The voice was a whisper, mellifluous, alluring, irresistible. Iorfa clasped the straps of his school bag more firmly to help stifle the growing rage in his chest. The tears in his eyes were frustration. What had been seemingly good was now a thing to—
Iorfa accelerated his pace. He was not going to give in—no, no, no—not with the fear clouding his erratic heart, not with the continuous calling of his name.
“Turn around! David is coming at you with a knife.”
Iorfa shut his mind against the voice. “Shut up,” he said. “Shut up In…in …in Jesus’ Name!”
But on a second thought, logic streaked over Iorfa’s mind. The voice 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 am, the time read when he checked his phone.
“You are on duty,” it 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 if he didn’t scream all the way he would miss it. And so 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.
“You are lucky,” grunted the voice. Motorcycles were hard to come along early mornings on this road, he was indeed lucky. Air roared in his ears all through the ride.
In front of the school gate, he alighted and 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, striped 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 indeed, Mr Fidelis said nothing. His stony countenance, however, was unnerving, quickening the rapid palpitation of Iorfa’s heart as he marched past, eyes rolling in his sockets—uncertain, trembling, cautious.
Mr. Fidelis’ Mathematics test was arduous. But the voice put him through, enunciating the steps and answers in his head. And so Iorfa was done in five minutes.
Unbelieving, Mr. Fidelis strode over to his desk and picked up his test note, brows knitted in concentration. Having scrutinized the work, he grunted, flashed 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 a pen, stab a vein,” the voice intruded his ecstasy.
Brows furrowed, he snapped back. “What?”
“Pick up your pen, stab a vein. Very necessary.”
Iorfa snickered, air spurting out of his nostrils. “I must be daydreaming.”
“No, you are not, silly head!” The disapproval, the coarseness of the voice sent a bolt through him. His skin hardened with goose bumps. All this while he had thought the voice to be his intuition speaking. But with how distinct and grave the voice sounded now, an entity in his head, it was definitely not 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?”
Iorfa’s lips parted. Hot spurts of air poured out of his nostrils in rhythm with his heaving chest. Fire burned underneath his skin. His legs ached to run…but where to?
This is my mind speaking. Everything is fine. I am 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, an evil family member, perhaps?
“You don’t listen, do you?” the voice reprimanded. “Let’s see then.”
Iorfa 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 and he joined the fellowship brethren for their morning prayers and Adeyemi rapped his shoulder and exclaimed “You came!” Not when the Literature teacher took the floor dictating her hot baked questions and he chewed 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, 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, rushing 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 slipped out of David’s clutch and fell to the ground. He kicked into David’s stomach and was rewarded with a groan. David, breathing loud and raspy, gathered strength and glanced up into Iorfa’s eyes, blood streaking down his chin.
Chest still heaving from a gnawing rage, Iorfa reinforced his stance and lurched into David, fell him to the ground and began plummeting him with blows. How could the idiot? After everything he had done for him, after everything they had been through as friends?
Luminance pierced through the blue and the world returned back to its lucidity, rid of colour. Arms pulled at Iorfa, voices screamed his name.
“What are you doing, Iorfa?”
“Stop! You will kill him.”
Iorfa stopped a blow halfway. Something seemed off. He darted eyes around, settling his gaze upon where the knife had dropped, but in its place was a hard bound 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 Mr. Fidelis stood a junior student, hand stretched out, pointing at Iorfa. “That’s the senior, sir,” she snapped.
Everyone committed into an unspoken silence. No one moved, only stared, shaking heads until someone began to say “God have mercy” and Mr. Fidelis cut in sharp. “How long now?”
“I don’t understand what you mean, Sir,” Iorfa said, head hung.
“The voice—how long have you been hearing it?”
Iorfa’s eyebrows shot up and a chill ran through him. His words tripped upon each other. “Days, a week now,” he wheezed, elated at the opportunity to finally express this problem. “It has taken all over my mind and I think I am going crazy!”
Pstt., David landed a spit on Iorfa’s face. “I don’t ever want to have anything to do with you again, ever!”
Upon David’s departure, Mr Fidelis cocked his head at Iorfa. “Follow me,” he said.
Within the small space that was Mr. Fidelis’ office, Iorfa narrated his travails with the voice. The good and the bad. The vivid dreams. The sudden feeling of dizziness.
And Mr. Fidelis face softened, for the first time since Iorfa had known him. “You are a Blue Mind, Iorfa,” he sighed, hands clasped under his chin.
“Blue Mind?” Iorfa drawled. “What do you mean?”
“A rare species of the human race, your powers are awakening. And if you do not learn to gain control and mastery of them, what you did out there will measure small to the many fatal disastrous things you will do.”
Iorfa’s mind flexed and looped, contrasting thoughts pounding on the door of his mind, a crowd, too much for him to pin his concentration on one. But immediately one took prominence, whipping out itself as memory inside his head, Iorfa acted on it. “But Sir, David was actually coming at me with a knife!”
“A knife? I see. Visions steeped in blue, blood vibrations, abi?”
“Yes,” Iorfa replied with vigour. “What do I do, Sir?”
“Go home for now. But tell no one about this and try as much as possible not to have your emotions flare. They flare and you go unconscious, understood? We’ll see tomorrow.”
“How about the voice, Sir?”
“Breathe. Block it. It’s only a manipulation of your senses.”
“Okay Sir. But, how is it you know so much about this?”
Mr. Fidelis’ lips spread into a smile. “I am a Coloured Mind too. I’m Green.”