Ayo was really grumpy after we got back which sucked for me because I had every intention of following up on my investigations which meant I really didn’t have time to worry about things like our upcoming Math Test which would have been okay if I had Ayo to help me out.
It wasn’t even really my fault he was mad. It had nothing to do with helping me get to the In-betweens.
At least… I didn’t think it did.
It was more likely what happened just before we left. A local herbalist, knowing he was in residence had come to pay homage. She’d been a hundred years old at least and she’d come with white chickens and some other white live stock and Ayo had looked all embarrassed and had to go inside and talk with her for a while before she would leave. Then he’d been pissy all the way home. Just what was his damage, anyway? So annoying!
I had no choice but to carry on by myself, hoping he would have calmed down enough by the time I needed to get down to some serious last minute jacking for the test.
Meanwhile there was the case of the Abiku.
There are a total 7 entities in my school including myself. We have a shape shifter, a water spirit (not one of the Osun’s) and a bunch of re-incarnates like Ayo but unimportant (they didn’t even know what they were so in a way they were just Dims) then me and the other Abiku.
His name was Dolapo. He was a junior student already known for being ditzy which was par for the course with a typical, flighty member of my tribe.
It was easy to find him once we got back to school. I just headed straight for the sick bay. I heard him begin to moan the minute the door to the boys’ ward opened to let me in. Gratified to find he was the only one in there I went up to his bed side and looked down at him with my arms folded.
He was a fragile looking thing with a delicate sort of prettiness. His eyes were closed and long lashes trembled at his cheeks. He moaned again.
“Nurse… I can feel myself getting worse,” he sighed luxuriously, “help me!”
I rolled my eyes then punched his arm hard making him jump and sit up with the grace and alacrity of an athlete in his prime. Solid, neon bands of anxiety and fear streaked around him.
“Stop being a cow,” I instructed him. With my siblings, a firm hand is always the best. You have to snap them out of their habitual dizziness and then keep them alert till you have what you want. “I know your pattern,” I told him, “you’re a long leaser and you like to die on your graduation day.”
Dolapo cringed back into his bed away from me, his eyes and mouth drawn wide in an almost cartoonish mask of shock, “Wha- ?” he gasped, “I don’t know what you’re – why are you – NURSE!!”
I crowded close to him and banged the side of my fist against the headboard of his bed, “Dolapo, if you try that again, so help me, you will not make it to graduation day and I’ll fix it so you can never come back,” my voice was hard and I made my colours heavy so that he knew I wasn’t bluffing. I knew how to do it and I was ready to use the knowledge if I had to.
Dolapo’s cry died in his throat. His expression changed and became sulky.
“Why are you meeting me in my body?” he complained in a hushed voice even though we were alone, “You’re not meant to do that! Are you planning on outing me or something? Because I’ll just out you back! I know where your thing is and – ” suddenly he paused and looked mildly confused, “no, wait – I knew were your thing was – ”
“Why don’t you know anymore, Dolly?” I asked him keeping my tone pleasant since he seemed all set to score an own goal.
“It should have taken it by now,” he said smugly then his eyes widened and he glanced at me as if he hoped I had missed that. My expression must have been pretty grim because he started to look genuinely ill. “It – it tricked me!” he whined.
“What did?” I gritted out trying for patience and missing.
“The – the – ” Now Dolapo looked fully confused. He covered his face with thin hands which I could see were shaking, “I don’t know! It was ugly and strong and it said if I told it where yours was then it would leave mine alone!”
I frowned. That didn’t sound right. “But how did it know where yours was?”
The skinny boy peeked at me over his hands and through his lashes. His glance had turned embarrassed. “Um – well, it didn’t, but how was I supposed to remember that?”
I felt my temples begin to throb. “So you made a deal with it and told it where mine was even though it didn’t really know where yours was.” Maybe if the deal was fraudulent it could be voided.
“I told it where mine was too by mistake. But luckily it only wanted yours.” Dolapo smiled then realized I wouldn’t think it was lucky and stopped smiling.
By this time I had begun to feel weary and like I had wasted my time. Clearly, the younger Abiku was not going to be of any help to me whatsoever. I sighed deeply and turned to leave. I was almost at the door when he spoke again.
“It’s all your fault Maro,” his voice was small but it stopped me. I turned to find him still hiding behind his hands.
“Why do you never play with us?” he asked and his voice had taken on the soft almost sing-song cadence of our kind, “If you played with us sometimes, it would be harder to betray you. But it was very easy. None of the siblings like you.”
He was right of course. I ignored them when they came at night, begging me to come through my door and join them. I felt the drugging pull of our song and dance but I fought it and when any of them tried to force the issue, I fought them too.
“That’s why I’m not angry with you,” I told the boy in the bed.
I turned to leave again. This time I reached the door before his voice came again fragile but distinct.
“Maro,” he said, “It smelled of home.”
FYI: All the chapters for this story can be found HERE on Channel One with the most recent chapter at the top.