Preordained - Episode 3

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Apparently, there wasn’t a stable schooling system in the village, and so, most times, teenagers like myself, who had little or more interest, had to rely on independent research. That sunny afternoon, Nathi had suddenly arrived at my home with a pile of textbooks he’d borrowed at the local library. And whilst he was trying to tutor me, reeling off words from the biology text, I was distracted, engrossed instead in a different topic of interest. 

Mama Yahimba had sent her daughter Koko, to deliver the book I’d earlier requested for . And ever since I’d received it, I was having a hard time taking my eyes off its flimsy pages. 

Really, the book was useless, the only source of tangible information being that of the pictures that even looked exaggerated. Most of the pages were torn out, and in a way that seemed pretty intentional, whilst the words that were inked to the dusty parchment was restricted to the same ones that Mama Yahimba had revealed the other night.

“Since it’s obvious you’re not listening to me, would you tell me why you are so interested in this?” Nathi’s voice had then interrupted my train of thoughts. 

“Are you seriously asking me that?” I yelped in disbelief. “How cool will it be if the big dogs, or shape-shifters or whatever, actually exists!” I gushed.

“Lulu Madiba, I’m sure you mean how dangerous!” He interjected.

Read " After Grad " by the same author ( Ishola Ubaydah )

All episodes of this story can be found here >>

. The seriousness that had instantly morphed on his features was a relatively rare kind, and at the time, I knew better than to push any further. Disappointed, I remained quiet. “Can we get back to reading something more relevant?” He asked.

Reluctantly, I simply nodded. 

Time crawled by at a snail’s pace, but it didn’t matter how much concentration I struggled to muster, my mind just wouldn’t stop wandering towards something else. Nathi had left about an hour ago, and I’d returned back to the old book ever since, ploughing through its pages all over again. 

Thick fur, long canine, sharp claws. Those were their prominent features. And as my gaze flicked through the wad of texts underneath, I felt a little shiver rush through my skin. 

Mama Yahimba was right. Overtime, the big dogs had truly evolved, because as it appeared, their bite was like a transmittable disease, and while many had died in the lethal process, some had actually developed a modification in their systems; the kind that had eventually given rise to the existence of the shape-shifters. 

However, saying this was forgetting the mere fact that a zillion years had passed since then. And whilst the theoretical belief proved that the chances of their on-going existence was slim, the fear was still unsubtle, buried deep into the hearts of the elderly people in the village, who repeatedly warned us to back off. 

I suppose it’s true what they say; the greatest fear is the fear of the unknown..  

“Lulu!” The abrupt version of my name yanked me off my thought. 

“Yes Mama,” I recovered quickly. 

“Come get your food, or it’s going to get cold,” She advised. 

“Yes Mama,” I returned yet again. 

I’d immediately sorted out the books that Nathi had earlier brought along, stuffing them by the extreme corner. Mama Yahimba’s book was the last one I’d touched. But as I grabbed onto it, all set to close it up, and dump it with the pile on the floor, my eyes had flickered through one tiny detail. 

I found it by the inner edge of a torn page: A matching pair of earrings, and a piece of necklace, just like the one I had on. 

Coincidence? I strongly doubted it.

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