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The Marked:white Sight_the In Between_a Nigerian Paranormal Fantasy Fiction Book / Yewande Omotoso & Ayobami Adebayo Nominated Baileys Women’s Prize For Fiction / MARVEL CHRONICLES (science Fiction) (1) (2) (3) (4)
|The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 4:09am On Jan 10|
Outside the Community, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria
“We don reach, na one-fifty.” the taxi driver announced. Osezele pulled out her purse and fished for the two hundred naira bill. As soon as she found it, she handed it over to the man who looked down his nose at it with a severe frown forming on his face.
“You get fifty naira?” he asked eyeing the passenger seated in the back seat. Osezele shook her head in response. “I no carry change,” he said, “it look like say you go dash me fifty naira.”
Osezele shook her head at the man again. She hated confrontation so if she’d had that money to spare, she would have given it to him. But as it was, she still had to get to the gate, and that was another forty naira ride, so she really couldn’t part with the money. She smiled at the man. “But sir, if I fit dash you fifty naira, you fit dash me fifty naira too. So just give me hundred if you no get fifty naira change.”
The driver was surprised by her response. “I’m a working man, I need the money.”
“I’m a student.” Osezele responded. “I dey secondary school.”
“Secondary school!” the driver exclaimed. “Ehn-ehn. You be small girl oh. Small girl wey look like big woman.” he turned around then, put his hand into his shirt pocket and pulled out a fifty naira bill. “Oya take.” he said, handing over the money to her.
A gentle smiled formed on Osezele’s lips as she looked at the money in the man’s hand, money he’d just lied about having. She took the change from him and said, “Thank you sir,” before getting out of the car.
As she watched the taxi drive off, she had to remind herself to breathe. The closer she got to the gates, the more nervous she became. Osezele tried to calm herself down by taking measured breaths, but so much hung on her ability to get through those gates without being caught. If they found out, she wouldn’t be walking out of that place, they’d never let her leave. Which meant that she’d never see her mother again, never gossip with her best friend Tolani and never gaze into Nosa’s eyes. She shook her head trying to physically force herself out of it.
“Breathe.” the deep familiar voice echoed through her head as if summoned by her distress. She remembered the first time they’d spoken, the first time he’d trained her for this. “What do you do when you’re trying to see something?” he’d asked. “Look.” she’d responded. He’d smiled at her and nodded slowly before saying, “Exactly. You tell your brain to look and it does. It’s the same way with your mark, you tell your brain what to do and it gets the message to the part of you that can do it. Don’t worry, don’t try to force it, just breathe and let your mind do the work.”
The jarring sound of a horn drew Osezele out of her memory just in time to see a motorbike roll to a stop in front of her. On top of the bike was a skinny young man wearing an oversize Chelsea jersey. He put his foot on the ground to keep the bike on that spot while he spoke to her. “Where you dey go?” he asked.
“Yonder there.” Osezele said, pointing down the straight road that led to those gates she dreaded.
“Behind the wire fence you no fit see?” he asked, his mouth hanging open in shock. Osezele nodded. “You know the kind people wey dem dey keep for inside there?” he asked. Again Osezele nodded. “You be small girl, wetin you dey find for inside there?”
“I dey go visit my aunty.” she responded.
“Your aunty dey for inside there!” his voice rose slightly, partly from shock, the other part from fear which Osezele pulled in like dust particles drawn into a vacuum. She had to close her eyes to hide her visceral reaction to the strong emotion. She nodded. “Oya enter, make we dey go.” the man responded.
Osezele’s hand went onto the black leather seat preparing to hoist herself onto it. She stopped midway to ask, “How much?”
“Two hundred.” the man responded.
Osezele’s hand came off the seat immediately. “Two hundred naira! Brother that’s too much oh! I fit walk to the gate from here.”
He chuckled. “If you fit walk, walk na. When you faint for middle of road, I go come pick you up, carry you there and charge that your aunty three hundred naira.”
Osezele smiled. “Ah-ah, no be forty naira?”
“Forty keh. Nah three hundred naira dey standard. I be want reduce price for you, if not na three hundred, ask anybody.”
“Na only fifty naira I get. I carry two hundred come from house, pay taxi one fifty. I no get any other money.”
“So which money you go use take go back home?” he asked.
“I go collect transport money from my aunty.” she responded.
The man looked her over before shaking his head and saying, “Oya pay me one fifty.”
Osezele laughed. “Na only fifty naira wey I carry.” she smiled at the man then and began walking away towards another bike.
“Wait.” the driver called out to her. She stopped and turned around. “Enter.” he said.
“For fifty naira?” she asked.
“I said enter.” he responded.
Osezele walked the short distance back to the man and climbed onto the back of the bike. Once the bike began to move, she wrapped her hand around the man’s waist to keep from falling off.
As they got closer, Osezele could feel the force of eyes peering into her, trying to break through the barrier she’d been taught to craft. She held on tighter to the driver, a little jealous of the oblivion he enjoyed. He wouldn’t feel the weight of those eyes. He wouldn't notice the augurs who had the gift of sight, the ability to find other marked, even the ones like her whose marks were hidden. And it wasn't just the augurs, it was the spotters as well. The spotters were bi-marked werewolf-augurs. They were the ones who hunted down the marked, the ones who, no doubt unknowingly, probed her as she got closer to the community.
The bike stopped a few feet away from a tall building. She looked around expecting to see big gates marking the perimeter of the community, the separation between the marked and unmarked. But all she saw was a tall-narrow glass building surrounded by a lot of trees, shrubs and empty space. Disheartened, she couldn’t hide the sigh of disappointment that escaped her lips.
“Why you dey shake? You dey fear? You better fear oh.” the driver’s voice sounded in her ear, forcing her to turn around. She shook her head about to respond when the man continued, “You know say dem dey turn to animal for night. I hear say dem go grow nail wey sharp like knife and teeth like dog go dey come out from their mouth. I even hear say dem get power ehn, the kind power where if they slap you, your head go commot from your neck. Tufiakwa! Nah witchcraft dey inside there.”
Osezele stifled the urge to respond with, ‘there’s witchcraft outside too.’ Instead, she smiled at the man and gave him the fifty naira bill she had in her hand. As soon as he took the money, he turned his bike around and sped off as quickly as he could away from the community.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 4:12am On Jan 10|
The Community, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria
On the second floor of the guard house, Osezele walked from the ID room, where she’d had her fingerprints recorded for the first time, towards the small office where the interviews were conducted. This was where she really had to be careful. From her lessons, she knew that the interview would be conducted by an augur with two spotters standing behind her in the room. If she gave off any emotion that was too ill-suited to the occasion the spotters would catch it and she’d be taken to third check were blood was drawn. Apparently, they could tell from examining her blood if she was marked.
She stopped in front of the door to the office right when the door was opened by a woman dressed in a uniform that looked a lot like it belonged to the Nigerian military. The woman smiled warmly at her, before extending her hand for Osezele to go in. Osezele smiled back. Breathe. Don’t worry. Don’t force it. Breathe. Don’t worry. Don’t force it. She repeated the words in her head and they succeeded in calming her as she sat across a much older woman.
“Good afternoon young lady.” the woman greeted.
Breathe. Osezele reminded herself even as she started to feel the woman’s eyes poking into her, underneath her skin trying to find her. She thought back to her training, to what he’d taught her.
“What do you do when you feel someone looking at you?” He’d asked her. “Look back.” she responded. “Exactly. That’s how augur’s work. They have the gift of sight. The marked have enhanced senses. It’s like being in a world where most people are blind and only a few can see. The ones that can see are the augurs. They see everyone. Now the other marked are also blind, but their enhanced senses allows them to have an aura around them. Now augurs can see this aura only if they’re looking for it, or looking in that direction. But the spotters can smell it, that’s why they're so good at hunting us down. Now imagine that this aura is removed. What differentiates the other marked from the unmarked?” he’d asked. “Nothing.” She replied. “What about the augurs?” he’d asked. “They can see.” she replied. “But what if they closed their eyes?” he’d asked. She’d smiled then, understanding. “Then they’re just as blind as the unmarked.” she responded. “Right. But they’ve seen, so they know that they’re being watched. Our natural response to being watched is to search for the person watching. It’s a protective instinct, it’s how we find the enemy. If we feel danger coming our eyes open wide to collect as much information as possible. In the absence of eyes staring back, or an identifying aura, the augur tries to force you to look, by looking at you, by watching, by stalking. All you have to do is keep your eyes closed. Stay calm, breathe, and do not look.”
Breathe. She could feel the eyes now, they were watching her, almost as if they were hunting her. She felt a strong pull to look, to find her enemy, but she didn’t. She stayed calm.
“What is your name?” the woman asked.
Osezele cleared her throat, her heart beating quickly. She was afraid. The woman wouldn’t be able to tell, but the spotters would, they would smell it in the sweat coming off her, and hear it in the increased rate of her heartbeat. But she’d learned about all this, she already knew about werewolves, they wouldn’t be able to tell why she was afraid, and she knew most people would be afraid coming in here. So, her fear was fine, it was actually good.
“Osezele ma.” she responded. “Osezele Omorodion.”
“Miss Omorodion. How are you doing today?” the woman asked.
She smiled at the woman’s accent. It reminded her a lot of her best friend Tolani who'd once corrected her saying that way of speaking was ‘good diction’ and not ‘talking like oyibo’. “Fine thank you ma.” Osezele responded.
“And who are you here to see?”
“My aunty. Odion Omorodion.”
“How is she related to you?”
“She’s my mother’s t – sister.” Osezele immediately caught herself before she’d completed the word twin. She’d been specifically warned against that. It wouldn’t matter that they didn’t see the mark. If they found out that her mother was the twin of a marked, they’d do further tests, including a blood draw. Luckily the woman didn’t catch her slip.
“Have you been here before?”
“No ma.” Osezele responded shaking her head.
“How do you like it so far?” the woman smiled, it was a warm motherly smile.
Osezele smiled back. “It’s very nice ma. Thank you.”
“You have very good manners.” the woman said. “Rare for children in your generation. Your parents must have raised you well.”
“Thank you ma.”
“Where are your parents? Why aren’t they here with you?”
“It’s only my mother and she was too busy to come.” She replied, leaving off the fact that she’d never met her father. That, as she’d been told, could also raise suspicion.
“I understand. But I’m surprised she let you come on your own, especially for the first visit.”
“She was planning to come with me, but I had to come alone instead.”
“Something must have come up in the last minute.” The woman reached the conclusion Osezele wanted her to. Osezele had been told not to lie. That’s why the spotters were there. They would have gotten a baseline for her heart rate and if it sped up, they’d know she was lying. “Well I can see why she would trust you to come alone. You seem like a very capable young lady.”
“Thank you ma.”
The woman stood up and Osezele stood as well. The woman extended her hand, a gesture Osezele met. But as soon as she touched the woman, the urge to open her mind’s eye and look was almost overwhelming. It took all her will power to keep her eyes closed. This was the one lesson she was most unsure of, but at that moment she was grateful that he’d trained her for it. The woman let go.
“Come with me.” she said as she made her way around the table and headed for the door. For a split second Osezele worried that the ruse hadn’t worked and the woman was taking her for more tests. But as soon as they got to the door, the woman pointed towards the other end of the hallway. “Go into that elevator,” she said. “It’ll take you all the way to the ground floor, to the canal, and the canal will take you to the visiting logs where you’ll see your aunty. Do you know what class of mark your aunty is?”
Osezele nodded. “She’s an augur.” she responded.
The woman smiled and shook her head. “There are three classes of marked. Varmints, Sages and Warlocks. Your aunty is a warlock, so she’ll be on the third floor in the visiting logs. Okay?”
Osezele nodded. Of course she knew all about the classes of the marked, but she didn’t want her excess of knowledge to raise suspicion, which was why she’d played dumb. “Thank you ma, thank you very much.” she curtsied, bending at the knee, and walked towards the elevator. She didn’t let herself relax until she was all the way down, staring into the canal.
She gasped when she saw it. It was a narrow passage with the cleanest water she’d ever seen. In the water was a sleek white boat, with an open middle compartment. The shiny brown leather seats caught her eyes, and she couldn't help gawking at the encased glass windows and white solid top covering. The canal was in a tunnel with huge yellow bulbs hanging from the roof. Osezele had never seen anything like this outside a TV screen. She was so engrossed by the sight, that she didn’t notice the young man stepping out of the boat and waiting for her to get in.
“Hey!” the boy called out. She turned around then and saw him. He motioned to the boat and she walked over to it and climbed in. She was so unfamiliar with being on a boat, that as soon as she stepped in it and it began to swerve underneath her, she slipped, stumbling into the boy. He caught her and helped steady her, not letting go of her hand till she sat down.
Osezele watched him go over to the front of the boat and take control of it. She couldn’t help admiring his uniform, which was white shorts and a black collar t-shirt. From his face, she guessed that he was about the same age as she was. There was something about the look in his eyes that startled her. For some reason, she hadn’t expected to see any kids in the community, and she certainly hadn’t expected to see them look happy. But this boy looked good, very good. He turned around and smiled at her. Osezele smiled back thinking he looked more than good, maybe even a little handsome. Once the boat started moving, he asked “What’s your name?” yelling to be heard over the engine.
“Osezele.” she replied, yelling back.
“What does that mean? Edo princess or something like that?” he teased.
She laughed. “No, it means because of God.”
“I bet I know what your mum was thinking when she named you.” he said.
“What was she thinking?” Osezele asked still smiling.
“Because of God she’s so beautiful.” he replied. Osezele laughed, her laughter drowned out by the roar of the engine.
“What’s your name?” she asked.
“Mitaire. But my friends call me Tai.” he flashed his teeth at her. “So who are you here to see?”
“My aunty.” Osezele responded. “She’s an augur.” she said, and it felt so good to be able to say the words freely to someone without wondering how they’d react. “What are you?” she asked, also happy to be able to ask a question like that so freely.
“I’m a lover. I’m a gentleman. I’m a legacy.” Osezele burst out laughing interrupting him and he joined in the laughter. When they’d both stopped laughing, he turned around and looked at her waiting to get her full attention. Then he closed his eyes. When they opened back up, his iris and pupil were gone, leaving behind crimson orbs. He opened his right hand and a flame appeared floating in the air above his hand. He rose his left hand slowly in the air and as he did a rock came out of the water. When he turned his left hand around, the rock landed in his palm. Then, he put his left hand underneath his right hand and as he did, the rock went into the fire, suspended within its flames. He closed his hands around the rock and the flame, rose his closed hand to his face and blew air into his hand. Then his eyes went back to their normal state. “If you were asking about my mark,” he said, “I’m a commune. Does that scare you?” he asked.
Osezele had to take her attention away from his still closed hands where she’d hoped to see something interesting come out from the rock he'd had. She shook her head. What she felt was the opposite of fear. The last time she’d seen anyone practice magic like that was when Oshoke had been training her, back when she’d first discovered her mark. After that, after she’d been abducted and almost used as a human sacrifice for a group of communes, she’d been wary about using that particular mark. But seeing him use his mark with such grace, and without hurting anything, she couldn’t help but see the beauty in it. “It’s beautiful.” she said, still engrossed.
“No, you’re beautiful.” he responded with a smile. “This is just magic, dark magic, which usually scares the unmarked. I’m glad it doesn’t bother you though.”
She tried to quench it, to resist the urge to ask the question, but she needed to know. If there was a way that she could use her mark without hurting anything, she had to know. So she asked, “How did you do that without hurting anything?” he looked startled by her question. “I, ehn, I j just mean that, I mean I’ve been told that...”
“Commune power comes from pain?” he asked. She nodded. He lifted his left hand slightly making the leather bracelet around his arm clearly visible. “This is the community sweetheart. My power comes from this.” he jangled the bracelet around his hand.
She wanted to ask so many more questions. Like how. From what she’d been taught, only witches had talismans, they were the only ones who could do magic without hurting anyone. Communes needed to use pain or fear as the source of their powers. Had the community found a way to bypass that? If so, she needed to know what it was.
Then the boat stopped and any chance she'd had of asking questions was gone. He turned off the engine and stood up to help her off the boat. When the boat swayed this time, she was a lot more steady. As soon as they were on the ground, he opened up his closed hand and offered it to her. Inside his hand was a heart shaped marble rock.
“Take it, I made it for you. A memento of our time together.” he said.
She took it from him admiring the smooth finish. It seemed to sparkle with the color variation and, she looked closer then, noticing the inscription on it. Osezele & Mitaire, it read. She laughed at that, before looking up to smile at him. “Thank you.” she said.
He winked at her. “Turn it over.”
She flipped the rock to the other side and saw a phone number written on it. She burst out laughing then, almost as amazed by his confidence as she was by the control he had on his mark and the power he could get from it. She walked towards the waiting elevator, got in and waved goodbye to him as he sailed away on his boat. The doors of the elevator closed and she hit the button for the third floor, wondering all the while what would happen if something ever came of the boat-boy’s flirtation. Not with her of course, as she was still too enthralled by Nosa to even be mildly affected by Mitaire, but she wondered what would happen if another girl did fall for him while visiting her family. Could an unmarked marry a marked locked in the community? And if so would the unmarked be able to live in the community? There was a part of her that wanted to give into the romantic notion of two people breaking the marked-unmarked barrier and being together. But she knew that could never happen. Even if they did manage to have a child, she had a sickening feeling that the woman would be locked away somewhere until she had the child and then the baby would be wrenched from its mother's arms and taken to live in the community.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 4:13am On Jan 10|
The doors to the elevator opened on the third floor of the building and she walked in. There were rows of rooms, each one with the doors closed, so she wasn’t able to see inside a room until she got to the one room with the door open. In that room there was a woman sitting on the couch. Osezele walked in. She hadn’t seen the woman’s face, hadn’t received any indication that the woman was her aunty, but she felt this pull towards her, a pull that she couldn’t explain. Then the woman stood up and turned around. At the moment they both saw each other for the first time, they both stood shock still, frozen to the spot, staring at each other. Odion, Osezele’s aunt, had been expecting her sister, so seeing her niece for the first time in fourteen years came as a shock to her. Osezele was startled by how much of a resemblance there was. She felt as though she was looking at her mother.
“Osezele?” Odion asked, already knowing the answer.
Osezele nodded. She felt tears come to her eyes as she moved quickly towards her aunty. As soon as she was close, she started to curtsy when Odion pulled her into her arms and hugged her tight. Odion pushed her back then, cupping Osezele’s face, really looking at her. “I can’t believe it’s you.” she said pulling her close for another hug. “I never dreamed of meeting you. Not even for a second. I didn’t dare hope. I held you in my arms when you were just born and even then I could tell that you would grow up to be a beautiful young lady. And look at you now.”
Osezele rocked in her aunty’s arms, swaying on her feet as she was embraced. She felt a strong emotional attachment to her. She wondered if it was because Odion was her mother’s twin, or if it was because they were both marked. For whatever reason, when Osezele was in her aunty’s arms, it felt right. Then Odion pulled back. She let go of Osezele, tears still in her eyes as she rushed over to the door and closed it. Sniffing she asked, “What can I get you to drink?” She opened a mini fridge, which Osezele only then noticed, as her attention had been solely fixed on her aunty. “There’s fanta, sprite, coke, ginger ale, root beer, maltina, ribena, mountain dew, orange juice, pineapple juice, grape juice. If you want something that’s not here, I can call down and have someone get it.”
“Fanta is fine, thank you.” Osezele responded.
Odion took out a can of fanta from the fridge and handed it over to Osezele. She motioned for Osezele to sit. It wasn’t till Osezele sat down, that she noticed the huge screen TV in front of her and the massive bed to the side. She imagined this was what the really fancy hotels looked like, but she didn’t know for sure, never having been in a hotel.
“Osezele.” Odion stated wistfully, still not believing that her niece was actually sitting here in front of her. “Wow. Osezele. My niece. My exquisite niece. You’re so beautiful.”
“Thank you aunty.” Osezele replied shyly.
Odion just shook her head in disbelief. “I can’t believe you’re here. What are you doing here?” Slowly, as she heard the question she’d asked, the smile on her face began to fade. “What are you doing here?” She asked again, this time her expression was serious, a little more than serious. With each passing second she began to get angry. “You’re not supposed to be here. You’re mother and I took precautions to make sure you never came here. Does your mother even know you’re here?”
The smile had faded from Osezele’s face too. She shook her head nervously.
Odion was about to ask another question when it occurred to her that Osezele was here, in the visiting logs, visiting with her, which had to mean that the spotters and augurs at the guard station hadn’t seen her mark. The only way that could happen was if her niece was unmarked, so Odion did what she was trained to do, she looked.
Osezele felt her aunty’s eyes soon as she’d decided to look. This wasn’t like anything she’d felt before, it wasn’t like the eyes that had been on her as she’d walked towards the community, not like the stalking glance of the woman who’d interviewed her, not even like the need to look she’d felt when the woman touched her. This was an onslaught. She felt the extent of her aunty’s power, a power she was helpless against. She tried to keep her eyes closed. Breathe, don’t look, she told herself. But what she felt was a mix between spine tingling fear, the kind that made your heart race and skin crawl, and an all engrossing compulsion to look. Either one would have been too much for her to resist, but she was completely helpless against both. So she opened her mind’s eye and looked back at her aunty. The fear went away then, and so did her aunty’s probing eyes.
There was silence for a while after that. Osezele sat with her hands between her legs scared about what her aunty would do now that she’d seen her mark. As soon as Osezele revealed her mark, everything she was became plain to Odion, clear as night and day, and Osezele knew that.
“How did you get in here without anyone seeing your mark?” Odion asked breaking the silence.
Osezele picked at the bracelet on her hand without meeting her aunty’s gaze. “This bracelet keeps the scent of my mark hidden from spotters. So all I had to do was not allow any of the augurs to see my mind’s eyes.” Osezele explained.
Odion laughed out then. “The technical term for that is linking. The next step is allowing an augur into your head. When you do that you form a shared bond, and they can see you, your memories, your thoughts, everything.”
Osezele nodded. “I know all that aunty. It’s been almost a year since I discovered my mark.”
Odion laughed. “Yes. St. Luke’s. I knew that school was where you needed to be when your mark came out. I knew there’d be people there to help you.”
“That’s why mummy sent me there? You told her to send me there?” Osezele asked. Odion nodded. Osezele smiled. “Thank you aunty, thank you so much.”
“Osezele.” Odion sighed. “You took a risk coming here. A big risk. Why?”
“The first reason, is more like an excuse to justify coming here. The second reason is the main reason. I wanted to see you, to meet you, to know you. It’s been fourteen years aunty, I just wanted to meet my mother’s sister.”
“My dear Osezele, meeting me is not worth the risk of getting caught. If anyone finds out you’re marked, you understand that would be it right? You’re here for the rest of your life. You’ll never leave, never live with your mother again, never see your friends. You understand?”
“Yes aunty.” Osezele responded. “I’m sorry.”
Odion sighed, deciding to make the most of this visit as she decided, and would impress on her niece, it was not to be repeated. She wouldn’t let her risk it again. Odion put her hand around Osezele’s shoulder and pulled her closer. “What was the first reason?” she asked.
“I wanted to ask if you’ve seen some people. Two people. Two friends. No one has seen them since they graduated over three months ago and everyone is worried. We think they were caught by the community, but we don’t know.”
“Who are they?”
“They’re a couple, a marked couple. The boy is a werewolf, he used to be the alpha of the pack in my school. He’s very strong and according to other wolves in his pack, he has full control over his mark. His name is Emeka.”
“He sounds like a natural alpha.” Odion mused.
Osezele nodded. “He’s a friend, but his girlfriend is one of my closest friends. She taught me everything I know about controlling one of my marks. She is a commune who mostly gets her power from pain. She is also really strong and experienced, she was the only commune in St. Luke’s that knew how to enthrall animals to use as the source of her magic. Her name is Oshoke”
“And the both of them are missing?” Odion asked. Osezele nodded. “Has anyone talked to their families?”
“Emeka is an orphan, and Oshoke’s family doesn’t know where she is. But her family get-as-it-be. They didn’t even come for her graduation from secondary school.” Osezele stated.
“You think they’re here?” Odion asked, thinking on it for a while. “I haven’t heard about any marked couples being found. The kids tend to make a big to-do about that. Something about the romance. But if I find out anything, I’ll let you know.” Odion hugged her closer. “I’m so happy you’re an augur. This way we can see each other without you risking coming in here.”
“Yes aunty.” Osezele responded, leaning into the hug.
“Speaking of romance,” Odion teased.
“Ah aunty, I don’t know what romance is oh!” Osezele replied jokingly.
“I hear you.” Odion laughed. “So what is his name?” Odion asked. Osezele just shook her head. “Hmm. If you tell me your boy’s name, maybe I’ll tell you about the incredible hot spotter that just moved into my apartment floor.”
Osezele gasped. “You’ll tell me about a man you like?” she asked astonished. Her mother never spoke to her about men in her life.
“Only if you give me a name.”
“Nosagie, Nosa for short.” Osezele responded hurriedly. “And he’s the most handsome boy in the world.”
“Okay. I hear you.” Odion laughed. She let her smile fade slowly into a serious look before turning to Osezele. “First, I need to make sure you know what you are.”
“I know aunty.” Osezele replied honestly.
“I need to hear you say it.” Odion stated adamantly.
“I’m a tri-marked warlock. I’m a commune, an augur and a witch.” Osezele responded.
Odion looked down at her niece as she lay on her shoulder and she couldn’t help the pang of pain that rose in her chest as she thought of the future in store for her niece. Odion didn’t need her sight to know that Osezele was destined to end up like she had, locked in the community. She knew it was inevitable, because powerful marked were always found and brought here. And no mark, none that ever existed, and probably none that will exist after, could be as powerful as a tri-marked warlock. Osezele was the first of her kind, the first ever tri-marked warlock, and that meant she would be discovered and she would be hunted.
Odion forced the fear away. “Okay, let’s talk about boys.” she said.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 4:37pm On Jan 13|
St. Luke's Mixed Boarding School, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria
"Osezele!" She'd barely had time to turn around before Tolani came flying into her arms. Osezele wrapped her arms around her best friend, tightly holding onto her as both girls jumped around and laughed so happy to see each other that they were mindless of the scene they created. It had been a very long break for the both of them.
Osezele was the first to draw back from the hug. "How are you?" She asked. "How was your holiday?"
"It was terrible!" Tolani responded, her arms falling dejectedly to her side.
"Why? What..." Osezele began to speak but was interrupted by a group of Senior Secondary 3 (SS3) students walking by.
"Osezele!" One of the girls called, waving as soon as Osezele turned. "How far?" She asked.
Osezele, who was used to these kinds of conversations, wasn't perturbed by the fact that the girl talking to her walked along with her friends without particularly waiting for a response. "I'm fine." Osezele responded, giving her reply on the off chance that the student was expecting one. Being in SS1, Osezele couldn't risk insulting any senior students, even the ones she didn't know.
"Who was that?" Tolani asked, pulling Osezele's attention back to her best friend.
Osezele shrugged. "I don't know."
"As in, you're miss popularity now! SS3 girls are just shouting your name left and right." Tolani teased. "Osezele, please wave at me, Oh Osezele." Tolani's hands went to her chest as she rolled her eyes to accentuate her theatrical performance.
Osezele poked Tolani, laughing as she said, "It's not like that oh. Ngozi forced me to go to a party with her over the holiday. Almost all the SS3 girls were there. Even the ones that live in Lagos came to Benin for that party."
Tolani sighed. "You're so lucky." She said. "While you were partying, I was locked in my house, grounded throughout the holiday!"
Osezle frowned. "I don't understand." She said.
"What don't you understand? My parents are psychotic. They grounded me for something I didn't even do!"
"Grounded? As punishment?" Osezele asked, bemused.
Tolani nodded. "Yes. Can you imagine that? For some reason they got it into their heads that I was dating a werewolf. I told them I wasn’t dating anyone, but they wouldn't listen to me. They're crazy!"
"Tolani. Are you sure that in your family you people aren't just oyibo painting your face black? I've never heard of Naija parents grounding. Is that even a punishment?" Osezele asked, laughing as she spoke.
Rolling her eyes, Tolani responded. "Trust me, grounding is a punishment. Especially when you didn't do anything wrong. And you're forgetting that my father is a reincarnate. After spending all those lives in the community, he acts like they do in there."
Osezele remembered the community, her last visit there still fresh in her mind. She was just about to tell Tolani about that visit when she saw him and in that moment her heart stopped beating. He was walking on the slab with two of his friends. He had his right hand in the pocket of his red trousers and his left hand lackadaisically placed on the shoulder of the boy walking next to him. His hair was cut short, much shorter than it'd been the last time she'd seen him, and carved in front in a way that she thought flattered his already perfect features. He laughed. One of his friends had probably said something to make him laugh out, but when she saw him throw back his head and laugh, exposing his perfect teeth, Osezele felt the overwhelming urge to laugh as well. Then everything changed. He stopped laughing and turned towards her, as though he'd known exactly where she was. Which, she realized in hindsight, he must have giving his mark. He held her gaze and smiled. She smiled back, not moving, her feet frozen to the floor as she barely remembered to breathe. Then he broke away from his friends and started heading towards her. That snapped her out of the trance.
"Hide me!" She squeaked, physically moving Tolani and crouching behind her.
"What?" Tolani asked, as she was turned around. It didn't take her long to figure it out as soon as she saw Nosa walking towards her. "Look, it's your boyfriend." Tolani teased. "I bet I know what's on his mind." She laughed, turning around to see her friend's reaction. But Osezele was gone. Tolani gasped. "Where did you go?" She whispered, just as a hand clamped onto her right arm to turn her back around. "Hey Nosa!" Tolani called out as soon as she was facing him.
Nosa ignored Tolani, extending his head to look behind at her at the spot he could have sworn he'd seen Osezele standing in. He shook his head, finding it empty. He closed his eyes and focused on her scent. Turning his head around, he breathed in deeply, first in the direction of the hostels, then towards the school block, and then back in the direction he'd come in, towards the chapel. But there was no sign of her anywhere. There wasn't even a faint scent, which he found strange. From the very first time he'd sensed her in the refectory, her scent had become something of a siren. It was the strongest thing he'd ever smelled, the most compelling, and since that day he'd been able to tell whenever she was even remotely close to him. Till today that is, when he'd been walking towards her and he hadn't even known. He'd only known she was near when he heard her giggle, then he heard the sound of her heartbeat, and he'd known exactly where she was. He frowned then wondering why he hadn't caught her scent. It was too distinctive, too spellbinding to miss. Tolani coughed, breaking Nosa's silent musings.
"Tolani." Nosa said as way of greeting. "How was your holiday?" He asked.
"My holiday?" Tolani asked pointing at herself. Nosa's brows lifted causing Tolani to laugh nervously. "Ofcourse it's my holiday you're asking about. I mean who else's right? It's not like there's anyone else standing right here, with us." Tolani cleared her throat and then smiled. "Yes, my holiday was perfect. A-okay. Couldn't have gone better." She replied nervously, a fake big smile plastered on her face. "How about, I mean yours?" She coughed. "How was your holiday?" Nosa's frown deepened and Tolani just smiled brighter. It wasn't like her to be nervous, and they both knew it. Tolani was the straight-talking, I'm-the-smartest-in-the-room-and-I-know-it type, which meant that she was never at a loss for words. But she was still a bit frazzled by the disappearing act Osezele pulled, that it was taking some time for her to catch up.
Nosa just shook his head at her. "It was fine." He responded. "So, were you standing here by yourself?" He asked.
Tolani's head began to shake, before she had to remind herself to nod. "Yes." She replied. "All alone. Just me, standing here in the middle of the field, by myself, talking to myself. Nobody else, just..."
"Are you alright?" Nosa interrupted. "You don't sound like your..." Nosa's words slowly fizzled to a stop as he got distracted by a student wearing a pink short-sleeve shirt and knee-length skirt. From the uniform he could tell that she was in SS1. There was something familiar about her even though he knew that he'd never spoken to her before. She was walking with two other SS1 girls he had vague recollections of. It was obvious from the smile on her face that she'd been looking at him. As soon as she had his attention, she waved at him, wiggling her fingers. He lifted his right hand in greeting. And then she smiled at him before looking away. He could tell that she liked him from the way her heartbeat sped up when their eyes met. He looked away then, not wanting to give her the wrong impression. As attractive as she was, and he did think she was very attractive, he only wanted Osezele. So he took his attention back to the conversation he'd been having, back to Tolani who'd been watching him with a raised eyebrow and narrowed eyes. "What?" He asked her.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 4:40pm On Jan 13|
"I didn't say anything." Tolani responded shrugging. "She's very pretty."
Nosa frowned at her. "She looked familiar, that's it." He lied.
Tolani was about to say 'I hear you', before she remembered who she was talking to, and stopped herself. Whatever relationship Nosa had with Osezele, she wasn't part of it. So, being in SS2 and all, he probably wouldn't look too kindly on her being rude to him. So she just kept her mouth shut, choosing instead to focus on the girl who'd walked by. That was when she saw it. "Oh my God!" She screamed. "Oh my God! Oh my God!! Oh my God!!!"
"What is it?" Nosa snapped impatiently.
Tolani pointed at the girl he'd been staring at. "That's Binta Gambari!"
"Who?" Nosa asked.
"How do you not know Binta Gambari? She's only the most famous marked teenager in Africa." Tolani responded sarcastically.
"Oh." Nosa said, remembering her now. "She's the actress, right? The augur?" Tolani nodded. "That's why she looked so familiar. I watched one of her films, over the phone, with Osezele. It was good."
"No. It wasn't good." Tolani argued, shaking her head furiously. "I recommended that movie to Osezele. It was phenomenal. She won international awards for her performance in that. I'm such a huge fan!"
"Good for you." Nosa stated flatly. "Wasn't Osezele standing here with you before I came?" He asked.
Tolani was amazed by the direction of Nosa's thought. "Binta Gambari, freaking Binta Gambari, is in our school, wearing our uniform, and that doesn't seem interesting to you? It's Binta Gambari, Binta Gambari!"
"If you say her name one more time." Nosa threatened.
"Sorry." Tolani, with great difficulty, took her eyes off the new student and returned her focus to Nosa. "I'm sorry." She said again.
Nosa just shook his head. "Look, when you see your friend, tell her that I'm looking for her. D'you hear me?" Tolani nodded. "Thank you." He said before walking away.
As soon as Nosa left, Tolani turned her attention back to Binta. Binta Gambari was a marked augur, with both unmarked parents. In most parts of the world, all the marked were required to live in the community, even though the different marks posed different degrees of danger to the unmarked. Nigeria was the only country that allowed some type of marked people to legally live outside the community. There were two types of marked allowed to live outside the community, the first was the class of marked known as the Sages, whose marks allowed them to have enhanced logical and perceptive abilities. The other type were the augurs who had the gift of sight. Both of these marks were considered harmless and as such allowed to live outside the community with the unmarked. They were, however, required to spend a minimum of three years in the community learning about their marks and how to control it. It was during this period of training that Binta Gambari first came to the public's attention from her blog on her experiences in the community. After her three years was up, her blog was turned into a bestseller novel and later adapted into a movie starring her. She was eleven years old at the time. Now she was fifteen and had starred in four movies and guest starred in a few shows. So Tolani, being obsessed with everything to do with the marked, had watched every single movie starring Binta. Which was what made that moment so surreal for her, standing in her school and looking at one of her role-models.
"What did he want?"
Tolani's rapture was broken when she heard Osezele's voice. She turned around then staring daggers at her best friend. "Where did you go? You just left me here looking like a fool."
"I'm sorry." Osezele replied hurriedly. "I couldn't talk to him. You know how much I like him now."
"That doesn't even make any sense." Tolani replied exasperated. "When you like someone, you're supposed to talk to them. That's how the like develops into something more." Tolani deliberately spoke slowly as she explained to Osezele what she'd thought was common knowledge.
Osezele rolled her eyes and hissed. "I know now. It's just..." She sighed. "We're not allowed to date in school unless we're in SS3. I don't want to get into trouble."
"Everybody dates when they find someone they like. Don't you remember Oshoke and Emeka? Those two started dating when they were in JSS1. In fact, they probably came into this school already a couple. We are hormonal teenagers in puberty. If they didn't want us to date, they wouldn't lock us together in a mixed-sex boarding school."
"It's not that simple." Osezele whined.
Tolani lifted her finger to point in the direction of Binta. Osezele followed the direction of her finger, saw the trio and turned back to Tolani. "I've already seen them." Osezele responded passively. "It seems like our ex-best friends decided to become friends as well. I'm happy for Fatima."
It wasn't till Osezele mentioned Fatima that Tolani noticed the two girls who'd been walking with Binta were Oluchi and Fatima. Oluchi had been Tolani's best friend over the last three years, till Tolani decided she deserved better and became friends with Osezele. "Who cares about Fatima and Oluchi?" Tolani retorted. "I'm talking about Binta Gambari."
"Who's Binta Gam-garri?" Osezele asked. "I'm talking about Nosa."
“Binta Gambari.” Tolani hissed. "We have a multi award winning celebrity in our school, and for some reason you think that this unending drama between you and Nosa is more important than finding out what she's doing here?" Tolani asked, making sure that her level of disbelief came through with each word she spoke.
"It's Nosa." Osezele said shrugging.
"Fine." Tolani sighed. "But first let's go over there and talk to Binta Gambari, then we can deal with whatever roadblock is impeding your HEA with Nosagie."
"Okay." Osezele agreed, looping her hand in Tolani's as they walked together towards the mango tree where Binta Gambari was holding court with both of their ex-friends.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 4:42am On Jan 17|
St. Luke’s Mixed Boarding School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria
“Hello Binta. My name is Tolani. I’m a huuuuge fan. To be honest, I dream of being as successful as you when I’m older.” Tolani introduced herself nervously, stretching out her hand for a handshake when she remembered the person she’d walked there with. “And this Osezele, my best friend.” As soon as the words left Tolani’s mouth, Oluchi scoffed and looked away while Fatima rolled her eyes and gave a long hiss before following Oluchi’s lead and looking away.
Binta chuckled. “I’m like as old as you are, and you want to be me when you grow up? That’s kind of lame isn’t it?” She mocked. Fatima and Oluchi burst out laughing. With each laugh from them, Tolani felt like someone was squeezing her heart. She was so heartbroken by Binta’s response that tears welled up in her eyes. Tolani fought to keep the tears from falling, but she lost that battle when the first drop escaped her left eye. She wiped it off immediately and sniffed, to keep the rest from falling.
“She’s crying!” Fatima teased laughing louder now.
Osezele had been so surprised by seeing Tolani cry that she’d frozen up from the shock. At this point in their friendship, she’d grown so used to Tolani being the strong one, the one with everything figured out, that she hadn’t imagined anything could make her cry. When she heard Fatima and Oluchi’s taunting laughter, she pulled Tolani into her arms. “Come let’s go.” Osezele whispered to Tolani, “Let’s go, she’s not worth your time.” She said as she pulled Tolani along with her. They both walked away from the mango tree, across the open green grass and passed the assembly ground towards the school block. They walked together to the first empty classroom they found. As soon as they got to the first bench by the door, Tolani collapsed onto the seat and broke down into tears. Osezele sat beside her and pulled her into her arms, hugging her while muttering phrases like, “It’s okay.” “Stop crying.” “Don’t mind them.” “I’m sorry.” “It’s not their fault.” When none of those helped, she said, “Don’t worry, we’ll do them back.”
That did it. Tolani burst out laughing. “You are the softest person ever, you couldn’t do anyone back even if you tried.” She said still laughing. Osezele started laughing as well. But then the laughter died down.
Osezele stroked Tolani’s arm before asking, “Are you okay?”
Tolani sniffed. She nodded, then it was like she could hear Binta’s teasing and Oluchi’s laughter, and she started sobbing again. She shook her head then. “You don’t understand.” She said, her voice breaking in between sobs.
“Then explain it to me.” Osezele responded. “Make me understand, that’s what I’m here for.”
Tolani wiped at her eyes with her fingers. “I was nine when I started reading Binta’s blog. She was ten and in the middle of her second year in the community.” Tolani sniffed. “My parents were fighting a lot then. I don’t know exactly what the fights were about, but I knew that it had something to do with the community. I mean, I told you about the community, about how my dad wears his mark on his forehead and is so proud of it. In the community, amongst the marked, he was a legend. But out here, in this world, nobody cared about him. Nobody cares that he’s lived twenty-six lives, nobody respects that. It was the opposite. Most people in school those days, just treated us like freaks.” She sniffed again, wiping her eyes. “It didn’t help that I was the smartest in the class. They’d tease me, saying that I was marked, that I was a freak like my dad, that it was unfair for us to go to the same school. I’m the kind of person who answers a question when I know the answer. I can’t just keep quiet and pretend that I don’t know it. Some of the kids in my class hated that. They said I made them look stupid, so they’d put me into the lockers in the table and put a lock on it.” More tears came to her eyes as she relived the memories. “I was so small and skinny then, and our school had these long desks like ten inches wide and lockers that ran underneath the whole table. So they’d lock me in there, inside the desks. Sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for a whole class period. I still remember hearing the sound of the teacher’s voice and the marker scraping against the board, while I tried not to make a sound so that they wouldn’t leave me locked in there for too long. Sometimes there wasn’t enough air.” Tolani gasped. “And there was nothing I could do, I was too scared to report them to the headmaster. I thought it would just get worse. So I didn’t say anything and it got worse. I just kept getting smarter as I grew older. I have photographic memory and when they found out, that just convinced them that I was marked. So one day, when their anxiety reached a peak, they ganged up on me and tore my clothes off.”
“Oh my God!” Osezele exclaimed. “In school? Where were the teachers?”
Tolani shrugged. “I don’t know. It happened so quickly. One minute I was playing by myself, the next I was Unclad with a group of students pinching and prodding me, all in the name of trying to find my mark. When they didn’t find any mark on me, one of them drew a T on my chest. I think he’d watched too much TV because he obviously thought that’s what the mark looks like.” She scoffed. “Anyway, the headmaster came along and scared the children away and found me there, lying Unclad on the sand. He called my parents, everything came out and they pulled me out of the school. We were living in Abuja then. I still remember that evening. I was lying down on my bed, crying into my pillow and feeling like the most rejected person in the world. But then my dad walked in. He sat on the bed next to me and said, ‘You’re lucky. You’ll never be the same again because now you know what it feels like to be treated like you don’t belong and you’ll be a better person for the experience.’ He kissed me on my forehead and left about twenty stapled pages on the bed next to my pillow. I remember feeling confused by his words, confused and lost, before I saw what he’d left. It was the first few pages of Binta’s blog. I stayed up all night reading it over and over again, till I’d memorized everything on those pages. She’d been picked on for being marked while she was outside the community, and was picked on for having been outside the community, when she was in the community. But she prevailed. She learnt how to make friends, and how to belong while standing out. Reading her blog literally changed my life. She wrote about capitalizing on the differences that people tried to use to tear her down. She took all those things that made her unique, things that people had told her to be ashamed off, and used them to shine. She’s the reason I read as much as I can about as much as I can, so I always have something to say. ‘Where there’s knowledge, there can’t be fear.’ She taught me that. I used it all when we moved to Lagos and I started in a new school. Everything was different, my attitude, my outlook, I answered every question and got into every conversation and very soon I was invited into the conversations. Nobody called me marked, nobody teased me. They saw that I was smart, and I made them respect that. That’s why I love Binta Gambari. That’s why I wanted to meet her. She’s been my role model for as long as…” Tolani shrugged. “It doesn’t matter now. She’s in my school and she doesn’t like me.”
“You are Tolani. She should be the one trying to get you to like her. Ah, you’re so popular, everybody in this school wants to be friends with you. Don’t you remember that time you came to talk to me and I was looking around to see if there was someone behind me?”
“Oh, I remember.” Tolani responded flatly.
“Don’t mind her joh. Maybe outside she’s the celebrity but inside here, na you be the main attraction.” Osezele teased, which had Tolani laughing in a matter of seconds.
Tolani groaned. “I can’t believe I cried in front of Oluchi and Fatima.”
“I can’t believe it too.” Osezele replied laughing.
Tolani stretched out her hand to hit Osezele, but she’d been anticipating the reaction, so Osezele got up in time to avoid the slap. Tolani stood up as well and began to chase Osezele around the room. They both kept running around the classroom, till they decided to change course and head for the doors. Osezele barely stopped in time to keep herself from running into a tall boy dressed in a purple long-sleeve shirt and trousers, a uniform that showed he was an SS3 student. They both recognized the student as Victor a friend of Nosa’s and a werewolf, who like Osezele, had his mark hidden. He took a step back and inclined his head to look at the sign above the door. At the same time successive claps – kpam kpam kpam-kpam-kpam kpam – drew their collective attentions to the other door in the classroom where Lami and Ngozi stood with two small heads poking out from behind them.
“What class are we in?” Tolani whispered the question to Osezele.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 4:45am On Jan 17|
“I don’t know.” Osezele responded. She’d been too distracted when they were walking in, to check what class they’d walked into. But she knew that they hadn’t climbed up any stairs, which meant that it wasn’t their classroom.
“Madams. Please sit down.” Lami called out, gesturing to the chairs on the front row.
“Lami, please we’re sorry, we didn’t know we were in an SS3 class.” Tolani pleaded.
“Una no dey hear word? I said. Sit. Down.” Lami repeated. The class was set up with three columns of wooden desks and benches facing a blackboard. Osezele and Tolani, who’d been standing in front of the blackboard, ran over to the first seat in the middle column and sat on the bench.
“Good.” Lami praised. “Relax. Lean back and kick up your legs.” Osezele and Tolani exchanged confused looks. “Put your legs on the table.” Lami clarified. After exchanging yet another bemused glance, both girls slowly began to put their legs on the table. “Can you imagine? You people are really putting your dirty shoes on my table!” Lami yelled. Immediately both girls dropped their feet back to the ground, offering apologies as they did. Lami hissed. “It’s like the holiday fried your brains.” She said before walking into the classroom with Ngozi at her heels. Lami turned around in time to stop the two young girls they’d been with from entering into the class. “What did I say?” Lami asked them.
“You people are really putting your dirty shoes on my table!” they both yelled in unison, before laughing, which made everyone else laugh.
“If I slap you ehn. What did I say about entering a senior class?” Lami rephrased the question.
“We have to say please excuse me, before walking in.” one of the girls responded.
“Then say it before you walk into my class. One after the other.” Lami ordered.
“Please excuse me!” the first girl shouted before walking in.
“Please excuse me!” the second one repeated before going in as well.
Ngozi sat down on the bench to the left of where Osezele and Tolani sat and Lami perched against the desk. “How was your holiday Tolani?” Ngozi asked. With the both of them living in Benin, Ngozi had spent so much time with Osezele over the break that she didn’t need to ask her the question.
“It was okay. I mostly spent it with my family in the house.” Tolani responded.
“Did you bring those things we asked you for?” Lami asked.
Tolani nodded. Her father being a remem recall (reincarnate), and having lived so many lives, had gathered a lot of valuable knowledge about the marked. Amongst the things he’d collected was a grimoire, a book of spells and incantations for the different types of witches. A good portion of the marked in St. Luke’s were witches, so they’d all been really eager to learn new spells in the grimoire. Tolani didn’t mention that it was snooping through those books that had gotten her in trouble with her parents. Her mum had walked in on her making copies of pages in the grimoire. To divert her mum’s attention, Tolani picked up the first book she could find and pretended to read it. The book was an in-depth study on the biological functioning of a werewolf. Needless to say, her parents were not pleased. “Who are these two little rats?” Tolani asked, pointing at the two young students that had walked in with Lami and Ngozi.
“It’s true.” Lami responded. “Come here.” She beckoned to the two younger girls who came to her. One stood at the left of her, the other at her right. Lami put her hand on the head of the student standing to her right. “This one is your new bunkie Tolani, her name is Mojisola. You can call her Moji or Mo-mo…”
“I don’t like Mo-mo. Only uncle Paulie calls me that.” Moji responded.
“Shut up. Who’s talking to you?” Lami jokingly chastised. “She’s Ngozi’s school daughter and” Lami hesitated before adding, “my baby sister.”
“Aww.” Tolani said. “She’s so cute.” She smiled, then “wait. Does that mean that your sister is my bunkmate?”
“Is that a problem?” Lami asked.
“Not at all.” Tolani’s response was comically quick.
Lami put her left hand around the other girl. “This is Oluwaseyi. She’s my school daughter. She’s going to be your bunkie Osezele. Okay?” Osezele nodded. “Good.” Lami turned her attention to the two younger girls. “Seyi and Moji, these are two SS1 school prefects. That,” she gestured to Osezele, “is Senior Osezele. She’s one of the three food prefects in her class. And that is Senior Tolani. She’s the female timekeeper. You better behavior when you’re around them, because if they punish you, you won’t get any help from me.”
“Senior Osezele.” Tolani whispered into Osezele’s ears. Osezele giggled lightly. It was the first time anyone had mentioned their names with the prefix ‘senior’ attached to it.
“Senior Tolani.” Osezele whispered back.
“What’s the time Moji?” Lami asked.
Moji had a pink watch on her left hand. She’d specifically chosen that watch to match the pink dress she knew she’d have to wear as her school uniform. Moji looked at the watch then and frowned. “Six forty-five?” she asked.
“See my local problem!” Lami lamented. “You dey look at watch dey ask me? The watch is on your hand now. Abi you can’t read clock?”
“Seyi come and see.” Moji called to her new friend.
Lami put both of her hands on her head lamenting, “Moji you can’t tell time? My sister can’t tell time!”
“I can tell time Lami. I’m just checking.” Moji replied
“It’s six forty-five.” Seyi confirmed.
“Ngo.” Lami turned to Ngozi. “Your school daughter can’t tell time oh.” Ngozi laughed.
“Lami stop now.” Moji cried.
Lami just shook her head. “You will not put shame on my father’s name.” She teased. “By force by fire, we will teach you how to tell time.” She swore, amidst Moji’s insistence on her ability to tell time. “It’s six forty-five oh!” Lami shouted, turning back to Osezele and Tolani. “What are you still doing here?” she asked, clarifying with a follow up question when she saw the confused looks on their faces. “What is it time for?”
Osezele shrugged, casting a nervous look to Tolani. It took a while for Tolani to remember. “It’s time for food.” She stated.
“It’s time for evening food. Timekeeper, I never hear bell. Food prefect, food don ready?” Lami asked. When they both shook their heads, Lami prompted, “What are you waiting for?”
Hearing those words, both girls stood up and walked hurriedly out of the class. “Lami is our head girl.” Tolani stated with a mock shiver as soon as they were far away from hearing distance. “God help us.”
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 4:50am On Jan 17|
The Community, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria
They were seated on the floor around a circular mat. Everywhere was dark, the only source of light in the room came from a kerosene lantern in the side of the room, by the kitchen cupboard. On the left side of the room there were two big mattresses and two rolled up mats, on the other side there was a small kitchen with a sink, a few cabinets, and a stove. There were six people seated around the mat, an older woman and an older man and four children, two boys and two girls. There was a big pot on the mat with jollof rice inside it.
“Idemudia.” The man called out sharply, his deep voice echoing off the walls. The second boy looked up timidly to his father. “Lead us in prayer.” He ordered.
The boy made the sign of the cross before saying, “Bless us oh Lord and these your gifts which we are about to receive from your bounty through Christ our Lord.”
“Amen.” The whole family said before all digging in.
The children ate from the pot, each using their hands. It was obvious from how quickly the children ate that they hadn’t eaten in a long time. They rushed through each bite, stuffing more food into their mouth than they could chew. They didn’t stop to drink water or catch their breath, they just kept eating as much as they could, as quickly as they could. The parents looked at each other above the heads of their starving children. There was sorrow in their eyes, sorrow and shame. Neither one of them made any attempts to eat from the food in the pot though they were both as hungry as the children. They waited till the children had eaten as much as they could before taking the pot to the kitchen. There was very little left in the pot, most of it oil and the burned bottom of the pot, but they both stood by the sink, husband and wife, scraping the bottom of the pot to get what little food they could from it. The pot was empty after they’d each had four spoons of rice. They placed the pot into the sink.
“Daddy can I baf?” one of the girls asked.
The man walked to the other side of the room where the children lay on the mattresses. He bent to a squat in front of her and shook his head. “I’m sorry honey but there isn’t enough water for you to take a bath. You have to wait till tomorrow when we get more water.”
“But I’m hot and I’m sweating.” She complained.
“I know, I’m sorry. Just lie down and I’ll come and fan you okay?” he offered. She nodded before going back to the mattresses and laying down next to her sister. The man went back into the kitchen.
“Ejemhen, we can’t go on like this.” The woman said as soon as he walked in. “Look at our children, look at us, we’re starving. We don’t even have water for them to bathe.”
“What do you want me to do?” he asked. “We’re being hunted Itohan, the community is hunting us. They’ve killed everyone else. They’ve killed your family, they’ve killed my family and anyone who ever supported us. We can’t look for normal jobs because they already have wanted posters with our faces everywhere. Remember what my mother said, our children are our only hope.”
“Who cares about your mother? Look around you Ejemhen, look at us, look at what we’ve been reduced to. The community doesn’t want us dead, they don’t want to waste our powers if they don’t have to. They just want us to not be a problem. We don’t have to die for this Ejemhen, please, our children don’t have to die for this.”
His disgust was plain on his face as he looked at her. “Our families died for this Itohan. They were killed, hunted down like animals and slain by the people they spent their lives protecting. Now you want to go back to those people and make peace?” He shook his head. “You should be ashamed of yourself.” He said. “God knows I’m ashamed of you.” He picked up a piece of cardboard off the table before walking back to the mattresses. He sat by his daughters and moved the cardboard in his hand, back and forth, copying the actions of a fan, getting cool air on them.
The girls were just about falling asleep when the second mattress began to shake waking them all up.
“Eromosele!” The man called out. “Calm down Eroms,” he said softly, “remember your control.”
But the boy continued to shake violently. He fell off the foam, falling on his hands and knees on the floor in front of the girls’ mattress. He let out a loud cry, which was accompanied by the sound of the snapping of bones. His back bent forward pushing him closer to the ground as his hands began to break. The boy cried out louder as his fingers snapped, breaking and reforming into hairy paws with giant claws. His legs began to break then as his feet formed into hind paws. This time when he cried out in pain, his cry was the howl of a wolf, with fangs coming out of his mouth. The boy was gone, fully turned into a wolf with white fur and golden eyes. He howled one last time and then there was silence.
Till the younger girl moved.
The wolf’s attention was drawn to her. The older one, wanting to take the attention away from her sister, moved to the right of the wolf and ran towards the kitchen. The wolf chased her. She tried to escape it, but the house was too small, there was nowhere to go. The wolf pounced on her knocking her to the floor as she shook with fear. “Please Eroms.” She whispered. “I’m your sister remember? Remember me!” she yelled, all the while shaking as she spoke.
She was shaking. “Wake up Odion.” The voice broke through her subconscious. “Wake up, you’re just having a bad dream.” He said. Odion woke up, her eyes blinking slowly as she looked around her apartment trying to remember where she was.
“Was it a bad dream, or a bad vision?” he asked.
It took Odion a few moments to identify the man leaning over her as the spotter she’d told her niece about. She cleared her throat. “I think it was a memory.” She replied, confused because neither she nor her sister Akhere, could remember anything from before they were sixteen. Her earliest memory was of being a sixteen year old orphan in the community, with her twin sister Akhere, being the only family she knew.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 9:01am On Jan 20|
St. Luke’s Mixed Boarding School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria
Both girls sat on the lawn with their legs crossed playing tinko tinko as they clapped their hands together singing,
‘Our grandmother broke her waist
We don’t know what we can do
Our time now is six o clock
We are going to comb our hair
We are going to brush our teeth
To face, to face, to face, our dreams
To face, to face, to face, our dreams.’
Over and over again the girls played the same game, giggling as they gossiped about their new school, the new people they’d met and the new friends they’d make.
The tranquil scene was broken when another girl ran into the field, shouting “Help me!” her voice shaky with fear. “Help me!” she yelled. She turned around, looking to see how far behind her it was. Then she slipped and fell into a puddle, her hands and face sinking into the liquid she landed in. She screamed as soon as she saw the color of the liquid she’d fallen into. It was red, red like blood. She pushed herself off the floor and continued to run, this time more frantic than she’d been before, wiping her blood-stained hands against the pleats of her checkered pink dress.
This was the first sight the two girls had of her: a young girl, about their age, running towards them completely soaked in blood. As she got closer, the sky turned black. Both girls got up from the grass, looking nervously around them. There was a clap of thunder followed by red lightening. Then it began to rain. The blood-soaked girl kept coming towards them, running as fast as she could to elude the monster chasing her. Another clap of thunder and the water drops turned into crimson drops. It was raining blood. The girls who’d been playing on the grass started screaming as well, until the third girl caught up to them. As soon as she reached them she stopped and smiled. Then she fainted. Both girls looked at each other, frightful tears frozen in their eyes. The air filled with the sound of another clap of thunder. Only one of the girls was left standing, the other was gone.
“I found you.”
A voice whispered into the girl’s ears. She closed her eyes, shaking as she whispered to herself, “It’s only a dream. It’s not real.”
The rain stopped. When she opened her eyes she was completely surrounded by darkness. She could hear voices all around her, surrounding her, enveloping her. Childish voices sang the same song she’d been singing with her friend playing tinko tinko. They sang it over and over again. Then she felt a hand clamp onto her neck suffocating her. “Leave me alone!” she yelled, screaming for help while trying to fight off her attacker. “LEAVE ME ALONE!”
Osezele woke with a start, brought to consciousness by the rigorous shaking of her bunk bed. She pulled off her wrapper and sat up. That was when she heard the frantic whispered cries of her bunkmate. She stood up and gasped when she saw her bunkie, twisting and turning on the bed as if struggling to fight something off. Osezele climbed the first few steps of the wooden ladder leading to her bunkie’s bed. She placed her right hand over the wooden post at the back of her bed, and her left on the bed so that she was leaning over her bunkmate.
“Seyi.” Osezele called out, whispering the girl’s name. There was no response to the call. On the contrary, the girl’s shivers grew louder. Osezele climbed all the way up to the top bunk and sat on the bed resting her back against the post. Gently, she placed a hand over her bunkie’s forehead.
Seyi woke up as soon as Osezele touched her. She blinked a number of times in her attempt to reorient herself, and then she looked up, up at her bunkie who was sitting on her bed, leaning over her. Seyi jumped to an upright seating position. “Senior Osezele. Did I wake you? I’m so sorry, I didn’t know…”
“Shhh.” Osezele whispered. “It’s okay, it was just a bad dream.” Osezele smiled at the girl. “Are you okay.”
Seyi nodded nervously. “It felt very real.”
Osezele just kept smiling at her, trying her best to calm her. Osezele hadn’t known it before, but when she touched the girl, she’d seen her. Ever since she put the bracelet on, she’d been training to keep her mind’s eye closed so that no one could see her, so no one could see what she really was. But at that moment, she’d forgotten. She’d just woken up so she was groggy and then she saw her roommate in so much distress that she just didn’t think of it. That was why her eyes had been open, and that was why she’d seen the girl’s mark, a mark that had obviously been hidden. Osezele saw it and knew that her new bunkie was an augur. Which meant that whatever dream she’d been having could have been a vision. So she asked, “Do you remember it?”
Seyi shook her head. “No. I just remember that I was afraid.” She replied.
“Okay.” Osezele tapped Seyi’s pillow. “Go back to sleep.” She said, before climbing back down the bunkbed.
Osezele jumped, startled by the call of her name. She relaxed when she turned around and saw Ngozi, her corner-mate, awake and seated. Ngozi patted her bed, signaling for Osezele to sit next to her. Osezele looked at her own bed, which was right next to Ngozi’s, before sitting on Ngozi’s bed.
“What’s wrong with Seyi?” Ngozi asked.
To anyone else listening, that question no doubt appeared to be harmless and requiring a simple answer. But to Osezele it wasn’t. If another person had asked her that question, she could easily have responded saying that her bunkie had a bad dream and then apologize on her behalf for waking the person up. But Ngozi was a somewhat experienced augur, and a member of the secret group of St. Luke’s student with hidden marks. Thinking about marks, Osezele found her eyes dropping to Ngozi’s left clavicle where her mark was. The mark was a straight swollen line with fuzzy edges running along both sides. It was a distinct mark shared by all those who had the super-human gifts. Ngozi was the only member of their group whose mark wasn’t hidden. The other students, like Osezele, had the visible sign of their mark hidden by communes at the time of their birth.
Osezele swallowed nervously, considering whether or not to tell Ngozi the truth. She remembered how it’d felt when Nosa walked up to her and told her she was a witch. She remembered how scared and confused she’d been. She also remembered how their secret group reacted to the fact that Nosa had kept her mark a secret from them. If she told Ngozi the truth, she knew that Ngozi would have to tell the whole group, which would change Seyi’s life the way it had changed hers.
Ngozi sighed. “I already know she’s an augur.”
Osezele gasped. “I wasn’t trying to hide it, I…”
Ngozi shook her head. “Relax. I’m not angry.” Osezele exhaled while Ngozi kept talking, “I’m just trying to make sure she’s okay.”
“She’s fine. She doesn’t remember what she saw.” Osezele responded.
“She doesn’t remember anything?” Ngozi asked, her voice laced with disbelief.
Ngozi frowned then. “Augurs always remember.” She said slowly. Then she looked at Osezele, in a way that made her hackles rise. “Is there something you’d like to tell me?” Ngozi asked.
“Me? No.” Osezele responded, leaning back away from Ngozi’s probing eyes. That was when she felt it. Osezele kept her mind’s eye closed while she felt Ngozi in her head, prodding her, trying to get her to open her eyes and look.
“You’re keeping me from linking with you?” Ngozi stated flatly. Osezele opened her mouth to defend herself when Ngozi said, “Don’t even lie.” Osezele closed her mouth and looked away. “I already know you’re marked Osezele, and I’ve seen your mark. So why are you trying to hide it now?”
“I’m not hiding anything.” Osezele lied.
Ngozi just shook her head. “Yes you are. But you weren’t when you just woke up. When you went to calm your bunkie down, you linked with her and saw her mark. I was in that link. I saw your mark. Or should I say marks.” Ngozi explained, all the while keeping her eyes trained on Osezele. “I thought we were friends. It hurts that you’re trying to hide it.”
Osezele turned around then and slid closer to Ngozi on the bed. “That’s why I’m trying to hide it.” she exclaimed. “You are my friend and I don’t want to get you in trouble.”
“What are you talking about?” Ngozi asked.
“You saw it, you saw what I am.”
“You have three marks.” Ngozi replied. “It’s not as uncommon as you’d think. I saw it while I was in the community.”
“Did you ever see anyone with three marks in the same class?” Osezele lowered her voice and leaned closer towards Ngozi, “Did you ever see a tri-marked warlock?”
Ngozi understood then. During the three years she’d spent in the community, she’d learnt a lot about the marked. Bi-marked warlocks were rare, but there’d never been a tri-marked warlock; those things were considered impossible. People with two marks – like Nosa – were very common. But those marks were in different classes, like Nosa was a werewolf, in the Varmint class, and an augur, in the Warlock class. “Wow. A commune, a witch, and an augur. It’s so unbelievable! I can’t believe I even know you.” Ngozi was amazed as soon as she realized what Osezele really was. “I can’t believe I’m part of your story. Just by knowing you, I’m part of history.” She teased, only half joking. Osezele laughed then, but her laughter, like her joy, was restrained. As the pieces began to fall in place, Ngozi started to see the whole picture. “They’ll come for you.” She said. “If they find out that you exist the community, InCoSeM, they’ll hunt you down. They’ll want to…” Ngozi caught herself about to voice the one secret she’d never shared with her hidden marked friends who hadn’t been in the community. “Why you?” Ngozi asked instead.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 9:02am On Jan 20|
Osezele shrugged. “That’s the same question I’ve been asking myself.” Her lips quivered as she felt the overwhelming urge to give into her fears, her pain. But she couldn’t let the emotions out, not when she still couldn’t control her commune mark, couldn’t control the part of her that used pain and fear as a source of power for magic. She sucked it all in, before putting on the smile she was starting to get used to wearing. “I’m sorry that you know. That’s why I’m trying to keep it from Nosa and Tolani and everyone else. Because they’ll be in danger if they know. You can’t tell anyone,” Osezele begged frantically. “Ngozi please, you can’t tell them.”
“It’ll just be our secret.” Ngozi promised.
Osezele was so relieved, she threw herself into Ngozi’s arms. As Ngozi hugged her, she felt her in her head, prodding again. This time, Osezele opened her eyes and they linked. There was an overwhelming feeling of safety and comfort that Osezele felt as soon as she let her in. It was so soothing that she never wanted to let go. Osezele wondered if it was always that way when you linked with someone. She’d bonded with someone, the man who’d saved her and Nosa from Ebo, and taught her how to make her bracelet and hide her mark. But she’d never been able to link with him because he was in the community and she wasn’t.
Ngozi pulled away. “Did you feel it?” Osezele asked, wondering if she was the only one who’d experienced all that.
“That’s what happens when you link. We’re social creatures, seeing someone else in your head let’s you know that you’re not alone. It makes you feel safe.”
“What about bonding?” Osezele asked.
“Bonding is different. When you link with someone, the both of you have to be in close proximity. You see them in your head, but you also feel them because you’re actually, physically, standing close to them. You can bond with someone that’s in a different country, which makes it more like a dream. Actually, it can be scarring if the bond goes too deep and you’re sharing thoughts and memories with someone you don’t really trust. You have to be careful about that.”
Osezele nodded. “Thank you.” She said, as she moved to get off the bed.
“Wait.” Ngozi called out. “There’s something you need to know.” At Ngozi’s insistent words, Osezele sat back on the bed. “When you touched Seyi, your eyes were light blue. You took away the memory of her vision.”
“I didn’t take away her memory. I don’t even know how to do that.” Osezele replied, forcefully denying it.
“Augurs never forget their dreams. They may forget some details, but they never forget the whole thing. But Seyi went back to sleep after twisting and turning for minutes. You don’t just go back to sleep after having a dream like that, unless you don’t remember it.” Osezele began to speak again, but Ngozi forged on. “I’m not accusing you of knowingly taking her memory. I’m telling you that you unknowingly took her memory. Your eyes were light blue, not white like an augur, or blue like a witch, but a combination of both. I’m guessing that when you touched her, you didn’t just link with her, you bonded. You got into her head, saw the pain she was in and you took away the cause.” Ngozi smiled. “I have seen an experienced memoir witch chanting with so much force her teeth almost broke, all so she could take away one day’s memory without taking away the whole week, and she still ended up taking an extra day’s memory. You just took an hour’s worth of memory without chanting a spell or having a power source. Witches can’t do that.”
“I don’t know.” Osezele responded not really sure what she was saying. She wanted to say she didn’t know how she’d done it. but she also didn’t know that she’d done it.
“It’s okay.” Ngozi said. “Go back to your bed, go back to sleep.”
Osezele got up and took the three steps that separated her bed from Ngozi’s. “I can’t go back to sleep.” She muttered as soon as she was seated on her bed.
Ngozi laid down on her bed. “Tomorrow is your first day in SS1B. Trust me,” she said, “you want to get as much sleep as you can before you meet Mr. Otibhor. Good night.”
“It’s already morning.” Osezele stated.
“Then good morning.” Ngozi retorted, before turning around and closing her eyes.
Osezele couldn’t go back to sleep. She was too consumed with everything Ngozi had said, that she found herself laying on her bed with her eyes open. After spending a few minutes rolling around on her bed, she got up and went over to Ngozi’s rack behind her bed. At the top of the rack there was a clock. Osezele turned around to face the built in cupboards, and took her flashlight out of hers. She turned it on and pointed it at the clock which showed that it was four thirty in the morning. In thirty minutes, she knew that the junior students would be waking up to take their baths, do their laundry and get ready for the day. The senior students, particularly the ones in SS1 and SS2, would start waking up around six and the ones in SS3 would wake up around six twenty. Knowing all this, Osezele decided to take her bath then. So, she walked back into her corner – the space she shared with Ngozi – and pulled out her bucket from underneath her bed.
Quietly, so as not to wake anyone, Osezele walked down the middle of the hostel, down the space between the rows of bunkbeds. All the way down, at the other end of the hostel, was the laundry room, the toilets and the bathroom. Osezele walked into the laundry room, which was a rectangular space with tiled walls that supported deep ceramic sinks. There were twelve sinks in the room. With her fingers crossed she flipped the light switch. She sighed when the light didn’t come on, because the darkness meant that there was no electricity. The school didn’t turn the generators on till six, so no power, meant no water heater, which meant that she’d have to bathe with cold water. She placed her bucket into one of the sinks and turned the tap lever, letting the water out. Then she walked back into the hostel, back to her corner. She walked around her corner mindlessly performing the other rituals associated with preparing for her bath. She put her sponge and bar of soap into the blue bowl she used for scooping the water out of the bucket, and put the bowl on her bed. Then she took off her pajamas and tied her towel around her chest. Once she was prepared, she picked up her flashlight and bowl, and walked back towards the laundry where her bucket was just about getting full. She turned the lever increasing the flow of water and then turned it off when the bucket was full. She put her bowl into the bucket of water and carried the bucket out of the sink, onto the floor, and into the bathroom.
The bathroom was a much larger space than the laundry, having ten separate partitions of bathing blocks. These blocks were empty spaces, about three feet long and one feet wide, where students took their baths. Osezele walked all the way to her favorite one, the last block in the room. She placed her flashlight on the floor, underneath the door, and proceeded to take her bath.
While she took her time bathing, the bathroom slowly began to fill with junior students rushing to reserve a bath block for themselves and their bunkmates. By the time Osezele stepped out, the bathroom was filled with students. She called to the girl standing closest to her asking, “What’s your name?”
“Amarachi.” The student responded.
“You can enter that block.” Osezele said, offering the student the empty block she’d just walked out of. “Do you know who I am?” she asked.
The girl nodded. “Osezele.” she stated.
“Do you know my bunkie?” Osezele asked. The girl shook her head. “Her name is Seyi.” She held the door open as she said. “Enter, Seyi will enter after you.”
“Thank you!” the girl said, rushing into the bath block with two of her friends.
Osezele whistled lightly as she walked back towards her corner. When she walked in, she was surprised to see her bunkmate already up and in her towel getting ready to go to the bathroom. She’d thought she’d have to wake her up. Osezele remembered how long it had taken her to get used to waking up around five when she’d first started at St. Luke’s. “Bunkie, you’re awake. Well done.” she praised.
Ngozi laughed. “I woke her up. I told her, she’s in JSS1, the bottom of the pot, if she wants to bathe, she has to start getting used to waking up earlier.”
Osezele was just about to mention the block she’d reserved for her when she saw Seyi pulling out her bucket from underneath the bed. “Chei!” she exclaimed. “What’s that?”
Seyi looked down at the bucket and then back at her bunkie. “It’s my bucket.” She replied.
Ngozi and Osezele burst out laughing. “Are you going to be carrying that bucket or will the bucket carry you?” Ngozi asked. “Who bought that? That thing is half your size?”
“I can carry it.” Seyi boasted.
“Oya, let’s go let me see.” Osezele responded, inclining her head towards the laundry.
When they got to the laundry, Seyi struggled to lift the empty bucket up and into the sink. Osezele stood back watching as Seyi let the bucket fill to the brim. As soon as it was full, Seyi placed her hands on the bucket and tried to lift it up, but she couldn’t make it move. She kept struggling with the bucket, until Osezele took over. “You don’t need this much water.” She said, before pouring half of the water out of the bucket. Then Osezele carried the bucket of water down from the sink and into the bathroom, stopping in front of the block she’d bathed in and reserved for her bunkmate. “We have to get a smaller bucket for you. I’m not going to be fetching your water every day.” Osezele teased.
“Thank you.” Seyi responded also laughing.
Osezele knocked on the door of the block she’d been in. “Amarachi?” Amarachi climbed onto the platform underneath the door to hoist herself up so she could see who’d called her. As soon as Osezele saw her, she put her hand on Seyi’s shoulder. “This is my bunkie, she’ll enter after you.” She said. Amarachi nodded.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 9:28pm On Jan 26|
St. Luke’s Mixed Boarding School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria
“Use more force.” Tolani ordered. “Put your back into it.”
Osezele burst out laughing. “You want them to put their back into washing clothes?” she teased.
Tolani hissed. “Abeg leave me alone. I’m tired. All I want to do is just go to my bed and sleep. Instead I’m here helping these two rats wash their clothes. I haven’t even washed my own clothes.” Tolani hissed again.
“That’s why we’re in SS1. We can wash our clothes and bathe after they ring the bell…”
“After I ring the bell.” Tolani whined.
“What are you complaining about? At least you’re a school prefect.”
“You’re a prefect too! And all you have to do is be in the refectory when everyone else is there.”
“We have to stand.” Osezele interjected.
“Are you also going to complain about the extra food you have to eat?” Tolani asked.
“It’s so much food.” Osezele teased.
Tolani shook her head. “Wash that stocking well!” she shouted at her bunkmate Moji. Yemi, Tolani’s corner mate, had ordered Osezele and Tolani to teach Moji and Seyi how to wash their clothes. An errand Tolani did not enjoy performing. She was so frustrated that when she’d spoken her voice had come out a lot meaner and louder than she’d expected. Her voice was so loud that all the other students in the laundry momentarily suspended their washing to look at her. A predicament to which Tolani responded by snapping, “What are all of you looking at?” the girls returned their attention to washing their clothes.
“Tolani you harsh oh.” A girl called out from behind her.
“Abeg leave me.” Tolani responded when she saw that the person teasing her was in her class. The girl was just done with her laundry.
“Congrats Osezele.” The girl said before walking out of the laundry room.
Moji looked up from her laundry, not the least perturbed by her bunkie’s surly mood. “Senior Osezele, why is she congratulating?” she asked.
“How is that your business?” Tolani responded before Osezele could. “Instead of you to mind your business, you’re poking your nose inside what doesn’t concern you. Wash your clothes joh.” She chastised.
Osezele laughed. She took a step forward so that she was standing between Seyi and Moji right next to the sink. Then she put her hand into Moji’s bucket of soapy water and dirty clothes, and pulled out the second stocking. “Watch me.” she said to Moji as she lathered the stocking she held with Moji’s washing soap until she could see the white of the bar soap on the sock. Then she dipped the sock back into the water, brought it out, made her hands into fists holding both edges of the sock and rubbed her fists together with parts of the sock caught in between. Moji picked up the bar of soap and followed Osezele’s lead. “To answer your question Moji,” Osezele rolled her eyes at Tolani, who shook her head in response, “she was congratulating me because I’m the new class prefect in my class.” Osezele added, “After Tolani has been the class prefect for the last three years.”
“You think that position is easy, but just you wait and see.” Tolani replied. “And when you need help…”
“Why will I need help when my bestie is sitting right next to me?” Osezele wagged her eyebrows. “Add your hand Tolani, if not we’ll sleep here today.”
Tolani let out a long-suffering sigh before walking over to Seyi and joining in washing her clothes. The four of them worked together, teasing each other and sharing in stories while they finished handwashing the clothes. As soon as they were done, Tolani took down the buckets with the wet clean clothes and Osezele put the extra buckets under the tap, filling the buckets with water for their baths.
“Come, you.” Tolani gestured to a junior student walking by her. “Put these buckets in front of my bunk.” She ordered. The girl nodded and took the buckets from her.
Osezele watched Seyi lift her new bucket down from the sink. “See how much easier that is?” Osezele asked. Seyi nodded, smiling. They picked up their soap-cans from the side of the sink and put it into their buckets of water. Then Moji and Seyi carried their buckets out of the laundry and into the bathroom, which was filled with junior students trying to get blocks to bathe in.
“Wait here.” Tolani said to Moji and Seyi, before walking deeper into the bathroom. Tolani had to swerve around the buckets of water on the floor and the students yelling at their friends and climbing on the bottom step underneath the door to spy on their classmates bathing behind the closed doors. She shook her head when she felt drops of water landing on her foot. The chaos of the bathroom as this time, between the end of prep and when the hostel doors were locked, was one of the main reasons why Tolani was ecstatic about being in SS1 and no longer needing to take her bath during that time. Tolani snapped when she felt a stream of water fall on her legs. The way the bathing blocks were set up, with the bottom of the wooden door raised above the top of a platform underneath it, it was easy for water to come out of the block, from the people bathing in it. Especially if there were a lot of people bathing together in the block and if they were rushing. Tolani hit the door of the bathing block so forcefully it shook. Then she kept walking. She stopped in front of the sixth block when she saw the towels that had been hung over the door, begin to disappear. A minute later, the door opened. Tolani held the door open as three junior students came out of the block.
“Who’s entering after you?” Tolani asked.
“Senior Perpetual.” One of the girls responded. “She said that nobody should enter after us.”
“Tell her I entered.” Tolani responded, ignoring the mandate. “Seyi, Moji!” she yelled, gesturing for them. “Enter.” She said, as soon as they got to her. Seyi and Moji hurried into the bathing block.
“Senior Osezele, can I enter with them?” another student pleaded.
“What class are you in?” Osezele asked.
“JSS1A, I’m in their class.” She responded.
“Thank you.” The girl almost fell over in her haste to get her bucket and go into the block. She’d almost given up hope of bathing that evening because she couldn’t find a block to bathe in.
“This is Perpetual’s block, so if you like take your time.” Tolani said, before closing the door and waiting for the girls to bolt it from the inside before letting go. The girls had just hung their towels on the door and began to bathe when Perpetual walked into the bathroom. Perpetual was in SS2, a year older than Tolani and Osezele.
“Tolani!” Perpetual yelled. “You told someone to enter my block?”
“Pepper! How was your holiday?” Tolani smiled jokingly.
Perpetual wasn’t having any of it. “I said no one should enter and you told someone to enter. Are you mad?”
“I’m sorry.” Tolani apologized. “It’s just three JSS1 girls, they won’t take any time to bathe. I was just trying to keep your block for you, that’s why I told them to enter.” Tolani lied.
Perpetual laughed. “You were doing it for me?”
Tolani smiled. “For my favorite SS2 girl. Don’t worry I’ll count for them.”
Perpetual hissed. “Who’s inside?”
“Moji, Seyi and another girl.” Tolani replied.
“Moji?” Perpetual asked. “As in Lami’s sister?” Tolani nodded. Perpetual sighed. “Don’t count for them.”
“Pepper, don’t worry I’ll count for them.” Tolani insisted.
“Thank you.” Perpetual said. “When they’re done, put my bucket inside the block and send someone to call me.” she ordered, before walking away.
Tolani let out her breath as soon as Perpetual walked out. She knocked on the door of the bathing block. “Moji, Seyi and co, I’m giving you till the count of ten to finish bathing. One.” Tolani began to count.
“You’re really counting for them?” Osezele asked.
“Two.” Tolani continued. Turning to Osezele she said, “we’re lucky Perpetual didn’t punish us for taking her space.” After saying that she turned her focus back to the block. “Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven.” Before she got to eight, the towels were taken off the door and the girls opened the door and came out. Osezele carried Perpetual’s bucket of water into the block and Tolani sent the other JSS1 girl to tell Perpetual that her block was free, then they walked back into the hostel, back to the corner that Tolani shared with Lami. As soon as they got there, Moji and Seyi put on their pajamas.
“Is that the time?” Tolani asked staring at Moji’s pink watch.
“You’re late!” Osezele exclaimed. “Seyi, go back to our hostel.” Osezele ordered as she and Tolani rushed out of Tolani’s hostel.
“This is the second time I’ve been late to ring the bell in two days.” Tolani remarked. “I’ll be surprised if they don’t take this timekeeper post from me.” She bent to pick the bell from the front of the hostel where she’d left it. She held onto the clapper with her right hand to keep the bell from ringing.
Tolani and Osezele sped walked out from the part of the school where the girl’s hostels were, heading towards the refectory where Tolani would start ringing the bell, taking it with her as she walked along the slab to the other end of the school.
“You’re late Tolani.” Nosa chastised lightly.
“I know, I’m sorry.” Tolani replied, continuing in her fast walk.
The moment she saw Nosa, Osezele felt her heart skip a beat, but she was determined to avoid him, so she kept walking with Tolani. Nosa stopped in front of Osezele, forcing her to stop walking. “Hello Princess.” He teased.
Osezele gasped when she heard Nosa call her that. It had been so long since he’d called her that. Months, she thought. Then she remembered all the reasons why she had to avoid him and said, “We’re late to ring the bell.” Before swerving around him and practically running away.
“You can run now, but you can’t run forever!” Nosa yelled after her.
Osezele kept running, forcing Tolani to run as well, until they were out of sight of Nosa. Both girls stopped then and started laughing, bending their heads together.
“You literally ran away from him.” Tolani teased in between giggles.
“I know.” Osezele responded, still laughing.
“What’s so funny?”
Both girls stopped laughing, stood straight and looked up.
“What’s so funny?” Victor asked again.
They were both still smiling when Tolani said, “Nothing.”
Victor nodded. “Your five minutes late to ring the bell Tolani, and you’re stopping to laugh at nothing?”
“I’m sorry.” Tolani rushed to apologize, remembering at that moment that Victor was the head male punctuality prefect. Since she was the timekeeper, he was kind of her boss, well her boss’s boss. “I’m going to ring it now.”
“Come and find me tomorrow morning.” Victor ordered. Tolani swallowed nervously, before nodding. “Don’t make me look for you.” He warned before walking away.
“Oh no. He’s going to punish me isn’t he.” She asked Osezele. Osezele put a hand over her mouth to keep herself from laughing out. Tolani shook her head.
Osezele cleared her throat to push back the laughter. “Yes, I think so.” She replied only half seriously. “I have to go back to my hostel before they lock me out. Goodnight.” She said before hugging Tolani and heading back down the slab towards the girls’ hostels.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 9:29pm On Jan 26|
The Community, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria
“Progress?” the old man asked. He leaned over the table, his hands folded together as he studied the younger man seated opposite him. He sighed when he saw that the man’s eyes, and focus, were trained solely on the cuffs around his wrist, binding his hands together and keeping them chained to the table. Cowards, he thought to himself. It didn’t matter that he was constantly pumped with a cocktail of drugs specifically designed by the abaci to keep warlocks and varmints from going into their mark. Of course they were only allowed to use this still experimental treatment for prisoners that were considered high-risk. The old man coughed and then wiped away the drops of blood that escaped his mouth before his visitor could see them. It was just another side effect of those darn drugs they had him on, drugs that were slowly killing him, not that they cared. The council – leaders of the community – would never allow the death penalty, they’d just lock you up for life and, if you’re really lucky, pump you so full of ‘legal’ drugs, that your body’s reaction to them ends up doing the job. The old man cleared his throat, reminding the younger one of the question he’d asked.
“I’m bonded with her.” He replied. “After every meeting, I can feel her trust in me grow.”
The old man scoffed. “You’ve been bonded with her for three months. At this point, she probably trusts you as much as she ever will.” He coughed again. “If she didn’t trust you after you saved her life and kept her boyfriend from being a commune’s thrall, she’ll never trust you.”
“Relationships like the one we’re trying to build takes time to form.” He replied defensively.
“That’s not good enough damn it.” the old man snapped, banging his hand against the table. The movement caused his chains to jangle, pulling their collective attention back to the imprisonment. “We need her in the community for any of this to work.”
“I know that.”
“In all this time, you haven’t gotten a location from her? Nothing distinctive to her that we can turn over to the prowl?”
The younger man gasped in shock. “She’s a fourteen year old girl father. We can’t send the prowl after her. They’ll tear through everything she’s ever done, everyone she’s met, everywhere she’s been.” He shook his head. “I think my plan is still the best we’ve come up with.”
“Wait for her to turn herself in? That’s not a plan, it’s a wish, and a foolish one at that. What teenager would willingly choose to abandon the only life she knows and surrender to the community.” He shook his head. “I say we let the prowl handle it. You’re one of their leaders, give them the name and be done with it. The sooner we get here, the better.”
“No.” he stated forcefully. “Give me some more time, I’m confident that I can get to her, that I can make her come here of her own free will. Why sever the relationship if we don’t need to?”
The old man smiled. “You’ve grown fond of her then? Grown to like her? Remember, your job isn’t to make her like you, it’s to get her here. You already had the chance once and you failed, don’t fail me again.” The man coughed, louder this time.
“Regarding her aunty, I have good news.” He spoke quickly to distract himself from how sick his father had gotten and how helpless he was in the face of it all.
“Well? Speak up boy.” The old man prompted.
“The potion Ose created worked. She’s starting to remember.” He smiled.
The old man laughed. “Well done, my son, well done. Now all we need is to bring the girl here.”
“What’s the end goal? To get you out of prison? How much time do you even have?” he asked.
The old man shrugged. “I could be gone in days, could be gone in months. I don’t know. We don’t have access to doctors. Blasted doctors, healing witches, all of them. All that pure white magic, they can’t stand to see sick people they aren’t allowed to heal.” He sighed. “Not that it matters. This prison is my penance. I’ve revoked unholy alliances and pledged my descendants lives to repay my mistakes. My family will not suffer their wrath when they rise again, which is why I do not fear death or sickness. My only fear is of failure.”
“I will not fail you.”
“What about your brother and your sister? Can you swear the same oath for them Oare?” he demanded.
“Good.” he nodded approvingly, calmed for the first time throughout that visit. “Always remember that your lives do not belong to you, they never have, and they probably never will.”
“I know that.” He stated. “We all know that.”
Oloibiri, Bayelsa State, Nigeria
Joe pranced around the edge of the run down abandoned building look for a good vantage point. He took note of the empty space between the building and the patch of grass where the meeting was set to take place. He’d been hired by a third party to make sure that the exchange went down perfectly, and in place of that, if anything went wrong, to make sure there were no survivors. He snapped his finger, motioning for one of the wolves in his pack. The young boy ran over. He was thirteen, one of the three who’d just had their first transformation. This one was different, he had his mark on his right elbow. Most of the wolves he’d encountered had marks on parts of their body where they could easily be hidden. There were folktales that told stories of wolves that were so powerful that their marks were made visible so that people knew to avoid them. Then again, there were also stories that told of marks made prominent because the mark was too easily suppressed, like the augurs and sages. Joe had enough experience to know that a wolf that could suppress his mark, was a weak wolf, not one he wanted in his pack. Not even one he wanted to breed. Only time would tell what was in store for the young wolf.
The boy fell to his knees as soon as he got to the alpha, keeping his head bent low as he spoke. “Yes uncle Joe.”
“Get aunty M.” Joe ordered.
“Yes uncle Joe.” The boy responded. He crawled a few steps back, before getting up and running along to complete the errand.
Joe continued his walk, marking the changes that had to be made before the place was well fortified for the meet.
“Wetin?” M asked as soon as she was standing next to Joe.
“That was quick.” Joe commented, ignoring her mock greeting.
“I was close. What do you want?” M asked. While Joe was the alpha, the leader of the varmints, M was the grand warlock.
Joe pointed at the meeting spot and then gestured to the empty space between where they stood and the meeting spot. “We need cover. Tell your verdant witches to come here tonight and grow us some greens. I’m thinking wild flowers, branches intertwined, anything that goes with the abandoned house. Nothing that will stand out. And it needs to be tall, at least as tall as the first floor of the building. How long will it take?”
M eyed Joe. “My verdants are strong. They won’t need more than a day.” She boasted.
“Also, on the main day, we’re going to need healing witches incase any of our people get hurt. And, if something goes wrong and there’s anyone who can pay money for their life, we’ll need memoir witches to wipe their memories. We’ll also need communes to keep everyone hidden.”
“Is that all?” M asked sarcastically. “Do you know the amount of power we’ll need for all this? The community will know if we take that much power.”
“What community?” Joe laughed. “The Yenagoa community?” he scoffed. “We can take them in a heartbeat. They probably don’t even have as much marked as we do. We’ll only run into trouble if they get the Port Harcourt community involved. But if they do, we’ll be long gone before they get here.”
“You’ve thought it through.” M grudgingly praised.
“Of course I have. That’s why I’m the leader.”
“One of the leaders.” M corrected.
Joe chuckled. “That’s what I meant.” He cleared his throat. “How about the other matter? Any luck?”
M shook her head. “Emeka and Oshoke are still missing.”
Joe exhaled slowly. “That’s disappointing.” Joe stated flatly. “If they’re not coming back of their own free will, we’ll have to get them. Emeka is too important to our family to let him go.”
“Oshoke is important too. She’s a very strong and very capable commune.” M stated vehemently.
“You have a dozen Oshoke’s in your group. I have only one Emeka, only one heir. I will do everything to get him back.” Joe swore.
“Do you really think they were kidnapped? They could just as easily have chosen to leave. Emeka never liked the direction we took the family in.”
“There is no leaving this family. That’s why we have someone in that school. I am going to find him and he will lead. If he doesn’t want to, we’ll breed him. We cannot waste a wolf mark that strong. One way or another, he will serve this family.” Joe said the words out loud even though he knew the person he was really making the promise to couldn’t hear him. He had firsthand knowledge of Emeka’s stubbornness. From his first transformation, the first time his mark came out and he turned into a wolf, they’d all known Emeka would be strong, but none of them had known he’d be the strongest they’d ever had in the family. Emeka was destined for greatness and Joe was determined to make sure that Emeka lived up to his potential. Joe had been grooming Emeka for alpha from the moment of that first transformation. He reluctantly admitted that he had a soft spot for the kid. Which is why he’d allowed them go to that boarding school, when the entire family had a tradition of home schooling their children. He’d made an exception for Emeka and his girlfriend, had allowed them to have their marks hidden so they’d fit in, when everyone in the family wore their marks proudly. Joe had granted Emeka too many favors, he knew that now, which is why he’d decided to stop, to treat Emeka like any other wolf who stepped out of line. He had people scouring the country looking for them and he had an agent sent to that boarding school to infiltrate Emeka’s gang of hidden-marked friends and find his heir. And if they couldn’t find him, Joe was determined to lure him out by making his beloved secondary school bleed.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 6:20am On Feb 03|
St. Luke’s Mixed Boarding School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria
Osezele leaned against the metallic frame of the refectory doors watching the students running towards her. As the students approached her, they made a studious effort of averting their gaze. She smiled watching the display with awe, finding it hard to believe that it had only been a few months ago when she was in these students’ shoes, running to the refectory because she was late for a meal, and looking away to avoid being punished by the food prefects. Now she was a food prefect. Osezele kept her eyes trained on the students running towards her, yawning when the job of just standing there began to get too boring for her to withstand. Then she saw a group of JSS3 girls running slowly towards her and giggling at a joke one of them must have told. Osezele couldn’t hide her reaction to the girl running in the middle of the group.
“Bimbo! Come here.”
Osezele turned around startled by the sound of Tolani’s voice. “Why are you calling her?” she asked.
Tolani shrugged. “Why were you looking at her like that?”
Osezele shook her head. “Abeg Tolani, let her go. You know she’s Fatima’s bunkie. I don’t want trouble.”
“You’re afraid of a JSS3 girl?” Tolani asked, keeping her eyes trained on Bimbo as she slowly approached them.
“I just don’t want trouble.” Osezele responded. Since she’d stopped being friends with Fatima, Osezele had gone out of her way to avoid any conflict with her. She could still remember the last time they’d spoken and the harsh words that Fatima had said to her. Fatima was known for her caustic insults, but it had still come as a surprise to Osezele when she became the subject of that abuse. It had hurt even more, coming from someone she’d been friends with for three years. But then, the blame didn’t lie fully on Fatima’s shoulders, Osezele knew that the moment she became friends with Tolani, she’d ignored Fatima. She hadn’t meant to ignore her ex-best friend though, which was why she hoped that Fatima really hadn’t meant to insult her as harshly as she did. And that was why she didn’t want to stir the pot.
Tolani ignored Osezele. She didn’t know what had gone on between Osezele and Bimbo. But she could tell from the look that had been in Osezele’s eyes when she’d seen the girl, that something had happened. It was a look that Tolani was determined to investigate the cause of. Bimbo, Fatima’s bunkmate, finally got to them. “I called you and you were taking your time to get here?” Tolani accused.
Bimbo shook her head nervously. While she didn’t respect or fear Osezele, she was terrified of Tolani. Most of the junior students were. “I’m sorry Tolani, it’s not like that. I can explain.”
“Shut up.” Tolani snapped. “I heard what you did.” Tolani lied.
“This girl.” Osezele muttered, narrowing her eyes at Tolani, before shaking her head and walking to the other side of the door. She was far away that she wouldn’t be considered part of that conversation, but not so far that she couldn’t clearly hear everything they said.
Tolani, like earlier on, ignored Osezele’s protests. She was determined to be her friend’s enforcer. She wouldn’t let anyone, especially any of their juniors, disrespect her. “Like I was saying,” Tolani continued. “I heard what you did.”
Bimbo looked nervously at Osezele, before turning her attention back to Tolani. She shook her head. “I didn’t do anything.” Bimbo lied.
Tolani, of course, didn’t believe her. She knew Osezele well enough to know that something had happened between her and Bimbo. “If you lie to me.” Tolani warned. “If you lie to me, the kind punishment wey I go rain down on your head ehn, Ms. Flowers will come down from that principal’s office and beg me to release you. Don’t try me.”
“Please.” Bimbo begged. “I was going to apologize as soon as I said it. I don’t know what I was thinking. I’m sorry Osezele.”
“It’s okay.” Osezele said, joining in the conversation from where she stood a few steps away. “You can go.” She said, inclining her head towards the refectory.
Relieved, Bimbo began to walk in, when Tolani snapped. “Where are you going?” Bimbo shook her head then confused. “I want to hear what you said.” Tolani stated. “I want the words to leave your mouth and enter my ear.”
“Please Tolani, I’m sorry.” Bimbo begged.
Tolani shook her head. “Tell me.” she insisted. “I want to hear.”
“Please Tolani, I can’t say it to you. Please I’m begging you. I’m sorry…”
“One.” Tolani began counting. “Two. Three. Four. Four and a half…”
“Na you know.” Bimbo yelled out.
Tolani took a step towards her. “Ehn?” she asked.
“No, I’m not saying it to you oh. No, no. That’s what I said to Osezele.” Bimbo rushed to clarify.
Tolani gasped with shock. She turned her accusing gaze on Osezele. “She told you, na you know, and you didn’t say anything?”
Osezele just shrugged. “It’s okay.” She said, even though it was obvious from her tone that it wasn’t okay. It had hurt when she’d had that conversation with Bimbo. It hadn’t helped that Bimbo had been so openly rude to her in front of a number of girls in her hostel, some of whom she’d heard laughing at her. The whole thing had seemed silly to her. They’d gotten into an argument over a bathing block that Osezele had reserved for her bunkmate. Bimbo had gone into that bathing block without asking and then reserved the block for Fatima instead. When Osezele confronted her, Bimbo had ended the conversation by saying, ‘Na you know’, before rolling her eyes and walking out of the bathroom. The whole scene had brought up feelings of pain and insecurity, feelings Osezele thought she’d buried months ago. Shaking her head, Osezele snapped herself out of her trip down memory lane. She turned towards Tolani, “Please just let her go. It’s not her fault.”
Tolani was amazed. She made a mental note to talk to Osezele about being less timid. She couldn’t just let junior students walk all over her. In the meantime, she tried to come up with an appropriate punishment for Bimbo. Tolani’s attention was broken by the sound of Osezele groaning and muttering underneath her breath. Tolani looked up then, and was blindsided by the image of Binta, Oluchi and Fatima walking towards them. The three girls stopped in front of the refectory doors.
“What are you doing to my bunkie?” Fatima demanded, moving her gaze from the top of Tolani’s head to the tip of her toes, sizing her up. Fatima then put her hand over Bimbo’s shoulders.
It took Tolani a while to recover from the unexpected shock of being this close to Binta again. She’d seen her in passing over the last couple of days since they’d met, but this was the first time that they’d stood face-to-face. Tolani snapped out of her shock. “She’s late.” Tolani responded. “She came to the refectory three minutes after I rang the bell.”
“Only three minutes?” Fatima asked derisively, “What are you feeling like? Na you dem first make prefect? Tolani, you better let her go oh. Ah! Why are you picking on my bunkie?”
Tolani was probably one of the few people in her class that was completely unfazed by Fatima’s penchant for biting insults. Tolani focused her attention on Bimbo. “You know, before your bunkie came and started making noise, I was only going to punish you to kneel down in the middle of refectory during food. That’s all. But now, I’ve changed my mind. You are going to wash the whole school’s plates, every day, after afternoon and evening food, for a week.” Bimbo gasped. She was just about to start begging for a lighter punishment when Tolani said, “Next time, you’ll think twice before being rude to a food prefect. Now get out of my sight!” Bimbo ran into the refectory as soon as Tolani was done talking.
Fatima cleared her throat. “Osezele, Bimbo was rude to you?” she asked.
Osezele nodded. She expected Fatima to burst out laughing then and say it was good for her, or something like that. Instead, Fatima’s lips pressed together, and she gave a slight half smile. Although she wasn’t apologizing, Osezele could tell that she wanted to. It was the first time since her fight with Fatima that Osezele thought there was a chance that they could be friends again, someday.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 6:22am On Feb 03|
Binta broke the silence. “Is this the Osezele that you said Nosa likes?” she teased.
Oluchi laughed. “Yes oh.”
Binta scoffed. “Have you looked at Nosa, and looked at her?” Binta mocked. “Nosa’s like a ten and she’s like a two, if that.” Binta wasn’t satisfied with just having Oluchi laughing at the joke. In her attempt to reel Fatima in, she asked, “What do you think Fatima?”
Fatima looked between Osezele and Binta and said, “I think it’s time for food” refusing to pick a side. Then she walked into the refectory. She was surprised by her lack of willingness to hurt Osezele, especially since Osezele had hurt her so badly when she’d chosen Tolani over her. Still, she kept walking away from the girls and the pointless conversation.
“What could Nosa possibly see in her?” Binta kept up the teasing.
“He couldn’t.” Oluchi responded, laughing as hard as she could to take her pound of flesh from the girl who stole Nosa from her. Not that Nosa was ever Oluchi’s to begin with, but a girl could dream.
Binta’s teasing quickly morphed into white noise as Osezele’s focus shifted from the conversation to the topic of the conversation who was walking towards them, his single strap backpack hanging carelessly off his shoulder. She felt herself start to heat up, her heart racing with each step he took closer towards her. There was something about him, she’d felt it the first time she’d seen him, there was something that drew her to him. Osezele wondered if it would always be this way, if he would always make her heart race, and her body warm. She smiled thinking back to the first half of the holiday when she’d spoken to him almost every day, sometimes twice a day, and everything had seemed perfect, even though she couldn’t recall a single thing they’d spoken about. Then she’d started training with her uncle, forming a deeper bond with him, strengthening her augur mark. That was when she’d started to feel Nosa’s eyes probing into hers over the phone. The more she spoke to him, the more connected she felt to him, and the harder it was to keep the spotter in him from seeing her new mark, the one mark she was hiding from everyone. She’d stopped answering his calls when it became too hard to keep him from the truth. Even as her heart raced, she had to remind herself to keep her eyes closed, to stop them from linking. The augur in him wouldn’t be able to stop searching for her eyes, even though he didn’t know she had one.
“Hey Nosa.” Binta greeted, smiling flirtatiously at him.
It took Nosa a while to take his eyes off Osezele. “It’s Binta right?” Nosa asked, looking her over. Binta gasped as excited as Osezele was hurt by the fact that Nosa knew her name. Binta nodded, blinking rapidly at him. She smiled widely. It was her best smile, the smile that won the hearts of millions of people watching her movies. Nosa was not immune to it. He smiled back. “It’s time for food.” He said. “You need to go into the refectory.”
Binta giggled. “Okay. See you later Nosa.” She said, before wiggling her fingers at him and walking into the refectory with Oluchi at her heel.
Nosa watched her walk away. Tolani cleared her throat, pulling Nosa’s attention to her. She was frowning at him. He ignored her and turned his focus back to Osezele. He frowned when he saw the hurt look on her face. “What is it?” he asked.
Osezele shrugged. “Nothing. I just didn’t know you knew her name.” she replied truthfully.
“She’s a celebrity now, of course I know her name. Everyone knows her name. Don’t you know her name?” Nosa asked defensively. Osezele just looked away. It felt like a hand was squeezing his heart when Nosa saw the pain in her eyes.
Tolani muttered, “Na so” underneath her breath low enough that he shouldn’t have heard her, and if he was just human, he wouldn’t. But being a wolf, a fact Tolani had momentarily forgotten, he’d heard her clearly. It wasn’t till Nosa turned to Tolani and frowned at her, that she became mindful of her mistake. She refused to apologize. She was too angry with Bimbo, Fatima, Binta and now Nosa, to care if he punished her.
“Isn’t it time for food?” Nosa asked irritated.
Tolani narrowed her eyes at him. “I’m a time keeper.” She replied stubbornly. “It’s my job to stand here.”
Nosa, having been a time keeper the previous year, had intimate knowledge of the role. “It’s your job to stand here till the food prefects come.” He stated. Tolani didn’t move. “Go and lock the doors.” He ordered.
“I’ve already locked them.” Tolani replied.
“Are you narrowing your eyes at me?” Nosa asked. Tolani remained silent, her penetrative glare still fixed on him. “If you’ve finished everything you have to do, then go to your seat.” He ordered. Tolani kept standing on that spot till Nosa took a threatening step towards her. She gave him one last look before turning around and walking into the refectory, leaving Nosa and Osezele alone for the first time in months. Nosa shook his head, returning his attention to Osezele who stood against the door frame, leaning back slightly with her hands crossed in front of her. “When did your friend become so rude?” he asked.
Osezele smiled. “She’s not rude, she’s just protective of me.”
Nosa smiled. He took a step towards her. “Well as long as she’s being disrespectful to protect my princess, then I can’t be angry.” Nosa’s smile grew deeper when he heard Osezele’s sharp intake of air at the mention of the pet name he had for her. He took another step towards her, stifling the urge to chuckle as he heard her heartbeat start to quicken. “You’ve been avoiding me.” he complained.
“No I’ve not.” She responded quickly, looking away when it became too hard to maintain eye contact. But then she looked back just as quickly, realizing it was just as hard to look away from him.
“You stopped picking my calls and you’ve been running away from me every time I try to talk to you. Why? What did I do?” he asked, feeling some relief at finally being able to ask the questions that had been plaguing him.
“No you didn’t do anything.” Osezele was quick to respond. “It’s just...” she searched her mind trying to come up with another plausible reason for her behavior, besides the truth. “You know we’re not allowed to date in school.” Osezele finished lamely.
Nosa leaned in closer to her. “Who wants to date you?” he asked. Osezele’s mouth hung open with shock. She was doubly surprised, first by the fact that she’d actually told Nosa, to his face, that she was thinking of them dating, and second by how quickly Nosa had turned her down. Nosa stood straight then and turned around. “Stop avoiding me princess!” he called out as he walked into the refectory.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 9:41am On Feb 10|
“It’s snowing!” Osezele squealed. She spread her arms out wide, turning around over and over again as white snowflakes fell on her. The flakes continued to fall. She stuck out her tongue desperate to catch a flake and taste it, then giggled when it melted in her mouth. She bent to a squat and scooped up some snow. Then she molded the snow in her hand and threw it at her uncle. He dodged laughing. He bent down, scooped up some snow and hauled it at her. The snowball landed square on her stomach, knocking her down to the floor. She lay flat, spreading out her arms and legs in the snow, then she rolled over to her face and then back, enjoying the feel of the snow against her skin. She couldn’t believe that she was there, playing in snow, enjoying an experience that no one else she knew had experienced. She smiled up at her uncle when he bent over her.
“Had enough of the snow?” he asked.
Osezele sat up. She shook her head vehemently before falling back into the snow. “I’ll never have enough of this.” She giggled, wiping her legs open in the snow.
“Unfortunately, all good things have to come to an end.” He stated.
“Five more minutes, uncle Oare, please.” Osezele pleaded.
He bent to the ground and knelt by her side. He made a funny face before digging his fingers into her side and tickling her. Osezele laughed while she tossed around in the snow. “Thirty seconds.” He said, before letting go of her.
“Okay. Thank you.” Osezele replied. She let her head fall back into the snow. She spent her thirty seconds lying tranquilly and looking up into the sky. It was a beautiful day, the sun was out, the clouds were clear, everything was perfect.
And then it changed.
The snow melted away. Slowly the snow covered ground changed into a ground covered with carpet grass. Osezele groaned, mourning the loss of the snow. As she sat up, a tree grew out of the ground, covering her in its shade.
“I love ebelebo.” Osezele sighed.
“I know.” He responded.
Osezele ran over to him and hugged him, before picking up a stone from the floor and throwing it up, aiming at a low hanging fruit. After three failed attempts, he walked over to her and took the stone from her. He aimed it at the branch and hit it squarely causing the branch to shake but none of the fruits fell off.
“You’re a werewolf. You can just climb the tree now.” Osezele teased. He narrowed his eyes at her, frowning till she realized her mistake. She smiled. “You’re a werewolf. Why can’t you just climb the tree?” she asked.
Oare smiled approvingly. “We’re in a bond, in our minds. Out in the world, I’m a werewolf and you’re a witch and commune. In here, we’re unmarked, just two augurs, two ordinary people.” He explained before throwing the rock up again. This time, when the rock hit the branch, two ripe yellow ebelebo fruits fell down. Osezele ran over and picked up the fruits. She brought them back and offered them up to him. He shook his head. “They’re for you.”
“Thank you.” Osezele said before biting into the first fruit. “Mmm.” She sighed, “this is delicious. Thank you uncle.”
“It’s a reward.” He said. “Your diction is getting better, a lot better than when we first met.” He praised. “Must be all those books and movies.”
“And Tolani.” Osezele teased.
He laughed, bending to a squat and then seating on the grass. He pat the grass next to him. Osezele walked over and sat beside him. “Now tell me what’s new with you.” He said.
Osezele chewed and swallowed the pieces of fruit in her mouth before responding. “I haven’t been sleeping well. I have a new bunkie…” she stopped to correct herself, “bunkmate, a JSS1 girl that just started in our school. She’s an augur and she’s been having some really bad dreams. The nightmares wake me up and I have to calm her down.”
He churned the words over in his head. “Is her mark hidden?” he asked.
Osezele shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t think she knows about it though.”
“How do you calm her down?” he asked.
Osezele opened her mouth. “You won’t believe it. I don’t even know if I believe it.” as she spoke the excitement was obvious in her voice. “But Ngozi thinks that I actually took away the girl’s memory and that’s how she calmed down and went back to sleep. She said I bonded with her, healed her and wiped her memory, without even knowing I was doing it.” Osezele giggled. “Isn’t that funny?”
“No, not really.” He stated flatly. “Why would Ngozi think that you bonded with her?”
Osezele pressed her lips together and moved them to the left and then the right. She could tell that her uncle wasn’t happy with her. “Because she knows I’m an augur.” Osezele confessed.
He exhaled. “I thought we talked about this.”
“I know.” She said, her head bent and her eyes fixed on the floor. “I’m sorry. It wasn’t my fault. I let my guard down for a moment as soon as I was awake. I was trying to calm Seyi, and I must have gone into my mark. Ngozi was awake and she linked with me.”
He breathed in. Sensing the amount of distress she was in, he put his hand around her and pulled her into a hug. “It’s okay. You just have to be more careful.”
“I will.” Osezele promised.
He decided to change the topic. “What about Nosa? How’s he doing?”
Osezele frowned not making any attempt to hide her sorrow. “I think he likes someone else. And according to her, he’s a ten and I’m a two.”
Oare burst out laughing. “I promise, you are the prettiest fourteen year old girl I’ve ever seen. You are definitely not a two.” He watched her shoulders move slightly in a clear sign of her disbelief. He chuckled. “Do you really think that little of yourself?” he asked.
“I used to.” She replied. “And then I didn’t. Now I don’t know what to think anymore.” She sat quietly for a while thinking about the merits of asking before she did. “Have you seen Binta Gambari?” she asked.
“Are you telling me that Binta goes to your school?” he asked. Osezele nodded. Oare whistled loudly before chuckling. “Okay. Maybe, on looks alone, Binta would be a ten. But when you add her personality to that, it knocks her down to a five.” He teased. Then he moved towards her so that their shoulders bumped slightly. “You have the looks and personality of a ten, which would make you a twenty.”
Osezele laughed. “How do you know Binta?” she asked.
Oare sighed. “That is actually a great question.” He stood up. “It leads me to our lesson for today.” As he spoke, the grass disappeared shrinking back into the ground. In its place came a hard concrete floor. A flat rectangular wooden surface appeared underneath Osezele. That wooden surface began to rise in the air till Osezele was seated on a bench with a desk appearing in front of her. When she looked up, her uncle Oare was standing in front of a chalkboard.
“Today, you’re going to learn about the prowl.” He announced making a funny face as he said the word.
“As in hunt, chase?” Osezele asked.
Oare nodded. “They hunt the hunters, chase the chasers, and prey on predators.” He responded to her question with a touch of humor. Osezele couldn’t help laughing. Oare chuckled lightly before turning around and writing MDF on the board. “What does this stand for?” he asked her.
“The Marked Defensive Forces.” She replied.
“Good.” he nodded. “Now, every community has its own body of MDF soldiers. The MDF are a single security unit. Where the unmarked would have naval forces, air forces, military, detectives, police, the marked have a single unit called the MDF. Now the prowl, is a special subset of the MDF that only exists in major communities around the world. In Nigeria, there’s only one. The prowl consists solely of spotters, which are…”
Osezele rolled her eyes at how simple the question was. Spotters were the first bi-marked variations she’d learned of, because Nosa was a spotter. “Bi-marked werewolves and augurs.”
“Like myself.” He said, pointing at his chest and smiling. “They are the only werewolves legally allowed to be outside the community. They only exist to capture people living outside the community with hidden marks that are considered dangerous. Their motto is, by any means necessary. Which means that they kidnap, torture, and kill marked and unmarked that get in their way. Once they are given a target, they don’t stop until the target is brought into the community. Anyone that gets in their way gets destroyed. Needless to say, people don’t get in their way.” Osezele swallowed nervously. Oare could see the question in her eyes. He nodded. “If the council finds out that you exist before you’re willing to turn yourself in, they’ll send the prowl after you. Once you’re a target, the end is certain.”
“I don’t want the prowl to come after me uncle.” She pleaded desperately.
Oare sighed. “I’m sorry, but with your mark, it’s only a matter of time before people find out. The only way to keep the prowl from tearing through everything you care about is to turn yourself into the community.”
“I understand.” Osezele promised.
Oare shook his head. “No, you don’t. How could you?” Oare walked over to her and sat on the desk. His eyes became misty. “Four months ago we were given a name. Ebo. I led the unit, ten soldiers, they were the prowl, I was the MDF officer sent to make sure no rules were broken. The scent of a commune is distinct. The scent of a commune with that much blood on his hands, even more so. We found the camp he lived in. It was a village in the middle of Ugbekun with ten to twenty mud houses. There were about a hundred people living there, children included. We spent a day hiding in the bushes, watching the people, observing them. It was obvious early on, that the majority of them were unmarked. So we sent a few soldiers in, dressed as the people we were watching. They just had to find out one thing, did these unmarked people know that they were hiding someone who was marked. Of course they knew. They worshipped the communes like gods. And so we burnt the place down. We didn’t just burn down the houses, we burnt everything in a five mile radius. We only arrested the marked, only took them back with us, but the unmarked, we burned everything they owned, their clothes, their houses. We had the right to do more. We could have beaten them. We could have arrested them. We could have branded them so that anyone who looks at them would know that they hid a marked person. When you hide someone whose marked, and you don’t report them immediately to the community, you’re not just responsible for everyone they hurt while they’re with you, but everyone they’ve ever hurt and everyone they’ll hurt in the future. And people with hidden marks that don’t know how to control what they have, tend to hurt others. There was a girl, a twelve year old shifter, who had her first transformation in the middle of a ten year old’s birthday party. She screamed all the way through her transformation, and after she’d shifted into a lion, she proceeded to kill every single person in that party. That’s why the prowl is trained to be vicious, taught to scourge, to mark the earth and leave signs of their presence. They are to be feared, and to be feared they must be frightening.”
“Why didn’t you take us in then?” Osezele asked, playing with her fingers as she spoke. “When you freed us from Ebo, why did you let us go?”
“Because you’re you Osezele, and you can’t go until you’re ready. You weren’t ready.” Oare replied cryptically.
“What if I’m never ready?” Osezele asked.
“Destiny comes for all of us.” He replied. “When it’s your time, you’ll be ready.”
“But what if I’m not?” she insisted.
“You will be.” He promised.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 9:47am On Feb 10|
The Community, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria
The little girl sat on the log with her legs crossed in front of her and her arms folded as she watched the woman dancing in the stream. As the woman moved, the water seemed to move with her, swaying with each step she took. She stood still then and drops of water rose in the air, forming a circle around the woman. The droplets remained suspended in the air around her. Then the woman lifted up her head and the droplets dropped back into the water. The woman turned around then, swirling in the water over and over and over again. As she did the water began to swirl too. The faster the woman turned, the lower the water level became until there was no more water in the stream. The little girl’s mouth and eyes opened wide. The woman stopped. She spread her legs apart and as she did a crack formed underneath her, causing the earth to divide into two parts. The crack continued to grow and spread till the woman drew her legs back together and the crack rescinded going back in the direction it had started till there was no fault to begin with. Then the woman began to turn again, this time moving in the opposite direction from the direction she’d turned in earlier. As she moved, water seemed to come out of the ground, swirling to fill up the empty stream.
“What are you watching?” A voice whispered into the little girl’s ears.
She turned around then, smiling when she saw it was her mother. Her mom sat on the log next to her. The little girl pointed at the woman in the stream. “I’m watching Uhonmon.” The girl replied.
Laughing, the mother pulled her daughter closer to her side. “That’s not Uhonmon. If she was Uhonmon, you wouldn’t be allowed to watch her. She’s Obo, one of the hands, not yet a head.” She corrected.
“What am I?” the girl asked.
“You are Ikpianwe.” The woman teased, hugging her daughter even closer to her side. “A toe.”
The little girl kept watching the woman who was still dancing in the stream. This time, spouts of water rose in the air, creating a waterfall around her. “What is she doing mummy?” the girl asked.
“She’s talking to the elements. She’s an elemental, the most powerful type of witch.” The mother explained.
“I thought scripts are more powerful.” The little girl replied.
The mother shook her head. “Scripts are more respected. They have the power to make spells, to write grimoires, so they set the boundaries for witch magic. But the elementals control the elements. They can control the waters, the earth beneath us, the air around us and the fire that keeps us warm.”
“And they can speak to them?” the little girl asked.
“Of course.” The mother replied. “That is the most important of their powers, to talk to the elements, to listen to what they have to say. When the elements are happy, when nature is in balance we see many elemental witches. But when nature is out of balance we don’t see elemental witches, which is a sign that the elements do not want to speak to us.”
“Oh!” the girl exclaimed. “I wish I was an elemental. I would love to know what water sounds like.”
The little girl’s mother kissed her on her head. “You’re an augur, my dear, you’re just as special.”
“All I do is dream.” The girl whined, crossing her arms in front of her. “I can’t talk to fire.”
The mother laughed, rocking her daughter in her arms as she moved from left to right. She held on tight to the girl whispering praises and making sure she knew just how important the gift of augury was. They sat together in embrace, mother and daughter, laughing and enjoying each other’s company, when the air in front of them began to swirl. Out of the swirling air came two round objects. The little girl stretched out her hand to catch the falling objects. The mother gasped. In the girl’s hand were two golden flat disks, bearing a resemblance to coins.
“What is this mummy?” the girl asked.
“It’s a totem.” She replied.
“A totem?” the girl asked.
“Turn it over.” The woman suggested. The little girl turned over the coin and on the other side there were four symbols painted on each pole of the coin. On the top was a wave painted blue, the bottom was a silver rock, to the left was a white whirlwind, and to the right a red flame. The girl ran her fingers over the paintings of the elements, not able to grasp the gift she’d been given.
Hurriedly, the woman grabbed onto her daughter’s hand and pulled her towards the elemental witch that had been dancing in the stream. As they walked towards her, the mother said, “You remember how you were taught to say thank you?” she asked. The little girl nodded. They stopped when they got to the stream. The woman had come out of the stream and was changing out of her wet clothes behind a mat being held up by servants. “You have to thank her properly.” The mother warned. The little girl nodded, excited to be meeting someone as important as an Obo.
When the woman came out from behind the makeshift screen, she was dressed in a long seamless red velvet dress. She had beads in her hair, around her wrist and on her ankle. Four women walked with her, two in front and two behind her. She stopped when she was standing in front of the woman and her child. “Do you like your gift Odion?” she asked.
The little girl nodded. She stared up in awe at the woman, only remembering to thank her when her mother poked her in the shoulder. The little girl hastily dropped to her knees in front of the woman and said, “Thank you Obo.”
“Thank you.” The mother added, curtsying with her head bowed.
The elemental witch smiled at the mother before returning her focus to the girl. She placed her thumb on the girl’s right earlobe and moved her hand over the rim of the ear, from the top to the bottom, saying, “may the elements never forget your name.” As soon as she was done, she held onto the girl’s arms and pulled her up to her feet. “Now I’ve touched you and you have the totem of the elements, so you can hear the voice of the water, and talk to the flames in the fire.” After saying that, the witch patted the girl’s arm and walked away with all her servants and her guards.
The little girl was so excited she jumped up and down, holding the coins close to her heart. “Mummy, I can’t wait to hear what water sounds like. Do you think Akhere will like her totem?”
Tears welled up in the mother’s eyes. She nodded. “I think Akhere will love it.” she said.
“Mummy, who is that?” The little girl asked, her focus drawn to the teenage boy who’d just walked into their line of sight.
“His name is Isokun. He is the second bi-marked warlock to ever exist in Nigeria. He’s a commune and an augur.” The woman spoke with pride as she watched him walk into the tunnel, disappearing from sight. “It’s time to go home.” She said.
The little girl slipped her hand into her mother’s. “Okay. I can’t wait to show Akhere her totem.”
This time when Odion woke up from her dream, it was with a smile on her face. Now she knew for sure that the little girl she’d seen was her. Just as sure as she was that these dreams she’d been having were memories, memories they’d feared extinct, memories she and Akhere – her twin sister, the mother of her niece Osezele – hadn’t dared hope to ever get back. She got up from her bed languidly even as she wondered what these memories meant and why they were coming back now. She couldn’t help wishing they were gifts from the elements she’d seen in her dream, even as she feared they were harbingers of doom.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by Dranoid: 4:45pm On Feb 10|
I'll feel ungrateful if I don't comment.
OP this is a very wonderful story
although I don't know when to expect updates but that aside more ink to your pen, more data to your smartphone, more sense to your brain
I'm quiet here so I don't know anybody that I can call, if not.........
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by ztarlord(m): 9:21pm On Feb 10|
never read a story like this''''::::this is awesome ride onnnnππ
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 3:53pm On Feb 11|
@Dranoid and ztarlord
Thanks so much for the comments!!! I can't tell you how flattered I am that there are actually people reading this and liking it. So THANK YOU so so so so much!
I'm sorry I can't make the posts more regular. I try to post a new chapter every week on Saturday mornings, though I'm not very consistent with the exact time of the post. I'm a student and I'm writing this book while posting, so I need the week to prepare the chapters.
Anyway, please continue reading!!! And feel free to interrupt whenever (especially if anything doesn't make sense)
Again thanks so much, I'm really happy that you're enjoying it!!!
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by ztarlord(m): 10:15pm On Feb 14|
no yawa boss we dey here for u
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 6:37am On Feb 17|
St. Luke’s Mixed Boarding School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria
At times Nosa wondered what his life would be like if he wasn’t marked. Would he still have ended up here, in St. Luke’s, walking the concrete floors and policing the classrooms? Maybe he would have been somewhere else, perhaps still in that day school. There were times when all he’d wanted was to be normal. He could still remember the sleepless nights he’d spent, clinging to his pillow and fighting off transformations. He’d never told anyone about them, about the year he’d spent telling his body no, fighting against its natural urge to turn. There’d been a mirror in his room, a mirror he’d taken off the walls and set up next to his bed so that he could see the telltale change in the color of his eyes and prepare for the battle that followed. He was ten years old when he started feeling the signs of his wolf mark, ten when he taught himself how to suppress it. It all changed when his augur mark came out and he’d had that vision, the one of him wearing a red checkered shirt and running along the stone slabs of St. Luke’s. He hadn’t known why, all he’d known was that he belonged here, behind the tall gates of St. Luke’s.
The loud discordant sounds coming from classes in the school block pulled Nosa out of his trip down memory lane. He sighed, amazed by how little time had elapsed since he’d been the student in the classroom just trying to have fun before the start of prep. Now he was in Emeka’s shoes, and it was his job to enforce silence. Nosa climbed up the stairs, taking them two at a time as he walked towards the offending classes. As soon as he was spotted, the students in those classes began to quiet down, all except for one classroom. Nosa lifted his head to study the wooden sign, nailed to the wall above the wooden frame of the class door. It read SS1B. Chuckling, he took a step into the class and yelled, “Keep quiet!” His words were met with a period of initial shock were the occupants of the classroom froze in place staring aghast at him. Then there was a period of complete chaos were the students who’d been standing ran to their seats and the ones who’d been talking yelled, “Shhh, it’s Nosa.” Almost as if to drive suspicion of their noise making away from them. Then the class was quiet, so quiet you could hear the proverbial pin drop.
Satisfied with the silence, Nosa was just about to turn around and leave when he spotted Tolani seated alone on the other side of the room. He smiled, walking into the classroom. “It’s the first week of school and you people are already getting a bad reputation.” He chided as he walked towards Tolani. “Better be careful, once you’re known as the noise makers, we won’t bother telling you to shut up, we’ll just punish you.” He stopped in front of Tolani’s desk and placed a hand on her table. Leaning forward, he lowered his voice to ask, “Where’s my princess?”
Tolani stifled the urge to roll her eyes at his corniness. “She went to drink water.” She responded.
Nosa smiled as a perfect plan began to form in his head. He took his hand off the table and turned around heading in the direction of the door which was right in front of Tolani’s desk. He stopped before going through the open door to turn around and frown at Tolani. “Next time, do a better job of keeping your class quiet.” He advised, assuming that, like the previous years, she was the class prefect.
Tolani was quick to correct him. “I’m not the class prefect.” She said.
“Who is?” he asked.
Tolani smiled. “Your princess.” She replied.
Nosa threw his head back and laughed. His laughter caused a number of students in the class to laugh as well, laughter which became the gateway to gossiping. Nosa stopped laughing. “I’m still standing here.” He announced dryly. The class became quiet again. “You are all lucky that Osezele is in this class.” He teased. That set off another round of laughter. “Shut up.” He said trying his best to sound stern but failing miserably. Still, the words, coming from him, were enough to scare the students back to silence. Nosa turned around then and walked out of the class.
Beaming, Nosa walked down the corridor, to the stairs and down the stairs. He jumped down from the platform and onto the grass. That was when he saw her, standing by the tap, bent over slightly as she filled her water bottle. He bit his lip. A voice in his head told him to turn around. It was time for prep and he had a job to do; he had to make sure that the school was quiet and the students were studying. Besides, she’d stopped answering his calls, avoided him, ran away from him, it was obvious that she didn’t want to see him. Even as he reminded himself of all this, of all the reasons why he should turn around and continue his patrol of the school block, he walked determinedly towards her. He just couldn’t leave her alone.
Nosa bent and whispered into her ear. “Hello princess.”
Osezele jumped around, startled by the unexpected voice in her ear. In her shock, the bottle she’d been holding slipped from her hand. Nosa caught it without breaking eye contact. He smiled at her. Osezele grabbed the bottle from his hand and held it close to her chest as if it were a shield protecting her heart. A heart that Nosa could hear pounding like a drum.
“It’s time for prep.” Osezele whispered nervously. She couldn’t believe that she hadn’t seen him. If only he wasn’t so good at sneaking up on her, she’d have seen him coming and run away before he caught up with her. She tried to step around him then, but he blocked her path.
“I want to talk to you.” He said.
Osezele nodded. “Okay. Another time, but it’s time for prep now.” She took a quick step to the left to swerve around him, but he was faster. He blocked her path again. Osezele took a step back then, away from him. “Please Nosa.”
Nosa exhaled. He stepped aside. “I just wanted to talk to you.” He said, his voice low with defeat and his eyes cast down in surrender. “But if you don’t want to talk to me, it’s okay.”
As a commune, Osezele could feel the pain in Nosa’s words. For a second, her eyes turned red absorbing that pain, the commune in her desperate to feed off it. But it only lasted a second because Osezele had suppressed that part of her. She placed her hand on his arm in an instinctive effort to comfort him. “Of course I want to talk to you.” She said.
Nosa was smiling again. The change in him happened so suddenly, Osezele wondered if the sorrow she’d heard in his voice had only existed in her mind. With his right hand, he took the hand she’d placed on his arm and led her away from the prying eyes behind them. Osezele gasped as soon as Nosa’s hand touched hers. They’d both felt it, that feeling like a bolt of electricity was coursing through their veins. Osezele had never been as nervous or as excited as she was in that moment when Nosa’s fingers laced through hers. Silently, they walked together to the other side of the school block, behind the junior students’ laboratories, holding hands and smiling. They stopped when they got to the edge of the platform and sat on it. Neither one of them spoke as they looked out over the empty tilled soil and the stone fence marking the border of St. Luke’s property. Osezele never wanted that moment to end, she never wanted him to let go of her hand. Which of course was when he did.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 6:38am On Feb 17|
“So what’s new with you?” Nosa asked casually.
Osezele laughed. She unconsciously bit on her lower lip before shrugging. She’d spoken so many times to him over the phone and they’d been alone then, so she couldn’t figure out why this time felt so different. It felt like the air around her was charged and at any moment it could burst into flames. Her throat was dry, and she was starting to feel an uncomfortable twisting in the bottom of her stomach. She couldn’t help wondering if Nosa felt the same way, but then she decided that he didn’t. He couldn’t feel what she felt and sit there calm and relaxed, all Nosa-like.
“So, we’ve gone from the you avoiding me phase, to you not talking to me?” Nosa teased.
Osezele shook her head. “I don’t know why you want to talk to me.” she stated.
“Why wouldn’t I want to talk to you?” Nosa asked.
Osezele shrugged. “You said you didn’t want to date me na.” she replied without thinking. As soon as she’d said the words, Osezele prayed for the ground to open up and swallow her. She couldn’t understand why she kept blurting out how much she liked him.
“I never said that.” Nosa responded.
Osezele turned around then, her eyes narrowing at him as she said, “Yes you did.”
Nosa narrowed his eyes back in a mock imitation of hers. “No I didn’t.” he stated.
“Yes you did.” She insisted.
Nosa shook his head. “When?” he asked.
“In the refectory!” Osezele’s voice rose slightly. She couldn’t believe that he’d forgotten the single conversation that had been plaguing her mind for the last two days.
“Oh.” Nosa replied. Whatever response or explanation he’d been about to give was frozen in his throat as his eyes met Osezele’s. They both sat still, staring at each other, each lost in the other’s eyes.
Osezele looked into Nosa’s eyes, pulled in by the lines in his iris. The more she looked at him, the more she wanted to look, till she was being pulled deeper and deeper into his head. One moment, she’d been in her school and looking into the eyes of the boy she liked, the next she was in an empty room, crouched in front of an animal. She found herself petting it, running her hands through its black and white fur and laughing because doing so brought her so much joy. Then the animal turned around so she was looking at its face. It seemed like the most natural thing to do when she bent her head closer towards the animal’s snout and rubbed her nose against its nose. The wolf growled then. It wasn’t a scary growl, it was friendly, welcoming. She looked up into the wolf’s closed eyes and felt a desperate need to coax the wolf to look, to see her, to link with her.
That was when she recognized it. Osezele jumped to her feet, took a step back and turned around. She felt the wolf coming towards her and she closed her eyes. The wolf howled. She could feel its fur against her leg as it moved in front of her. Then she was on the floor, her back landing against a hard surface. She reminded herself to breathe, she couldn’t open her eyes, couldn’t link with him. Not even when she felt him howl louder and climb on top of her. She felt its paw on her body, and its nose sniffing against her face. It wasn’t till she felt the sharp sting of a fang against her throat that she yelled “No!”
Osezele blinked rapidly, realizing that she was out of it, back in St. Luke’s with Nosa sitting in front of her, a confused frown plastered on his face. “What was that?” he asked.
Osezele shook her head. “I don’t know.” She lied.
Nosa stood up. “I can hear your heartbeat!” he snapped. “I know you’re lying to me.”
Osezele sniffed. “I’m not…”
“Stop lying!” he yelled.
Osezele’s lips drew back together. He was right she was lying to him, but she couldn’t tell him why. She was still stunned by how close she’d gotten to linking with him, how close she’d gotten to him seeing her marks and being in danger. This was why she’d avoided him, she couldn’t stay focused around him, he got past her defenses without trying.
“Why can’t I smell you?” he asked. Nosa had been dying to ask that question since resumption day, when she’d been so close and he hadn’t caught her scent. Even now she was sitting right in front of him and he couldn’t smell her. She used to give off a scent, like a calmly burning ocean. Now he couldn’t smell her. He closed his eyes concentrating as he went into his augur mark. He searched and found nothing, when before he would have seen flames, the red rebellious flames of a commune and the calming blue flames of a witch. He sighed when he came out of the mark, angry at her, without knowing why. “Why can’t I smell you?” he demanded. “Why can’t I see you?”
“You can’t see me sitting here?” Osezele teased.
Nosa wasn’t in the mood. “Your mark.” He snapped. “You used to smell like the ocean. Like the sea being locked in a bottle and set on fire without burning or killing the flame. I used to be able to smell you all the way from my class. Now I’m standing right in front of you, and I can’t smell anything.”
“Maybe your nose is blocked.” Osezele whispered.
Nosa felt an overwhelming urge to throttle her. He knew then that she not only knew that he was right, but also why it was happening. “It’s not only me. I asked Chiamaka, one of the augurs, to find you but she couldn’t see your mark. Are you going to say her eyes are blocked?” he yelled.
Osezele shrunk back, away from him. She made her hands into fists and dug her nails into her palms to keep from absorbing the anger, fear and pain radiating off him. “I am the sea, I am the storm, I am the fire, the flame that burns.” Osezele muttered the words underneath her breath. “The fire is free and so is the sea, both live in me,” Osezele exhaled feeling the mantra work. “both let me be.” She concluded, glad then more than ever that uncle Oare had taught her to suppress her commune mark. He hadn’t wanted to, but he’d given in, in the end. When Osezele was calm enough to ignore the emotions she could feel in the air around her, she called out to Nosa glad that he’d been too angry to use his werewolf hearing. She patted the spot on the platform next to where she was seated and, after breathing in deeply, he sat.
“Remember when Ebo kidnapped us and you were trying to protect me?” she asked him. Nosa nodded, already starting to calm at Osezele’s reference to that terrible period. “I can’t tell you everything, but it’s not because I don’t want to, it’s because I’m trying to protect you.”
Nosa shook his head. “It’s my job to protect you.” He protested.
Osezele smiled. “Last time you did the protecting, this time it’s my turn.” she said. “Next time it will be your turn again.” She added the last part jokingly.
Nosa chuckled. He exhaled, and as the air left his lungs, so did his anger with her. “You’re the only one that can make me that angry.”
“Not even Binta?” Osezele teased.
“Who’s Binta?” Nosa asked, feigning ignorance.
Osezele giggled. This time, when she felt the urge to look at him and gaze into those alluring eyes, she resisted it.
Oloibiri, Bayelsa State, Nigeria
Joe looked at the money in the briefcase on the table in front of him. They’d made six hundred thousand naira on the side, from letting three arrogant idiots live. They paid two hundred each. In all, the family would be taking over a million naira back with them to Port Harcourt. That should buy him an extra month or two in his search for Emeka, without having to send any of the younger ones to bed hungry. When it came down to it though, he’d always choose finding his heir over the inconsequential lives of the sage children. He scoffed just thinking of it. One of his own sons was a sage, an abacus, crunching up useless data in his head and playing with numbers. As far as he was concerned, all the sages were dead wood, just more mouths to feed. He’d kill them all with his own bare hands if it meant getting Emeka back.
M walked into the room. She smiled as soon as she got close to Joe. He’d been having the upper hand in their conversations of late. Too smart to let his emotions out, he’d buried them whenever she was close, but this time he’d forgotten. M breathed in the angst coming off him. She’d been looked down on as a child in the family, being the kind of commune that she was. Most of the communes got their power from pain or fear. She was the only who was fueled by anxiety, by worry. The others had thought that would make her weak, but it was their worries that made her strong enough to kill the entire leadership and become grand warlock. She manipulated the situation, made them worry about their futures, their families, their safety and she fed off it all. Just as she now fed off Joe’s anxiety. When she stopped in front of him, her eyes burned a bright red. She smiled.
Joe swallowed nervously. “What do you want M?” he asked, more courteously than he’d spoken to her in a very long time.
M set the briefcase on fire. She knew it was petty and shortsighted, but Joe had been insulting and undermining her for so long, she couldn’t resist it. Joe gasped as he watched his money go up in flames. It was his personal cut from the job they’d just done. As he watched, he worried about what the loss would mean for his search. The more he worried, the more powerful M became.
“Just tell me what you want M?” Joe demanded. He wondered if she meant to fight him for sole leadership of the family. He knew that all he had to do was turn into his wolf form and she wouldn’t be able to touch him. Warlock magic was useless against a wolf. He didn’t turn though, he was too worried about the optics. He couldn’t look weak, not when Emeka was still at large.
“I want Oshoke brought back alive.” M demanded. “Not just Emeka.” Joe nodded, lifting his hands up in surrender when M took a step towards him. “And I want you to give the nod to your agent in St. Luke’s. It begins tonight!” she yelled. Joe’s hands dropped slowly to his side as he smiled happy to see that on that point he and M were on the same page.
“It begins tonight.” Joe agreed.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by Dranoid: 10:20pm On Feb 17|
Update has landed
And each and every update never fails to disappoint
A wonderful piece, obehiD please keep up the good work
Ztarlord where are you , update haff land ooo
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 8:29am On Feb 24|
St. Luke’s Mixed Boarding School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria
There was a careless innocence in their laughter. The students sat scattered around the room, some seated on the benches their heads pressed together with their friends as they gossiped about the girl that almost fell and the boy that couldn’t look away. Others sat on the desk playing hand games, enjoying the few moments they had free of the school’s discipline. They were the new students in school, JSS1 students just returned from their first ever school-wide exercise. So, as they sat in their room in the refectory, scattered unevenly across the rows of long tables and benches, they dwelt on what it meant to be secondary school students. For most of them it was their first time away from home, first time away from the well-meaning but often stifling protection of their parents, first time being in charge of their own care, and they were loving every moment of it. Of course, this had only been their first week in school, the week often termed ‘week of grace’ during which they were allowed to break the school rules with impunity. So they laughed and played and didn’t have a care in the world.
That was how Osezele found them, restless and unworried, a rare sight in St. Luke’s. She stood by the open door, which connected that room to the middle of the refectory, and watched. A careless gasp from a girl in a yellow shirt and shorts made her giggle. And she couldn’t help snickering, when a blue house boy in blue sports clothes accidentally slapped the back of his own head after trying to hit someone else.
“Senior Osezele!” A high-pitched voice called out from the back of the room.
Two young girls came bolting down the space between the rows of seats and flying into Osezele’s open arms. She wrapped her arms around the both of them, accepting the hug.
“I told you not to call me senior anymore.” Osezele gently chided.
Seyi muttered apologies to her bunkie while holding on tightly to her. With her arms still wrapped around both girls, Osezele lifted her head back up, looking into the room. The carelessness was gone. The students were now aware of her presence, not Osezele the SS1 girl, but Osezele the food prefect. They watched her, some with awe filled gazes, others with fear, wondering what she’d do about the state of chaos she’d walked into. Seyi and Moji both loosened their grip on her, they inclined their heads then, joining their classmates in watching and waiting for her response. Osezele pat their heads playfully before shifting her attention to the rest of the room and smiling. That smile was the only permission the students needed to resume their play. Osezele lifted her hands as the two young girls who’d been clinging to her, let go and returned to their seats to gossip with new friends.
“Shut up and settle down. It’s time for food!” A shrill voice snapped.
Osezele turned around, not surprised to find Oluchi standing behind her. She fought the urge to roll her eyes.
“Our job is to keep the refectory quiet. So why don’t you do your job instead of standing there like zombie.” Oluchi spat the words out trying to inflict as much damage as she could before walking away.
Osezele watched Oluchi walk away and then she took her attention back towards the room of JSS1 students who were now seated in their tables with their heads bent down. She smiled sadly at them, mourning the loss of that carefree moment.
There was a tightening in her chest. She tried to shake it off, but she found herself sniffing back tears. Deep down, she knew it shouldn’t be this way. She was a senior student now, a school prefect, she wasn’t supposed to allow her own classmate belittle her, especially not in front of her juniors. But she couldn’t summon the will to be as caustic to Oluchi as she constantly was to her. She’d thought that by being a school prefect, her designation as ‘class mute’ would automatically go away and she’d be respected, but she was starting to learn that it wasn’t that easy.
Her eyes began to burn.
Osezele closed her eyes as soon as she felt the heat, the telltale sign of her commune mark coming out. She took a deep breath. ‘I am the sea, I am the storm.’ She said the words in her head, smiling when she began to feel their calming powers. She opened her eyes then, just in time to see Ngozi smiling at her from the other side of the room. She smiled back.
As Ngozi walked towards her, Osezele kept her smile frozen on her face, though it was obvious from the look on Ngozi’s face that she wasn’t fooled. Ngozi stopped in front of her. Osezele looked into Ngozi’s eyes, trying her best to convey the sincerity of her smile through that look. The frown on Ngozi’s face deepened.
It all changed in an instant.
Osezele hadn’t noticed the change in Ngozi’s eyes, hadn’t seen her iris and pupil clear, leaving behind a white orb. By the time she noticed something was wrong, she was already bonded with Ngozi. Ngozi, having way more experience as an augur than she did, controlled the bond. She joined her mind with Osezele’s breaking through the barriers Osezele had up defending her memories and forging on. She went back in time in Osezele’s head, back to her memory of the previous evening. Ngozi watched Osezele sitting on her bunkie’s bed and calming the girl back to sleep. She sped through the memory watching as Osezele sat on her bunkie’s bed all through the night, calming the girl who seemed to be having one nightmare after the other. Ngozi controlled Osezele’s flow of memory, speeding through the morning she’d spent jogging with her hostel girls through the school grounds and then talking with Tolani after the run was over. She kept going until she got to when Osezele walked into the refectory and stumbled upon the JSS1 students. She watched the confrontation Osezele had with Oluchi and saw how close she’d gotten to exposing her mark. Then she left.
Osezele exhaled as soon as Ngozi was out of her head. She felt invaded. It was that anger that brought down her guard enough to ask, “Why didn’t you just ask me what happened?” She couldn’t hide the hurt and accusation in her tone.
Ngozi shrugged. “You’ve gotten too used to lying.” She replied without apologizing. “Go to all the rooms and tell them to go and get their food.” Ngozi ordered. She turned around then and walked away.
Osezele followed her. “Including SS1?” she asked nervously.
Ngozi stopped. “All the classes.” She repeated, turning back around and facing Osezele. “That means, JSS1,2,3 and SS1,2, and 3.”
“SS2 and 3?” Osezele gasped.
“I know you’re not deaf.” Ngozi responded before turning around and continuing her walk.
Osezele ran in front of Ngozi, emboldened by her fear of the task she’d been asked to perform. “Did I do something wrong?” she asked.
“It’s not a punishment.” Ngozi stated. “Think of it as a lesson in assertiveness.” She smiled at her and started walking again.
“Ngozi please I can’t do it.” Osezele begged, running after Ngozi out of the refectory and into the pathway leading to the kitchen, where the cooks were currently scooping tablespoons of ground bean batter into hot pots of oil.
Ngozi stopped walking and turned around. She sighed. “Why didn’t you tell the JSS1 students to keep quiet when you walked into the refectory?”
“They’d just rang the bell. I didn’t think they should be punished because I came early.” She replied.
Ngozi nodded. “And you were scared.” She stated matter-of-factly. Osezele shook her head ready to deny when Ngozi chimed in a sing-song voice, “don’t lie to me.” she got more serious when Osezele stopped shaking her head. “I was in your head. A part of you enjoyed watching them, but deep down, you didn’t say anything because you were scared that they would ignore you. That they didn’t respect you enough to obey you.” Ngozi rose her eyebrows as if to ask, ‘am I lying?’ and Osezele looked away guiltily. “No one is going to respect you, if you don’t respect yourself. Now will you please go and do what I asked you to do?” she asked. Osezele reluctantly nodded.
Walking the distance between the kitchen pathway, where she’d spoken with Ngozi, and the SS3 classrooms was like walking to a guillotine. Osezele’s heart pounded with each step she took. She tried to talk herself out of the fear threatening to paralyze her. All she had to do was go in front of a room full of students two years her senior and tell them to go and get their food from the kitchen. She knew it wasn’t that hard of a task, except for the fact that they were her seniors and she had to give them an order. Her palms were sweaty. She rubbed those sweaty palms against her green sport shorts, and took a deep breath. Then she walked into the room reserved for SS3 students and stopped, standing by the door. The longer she stood there, watching the students talking amongst themselves, the more afraid she became of interrupting them. She thought about what would happen if they got angry, worrying about getting yelled at, or insulted, or worse, punished. Even as she thought that, she knew that Ngozi wouldn’t let it happen. As uncomfortable as she was with the tough love, deep down Osezele knew that Ngozi would look out for her. It was by thinking of all the worst case scenarios, and realizing that she could survive them all, that Osezele summoned the courage she needed to do her job.
“Please excuse me. The food is ready, please go and collect your pots from the kitchen.” She muttered.
“What did that one say?” A sharp voice called out from the back of the room.
For a second, Osezele’s heart sped up like she was about to get hit by a train, and then she saw the person that had spoken. At this point, she was so used to Lami’s taunts that the comment, coming from her, calmed Osezele down. She smiled at Lami.
“Why are you talking under your breath? Speak up let somebody hear you joh.” Lami shouted. The words were harsh, but coming from Lami they felt like a greeting. Osezele giggled looking down. When she looked back up and really looked into the faces of the students she’d been so scared of, she realized that there wasn’t anger on those faces, but curiosity, and hunger.
Her voice was more confident and a lot louder when she said. “Food is ready, please go and collect your pots from the kitchen.” She smiled at Lami.
“Why are you smiling impishly at me? Shout! I want them to hear you in my grandfather’s village.” Lami said, causing laughter from her classmates.
Osezele laughed as well. She exhaled before announcing again. “Food is ready! Please go and collect your pots from the kitchen!”
Lami hissed. “Do you know where my grandfather’s village is? They didn’t even hear you in the next room.”
Osezele was just about to make the announcement yet another time when a voice from behind her said, “Lami respect yourself.” To the room and to her, “move on to the other classes.”
Osezele nodded and turned around. “Ngozi, thank you.” She said, surprising herself by how much she meant it.
After making the announcement to the SS3 students, Osezele found it very easy to repeat the message for the other classes. She’d had to add an extra warning for only one person from each table to leave, when she’d shared the message to the JSS1 students. She realized then that the only thing she needed to do to make people listen, was speak – or like Lami yelled out – speak up.
Once the students had gotten their pots from the refectory, the meal began in the normal fashion. Oluchi led the students in the grace. After the grace was said, the students passed around the pots containing akara balls and helped themselves each taking four a piece. The next thirty minutes was spent with the students enjoying their meal of akara balls with a side of garri, under the supervision of the food prefects. Once the thirty minutes was up, Tolani walked to the middle of the refectory. She waved at Osezele, who was walking to the kitchen, before leading the students in the closing grace. In the kitchen, Osezele picked up the pot of akara left for the food prefects and took it into the refectory where the senior food prefects waited for their meal. She made a studious effort of ignoring Oluchi who’d gotten the plates and lined them up on the single table in the middle of the refectory. With a serving spoon, Osezele distributed the akara balls into the plates. She still couldn’t believe the amount of food the cooks reserved for the food prefects. Each of them had ten akara balls on their plates and enough garri for three meals! Osezele picked up her food and walked over to the other side of the table as Tolani counted, given the rest of the students till the count of ten to leave the refectory. Osezele stayed close to the walls to keep herself from getting knocked down by the stampede of students running to get out before Tolani was done counting.
That was when she heard the scream.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 8:30am On Feb 24|
Osezele had just placed her food on the table when she heard the loud cry. She turned around, in the direction of the cry and saw a group starting to form around someone lying on the floor. She walked over to them. The group of students parted when she got there, clearing the way to the girl lying in the middle. Osezele took a step back, her eyes opening wide at the sight of the girl convulsing, foaming at the mouth. Then the girl stopped moving. She lay flat with her back on the floor, blood streaming from her nose and eyes.
Osezele felt a pull to move closer to the girl. Unconsciously, she took the steps separating her from the girl lying immobile in the middle of the refectory and knelt by her. She looked at the girl, at the white foam streaking down the sides of her mouth and the spots where it had mixed with blood from the girl’s nose. She looked at the girl’s eyes, they were completely red, covered with blood. Blood also seemed to be coming out of the girl’s ears. The girl looked familiar to her, like someone she’d come across recently, but couldn’t quite remember. In the background, Osezele could hear muffled voices asking if the girl was breathing, asking what had happened, some yelling for everyone to leave, some wondering who the girl was. Osezele looked into the girl’s eyes, and as she looked, she saw the blood in her eyes begin to part in the middle, giving way so the pupil was visible. In that pupil Osezele saw a girl, wrapped in a towel and holding a bucket of water, trying to get into a bathing block. But it wasn’t a bucket of water, it was a bucket of blood, overflowing, escaping the edges of the bucket. The bathroom floor was filled with it, blood everywhere.
Osezele crawled closer towards the girl, closer towards the eyes and the vision she saw in them. She rose her hands off the floor as she moved and put them back down when she’d gotten close enough. Except her hand wasn’t on the floor. It was on the girl.
As soon as Osezele touched her, she saw red. Everything faded away, the refectory, the school, even the girl, it was just Osezele, by herself, with a view of blood. Then she felt a backwards pull, like she’d been too close and had to move back to see clearly. When she’d moved further back, she stopped. There was a girl standing in front of her, it was the same girl that had been on the floor in the refectory. Osezele looked down on the floor and she screamed. There was blood everywhere. She was kneeling in it, her hands were soaked in it. She looked around her and she could see walls. The walls were white and then the girl touched a spot in front of her and blood came streaking down the walls. The girl wrote in the blood.
ONWU ICHOTA GI NDI MMADU
Osezele stared at the words, unable to make any sense out of it. She watched as the girl wrote the same words over and over again, writing in the blood streaming off the top of the walls. Then she stopped. She turned around and started walking towards her. That was when she saw the girls eyes. They were black. Osezele started crawling back, trying to get as far away from her as she could. It didn’t matter how far she went, the girl was always the same distance away, till she was standing in front of her. The girl stopped.
“Onwu ichota gi ndi mmadu.” She chanted four times before her back arched over backwards. Right in front of Osezele’s eyes, the girl began to swell like a balloon being pumped with water and then she erupted, soaking Osezele in blood and body matter. Osezele screamed.
She could feel someone shaking her.
Osezele kept screaming, yelling over and over again as she felt pain and fear rise up in her. It felt like she was soaking it in, absorbing it from the air around her. In the pain she heard the cries of a little girl, and she joined that cry with her own. The pain she was in felt like her own, but it also felt like the girl’s, like somehow the crying girl was living in her and crying through her. There was ringing in her ears and so much pain. She screamed, every part of her hurt, the pain was too much.
Then she heard a voice in her head saying, “Open your eyes.” That was when she realized that her eyes were closed.
She opened them.
As soon as her eyes were open, the first thing Osezele saw was the girl, lying on the floor. As she looked at the girl, she knew that she was dead, and she knew that her death had been painful. Somehow, Osezele knew that the pain she felt, was the pain the girl had felt before she died.
“Come.” She heard that voice again. It wasn’t an actual voice, not one she heard in her ear, but one she heard in her head. Someone in her mind. She felt a hand clamp unto her arm pulling her up as she heard, “Come with me.” she looked around. There were so many mouths moving, blurry faces that she couldn’t quite make out with moving mouths saying words that she couldn’t hear. She looked at the hand holding her, pulling her away from the body. She couldn’t see the face. She stopped walking. “It’s me.” the voice in her head. “It’s Ngozi.” The hand pulled her again. She moved her feet. She understood then that she couldn’t see, couldn’t hear and that Ngozi had bonded with her. She knew she could trust Ngozi, so she kept walking.
Then there was another voice, one she couldn’t trust. She shook her head. No, she could trust this one, she just couldn’t see him. She closed her eyes, but he was there in her head, trying to force through, taking advantage of her weakness. He wanted to see her, she felt his eyes in her mind, probing her to open, to see, right when he she heard his voice, “Princess.” He said.
“Leave me alone!” she yelled.
She was too unhinged, in too much pain. The pain was a living thing, it was all the power she’d suppressed that she couldn’t suppress anymore. It was her enforcer. So, when she shouted out the words, the pain made them hear it. Her pain, fueled her magic and she sent a migraine to his head. She heard his cry of pain as Ngozi led her out of the refectory. She couldn’t see him, didn’t see who it was, but there was only one person who called her Princess. Her commune mark was out, she couldn’t suppress it anymore. The more pain he was in, the more pain she absorbed, the stronger she got and the more pain she put him in. She couldn’t control it. She heard his screams, heard the sound of him dropping to the floor, and scraping against it in pain, but she couldn’t stop. This was the price of the mark, the need to chase the high. She had to find it, to reach the peak of her power.
“Stop!” the voice said. It was Ngozi, the voice in her head, the one she’d linked with, the one she trusted.
“I don’t know how to stop.” She didn’t say the words, she’d only thought them, but that was enough.
“You’re killing him.” the voice said. “You’re killing Nosa.”
Ngozi grabbed onto her arm. She wanted to stay, but she went. She still couldn’t see, everything was a blur and the pain was still so much. It wasn’t just the pain, it was the fear from the students who’d seen the body. It was the worry from the ones who were watching over it then. Only Ngozi was emotionless, only Ngozi didn’t feed her mark. She felt air against her skin. She thought she was probably outside.
“Are you okay?” it was the voice in her head.
“There’s too much pain. It’s too much. I have to let it out.” She still couldn’t speak, still could only think, but it was okay, still okay, Ngozi was with her, in her mind. Ngoni could hear her.
“No. You’ll kill someone.”
Osezele screamed out again. This time she felt like she was burning. Her palms were itchy, itchy and scorching. They’d been closed but it felt like they were on fire, she had to open them, had to cool them out.
“There’s fire coming out of your hands Osezele. You have to calm down, somebody might see.” The voice was no longer calm, no longer emotionless, it was getting scared. Ngozi was getting scared. And Osezele fed off that fear. The fire got bigger. “Your mantra!” Ngozi yelled. “The words you said when Oluchi hurt you. What are they?” Ngozi was panicked.
Osezele tried to shake her head, tried to tell her that the panic made it worse, it made her more powerful. But she couldn’t speak. It didn’t matter, Ngozi heard her, she heard everything, she was in her head. Mantra. Osezele reminded herself of the words Ngozi had said. She had to remember her mantra. Her hands burned. Her entire body was starting to heat up. It was so hot. Osezele started screaming. There was a man in her head. An older man. Her uncle, she thought. He’d taught her the words, she knew he had. She just couldn’t remember them. She could feel herself shaking then, the shaking was uncontrollable. The heat got worse. She felt like she was on fire, like she was burning. Like every part of her body was in flames. She yelled out louder, crying from the heat.
“You’re on fire Osezele. You’re on fire!” Ngozi screamed.
“I can’t control it. There’s too much power.” Osezele thought. She could feel the flames grow and then she heard a scream in her head. It wasn’t her screaming, she knew it wasn’t.
“You’re hurting me.” the voice said. It was Ngozi. Her magic was too strong, she couldn’t control it, she couldn’t keep herself from hurting anyone. She couldn’t keep herself from burning herself.
Then the heat went away. She felt water, dripping down her body. It felt like someone had poured a bucket of water on her. The fire was gone, and in that moment, so was the pain. She opened her eyes and saw Ngozi kneeling on the floor in front of her. When Ngozi looked at her, she saw the fear in her eyes. That was the spark her commune mark needed to come out again.
“Your mantra!” Ngozi yelled right before Osezele’s eyes went shut.
“I am the sea.” Osezele said the words as she felt herself absorbing Ngozi’s fears. “I am the storm.” She began to shake. The dead girl’s pain was still in her, and Ngozi’s fear was bringing it all out. “I am the sea.” Osezele dug her nails into her palm. “I am the storm.” She took a deep breath. “I am the fire, the flame that burns.” The pain came rushing out. She screamed out unable to control it.
Then she heard a voice in her head. “I am the sea.” The voice was calm, the fear was gone. “I am the storm.”
“I can’t.” Osezele was shaking. She needed to let it out, she had to let the pain out. But it wasn’t just pain, it was magic. She knew that once she let it out, she wouldn’t be able to control it. Tears fell from her eyes.
“You can do it. Just repeat after me. I am the sea.” The voice said again. “I am the storm.”
“I am the sea. I am the storm.” Osezele said the words in her head.
“I am the fire, the flame that burns.”
“I am the fire, the flame that burns.”
“Complete it.” the voice prompted. Osezele shook her head. “You don’t want to hurt anyone. You have the power to do this Osezele, you just have to remind yourself how. You can’t lose control again.”
“I am the sea. I am the storm. I am the fire, the flame that burns. The fire is free, and so is the sea, both live in me,” Osezele exhaled. Her mind’s eye cleared. She could see Ngozi in her head. “Both let me be. I am the sea, I am the storm. I am the fire, the flame that burns. The fire is free and so is the sea.” Osezele opened her eyes. She could see again, her sight was no longer blurry. She heard distant sounds from the refectory. “Both live in me. Both let me be.” And they did, the pain subsided, and her commune mark was suppressed again. Her mark gave way, letting her be. For now.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by ztarlord(m): 6:42am On Feb 26|
good work:::: still following back to back
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 10:08am On Mar 03|
The Community, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria
There was something about the vegetation, something in the drops of water stubbornly rooted on the leaves, that called to her. It was more than just the sheer beauty and the almost overtly opulent design. Like the shrubs of lush green, cut and shaped to form a perfect plump teardrop. Or the circle of purple daffodils interlaced with blooming red lilies. She couldn’t even begin to describe the imagery of the snow-white tulips against the perfectly unfurled yellow roses. So much beauty, and it was all right there. But it wasn’t the wholly unnatural splendor of it all that called to her – living in the community she’d become more than used to it – it was the life in these plants. She couldn’t remember exactly when it began, when the scenes she admired on her way to work turned from still-life ephemeral beauties, to living things that haunted her thoughts to the point of exertion. And just as that thought crossed her mind, she felt a stillness about her, as if all of a sudden, she could feel those water drops floating off the taught green skin of the leaves and landing on to her shoulder. Was that a whistle she heard? Did they sing?
The scene changed as two people walked in front of her disturbing the picturesque scene of the empty garden trail. It was a man and a woman, a couple, holding hands and laughing. She smiled sadly, wondering if she had any chance of that level of happiness when she was their age. Sixty, she thought, at the least. Still in love, as was clear from the look in their eyes as they gazed at each other. And as they walked along the field of flowers, the bountiful arrangement swayed around them, some flowers seemed to bend of their own accord to get closer to the man. He seemed to be aware of the effect he had on the plants, because he let the tips of his fingers run along the petals of the flowers tall enough to reach him. Each one he touched seemed to beam with new life, adding more radiance to the already overwhelming glow of its beauty. The woman stopped and pointed at an empty patch of grass, so they headed over there. Intrigued, Odion found herself walking behind them, following them. When the couple got to the patch of grass, they knelt on the floor, supporting each other as they moved their body into the supine position. They held hands once they were kneeling. Odion watched mesmerized as the bracelets around their wrists began to glow a shimmering shade of blue. Then their pupils and irises disappeared giving way to brilliant blue orbs. They chanted spells she couldn’t begin to imagine and as they did stems began to rise from the empty patch of grass, growing until they reached the couples’ hands. Once they’d grown as much as they would, petals began to unfurl from the tip, petals the color of deep velvet red. She’d never seen anything more beautiful.
After fifteen years in the community, one would think that a sight like this would be commonplace, but it certainly wasn’t, not for her. Witches considered themselves a cut above everyone else. They couldn’t stand to mingle with the varmints who were just ‘filthy animals’, and it pained them to be so closely associated with communes whose dark magic were a ‘blight’ to their class. Though they respected the sight that augurs were gifted with, they weren’t considered equal to the magic touch of witches. Odion sighed then, shaking her head. She turned away from the august sight of humble verdants freely giving of their mark to the entire community, continuing on in the path she’d started off on, before she’d been distracted by the beautiful flowers and the life that she felt in them. Though why she would feel that she didn’t know. She was just an augur after all, just a seer.
As she walked along the pedestrian bridge, she couldn’t help looking underneath at the calmly flowing water. She laughed then remembering the conversation she’d had with her niece. Osezele had been so surprised to see the canal, the cleanliness of the water, and the speed boat! She smiled thinking of how much of a treat meeting her niece had been. Unexpected and as wonderful as it had been shocking. Osezele would get a kick out of these flowers and bridges, this paradise, she thought as she walked on. It really was a paradise, the marked were too gifted for their home to be anything less. So why did she feel so unsettled, like she was living a sham and the curtains were about to be pulled down? Her dreams weren’t helping on that front. The memories just kept coming. It felt like every night she dreamt, but she wasn’t seeing the future, she only saw the past.
The sound of a loud bark and the feel of a wet nose rubbing against her bare legs pulled her out of her thoughts. She looked around her, wondering how she’d gotten from the bridge to the circle without knowing. The dog barked again, demanding her attention. She bent to a squat in front of it and ran her hand through its abundance of silver fur, petting it. What is it? A poodle? She wondered, even as the owner of the dog ran over to claim his burden. She rolled her eyes at herself when she saw who it was.
He stopped in front of her. “Beautiful day for a walk.” He said before bending to clip on the leash he held to the loop on the dog’s collar. She couldn’t help the raised tilt of her eyebrow and the judgement in her narrowed eyes. He shouldn’t take his dog for a walk without a leash. If he’d been caught the poor thing could have been taken from him and have to suffer through days of homelessness. And if it had attacked someone without its owner there to ground it, she shivered to think of what the communes would be able to use it for. She stood up then, frowning when she realized how little she knew about him. She hadn’t even known he had a dog!
“I just got him.” Oare explained, and explanation which Odion found to be disconcertingly telepathic. “This is the closest breed they have to wolves, so I snatched him up before someone else did.” His voice beamed with the pride he felt at his own cunning. He hadn’t understood why he’s father had been so insistent on him getting a pet, until he saw her reaction to the animal. He sighed his relief. It was about time she showed up! He’d planned his visit to the pound to coincide with her walk back home. He inclined his head towards the direction she was headed and she smiled, following his lead as he began to walk.
“So, you being a werewolf and him being close to a wolf, you must be looking forward to some interesting conversations.” Odion remarked.
Oare shook his head at her. He was affronted by her likening him to a dog, but he let it slide. His mission was to get under her defenses, to get her to trust him. Now wasn’t the time to bring up the stark differences between shifters and wolves. Just because they were varmints didn’t mean they were the same. “Only shifters can talk to animals.” Oare corrected lightly, his mouth forming into a side grin, one he knew that she would find charming, which of course she did.
Odion smiled back at him, thinking about how only a few weeks ago she’d been sharing details about him with her young niece. “You can’t even talk to wolves?” she asked.
He shook his head, deciding to change the topic. “Where are you coming from?”
Unfortunately, that was not a pleasant topic for her. “Monthly bonding.” She stated, a frown forming on her face as her brows furrowed.
Oare nodded in understanding. Those bondings were his least favorite part of being an augur. He enjoyed the distinction that came with being a spotter, the automatic respect he got wherever he went. But there were times when he would willingly have given all of that up, just to be a single marked werewolf. The worst of it was over now, though he could still remember just being an augur and having to bond with a group of ten or more kids all trying to show off. Some of them where older and had more control over their mark, so they could plough through whatever defense he’d constructed in his mind to keep his memories private, and scour through his memories as if they had a right to it. He broke off the haze of those thoughts, turning to Odion to say, “I’m sorry. I hope it wasn’t too bad.”
Odion tried to put on a brave face, but the truth was that she was shaken. So much was happening, so much was changing. And this was the point in her life when she was supposed to be settled. The dreams were changing everything, they were making it hard for her to maintain control when she bonded with other augurs. She’d gotten used to bonding, in fact she rather enjoyed it. The first time she’d been forced into a bond with her peers during her first year in the community, she’d found out that she was stronger than the rest. She hadn’t been trained, hadn’t known what to do, but as soon as she was bonded with her fellow augurs, she was tearing down their defenses and seeing their most private thoughts and memories. As soon as they’d let her into their minds, she controlled the bond, she determined the pace and how much they saw. Her mark was so strong that the council had tried recruiting her for a variety of ‘security’ jobs as soon as she graduated from college. She turned them down of course. She’d rather work for some arrogant abacus, than be forced to barge into the minds of scared children all in the name of discovering secrets they were keeping from the community. The council tried to convince her that she was too good to work in the private sector, and they may have succeeded, if she hadn’t been on the receiving end of an unfair bond with an augur much older and experienced. Odion shook her head, remembering Oare’s question. “Not too bad.” She replied ambiguously.
“I remember the time I bonded with you.” Oare dropped the comment to get a response out of her.
Odion stopped walking. “You what?” she demanded.
Oare just chuckled and kept on walking, confident that she’d continue moving if he didn’t stop. She did. “It was during your second year in college, a school wide bond. Every augur in your school was there, everyone in everyone else’s head, trying to break them. I’d been recruited to the prowl by then, not that there was much recruitment involved.” He laughed hoarsely thinking about how excited he’d been to come into his wolf mark and find out that he was a spotter, which meant he’d join the exclusive group of the ‘prowl’. He continued his tale, “My mission was to watch. Which is exactly what I did. I closed my eyes and went into the bond. I opened my mind’s eye, and in my head, or rather I should say in our collective minds, I expected to see doors and people shoving to get through them and peer at whatever secrets lay beneath. But it wasn’t so. There were doors alright, and I could feel the feverish excitement, the desire that they had to search for secrets like a pirate searches for treasure. But they didn’t. We all stood together, no one was moving towards the doors. And apart from everyone, paces off to the side, you stood, a vision of a perfect white form, enforcing the peace. You controlled the bond.” Oare’s voice was filled with the awe and respect he’d felt that day, when he’d seen her for the first time in his mind’s eye, isolated from the rabble. She stood apart. She was wasted working a nine-to-five with all she could do with her mark.
Odion laughed out loud at the memory. “I can’t believe you were there!” She shook her head, still shaking with her mirth. “Oh! That was an interesting period. I was such a revolutionary then. I think I thought I was going to revolutionize augury in the community, like those old-timers were going to listen to me.” she laughed some more, obviously cheered up by the memory. She spoke animatedly. “Oh, it was so crazy then. The augurs were like wolves. Back then, you could just be walking to your class on your own, and out of nowhere you see someone in your head. They didn’t just want to link with you, they wanted to borrow through your mind and find out your secrets. The augurs in that school then were bullies. Especially the mixed sex groups, like when there was a boy that liked a girl or a girl that liked a boy. They’d just force themselves into the other person’s head and share their dirty thoughts with them. I had friends that were so traumatized, they went to memoir witches to have the memory taken away. It was when it became too much that the chancellor intervened and locked all of us together in a room. I think he was hoping that we’d bond to our heart’s content, invade each other’s minds and just scar each other, you know, wear ourselves out.”
“But you didn’t. You marshaled them.” Oare praised.
Odion laughed. “Somebody had to. If not we would have destroyed each other.”
“You must have been really popular after that.” Oare teased.
Odion shrugged. “When we came out of the bond there were only a few people that knew I’d been the one keeping us from tearing ourselves apart. And those people were powerful augurs, scooped up by the council. We’ve all drifted apart now.”
Oare’s eyes widened in mock awe. “What does it feel like to be a legend? I’m sure they tell that story over and over in that school.”
Odion rolled her eyes at him. “You, one of the few natural born omega-spotters, want to talk to me about being a legend. If I’m a legend what are you?”
“Touche.” Oare conceded. He stopped then seeing that they’d gotten to their apartment complex. Not wanting the conversation to end, he asked, “Would you care to join me for dinner?”
Odion smiled up at him. Strong, handsome and a cook? She thought to herself, chiding, be still heart, even as her heart rate picked up. Of course she knew he would hear it, with werewolf hearing being what it was. He grinned at her, not making any attempt to hide the fact that he could hear the effect he had on her. “I’m impressed that you cook.” She stated, in an attempt to distract him from listening to her heart race. It worked.
Oare burst out laughing, only sobering when he saw the confused look on Odion’s face. He shook his head. “No, I was thinking more along the lines of us going out to eat.”
“Let me guess, the commissary?” Odion asked, referring to the refectory styled diner where adults in the community could get cheap subsidized meals. Children and students ate there for free. If Odion was disappointed by his response to her thought of him cooking, her heart rate didn’t show it.
Oare smiled. It was a slow smile, the kind of smile that started in the middle and crept up till the corners of his mouth were so high the smile could be said to reach his eyes. He shook his head, lowering his voice to say, “I was thinking somewhere a little more romantic.”
“Like a date?” Odion’s voice was barely above a whisper.
Odion bit her bottom lip. “I took the day off. So before I left for the bonding session, I made some ogbonno soup.” As soon as she’d said the words, she chided herself for them. She couldn’t help mentally kicking herself for blowing him off when all she wanted – all she’d wanted since the day she met him – was to get to know him better.
Oare was not easily dissuaded. If there was a hint in there, he refused to take it, so he said, “I love ogbonno soup.”
Odion burst out laughing. “You are trouble.” She teased. He nodded accepting the statement. “You’re pounding the yam!” Odion announced before walking through the door he held open.
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 4:04pm On Mar 10|
St. Luke’s Mixed Boarding School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria
A cloud of fear and disbelief hung over the students of St. Luke’s after the public death in the refectory. Some of the students were more troubled by the way it happened, than by the fact that it happened. They’d all seen her – the ones who hadn’t seen had heard so much gossip they felt like they’d been there – writhing on the floor, clutching her chest while she muttered inaudible sounds. What most of them hadn’t seen was the blood oozing from her orifices as she valiantly fought off the relentless grip of death. The marked, the ones who knew enough to know that there was something off with the scene, had driven the other students away, so that they were the only ones who saw the truly graphic end. But though they’d seen it, though they’d watched the pain she’d been in in those last moments, though they’d seen the blood and foam bubbling around her lips, they hadn’t felt it. Yes, they could guess, and most of them did, they imagined what it must have felt like, but they didn’t know for sure. Not like Osezele. So as the secret group of the marked gathered around their room, that room at the back of the school block where only they had access, they imagined, but she knew.
Osezele stood at the corner of the room, her back fixed firmly against the wall trying to make herself as unnoticeable as she possibly could. She felt like a balloon already pumped full of gas, but still having more put in. Ever since she’d touched the dying girl, she didn’t feel like herself. There was always anger, always pain, and then everyone else’s emotions fighting hard to be added into everything she already held. It was so much, too much, she feared. That was why she’d picked up two large rough needle-sharp rocks and quickly hidden them within the folds of her fisted hands, before walking in for the meeting. Even as the rough calluses of the rocks dug into her palms to the point of breaking skin, she clung to them desperately. She didn’t quite understand why, but somehow, tricking her mind into trying to absorb her pain, distracted her from absorbing the emotions of those around her. And the air in that room brimmed with emotion.
There were the werewolves, the ones that had just enough knowledge to be worried, but not quite enough to be scared. They knew that something was off, they could hear it in the fast heartbeats, the sharp intake of breath, but they didn’t know enough about warlock magic to understand the cause. Then there were the witches. They were used to healing, to fixing. The ones that had been there in that refectory, watching the girl die and helpless to her plight were filled with a sense of personal failure. Then there was the commune, as there was only one commune – with the exception of Osezele – in that room and she was filled with fear. While the others imagined the pain the girl was in, she imagined the amount of power it took to cause it all and feared – rightly so – that whoever caused it was nowhere near done. These different emotions, held everyone in a state of silent reflection where they were too busy examining their own thoughts to entertain anyone else’s.
It was into this silence that Ngozi spoke. “What happened?” she asked. She knew it was an ambiguous question, but she found it hard to believe that anyone in that room wasn’t thinking of the exact same thing that she was. Unlike the rest of them, she had the distinction of being in Osezele’s head, of knowing the amount of power Osezele had absorbed from the dead girl.
“We should be asking you that.” replied Beedie, the alpha of the school’s werewolf pack. He’d been frothing at the mouth with his desire to attack the augurs. He’d barely been able to keep himself from yelling his accusations in front of the entire school. Beedie grew up around augurs, he knew what they were capable of, he knew how much they could see, when they were looking, he added the last part as he turned his contemptuous gaze on all three of his fellow SS3 classmates who happened to be augurs.
“What is that supposed to mean?” Ngozi fired back. She’d just known that Beedie would find a way to lay the blame for all of this at her feet.
“Tell me, how can we have three, not one, not two, but three, augurs in this school, and none of you saw this coming? What’s wrong with you?” he began his bitter diatribe, not stopping for breath. “All you have to do is see. These visions want to be seen, they want you to see them, that’s your purpose, all you have to do is pay attention. If you aren’t strong enough on your own, then bond with your mates. The three of you bond and your vision widens. How many times have I said the same thing?” he asked rhetorically, referring to the last time the school had been in danger, that time the augurs had bonded, a point he was quick to point out. “When Ebo was threatening us, your eyes were shining, you people saw Ebo coming before we even knew there was anything to worry about. And then when you couldn’t see the whole picture, you bonded and kpam, just like that you saw everything. So why aren’t your eyes shining like that now? Was it because Yemi, Oshoke and Emeka were here to ginger you? Okay, relax, maybe next time it will be one of you that dies!” Beedie ended with a snap, sure of his claim that this would never have happened under his predecessors’ regime. Emeka was not the kind of alpha that accepted anything less than everything you had to give. Beedie couldn’t help but fall short in his estimation whenever he compared himself to Emeka, which was why the words he said were so harsh, not that he thought them undue.
“You’re the one that will die Beedie! Waka! Shege! God punish you!” Chiamaka, one of the other augurs responded caustically.
“What, am I lying? I do my job. I’m the alpha, every week, I take my pack out for a run. We jump the fence and bring back provisions. You come inside this room, you open the fridge, you drink La Casera, and then you go back and don’t do your job? All you have to do is focus, the vision comes and knocks at your door, you open it, finish!” Beedie yelled back.
Ngozi piped in then, tired of listening to Beedie rant at her expense. “Do you even listen to yourself? Can’t you hear how stupid you sound? We don’t have control over what we see, and we can’t go looking for visions. When the visions come, we can’t do anything other than see it. So why are you acting like we pick and choose?”
“There’s always a choice.” Beedie fired back.
All three of the augurs responded at the same time saying, “What kind of stupid answer is that?”, “Come on get out of here jare.” and “Abeg let better person talk.”
Tolani itched with her need to speak up. She was standing across the room from where Osezele stood with her back pressed against the wall. She’d seen Osezele when she’d walked in and chosen to stay away. There was something wrong with her best friend, she could tell, so she stubbornly refused to initiate a conversation until Osezele fessed up. Which was why she stood by herself, the only unmarked in a meeting of the marked. But she didn’t need anyone’s support, she knew this, she stood tall all by herself. Everything she’d learned from reading through her father’s collections over his lives made her more than a worthy addition to the group. Still, she couldn’t fight the urge to prove herself whenever the opportunity presented itself. This seemed like such a time. She heard Beedie throw back another insult aimed at the augurs and shook her head when the augurs fired back. This wasn’t constructive, she thought, they should be trying to fix the problem instead of finding fault. And she would have said it too, if she wasn’t just an SS1 student, the youngest class in the room. As it was, if she did speak up – which would mean yelling over, she cringed, over the SS3 students to be heard – she’d, at best, get kicked out of the meeting and, at worst, get the kind of punishment you only heard about in the stories parents told their children to scare them away from boarding school. This wasn’t the time of Yemi and Emeka, the previous leaders of the group who’d actually known how to lead. This was Lami and Beedie, and while Lami, maybe, made a decent leader, Beedie was too obsessed with his own self-importance to be any good to anyone else. Lami it was then.
Tolani took a deep breath as she made her away towards the center of the room amidst shouts between the augurs and wolves, as some of them were starting to take their alpha’s side. Tolani took the scenic route to the center choosing to stay close to the walls till she got to a spot filled with more SS2 students than SS3. As she walked, her arms brushed carelessly against the paintings decorating the room, one of which included the talisman that had first confirmed Osezele’s witch mark to Nosa. By the time she’d gotten to a part of the room she thought safe enough to cross, she made her way to the center, careful to stay “please excuse me” loud enough to be heard over the raucous. She let out her breath when she finally got to the center of the room, grateful that she’d made it through receiving only a few shoves and one impatient slap.
“Lami.” Tolani whispered as soon as she was standing by her on the large center mat. The mat she stood on was the same mat Osezele had sat on when she’d first started learning about commune magic from Oshoke. It was the same mat that sprouted seats during one of the meetings they’d had the previous semester, the first meeting Tolani had been invited to.
“What?” Lami asked exasperated. She was so annoyed by the bickering between her classmates that she took it out on Tolani. “What do you want?” she snapped.
There was a look in Lami’s eyes, the kind of look that said, ‘I’m not in the mood, so don’t test my patience’, the kind of look that would have sent any other student back in the direction in which they’d come. Luckily for all of them, Tolani wasn’t easily cowed. “I have a question.” Tolani whispered, purposely keeping her voice low. She knew that there was only so much Lami could take before she snapped. And snap she did.
“Ah, that’s enough Beedie!” she yelled. “Why are you so excited? Abi you need cold water. Calm down jare. Nah you wey first be alpha?” she snapped, before hissing. It was a long Lami-hiss a hiss that she’d worked on to have the exact effect of forcing its subject into submission. Beedie was so taken back by Lami’s words that he flinched. And just as he stepped back, he began to shake, feeling a sudden rush of anger. She was his classmate, he yelled to himself, how dare she talk to him like that, like her junior.
Beedie’s anger reached a boiling point when Ngozi added, “Tell him Lami.”
To which Lami responded by whirling around and fixing her attention on Ngozi. “And you are no better Ngo. At least the wolves, they can’t control themselves, what’s your excuse? Agbaya!” That silenced Ngozi and was humiliating enough to temporarily salve Beedie’s wounded pride. Just to make sure the room didn’t descend into another round of chaos, when Lami heard some whispers coming from the back and starting to grow in volume she yelled, “If you are my junior in this room hold your lips. I want to see your fingers pinching your lips shut. Since you people can’t behave like adults, I’ll treat you like children. Don’t speak unless you’re spoken to. What’s wrong with all of you? We’re all prefects here. If all of us are in here, who’s out there controlling the school? What will happen if Ms. Flowers comes here? Just remain like this, quiet.” After making the announcement Lami whirled around to Tolani who’d been so shocked by Lami’s yelling that she’d forgotten to pinch her lips an oversight she hastily corrected. It wasn’t that Tolani wasn’t used to Lami shouting, it was the anger that was unexpected. Lami yelled all the time, but it was usually for fun, and everyone knew it. It was a rare thing to see the head girl angry, an anger that now seemed to be focused solely on Tolani when Lami barked her question out at her, “what do you want?”
Tolani had to clear her throat a few times before talking. But when she started to talk, she was still so frazzled that she forgot to take her fingers off her lips. The ridiculousness of the SS1 girl trying to talk while her own fingers pinched her lips shut, lightened the mood in the room. Tolani took her fingers off before starting again, “I was just going to ask if anyone knows what happened.”
It was a question Lami considered so stupid she opened her mouth to give Tolani a piece of her mind. Luckily for Tolani, Ngozi spoke up first. “Thank you Tolani, that’s all I was trying to ask oh.”
Ngozi rolled her eyes at Beedie who opened his mouth to speak when Lami interrupted. “Ehn-ehn ehn-ehn, don’t even start.” She narrowed her eyes at Ngozi before turning around the room. “Does anyone know what happened?” she asked. Tolani cleared her throat. Lami’s eyes flew back to her. “If you knew the answer than why did you ask the question?” she asked incredulously.
“Let her answer.” Ngozi intervened, before Tolani was dealt to more of Lami’s bad mood.
“Tolani, Tolani, Tolani. How many times did I call your name?” Lami asked. Tolani rose three fingers in the air, with her free hand as the other one had gone back to pinching her lips shut. “Oya talk!”
This time Tolani remembered to take off her fingers before speaking. “I think it had to have been commune magic. Nothing else could have done this.”
There were mute nods from across the room, students bobbing their heads with their fingers still placed against their lips. Ngozi spoke up. “So you think it wasn’t natural?” she directed her question at Tolani.
Tolani shook her head. “I don’t know of any natural disease that comes on that suddenly and causes bleeding from the eyes, nose, and ears as well as foaming from the mouth.” Ngozi nodded in agreement even before Tolani added, “But I think Aishat would know more if I’m right.”
All eyes in the room turned to Aishat then, who stood on the front row of the circles formed around the leaders in the center. Despite being in SS2 and having more senior students standing at the back, she’d gotten her position by being the only commune in the school. Though in fact she wasn’t the only commune, but Osezele’s known bi-marked commune-witch mixture was easily forgotten, especially at times like this when she clung to the walls, holding onto her stones instead of her lips. Luckily, she was too far away for Lami to see. Aishat nodded then, confirming Tolani’s words.
“My friend, speak up before I give your head a reason to move.” Lami warned, annoyed with the whole thing. Bodies! Dead girls! This was just a secondary school for crying out loud! Of course at the bottom of this, was her own feelings of guilt at not preventing this catastrophe. She’d watched that girl die and there wasn’t a thing she could do to stop it. If only she was a healer rather than a memoir, maybe she’d have known what to do, maybe that poor JSS1 girl wouldn’t have had to die so young. Barely ten and already dead. Lami sighed.
Aishat’s voice shook slightly when she spoke. “There was commune magic in the refectory, I felt it.”
Lami was just about fed up. Aishat was her assistant, the assistant head girl, a position that not only meant she’d be leading the school, but that she’d be leading the warlocks after Lami graduated. Lami had been very careful before handing over that post to her. Yes, she’d been nudged by Yemi, and a little more fiercely by Oshoke, but she’d held her ground because she hadn’t wanted to regret her choice. Unfortunately, she was starting to. She opened her mouth to speak when,
“There’s something wrong with all of you girls!” Beedie yelled into the now silent room. “There’s something fundamentally wrong with all of you. Augurs that can’t see visions and communes that won’t talk when they feel commune magic. Ngozi I can’t deal with, but you Aishat, you, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll go and find what was driving you last semester and recalibrate. Because if you Bleep up again, this school won’t be big enough for the both of us.”
Aishat didn’t know how to respond so she was grateful not to be given the chance. Lami responded to Beedie. “Stay in your lane Beedie. You handle your wolves and let me take care of my warlocks. It’s not your job to insult any of my people, so don’t do it again. You have a problem with a warlock, you talk to me, you don’t talk to them. If not, I’ll give you what you’re asking for, I’ll show you the thing that is fundamentally wrong with me.” she hissed at Beedie again, her patented Lami-hiss, before turning her back on him, effectively dismissing him, and taking her attention towards Aishat. It was clear from the look in her eyes, a look she made no attempt to hide, that she was going to deal with her timidity later. But for now, they had to get to the bottom of this. “How much power did you feel? Could it have come from a student?”
Aishat licked her bottom lip before responding. “Yes and no. It was a lot of power, but it felt wrong. I can’t really put my finger on it Lami.”
“Try.” Lami urged. “There’s a dead girl Aishat.” Lami turned to Tolani, she smiled at her, a half smile that only slightly tipped the corners of her mouth upward. Lami had come to think of Tolani as her markopedia, the encyclopedia for anything to do with the marked. “Tolani, tell everybody what happens when a dead body is reported in this country.”
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 4:05pm On Mar 10|
Tolani nodded. “First the body is taken to a pathologist who determines the cause of death. If it is natural, then it ends there. The body is returned to the family so they can cremate or bury or whatever. If the cause of death is not natural, then the body is taken to the community. There are marked versions of pathologists, communes who are trained enough to detect even the faintest signs of dark magic, and there is always dark magic left behind when a commune kills someone. Once the cause of death is determined to be MR, marked related, that’s when the forensics start. They don’t dig any further into who killed the person, unless the pain is still there, most times it isn’t, so they don’t bother. They dig into the person’s background, name, family, place of origin, where they lived, who they could have come in contact with. They do all of this because they know that at some point, the person had to have come in contact with the commune that killed him or her. After they’ve got as much information on the person as they can, they send delegations to interview everyone they knew.
There are exclusions in place though. In the cases where a school, any type of school, primary, secondary, university, is involved in the death, they wait to find a pattern before they note down the school. If they do find a pattern, which I’ve seen refer to anywhere between three to ten deaths of unnatural causes from the same school, they send the prowl into the school. The prowl is a special group of spotter soldiers, all bi-marked werewolf-augurs, all vicious and merciless. They tear everything apart. Once they come into a school, they examine everyone. Every teacher, every student, every parent. They don’t just look, like augurs do, or smell, like spotters, they do blood tests, and blood tests are a hundred percent conclusive. If they find as much as one marked person in a school, the entire school is shut down. The parents, and sometimes close relatives, are arrested. The principal is interrogated, if found innocent, is never allowed to work in a school again. The close friends are also questioned, and they’ll always catch you if you lie. Once they’re done with their investigation, I read in one of my father’s books that they burn the school to the ground. Quoting him, ‘The prowl is a machine of pure destruction, the very worst of the very worst. Once they have your name, there is no hope.’” Tolani ended her lecture on that dire note. Her words had the effect Lami had hoped for, fear. Perhaps if they’d known that there was an unstable commune hiding in the back of the room and scourging herself to not absorb the power in their emotions, they would have been less theatrical about the whole thing. But they didn’t know and so fear was what Lami strove for and what Tolani happily provided.
Lami took the center stage then, taking over from Tolani. She lifted three fingers in the air. “Three unnatural deaths. Two more. If we don’t find who’s doing this and stop them, we won’t just have two more dead students to deal with, we’ll have the community. Everyone knows the rules. Once they have us, our family is fair game. We just get sent to the community, anyone that’s older than eighteen gets thrown in a prison in the community, but still not as bad as our unmarked family members. They get sent to prison here, outside the community, where they rape, where they beat, where they kill. Nobody is safe.” Lami stopped when she was standing in front of Aishat. “So try, because if we don’t find who did this, we are finished and so is everybody who loves us.”
Aishat swallowed nervously. She tried to pay attention, tried to think on Lami’s words, but there was so much fear and it was distracting. The fear coming off the students in the room was like percolation coming off them and sticking to her, even though she couldn’t absorb it. She’d never been more grateful that she got her power from pain, if fear was her source, she wouldn’t be able to stay in control, not with so much of it floating around. And just as she thought about it, she remembered what she’d felt around the dead girl, or rather, what she hadn’t felt. She smiled, relieved that she had an answer for Lami. “There was pain she said, pain and fear and anger, but there really wasn’t. It was more like there were remnants of the emotions she’d felt, as if most of it had already been drained away.”
If any of the wolves were paying attention to anything other than the scene in the middle of the room, they would have heard the increased heart rate coming from a particularly guilty individual standing in a corner of the room. They would also have smelt the blood as she squeezed the rocks tighter into her palms.
“That’s it!” Tolani yelled out. “I read that when communes need a large amount of power quickly, they kill something. It turns out that there’s enough power in the emotions released by a dying lizard to set an entire one to two mile radius on fire. And that’s just from a lizard. Maybe the commune killed the girl for the emotions she released before dying.”
Aishat shook her head. “All of the emotions were gone. If it was just one commune, it would only have been the pain or the fear or the anger that was gone, but not all three.”
“Is it possible to absorb the power from somewhere else?” Lami asked.
Aishat shook her head again. “You have to physically be there with the corpse to absorb its emotions.”
“So where did the power go?” Tolani asked.
Aishat shrugged. “Power doesn’t just disappear. Communes had to have taken it.”
Some sort of mind meld happened at that point, because just as Aishat said the words Tolani and Nosa reached the same conclusion. First they thought that there had to be more communes in their school, but Nosa couldn’t see how that was possible. He was a spotter. He wasn’t as trained as those in the community, but he could still see the marked. If there were more communes he would have seen them. It didn’t occur to him that it had taken him two years to see Osezele’s mark and only then when he’d isolated her. Tolani thought about the high degree of unlikelihood that there was not just one but three unknown communes with hidden marks amongst the St. Luke’s students. She thought there was a much higher chance that there was just one person. Nosa felt a tingling sensation in the bottom of his stomach, a feeling that told him he was missing something, but he couldn’t quite put a finger on it. They could both feel like they were missing something, someone. As soon as they thought of who they were missing, who could be so close to them that they’d feel as intensely as they did at that moment, they both remembered who was lost. Their heads rose sharply at the exact same moment.
At that same moment Osezele heard a voice in her head. “It’s time.” It said, and she agreed. So she pushed her way through the throng of students finding herself so impatient to relay the news that she was mindless of the senior students she shoved aside. Those students stared mesmerized at her. This is not Osezele, they thought, she’s just having a bad day. Tolani would do this, but not Osezele, they thought, Osezele would never be so rude. So they let her through without saying a word.
“I took it.” Osezele announced to the room as soon as she was standing in the center, bolder then than she’d ever been in her entire life. The students gaped in shock. She held on tight to the stones, squeezing harder, when shock turned to anger and the droplets of anger tried to fight their way into her skin, each one seemed to be pushing the other aside to get in. There was someone in her head. She saw Ngozi, seated like a buddha with her feet tucked underneath her legs. The little buddha-sitting-Ngozi in Osezele’s head smiled.
“These girls!” Beedie yelled just about to start another bitter diatribe.
Lami snapped. “Shut up Beedie, you’re starting to provoke me.”
“Stop talking to me like I’m your junior…” Beedie began.
“Stop!” Osezele yelled. The shock of hearing Osezele yell out was enough to freeze the words in Beedie’s throat. This was Osezele, the girl that couldn’t speak, he thought. And just as his shock induced paralysis began to fade, his anger began to rise. This is Osezele, he thought, the girl that couldn’t speak, yelling at him! He opened his mouth to give her a piece of his mind when Ngozi stepped forward. It was her turn to become the voice of reason.
“She feels everything, can absorb everything. Your anger Beedie, is only going to make it worse. You need to control yourself.”
That was when Nosa smelled it. As soon as he smelled the blood, he pushed his way through the crowd of people in front of him to get to the middle of the room. Before that moment it had been a routine boring pandering meeting, with all the accusations and who-done-its. Now she was in pain, she was bleeding, and he could smell it. So, he broke off the conversation he’d been having with his closest friend Victor, the punctuality prefect, and pushed his way to the front with Victor at his heels. As soon as he got to her, he grabbed her wrists and shook them violently till the bloodstained rocks fell from her hands and landed on the concrete floor, despite Osezele’s pleas to the contrary. Without her pain to distract herself, it became too much. Too much fear, too much anger, just too much. She tried to break free of Nosa’s hold, but he wouldn’t let her go. She kept muttering no, until it was so much she had to let it in, and it had to come out. But she couldn’t hurt anyone, couldn’t hurt Nosa, not again. Still, it was too much, it had to come out, so she let it out, on herself. Her uncle Oare taught her how to change the emotions. She closed her eyes and concentrated, she still had some control, ‘I am the sea,’ she thought, ‘I am the storm.’ And the words were enough to calm her till she could convert the fear and anger coming from the people all around her, into sorrow. Sorrow was easy to absorb, easy to let out. So when she took in the sorrow, she cried to let it out. Tears streaked down her face, so much so that everyone in the room could feel nothing but pity for her. Everyone but Beedie.
“I don’t care that she’s crying, in fact, she’s not crying enough!” Beedie yelled. His anger tipped the scale for Osezele. She’d had it controlled, but that sudden burst of emotion eviscerated her control. Beedie opened his mouth to yell at her again, but she yelled instead. As Osezele yelled, she found herself chasing the fleeting high of her mark, the exact thing she’d been trying to avoid. She couldn’t control herself in her commune mark, not like this. But there was so much, the dead girl’s pain was still in her, the anger, and now Beedie’s. As she screamed, Beedie felt the force of her power in the migraine building in his head. He was a wolf, so he could feel himself healing even as the vessels in his brain popped, but the damage was happening at a much faster rate than he could heal. He held his head in his hands as he was forced to his knees in pain. He knew there was only one way out, so he tried to turn, thinking that like a regular commune, her magic would be useless against him in his wolf form. He was wrong. His eyes glowed, his fangs came out, but the headache continued, if anything it got worst. He was starting to bleed from his nose.
As soon as Nosa realized history was repeating itself, he did what he’d done the last time, he pulled her into his arms and tried to calm her. This time it didn’t work. He’d barely wrapped his arms around her when he found himself launched in the air and landing on his butt in the far right of the room. No one else went close to her, it was obvious that she was too powerful to be stopped. So they all stepped back, giving her a wide berth while they watched her kill Beedie.
For Osezele, going into her commune mark was like breaking a dam and letting all the emotions she kept bottled up out. She bottled up so much that she could never quite get control of this mark, the part of her that used pain to cause pain. It was like chasing clouds, like seeing a zenith, a promise of pure calm and complete peace at a step above her which she just couldn’t quite reach no matter how many steps she climbed. It was freedom, and it beckoned to her, freedom from the pain and anger that had been weighing her down. But then something else appeared on that step above her, something much closer than the freedom, it was a pool of blood and in it lay Beedie, the alpha. Water droplets seemed to be rising out of that blood, water droplets with voices that sounded like angels singing, angels singing to her to “stop, stop killing him, let it go”. And so she did.
When Osezele stopped screaming and opened her eyes, she was back in the room, back with the weight of the dead girl’s dying emotions. She looked at the space around her, and for the first time in her life, she was indifferent to the fear that the other students felt of her, she didn’t give it a second thought. Not even when Beedie, recovering from the migraine she’d caused, wiped furiously at his nose and tried to rise to his feet. She wasn’t bothered then. Deep in her, she felt a change, she felt different, and then she remembered the sing-song angel voice telling her to let go. She’d thought it meant, let Beedie go, but now she wondered if it wasn’t saying something else, something along the lines of her letting go of her own pain. The sing-song voice said it and so she did it. Then Beedie, after a few tries of fumbling around on his own and failing to get up, finally managed to pull himself to his feet.
“You will pay for this.” He promised.
That was when the old Osezele came back with a force. Tears welled up in her eyes as she felt the overwhelming desire to disappear. “I’m sorry!” she pleaded, though her plea came out as a yell. “I couldn’t control it!” she yelled louder. She was still her, still afraid of Beedie, but she could no longer whisper, the pain she carried amplified everything.
“Eat your sorry!” Beedie snapped back at her.
“What did she say?” Tolani asked the question.
All eyes in the room turned to her. The question seemed to have come from nowhere. Who was this she? And when had she spoken? But Tolani asked the question to be prompted to clarify. She asked the question so that Beedie’s attention would be pulled away from harassing her best friend. Although she was still very angry with her, Tolani couldn’t bear the thought of Osezele being afraid. So she got everyone’s attention, and for a moment, Osezele was free to breathe.
“What did who say?” Ngozi asked.
Tolani looked at Osezele, a sign that the question was aimed at her. “There is a reason why communes are the ones who examine dead bodies brought into the community from unnatural causes. It isn’t just to see if there is any magic in their death, it’s to absorb any emotions if they’re left. The communes absorb these emotions and use it as a source of power, yes, but they also use it to get the commune responsible.”
“You’re saying there’s a message in the pain?” Aishat asked.
Tolani nodded. “There’s always a message, a vision in the pain. If a commune takes the power, they also take the weight of the person’s final words. Of course the bad ones just ignore it, but it takes a certain level of darkness to ignore a person’s dying words, and still use their power.”
Osezele thought about what Tolani said. Sometimes she was fascinated with just how much her best friend knew. She considered telling her the truth, the whole truth, including the truth about the augur mark she’d picked up over the break. Osezele was sure Tolani would know what to do. Then she thought about how selfish it would be to use Tolani like that and decided against it. The truth was her burden to bare, as, apparently, was the dead girl’s words. Because she could not forget them, any more than she could get rid of the pain. “Onwu ichota gi ndi mmadu.” Osezele recited, so used to the words now that they felt like they were branded in her brain.
“What language is that?” Victor asked.
To which Lami teasingly responded, “Illiterate.”
“It’s Igbo.” Ngozi replied seriously, the words were not humorous ones, so she didn’t see any need for levity in interpreting them. “It means, death find your people.”
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by siralabai(m): 5:15pm On Mar 10|
Trouble pot has been opened!!!!
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by ztarlord(m): 10:04pm On Mar 12|
what a suspense. more power to your elbow
|Re: The Marked 2: White Sight. A Nigerian Fantastical Fiction Book. by obehiD: 5:00am On Mar 14|
@siralabai welcome to the comments session . The pot has definitely been opened, and trouble is brewing for our beloved St. Luke's students! Can they handle it? Do they seem capable? What do you think...
@ztarlord & @dranoid thanks again for all the comments and positive vibes you guys keep sending my way...honestly you make my head swell, but I have pin so it's fine, haha.
I'll just take this opportunity to thank everyone who's reading and making the effort to follow this story! You guys keep me smiling and (more importantly) writing, so THANK YOU!!!
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