“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!
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…
“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.”
“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.
“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.”
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.”
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?”
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.”
“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.
“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.”
“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.”
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.”