The voice was a whisper, mellifluous, alluring, irresistible. Iorfa clasps the straps of his school bag more firmly to help stifle the growing rage in his chest. The tears in his eyes are frustration. What had been seemingly good was now a thing to –
Iorfa accelerated his pace. He was not going to give in, not with the fear clouding his erratic heart, not with the continuous call of his name.
Turn around! David is coming at you with a knife…
Iorfa shut his mind against the voice. Shut up. In Jesus Name.
But the voice, however, could be telling the truth. It was the voice that had woken him from last night’s dream, wailing in his head to “Rise. Rise, silly. You are late for school.”
And he was.
7: 48, the time read when he checked his phone.
You are on duty, the voice reminded him as he showered—and that sent him tumbling into things, slipping, falling. He almost wrecked his school bag, the zip stuck and resistant, refusing to fasten.
The voice told him that a motorcycle wasn’t far away and that if he didn’t scream all the way he would miss it. He screamed, hailing emptiness as he neared the main road and fortunately, a motorcycle pulled over just as he skidded to a halt in front of the road.
The voice grunted that he was lucky. He did not need additional explanation, fully aware how motorcycles were hard to come along early mornings on this road. Air roared in his ears. It was indeed a lucky day.
In front of the school gate, he paid the “okada”. Peering through the spaces between the bars of the school gate, he spotted Mr. Fidelis, hard jawline and set face, wielding a long, stripped cane. His body immediately flushed with searing heat as he contemplated his plight. The voice encouraged him to take a step, to bury his fears and walk past the teacher on duty. You’ll see, it said, he won’t spill a word.
And Mr. Fidelis said nothing. His stony countenance, however, was unnerving enough, quickening the rapid palpitation of Iorfa’s heart as he marched past, eyes rolling in his sockets—uncertain, trembling, cautious.
Mr. Fidelis’ Maths test was arduous. But the voice put him through, enunciating the steps and answers in his head. And so he was done in less than five minutes. Unbelieving, Mr. Fidelis strode to his desk and picked up the test note, his brows knitted in concentration. And when he was done scrutinizing the work, he grunted, flashed Iorfa a smile, and nodded approval. Upon the teacher’s departure, he launched into “Yes! Yes! Yes!” while his classmates considered him with gloom-dripping countenances.
Pick your pen…stab it into a vein, the voice caught him off guard.
His eyebrows furrowed. What?
Pick the pen…stab a vein…very necessary.
I must be daydreaming.
No you’re not, silly head! The disapproval, the coarseness of the voice sent a bolt through him. His skin hardened with goosebumps. The voice was distinct, like the voice of an entity in his head. All this while he had thought the voice to be his intuition. It definitely wasn’t his inner voice speaking.
As surreal as it felt, he couldn’t help but ask: Who are you?
Are you kidding me, boy? Do it now. Stab a damn vein, hard. Spill blood.
You must be crazy.
Are you referring to your mind as crazy?
His lips parted. Hot spurts of air poured out in rhythm with his heaving chest. Fire burned beneath his skin. He felt the urge to run…but to where?
This is my mind speaking. Everything is fine. I’m not going crazy.
Are you speaking to me? Ejembi, his seatmate, caught him off guard.
Iorfa shook his head.
The voice spoke again. Stab, it persuaded. Softly. Soothing.
Iorfa glanced around. Someone must have invaded his mind with some sort of spell. His eyes fell upon Azua , the indefatigable prayer warrior of the class. The boy was scribbling away in a notebook. Outlining prayer points for long break prayers perhaps.
He would tell Azua. Tell him what? That some supernatural voice was ravaging his mind? A demon, perhaps?
You don’t listen, do you? Let’s see then.
He shut his eyes. Exhaled. Flattened his palm upon his desk, dragged in air. The voice did not call again. Not when the bell for long-break rang. Not when the Literature teacher took the floor dictating her hot baked questions and he chewed on the tip of his pen.
But when school closed and he joined the sea of blue-clad students heading for home, the voice returned to him, growling.
I implore thee, youngster. David is headed for you with a knife.
Behind you, silly head!
Iorfa spun around. His eyes widened. David was truly charging towards him, his twisted features an expression of fury, knife clenched in his fist.
Gently, the world dissolved into blue.
Iorfa grabbed David’s wrist in time, the tip of the knife an inch away from his chest. He pushed back and David stumbled backwards. But David gained balance almost immediately and whipped up his head, rushed forward toward Iorfa.
Guided by a mysterious instinct, Iorfa clamped on the wrist of the hand bearing the knife, twisted the arm until the knife fell out of his clutch. He kicked into David’s stomach and was rewarded with a groan. Blood spilled from David’s mouth, streaking down his chin.
Rage flared inside Iorfa. He knitted his eyebrows and lurched into David, fell him to the floor and began dealing him blows. How could the idiot? After everything he’s done for him, after everything they’ve been through as friends.
Luminance pierced through the blue and the world returned back to its lucidity, rid of colour. Arms pulled at him, voices screamed his name. What are you doing, Iorfa? You’ll kill him.
Iorfa stopped a blow halfway. Something seemed off. He looked away, where the knife had dropped, and in its place was a notebook.
Beneath him, David was crying, face smeared with blood. Get off me, he yelled. Get off me.
What have I done? Jesus, I must be going crazy.
Stop, thundered a familiar gruff tone. Iorfa rose, examining his blood stained hands. He glanced up and locked eyes with Mr. Fidelis. Beside his teacher, a junior student stood, pointing an accusing hand at him. That’s the senior, sir, she said.
Mr. Fidelis felt a chill. It could not be…. and yet the boy’s eyes glowed blue.
A Coloured Mind? And a Blue upon it all?
Follow me, he barked, heart pounding at his chest. It was becoming hard to breathe.
Quick, follow me!
Fear sizzled and prickled underneath his skin. The boy was a Blue Mind and it must be his powers awakening. And if his guess was right, his powers ought to be curtailed immediately or else his chaos would get loose and wreck disaster more fatal.
Hurry up, he snapped at the boy.