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She pressed and held so that the honk of her car will rally with that of the ones around, maybe then, the traffic will clear.

She could will all the cars away, she knew she could. But she did not. She wanted- needed- to conserve her new found powers because of course it was bestowed on her by more than coincidence… it was a gift of fate for the greater good.

Lala knew the world was in imminent danger. The signs where there, of things; bad things approaching from different dark crevices.

It was obvious in the shadows that moved anti-clockwise, against the sun,defying light.

It was evident in the children born with their eye wide open, open even in their mothers wombs.

It was apparent in the gait of the trees, more rebellious as against their gentility. Nature was brazen and brash; a tree trunk extending to make her trip, then the winds howling in laughter as she falls.

Somehow, she was the only one that saw them, she was the only one that felt the change so when she told her mother, her mother merely grimaced and looked away staring into the empty sunburnt evening.

Lala had had enough. Surely, doing something to prevent her from having a heatstroke amidst an ungrateful traffic in a state that will get mad at you for dying because you have caused more traffic is part of the greater good.

Eyes closed. Breathe hitched. Zen mode. Concentrate.  It took 10 minutes… it gets easier and faster by the moment. Wielding ones power, like a talent takes practice… Lala was getting a hold of hers.

The traffic had dispersed before her and she easily maneuvered, her heart in her throat, her fists clenching the wheels till she felt like she’d puke. She could do it, she had the power of telekinesis. She could move objects using sheer mental power and that…. that had to be the most heady thing.

She was glad she made it home before fainting. The mental exercise had drained her of all energy and she needed sugar or an energy drink to re-charge. She’ll take red bull, then she’ll tell her daughter all about it now that she had confirmed that she was indeed superhuman.

It all started in the lab, as a scientist working in a high facility government lab, she dealt with major chemicals, and she believed in major abilities but she had never for once thought she’d accidentally develop an ability though it might be that her strong mental believe had attracted that bug to her.

The vision of that multi-coloured, shimmery bug with eyes that looked like they could see right through people and straight into the future hit her again, this time, so hard she had to promptly sit on a sofa.

She wondered-not for the first time- how it had made it’s way past the barricade, past the heavy duty doors that shut so tight even air had to hiss away. The place was highly sensitized and well-lit, surely something as big and colourful as that should not have covered that distance unnoticed.

But fate… laws of attraction… her innate instinct to help must have had a hand in gaming it all. The sting was so sharp and sudden she fainted. That was when she  died, perhaps for a second or its split,but her heart had skipped a beat, maybe two and it had been jolted back to life only because on her way down, the complex chemical she was working on had spilled and burnt deep into the sting that it had prompted her heart to beat. And when she awoke, she woke up a new human.

She could see patterns in life, she could see thought processes. She could see the life in things people think are inanimate not knowing that they retain the hum of life of their raw nature. The furniture still hum with the trees essence, the cars still have elements of steel, so does every other thing; that was why controlling them became easy for her- because she could feel them, connect to them, communicate with them, will them and they bent to her will.

She didn’t hear her daughter come in. She was so in tune with every other thing she started losing touch with humans… they were far less interesting.

‘Mama you look pale’. Her daughter looked at her worried. Her daughter worried unnecessarily.

Lala smiled weakly.

‘I’m okay. How are you? How’s school?’

But she didn’t hear how school was, or how Nana was selected to represent the school in a science tournament, or how Nana’s best friend was caught with a boy and flogged before the class, or how Nana really needed money for a new uniform, because she was communicating with TV vibes and she would have moved it but for the fear that Nana will freak out.

When she opened her eyes, it was night and her daughter was nowhere to be found, she had slept off. There was a plate of yam and beans porridge on the table, Nana must have made it. Her poor child must be confused and lonely but some matters require sacrifice.

‘Mama are you sure you are okay?’ Nana asked again after checking up on her mother to see if she was breathing. Her mother had been delusional since her father left them for her mothers older cousin but it had become worse lately.

Lala didn’t flinch.

‘It’s okay to think about him. But please we have to move on’. She pleaded. She was desperate for her mother to pick up the pieces of her once colourful life again.

Lala tilted her head towards her daughter and smiled ‘Who? It has always been the two of us darling’.

She was, it seemed, stuck in a stage of calm denial- not of the act of betrayal (it would have been much better) but of the existence of Nana’s Dad. It scared Nana to no end.

Then something moved in Nana’s periphery. She turned to catch the object fly out through the window. Her mother caught her looking and smiled.

‘ I was wondering how you’ll find out. It was so hard keeping it to myself for so long. Now you know’. Her smile was so wide, it was the happiest Nana had seen her since the incident.

‘Know what? What are you talking about Mama?’

‘I know it may seem like there’s a plausible explanation, but it’s just that! I have the power of telekinesis… and yes I just threw out that verse through the window with my mind’.

‘Mama!’ Nana half-whispered in an ill-attempt to keep the alarm out of her voice, ‘Mama that was a bird’. And a tear fell from her eyes.

Submitted by Aisha Hamza

  I arrived at Tara’s apartment a little past eight p.m. She enveloped me in a warm hug and led me to the lavishly set dinning area where candle lights were competing with porcelain dishes . Sitting down, I allowed my eyes roam on the body hugging sequined dress that flattered Tara’s beautiful body. I might just propose tonight.

  Tara excused herself and went into the kitchen. Suddenly something moved from the shadows and surfaced in form of Tiara. She didn’t give me time to recover from my shock as she said “long time no see Ayo”. There was no way my ex from hell was sitting across from me. Too shocked to say a word, beads of perspiration gathered on my forehead.

“Tiara, I see you’ve met Ayo already” It was Tara’s honeyed voice. What in the world was going on? I mused. Tiara flashed Tara a smile. 

    “Ayo, this is my twin sister Tiara”. The universe must be playing tricks on me. “Remember the two girls on the night of the 27th, 2008. Your boys and you. Remember the rape Ayo”?
It was Tiara speaking.
I looked up and saw Tara holding a gun. “It’s payback time Ayo”. Smiling, she pulled the trigger. 

This story was written as an entry to the Flash Fiction contest hence the theme but unfortunately, due to technical issues, it was not received.

Writers Bio

Aisha Hamza

Aisha Hamza is an ardent and growing creative writer who is passionate about stringing words together. She is a poetic soul with the pen of a word artist and hopes that some day,her name would be written in gold amongst a legion of renowned writers.

Once upon a time, even though I’ve never counted, but I was reading an average of 3 books a week and almost a hundred a year.

I was a chute sucking up all the wordings and meanings and at that time, reading a 200 hundred paged novel a day was a small task. I didn’t care what genre or age group or era it was from, I just read everything. But even then I was also a fiction person. I had tried to read ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ and it did not seem significant to my life in anyway. I could not read inspirational books or biographies/ autobiographies, still can’t. The closest I’ve read was the ‘Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck’ which was a very good read. (Books about creative writing are exceptions)

Then as I grew up, I started getting picky. Some books like Animorphs disgusted me. Some books like high school love stuff became too childish, some Mills and Boons book were too unrealistic, some science fiction books made no sense, some bippity bappity boo books were just lazily recycled narratives. I’d read the first 3 pages and dump the book without ever looking back. That is something I never did during my book gouging stage; in fact at that time I’ll probably start liking a book well into the 100th page but I’d still drag on and read on because well, It was a reading sin to dump a book.

It was that time that I discovered that I’d rather read Sidney Sheldon’s books than John Grisham even though I want to be a lawyer because it wasn’t ‘adventurous enough’ for me. And that I’d still rather read Sidney Sheldon than Jeffrey Archer because his books are so long you’d probably get lost in the narrative half way (except his short stories which I love).

I discovered my love for fantasy books and Sandra Brown over any romance writer. I discovered I liked mystery and suspense but didn’t like the suspense and the waiting period; always leaves me physically tired.

I discovered one genre that not many people know or worse appreciate but I like it because it is so easy-going and fun and some are actually funny- Chicklit.

I love reading the imperfections of the characters of Chicklit novels most of which are by Marian Keyes or  Sophie Kinsella (Chicklit novels adapted to movies are Diary of A Shopaholic, The Devil Wears Prada, Beauty and the Briefcase etc).

I like Fantasy, the Harry Potter kind and Percy Jackson kind. Zarah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor was the first book I read in that genre by an African and it’s still my favorite .

I like books like Divergent and I usually read the books before the movies are released as soon as I watch the trailers. Because the books are usually better.

I love action books  and horror but please don’t disgust me with scenes too grotesque to incite any fear… thank you. To think once upon a time my idea of a horror book was Goosebumps.

Wattpad spoiled many genres for me like Vampires and werewolves, I don’t take them serious now because I feel it’s just another unreadable Wattpad something. Fanfiction is the wooorrsseee *Harry Styles* 😭

I love unconventional books like Alif the Unseen, it’s tech with a touch of Jinn- really unexpected.

Unpredictable books in a good way? Sign me up. Because some authors in a bid to be unpredictable just do the most.

Generally, the books I’d love to read are the ones I’d love to write. So when I don’t find what I want to read on the shelves, I write one.

She was the first person he saw after buying his ticket and proceeding to the waiting area.   His sense pricked up on high alert the moment he laid eyes on her and the first thing that came to his mind was -soft. She looked so soft and fragile like a delicate cluster of cloud or cotton candy.

It seemed like she wasn’t walking, she was gliding through and she had a meek demeanour but exuded confidence.  She looked like a no-nonsense lamb. He couldn’t help but stare at her, eyes filled with wondrous confusion.

She softly landed on a seat almost opposite his, looked around disinterestingly before whipping out her phone.  He was holding his phone too but it was only so that it wouldn’t be too obvious to her or anyone the fact that he was staring at her from above the phone

Then it was time to board. He watched her struggle with a medium sized box, a small luggage and her hand bag over the flight of stairs that led to the platform where the train awaited them.

His gentlemanly instincts which was otherwise dormant but for the sights of damsels in distress and a few choice moments kicked in and he approached her. He was nervous.  He had never been that nervous to approach a girl. Not even the fiery ones. But he had sweaty palms in anticipation of talking to a lamb.

‘Do you need help with that’?   He asked her, his faint British accent becoming more accentuated by the lob-dob of his heart.

She turned to him, a sweet smile already plastered on her face.

‘Don’t worry, I’m good. Thanks though’. Her voice was like he imagined.  Cottony. Soft and melodious like she was singing softly in speech.

How modest, he thought. The baggage was obviously dragging her back. He had to help. He wondered why she didn’t take the elevator instead but he wasn’t complaining, it was his grand opening.

‘I know you are.  But it seems unfair, I have just a laptop bag and you have three bags. It’s just fair to share’. He flashed her his most charming smile.

She looked at the bags as if in contemplation, turned her gaze to him, then wordlessly extended the big box to him. He collected it, thought fleetingly of how he just acted like a bellboy and hoped she won’t attempt to give him some change after they reach their seats.

‘I can help you with that one too’. He motioned at the smaller hand luggage. Her eyes widened in an emotion he couldn’t decipher, she stared down at it and shook her head.

‘I’m fine really. Thanks’ another smile.

They were both in first class. Good. First class tends to have empty seats so even of they weren’t seat mates, he hoped the seat near hers will be vacant. The connection he felt with her couldn’t just be lost on the train.

‘What’s your seat number?’ He asked, he willed her to say seat 31, the one near his.

’54’ she replied. Dang!

He hauled her box up the rack. She smiled in appreciation.
‘Thank you. Where’s your seat’. She was just being polite.

’32’ he said motioning with his head to the rows of seats behind.

She nodded, he stood still for a  bit waiting for an invitation from her to join the seat but she had already settled on her seat and was rummaging through her handbag. The hand luggage was wedged between her leg and the seat in front of her and it looked uncomfortable.

He bent to help her put it up also on the rack but was cut off by an alarmed sound the moment his hand touched the bag.

‘Don’t touch that!’ She exclaimed.  Then realised her voice was a notch higher than cottony. She lowered her eyes in shyness and looked away. ‘I want this one beside me’ she explained further.

He nodded and left wondering about the very sudden outburst. His mother had always warned him to never open a lady’s bag, he may be surprised at the things he might find. His mother never said anything about touching it.

He settled on his seat but his mind was restless and soon enough, his body grew restless too. Something was enigmatic about her. He wanted to find out.

He stood up and pretended he was going to buy something in the corner canteen . He wanted to see if the seat near her was like his, empty.  But there was an elderly man seated there struggling to settle his laptop on the small fold-in table attached to the back of the seat in front of them.

He passed by them. She was still typing on her phone. He bought two meatpies and two drinks them came back beside the man who sat beside ‘his lady’.

‘ Sir if you want to work on your laptop you could have my seat. It’s that one in the middle by the charging  point.  If the lady assents of course’.

Both he and the man turned to look at her, both with pleading eyes. She smiled for a fraction of a second then shrugged.  The man thanked him, carried his bag and headed to the table spot. With the charging point near him, he could finish his preparing his presentation long enough to have time to hack into his girlfriend’s instagram account.  He had a feeling she’s doing something fishy over there.

‘I’m sorry. I hope I’m not imposing myself’ he said, he didn’t sound sorry.

‘I don’t mind’ she replied. He extended the snack and drink to her, she shook her head. He insisted,  she collected it and kept it near him. Then they started talking.

Because her speech is soft, one will hardly notice how much of a conversationalist she was. But he noticed,  as he noticed everything about her. Like the way her gze kept gliding by the bag.

They spoke about plenty things, their family, their early life, University.  She didn’t go into depth,  she avoided some aspects, he noticed that too.

Before he knew it, they had arrived. Ut was the shortest Abuja -Kaduna train ride he had ever been on.

He helped her with her bag. They went down the stairs and stood at the end waiting for their rides.  Hers came first and he was ad to say goodbye. At least he had her number. Our love story started on the train. It was a classic one. That was what he’ll tell their kids and grandkids,  he thought.

It was only when he heard a phone ring beside him that ge realised in horror,  she had forgotten her lady bad.

He picked it up. Moved forward trying to see whether they were still in view or had turned back to get it but the cars and people where fewer then. It was already past 8:00 pm. Last train for the day.

He decided to open it and answer. No doubt it was she trying to get her phone back.

He opened the bag, reached for the phone, froze. It was no lady bad, it was a death bag. There was a sleek metallic gun, some bottles, three fingers wrapped in something like cling film, some clothes stained with blood and by the side, huddled between the clothes, a human skull stared at him with empty hollowed out sockets.

He dropped the bag in fear and turned around in confusion hoping no one had seen him but he saw her. She smiled,  itbwas everything but warm and fluffy.

‘It’s quite unfortunate.  I really liked you. Didn’t your mother teach you not to open a lady’s bag?’.

Before he could move, a car stopped behind him. He heard the door open and all in a split second with shock rendering him immobile, someone covered his face with a cloth heavy with chloroform and he sunk into it’s intoxicating lure all the while staring into her eyes. Her hardened, lifeless, scary eyes.

He should have heeded his mother’s advice.

She got up all bleary eyed and puff faced when she heard the locks turn. He was back.
He stepped and shut the door behind him before looking at her. He almost sighed in welcome frustration. It was going to be the same routine again. A routine he enjoyed because of the sheer rush of power it gave him.
‘Are you okay?’ She asked. She was torn between reaching out to touch him and staying within the invisible boundaries he had put up which only he could cross. Maybe if she didn’t push it, he will start staying with her.
She wrung her gown with unstill hands and waited for him to reply. She wasn’t sure when she became nervous near her husband, he never beats her, he doesn’t even raise his voice not to mention a finger. But that made her more nervous , the calm.  The roaring thunder is always more peaceful than the silent lightening.
‘Come come here. I’m fine. Of course I’m fine’. She moved slowly towards him and he embraced her. She was feeling the tears lodge in her throat, when he was affectionate, which was most times, she always felt the tears. But she never let them fall, he may think her a weak woman who is being too clingy and needy, she didn’t want that. She knew that he married her for a certain appeal in her independent spirit and a thrill in the long chase she made him do. What went wrong -what made her so shrunk in size and spirit, so dull and slow, and so frail in ego was beyond her. Love probably.
‘Have you eaten?’ He asked. She shook her head. She hadn’t eaten since the hour he left home.  Never seemed to be able to eat or sleep when he wasn’t home. He left three days ago.
‘But why? You look starved.  Let’s get you something to eat, have your bath and rest okay?’ She nodded.
I’ve told you, whenever I am not home, it’s because I’m working and the network in the office is bad, I never seem to connect with your line. Don’t worry about me okay?’.  He said as he laid her to sleep after she was full and refreshed.
‘Now let’s give you your shots. Less worry, more healthy. Okay?’ She nodded again her eyes wide in anticipation. She had a disease too complicated for her to comprehend and he took care of her, only he was willing to stay with her and give her her shots of injection. After that, the whole world seems alright again and she honestly never cared about what he did. She was always in a state of unexplainable euphoria and to the outside world,  she was a perfectly happy housewife.
‘There there’ he said and patted her arm where the needle was just pulled out  ‘You’ll be alright. I’ll be right here’
He waited for her to sleep then pulled out a box from the top of the dresser, the shots were about to finish,  he needed a larger dose to keep her high and off his case. He loved his wife, at least he loved knowing he had a wife, it made him more appealing to other girls and the fact that he had tamed such a wild shrew to become his personal powerless pet was a mighty boost to his ego.
Besides, he was sure that was the only way she could ever remained married to him. She wouldn’t have it that he was a man for many women and he had vowed never to be divorced, it was sign of failure.
He packed up some fresh sets of clothes, some wads of cash dropping a bundle of hundred thousand naira beside her and dropped two tablets of rophynol into a bottle of water beside her. Then as a second thought,  added three more.