acted really strange, like he was repulsed by her touching him. He was so mechanical with her, like pleasing her was a point of duty and not a thing of mutual benefit. It frustrated her and even made her feel insecure at first, the way he would frown before he even kissed her, or how she always had to make the first move even for a display of affection. But she also remembered when she first tried to talk about it. He explained that he wasn’t used to what she had to give him… to making love or even holding hands. At the back of her mind she used to believe he meant that he was only into flings, but she never asked so she wouldn’t hurt herself further. She instead held on the belief that he meant it when he said he had never fallen in love with anyone before… until she came along. Eventually he eased up and became the most romantic man he knew, never ashamed to let people know how much he loved and cared about her. She had seen a couple of scars on his body, but she assumed it was from all the dangerous things that he had done that he hid from her, so she never bothered to inspect closely. Besides, Muyiwa was always alert at the slightest sound or touch that she wondered if he really ever slept.

“All those marks… those incisions and scars you see all over me are not from fights or whatever as you would think.” He said, shaking his head slowly for emphasis. “There are incisions and holes where I had been cut open and drilled into for enhancement.”

Ronke let out a gasp before she could stop herself. Muyiwa still had the soft smile on his face.

“These scars are nothing compared to the psychological and emotional ones left in us, embedded through the years.”

“Us… you mean you and your siblings?”

Muyiwa nodded. “We all went through the same thing. The love of the Ogunbades healed us all, but it nothing can take away those scars. I will always be who I am, the man with a dangerous secret.”

Ronke’s heart was beating furiously. It was too surreal to believe… like those series she was so addicted to watching that Muyiwa never really liked. She could understand why he disliked them now.

“Did… did your sister do something to me back there?” she found herself asking. Muyiwa nodded.

“She healed your post surgery wounds.”

“Wait… you told them about the abortion?”

“We never hide things from each other… it’s always been how we lived, and we can’t stop it now.” He smacked his forehead. “They are going to cream me for telling you our secret… I just hope they don’t tell mum and dad in their fury or I’d be in even more trouble.”

With this Ronke rose to her feet and took his hand his hers, and he made no move to recoil this time. “I promise I won’t let them know that I know.”

“This is not about you… I can’t keep anything from my siblings. I have to tell at least one of them, and this is too big for anyone I tell to keep to themselves.”

Ronke leaned against his back and wrapped her arms around him from behind, something she did when he needed to calm down. He was still tensed.

“I’m sorry I asked.” She muttered quietly, and Muyiwa chuckled.

“You know… I used to have an older sibling once… who spilled our personal secrets to some scientist he fell in love with back at the facility. Mustapha and I had already given him options on how he would like to die, and who he would want to kill him.”

He felt Ronke stiffen behind him, and he chuckled again.

“I understand it all… how love can be your downfall if you fall for the wrong person.”

“Did you kill him? Did she become his downfall?”

“No babe. They gave both their lives to save ours instead.”

 

Mustapha and Nneka found their mother in the kitchen when they got back. She was pulling out the foodstuff she had gotten from the market. Nneka rushed in to help after they had greeted her.

“Thank you darling. You’re just in time to help me make egusi soup.” Lillian beamed. Mustapha pumped his fist in the air in excitement, making Nneka roll her eyes.

“Can I help?” he asked, rubbing his hands with glee.

“No o! You will eat all the fish and meat before the soup is done… see what I mean?!”

Mustapha had grabbed a piece of smoked fish from the counter and was already pulling it apart.

“Haba my son that’s bad manners.” Lillian said sharply, but with a smile on her face. Mustapha lowered his head and apologized in a small voice.

“If you’re really sorry then return the fish.” Nneka said, and Mustapha was gone in a flash. Lillian laughed heartily and put an arm around her daughter.

“You all bring light into my life.” she said, and Nneka stopped being upset.

“So you guys escorted Muyiwa to school yeah?”

Nneka had started running water to wash the vegetable. “Not exactly. We went to visit his girlfriend Ronke… she was a little under the weather.”

“Oh really… Muyiwa didn’t tell me.” Lillian said with a frown.

“He probably didn’t want to bother you. Besides he was quite disoriented since this was the first time she would be hospitalized.”

Lillian’s eyes widened. “It was that serious?”

Nneka nodded in response, a little heavy in her heart that she couldn’t tell her mother the complete truth, though she had felt it necessary to tell her that Ronke was at least hospitalized. “I think it was typhoid or malaria… but she was discharged today.”

“Thank God for that.” Lillian said, putting a hand to her chest in relief.

Suddenly there was a small gust of wind, and the refrigerator opened and shut quickly. Lillian and Nneka exchanged a look, and burst out laughing.

 

Mustapha stopped abruptly with the pack of juice in his hand at the sight of Aisha sitting on the back of a black panther. He gave them a once over and grinned.

“A black panther eh? That’s new.”

“Yeah… I’m reliving the jungle book story.” Aisha said with glee, patting the panther by the side. “I’m trying to understand the deep connection of Mowgli and Bageerah from their close physical association past his obligation to the boy as guardian. Turning Abiye into a bear would have been too rowdy and besides, a panther is sleek and shiny when it’s not potentially dangerous.”

“Aisha has gotten fatter. Mowgli was quite skinny.” Abiye whined, and Aisha hopped off him immediately.

“I’m not fat!” Aisha said, her eyes brimming with tears as she rushed back to her room. Abiye turned back to himself and stared at Mustapha confusedly.

“I just said she was getting fatter… not that she was fat.” He said with a shrug.

“Girls don’t like that word. It spurs their negative emotions.”

“I mean, we were all skinny before we left the facility… and despite how we’ve been eating we haven’t seemed to get anywhere close to overweight.”

“I can’t get any fatter even if I tried.” Mustapha said with a laugh. “That’s why I don’t bother with cardio workouts.”

“I should go apologize.” Abiye said, gesturing towards Aisha’s room. “Or clear the air, at least.”

“Yea. You should.”

 

“You what?”

“What do you mean? I think it was better this way…” Nneka said with a frown, although her big brother could not see it. “I told her that she was admitted for typhoid or malaria.”

“I understand. At least you had a cover story.”

“Anyway that is not why I called. If you have plans this weekend, cancel.”

“Why?”

“Because—”

“Mama let me call you back… mummy is calling me.”

“Okay.”

Muyiwa hung up Nneka’s call promptly. “Hello mummy.”

“How are you dear?”

“I’m fine ma.”

“Nneka told me about Ronke. I hope she’s fine now.”

“Yes she is ma. We’re back in school.”

“That’s good to hear… which means she’ll be strong enough to come around on Saturday with your friends.”

“Err… mummy I don’t understand.” Muyiwa said, puzzled.

“Your first birthday with us… we’re throwing a party.” Lillian said briskly, like she didn’t want Muyiwa to argue. “You guys never bring your friends over, but they are all invited for the party. Or do you want us to rent a venue?”

Muyiwa relaxed into a smile. He wasn’t expecting a birthday party, but he knew nothing he would say would convince his mother otherwise— her mind was made up.

“Yes ma. We’ll be there.”

“Good. I thought for a minute there that you were going to say there was no need.”

“You’re the best mummy.”

 

 

 

Chapter Twenty-Two: Discovery

“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!

 

So I had this on standby… and i just needed the word for me to release it. Pardon that it is a short piece, for i tried to make it longer (i really did), but the last scene was just too perfect as a cliffhanger to add to. So please read… and enjoy.

Also it’s my sister’s birthday… So I’m dedicating this post to her. 😜

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

Abiye was up early. It was hard for him to sleep in for a while, no matter how hard he tried. He knew that if he slept longer than 7am then he was down with something. As the familiar scent of Julian flooded his nose he turned to his side to look at his sleeping friend, the memories of the night before flooding in. His friend was safe now, thanks to him and his siblings— although he would never know.

Richard called Mrs. Olisa as early as possible, and asked her to come over to the house. The widow was full of anxiety after the call.

“Did the kidnappers say anything else?” she said as soon as she stepped into the house. Richard gave her a comforting smile and asked her to sit down.

“Would you like something to drink? Juice perhaps?”

She shook her head and frowned. “Richard… why did you call me here this early?”

“We have your son.”

She jumped to her feet. “How? Where is he?”

“He’s with Abiye… he’s fast asleep.” Richard said. “He’s had a long day… I advise we let him sleep for as long as he can— he needs all the rest he can get.”

Mrs. Olisa sat back down, but she couldn’t keep still. “How did you do it? You gave them the money didn’t you Richard.”

“As much as I wish I did, I don’t have a hundred million anywhere.” Richard said with a laugh. “I can’t tell you that Jennifer, but you should know… I know people.”

Mrs. Olisa’s eyes began to tear up. “How can I thank you?”

Richard shook his head. “Thank God instead.”

The lawyer’s face then became clouded. “Jennifer… did you tell anyone about Julian’s kidnap?”

“Not yet.” She said with a frown. “Even my sister… I refused to pick her calls after what happened. I was so upset with her even though it wasn’t really her fault, and I was afraid of saying something to her that I wouldn’t be able to take back later.”

“Good. You know it is important know one knows about this, especially about the fact that I was the one that helped you.”

“I understand how private you are about things.”

“Thank you. There’s something else you should know.”

Mrs. Olisa fidgeted in her seat. “Okay.”

“Your sister… once dated a man you don’t know… one that Julian had met a number of times.”

Mrs. Olisa’s eyes widened.

“He was the one that kidnapped Julian.”

A hand flew to Mrs. Olisa’s mouth, as if to hold back the incoming sobs.

“But he admitted that Victoria knew nothing about his plans.” he said quickly before she could make conclusions. “He knew Julian’s because he had accompanied her to pick your son up a couple of times.”

“We need to arrest him.”

“Yes. But trust me when I say, he had already served his time.” Richard said gloomily. “He had been dealt with far worse than he could have in police detention. Please let it go.”

Mrs. Olisa let out a sigh. “Okay Richard. You got my son back, so I have to do things your way.”

Richard gave her a curt bow. “Thank you so much.”

“But I already filed a police report… what do I tell them?”

“Just tell them someone brought Julian to your house in the middle of the night.”

 

Lillian was coming home that morning. Everyone was determined not to eat until she came back, but the girls had the breakfast menu planned. Richard had gone to pick Lillian up, and when they drove through the gates the children were waiting outside. Muyiwa sped to the door before the others got to it and opened it for Lillian.

“Welcome home mum.” Mustapha said, kissing their mother on her cheek before grabbing her hand luggage, to everyone’s surprise. He had gone to drop the luggage and returned before the others had finished hugging Lillian.

“Mummy we missed you!!!” Nneka squealed. “How was your trip?”

“It was lovely, thank you.” Lillian said, still surprised at Mustapha’s gesture. “Everyone sends their love.”

Abiye jumped happily and turned into a camel. Lillian looked at her youngest son warily.

“Abiye! What are you doing again?”

“Mummy you have to enter with style.” He said with a chuckle, and everyone else laughed. Abiye leaned and Aisha put the blanket she had been holding on his back, while Muyiwa lifted his mother unto Abiye’s back. Lillian chuckled and beamed at Richard.

“It feels like Dubai again.” she said gleefully, balancing her handbag on her laps while Abiye walked her to the front door, where Muyiwa lifted her off the camel’s back and Mustapha opened the door for her.

“What did you have for breakfast?” she asked Nneka as they all walked into the house.

“We haven’t eaten yet.” Nneka said, and Lillian whipped around to look at her children.

“Even Mustapha?”

“Not even him.”

“Why?”

“We were waiting for you mum.” Aisha explained meekly. Lillian looked at Richard skeptically.

“Okay… what did they do?”

 

Everyone stood on a straight line with their hands behind their back and their heads hung, and Richard sitting right beside a furious Lillian, trying to appease her.

“You what?”

“I told you dear… Julian got kidnapped and we—”

“You all took it upon yourselves to put your lives in danger because…”

“They were asking for a hundred million dear… and we felt—”

“Having special abilities doesn’t mean they should be exploited.”

“Mummy… we begged daddy to let us help out.” Muyiwa said, because he knew his father will try to take all the blame. “He didn’t even want us to do it.”

Lillian sighed deeply. “Kids, we can’t have you running using your abilities for things like these. We had agreed amongst ourselves that we would learn to live as a normal family despite your special design. This is not a science fiction novel— stop acting like it.”

“Yes ma.” They all said collectively.

“Please, please, please… let this be the last time I’ll hear you guys went off to do something like that.” Lillian said, rising from her seat. “And here I was thinking I was getting all that special treatment because you guys missed me.”

Abiye rushed from the line and wrapped his hands around Lillian’s waist. “But we really did miss you mummy!!!

That made everyone laugh, even Lillian. And suddenly everything was alright.

“How about I make us our famous smoothies for lunch?”

“I’m sorry to interrupt everyone, but you all have to see this.” Aisha said, holding up her tab.

 

Ronke stared at the blog post in disbelief. She tapped her friend Fatima and passed the phone to her. “You need to see this… it’s so crazy.”

 

PILE OF INJURED FOUND IN LAGOS MAINLAND

A group of injured men were found piled on top of each other in a mechanic’s workshop early in the morning right next ghana-must-go filled with old newspapers. They were found in severe pain with several dislocated limbs and deep marks that looked like they had been inflicted by the claws of a wild animal. None of them could recollect what had happened to them, but when several guns that had been bent out of shape were found at various parts of the lot the police were alerted. There has been talk of plans to have them detained after they are to be discharged from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH). The police speculate that they had probably lost their memories from repeatedly passing out from the agony of their injuries.

 

There were several pictures posted of the incident, one of them in a pile and another of them being laid out side by side, with claw marks on their face and the side of their necks.

“Abeg na photoshop.” Fatima said dismissively, handing Ronke back her phone.

“I’m not sure o… the pictures look legit.” Ronke said, peering closely at them.

“I hear you.”

Ronke sighed and decided not to push any further. Fatima was a skeptic, even more than she ever was. But meeting Muyiwa opened her mind more to the possibilities that surpassed the general perception of reality. Thinking of Muyiwa gave her a dull ache in her chest, but she waved it off. She had a lot to things to do today, and a term paper that was her topmost priority. She picked up her back and decided to head for the library when she doubled over. Fatima looked at her roommate with concern.

“Ronke are you alright?”

Ronke was about to reply when she noticed the droplets on the ground, collecting together from thin streamlets she could trace all the way up her thighs, running from underneath her shorts. Her eyes widened in confusion and she tried to scream, but realized that she couldn’t find her voice. As she stood there, numbly staring at blood dripping down her thigh with her mouth open, she heard a scream that didn’t come from her. Fatima held her by the shoulders just as her eyes rolled over and she gave into the darkness that had begun to take over.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Twenty-One: Let’s Rescue Julian

“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!

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

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.”

 

 

Chapter Fifteen: Hello Stalker

“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!

Hi Guys! This is way shorter than my short pieces, but i so had to end it this way. And more would have ruined the effect.

ENJOY!


Chapter Fifteen

Felix was running late because of the traffic, and Richard had to be at the office because he was expecting an important client. Who then was going to deliver the package in his possession that was just as important?

He thought hard and reluctantly decided to assign his first son with the task. He found Mustapha also in the oldest child’s room. They had been playing video games before he walked in.

“Muyiwa I need you to deliver something to this address immediately.” Cutting the boys short they could greet him. “I need to be in the office and Felix is stuck in traffic. I can trust you to perform this task? You know how sensitive my work is.”

Muyiwa gave a confident nod as he collected the package, on which the address where it was to be delivered had been written on it.

“I’ll text you the name of the restaurant as soon as I confirm.” he said, giving Muyiwa an encouraging smile. “You are to drop this package with a man named Mr. Adeniyi and you’ll receive another package in exchange.”

Mustapha raised his hands to get his father’s attention before he left. “Could I go with?”

“Sure no problem.” Richard said absentmindedly before closing the door behind him.

The boys hurriedly threw on some clothes and rushed to the car. Mustapha was already by the door of the SUV with the keys by the time Muyiwa walked out the front door. The older brother snatched the keys from the younger and smiled mischievously.

“Doesn’t matter who got here first… I’m driving.”

The trip down to the appointed destination took less time as expected, and the exchange was pretty brief. The man wasn’t hard to spot; being the only man dressed in a suit whose eyes lit up in expectation as they walked in. They greeted briefly and exchanged packaging. The man offered to buy them lunch but Muyiwa hurriedly declined.

“We have to be getting back.” He said, giving the man an apologetic smile while shooting his brother a sideway glance. Mustapha also nodded in agreement.

“Never knew you to turn down an offer for food.” Muyiwa said with a laugh as they returned to the car. Mustapha shrugged and gave his older brother a little smile.

“It all depends on who is offering.”

There was very little traffic on the way back, and with the windows rolled up; coupled with loud music and the air-conditioning blasting in their faces the ride was smooth and enjoyable. Suddenly Muyiwa’s face hardened and Mustapha stared at him inquisitively.

“Someone’s following us.”

Mustapha studied his brother’s face quizzically. He was never wrong about such things, but he had to ask.

“You sure bro?”

“You didn’t notice I’ve been taking alternative routes back to our place, and this car keeps tailing us.” Muyiwa said with a low voice. “It’s no coincidence.”

“I feel it has something to do with the parcel we just received.”

“I feel the same thing too Mustapha.”

Muyiwa decided to drive through a bushy path. The car still tailed them at a far distance. The boys exchanged a knowing look and Mustapha decided to get out of the car and stand on the side of the road like he wanted to urinate. Being one to cover long distances, his eyes had been trained to see clear as far as a mile away, so he could prepare for obstacles he might encounter on the move. He turned towards the men and could see from where they were that they were arguing among themselves. Suddenly the car drove down towards them at top speed and blocked the path in front of them. Mustapha pretended to be taken aback as three masked men stepped out of the car, pointing guns at them.

“Get out of the car!”
Muyiwa complied and slowly got out with his hands in the air. Mustapha did the same.

“Where’s the package you were given?”

The boys had guessed right.

“What package?” Muyiwa said, pretending to be both scared and confused. Within himself he chuckled. His younger brother was far better at masking emotions, but he hoped he wouldn’t be the one to flop.

“If you lie there I’ll blow your head off!” Another of the masked men threatened. Muyiwa had to make harden his face to keep himself from laughing. He would like to see them try.

“Thank you for sparing us the favor of having to track whoever the parcel is to end up with.” The third masked man said with a small chuckle. “Who knew our job would be done before noon?”

“Bros you too dey talk… shut up before you say the one wey you no suppose say.” The first masked man warned before turning the gun to Mustapha. “Hand over the parcel or I blow this other guy’s head off.”

“What guy?” Muyiwa asked, still feigning confusion.

The masked men’s incoming words were cut short by the sudden disappearance of Mustapha.

Mustapha had known it was his cue to move. He knew he wasn’t bulletproof like his brother, but he knew it would be hard for them to shoot at him so he was perfect for creating a distraction. He stood in between the other two robbers and tapped them by the shoulder. The three of them jumped in fear and one of them pulled the trigger by accident. But Mustapha had disappeared in a flash and the bullet ended up lodged in the first masked man’s shoulder.

“Guy why you shoot me naa?” The masked man asked, crying out in pain.

“No be you I wan shoot naa!!!”

Muyiwa frowned. It was an accident, but it could have been his brother if he wasn’t fast enough. He started to walk towards the masked men menacingly, his anger growing at the distance shortened between him and them. They started to shoot at him with shaky hands, but even though most of the bullets shot at him hit his body— as evident in the holes and tears in his clothes — the bullets dropped to the ground, not leaving a scratch on him. By the time he got to them he was furious; he couldn’t help but think what would have happened if it had been Richard or even Felix that had been out on the errand. Would they have shot them after forcefully collecting the parcel?

With such a disturbing thought in mind it took all his willpower not to tear those masked men into shreds, so he settled for breaking their hands instead. The guns dropped from their hands as they cried out in pain from an effortless squeeze of Muyiwa’s hand, but it didn’t stop him from breaking the other ones too.

He couldn’t kill them, he had questions to ask.

“Who sent you to pick up the parcel?”

The man he was holding groaned in agony. He grabbed his collar and shook him furiously.

“I’ll break your legs too if you don’t answer.”

“I no know naa! Na our oga know!”

“Who be your oga?” Muyiwa said, practically screaming at the masked man.

“Na him wear blue shirt.”

Muyiwa looked up from the man and sighed at his brother, who was chuckling mischievously. “Mustapha, stop playing with the robbers.”

Mustapha chuckled again and sped in front of the men who had run a good distance trying to escape being knocking them down flat with a single blow. Muyiwa walked up to where they were, dragging the one he interrogated along the ground as he did so. When he got there he threw him into the midst of the other men.

“Who sent you?” Muyiwa asked the masked man in a blue shirt in a cold voice. The man swallowed loudly before answering in a shaky voice.

“Cc-chief Bb-enson!”

“Chief Benson who?”

“I-iii don’t know! Na wetin everybody dey call am be that!”

Even with a surname, Chief Benson wasn’t a name that he would know. But it was most likely his father would, which was why he needed names.

“What does he want with the parcel?”

“How I go know? Na only to collect package him contract us for.”

“It’s like you think I’m playing.”

Within a few seconds, Muyiwa had cleanly popped the man’s shoulder joint out of its socket without the fraction of an effort.

“Aaaahhh! Oga abeg I swear I no know anything!”

Muyiwa sighed. If only Aisha was there. She knew how to analyze vitals and body language to tell if a person was lying. He decided to let them go, even though all he got is a name.

He popped a certain point at the back of their heads and they all became unconscious. They weren’t going to remember anything that had happened today when they woke up. It was a technique they had been taught at the facility.

“Let’s go Mustapha… I’m sure Dad has been calling us.”

Mustapha eyed his brother’s clothing. “There’s no time to go home and change.”

He pulled off his t-shirt, leaving only his white vest underneath.

“You’re lucky we’re roughly the same size.”

Sure enough, Richard had been calling repeatedly. They went straight to his office to deliver the package. Richard looked at his children worriedly as they walked in. Muyiwa had a deep scowl on his face and Mustapha’s face was hardened.

“What’s wrong? What happened?”

Muyiwa’s expression softened as he saw the worried look on his father’s face.

“Dad… something crazy happened today.”