The Mystery of the Little Boy – 1

 

Yeni, a 27 year old post graduate student of Lautech was walking to Doyin guesthouse after the little disappointment she met at the salon. She had sat at the salon for over an hour reading mindlessly all the magazines on customer’s stool while waiting for the arrival of her hair dresser. The hairdresser kept saying she was near the salon, but Yeni got tired of the lies, and left in annoyance.

“Bloody Africans,” she muttered, as she turned from the asphalt tarred road of Under G to the unnamed dusty crescent where Doyin guesthouse is situated.

It was a little past midday, and the big round ball that turns night into day was at its zenith.

“This sun is too hot o,” Yeni complained, “Abi the angel in charge of the sun has turned the knob to super-hot, and went to play chess with his fellow angels?” She asked herself rhetorically.

Sweats streamed down her oval, powdered face. They moved slowly, and some of them glued to her face forming droplets like crystals in an Aladdin cave. She opened her bag and tore a small tissue paper from the bundle she had in her bag, then she used it to clean her face. She was careful because she didn’t want to smear the makeup she wore on her face, she would have otherwise swiped the sweats with her right forefinger.

The crescent was silent, as everyone took cover from the heat the sun was radiating. Yeni’s movements were brisk, and her mind was pegged on how she would get to the guesthouse in order to escape the heat. There was a stone that was partly buried into the ground along the crescent; Yeni didn’t see it and she hit it with her right leg.

“Ouch,” she moaned, as she bent down to rub her manicured toe nails. “It is broken. What was I thinking?”

She continued her walk, only to hear a faint footstep behind her. She ignored it and continued her walk, but the footstep persisted. She stopped, and to her amazement, the footstep stopped too! She looked back quickly, but saw no-one.

“Mtchew,” she hissed, “what is wrong with me this afternoon?”

She resumed walking once more. Doyin guest house was in sight, some 200 meters from where she was. She noticed that the faint footstep had resumed. Her brains amplified them, and in her chest, it was like a Goliath marching in the land of David. She didn’t stop walking, but instead she looked back without stopping, that was how she saw him.

He was about three feet tall. He had an oval face, and he had no hairs on his head like Michael Jordan. His nose was big and flat and was in contrast with his mouth which was small. He was dressed in a blue and white stripped polo T-shirt, and he wore an oversized wrangler jeans that was rolled at the base. He wore a brown sandal, but Yeni couldn’t see them as the rolled jeans hid most of it.

Even though Yeni had not seen the little boy before, he looked familiar. She felt sort of a latent thread pulling her to him. She stared at the boy for a few minutes before she resumed her walk.

She reached Doyin guesthouse and entered it. She went to her room, showered and took a nap under the full blast of the two air-conditioners her room had. She woke up four hours later and made for the fridge.

“I have finished my reserved food, I better eat out, and later check on my hairdresser,” she advised herself, as she moved away from the fridge towards the sink. She rinsed the tartar that had gathered in her mouth during the sleep. She then dressed up and moved out of the room.

As she moved out, she met the Hausa security guard- Adamu, whom she greeted as she stepped out of the gate. She had barely turned right when she noticed something odd.

The little boy she saw earlier on that afternoon was sitting at the front of the guesthouse, near the big black gate through which vehicles enter the guesthouse. As soon as he saw her, he stood up and dusted the back pockets of his jeans like an adult.

Yeni neglected him, and hid her astonishment as she walked towards Alata milk n honey restaurant. She periodically looked back, only to see the little boy following her.
When she got to Facebook junction in street of Under-G, she quicken her footsteps, and she kept looking back till she made sure she eluded the little boy.

Yeni got to Alata milk n honey restaurant, and ordered a plate of fried rice, moi moi and beef. She also ordered bottled water as against the soft drinks most customers at the restaurant ordered for. As a Food scientist, she knew water is the appropriate solvent for digestion, and those that take soft drinks as food solvents are engendering future problems for their body.

Fifteen minutes was enough, and she was through with her meal. She took out her white bold 2 Blackberry and called her hairdresser. Confirming she was on sit, she sprang from her seat and exited the restaurant.
Hardly had she moved from the door, when the security guard called her.

“Madam, you wan forget your son?” the security guard asked.

“My son,” Yeni replied, confused.
The little boy ran from the back of the security guard towards Yeni. Not wanting to create a scene, Yeni replied

“Thank you, oga security. I have been looking for him since. Here, have this,” Yeni stretched a N500 note towards the security man, “don’t be annoyed it is too small.”

“Na you I go thank Madam o. God go bless you and your pikin. God go —”

Yeni carried the little boy in her arms, and then she moved out of the Alata milk n honey’s compound amidst the prayers the security man poured on her.

Yeni looked at the little boy’s eyes sternly.

“Where are you from?” she barked at him.
The little boy looked still and didn’t reply.

“I don’t have time for this kind of yeye wahala, am taking you to the police station”

Yeni stopped a motorcycle and took the little boy to Sabo police station. She reported him as a lost but found boy. Having signed the necessary documents, she left the police station as relief seeped into her buggy mind.
Back in the guesthouse with a relieved mind, she opened her Acer laptop and continued her project work that involved studying the nutritional contents of the leaves of African walnuts.

The following morning, she woke up joyfully as the sun rose in the eastern skies reflecting its lights on the horizons. She cleaned up, dressed and picked her hand bag containing her lecture note. There was no time to prepare a meal as she was already late for the 8:00am lecture that was scheduled to hold at 250 LT.

Yeni sped outside the guesthouse, and could barely return the greeting the security man posted to her. As soon as she got outside, she almost as she stopped dead like someone who had seen a ghost.
Sure it was more than a ghost. It was the little boy!

To be continued…



38 thoughts on “The Mystery of the Little Boy – 1” by Kay Ade Greins (@kodeya)

  1. glow (@anyieinstein)

    Now, this is getting interesting. I can’t wait for the second part of the story

    1. thanks… the next part would be out soon

  2. This story is getting interesting

    1. more to come…thanks for reading

  3. Nice read@kodeya Waiting for the next installment.
    Keep writing…

  4. @kodeya I like the suspense of the story and think it reads well and like the others, I can’t wait to read the next instalment and see where you are going with this.

    However, I know you are trying to build suspense but you have to be careful and make sure it reads true. Like, why will she say thank you I’ve been looking for him all day when he isn’t her child? What true nigerian will do that?

    Or isn’t she Nigerian because she also said bloody africans. A nigerian woman, in fact all african women know when you get to the salon even with an appointment it does’t mean you will get seen and african’s don’t say bloody africans only non africans do.

    Also there is this famous saying to all aspiring writers, “It’s better to show than tell.” This is something I think you should learn, you did quite a lot of telling in the story and not enough showing, one example is where she thinks she should go out and eat and then check her hairdresser after waking up from her sleep. I don’t see the need for that line; you could have just shown us what she did.

    Finally and sorry if this is turning into an epistle, but there were also some grammatical errors and sentences that just didn’t read right, like the penultimate sentence in your story doesn’t read right at all.

    But like I said in the beginning can’t wait to see where you are going with this.

    1. @dkny111

      Thanks for your detailed comment.
      On showing and telling, I know that rule like the line of my hand, but the thing is I don’t want to over show. Maybe I just agree I don’t know how to strike a balance between showing and telling. I would intensify my effort… thanks so much

      1. @kodeya it’s hard oo the showing and not telling thing. I do it myself too so no be only you. I think it’s something we all have to keep working on

  5. Sunshine (@nicolebassey)

    Hmm A lot of redudant words here — resumed, had, ‘big round ball that turns night to day’ = sun , rhetorically, she used it to clean her face = she dabbed her face . Sweat has no plural, footsteps not footstep.

    Bloody African has already been pointed out, did you mean artisans?

    The scene where she pays a guard five hundred naira for a strange child is ludicrous.

    The work reads like a first draft. I look forward to reading more from you , please polish before you post. Thanks for sharing.

    1. thanks so much for reading… corrections are noted… there is no end to learning…. Grazias

  6. nice story, suspense well employed, check what @nicolebassey has said though

  7. There was this evil foreboding at the onset I felt you handled well but that might have been because of the tags. I have read a story where a zombie kid followed her human father around so nothing fresh caught me on the plot thus far. The part about solvent, water, soda sounds like TMI.
    This leaves me not on suspense but curious as to the twist this would take.
    And, yea…The narrative needs work; it is stiff & only writing consistently cures that naturally.
    I will like to see how the plot pans out in other posts.
    You’ll do better.

    1. thanks so much for the kind words

  8. Lovely story. I like the suspense that is building up.
    Can’t wait to read the next episode.
    I was shocked when she said she had been looking for him at the eatery. What was she thinking?

    1. you would be surprised the more by the sequel…..thanks for reading

  9. “She neglected him” should have been ‘She ignored him’. Where you used the word “engendering” is out of place. Go easy with the imageries. Have fun writing!

    1. Thanks for the error pointed out…. thanks

  10. Nice read, @kodeya. I’m looking forward to the next episode. Pay attention to the other comments, especially the ones noted by @dkny111 and @nicolebassey. I will reiterate the caution to do more showing than telling. I know it is fiction, but you could either make it more realistic or proffer explanations for the parts that seem unrealistic. For instance, you could explain that Yeni said “bloody Africans” instead of something more plausible like “yeye people” because of the years she spent abroad or influenced by a movie/book she recently saw/read.
    I don’t know why a post-graduate student lives in a guest house, not a hostel. Could you explain?
    I also cannot imagine why she would readily accept the boy and pay the guard for watching him – nicolebassey already pointed that out. If you did not intend to explain that in subsequent episodes, please do so.
    Again, good work. Keep writing.

    1. thanks for reading and dropping an comment…#smiles#

      actually in my school (Lautech), some postgraduate student live in the guesthouse. And as for other correction, I would try to add them to the continuation before it is posted because I have already submitted it for review…

  11. I like the fact that I have no idea where the story is going. People had already given some honest comments. Tag me on the second part.@Kodeya I noticed you like Agatha Christie and Dan Brown. You can look for Neil Gaiman and Angela Carter.

    1. I would check out the authors you recommended. Thanks for reading + Part two is out and I have tagged you like you asked.

  12. Nice read; good use of suspense too. The plot is something I can also relate with. However, like it has been said, the difference between ‘a comprehensive passage’ and a literary work is the telling/showing distinction. Try work on that.

    1. Working on how to balance my showing and telling. Thanks for reading sir

  13. The others have highlighted most of the issues with this, so I’ll give my 2 cents? 2 pence? Kobo? Whatever…

    “He was about three feet tall. He had an oval face, and he had no hairs on his head like Michael Jordan [He had an oval face and a cleanly shaven head, with a big, flat nose and a small mouth]. His nose was big and flat and was in contrast with his mouth which was small. He was dressed in a blue and white stripped polo T-shirt, and he wore an oversized wrangler jeans that was rolled at the base [cuffs]. He wore a brown sandal [one? What happened to the other one?], but Yeni couldn’t see them as the rolled jeans hid most of it [so how do you know he was wearing brown sandals?].”

    This sort of story requires some sort of punch in the opening lines; reads like an everyday drama at first. You need to keep your readers engaged. And the issue about not showing too much… No one said ‘show some, tell some’. Show us, don’t tell us.

    Rewrite this.

    Good luck.

    1. @raymond

      Hmm so elated #hopping while dancing alanta#

      The king of NS horror/supernatural talks. Really appreciate your analysis.
      Actually, I used an omniscient view in the story, that’s why I can see what the MC couldn’t see.

      Plus what I know is that, in a short story, you show more and tell less. If
      you show all, you’ll bore the readers. Novelist tell the portions that they know would bore the reader, like trying to explain what a MC saw while looking outside a train when he saw no significant thing during the travel.

      1. ” in a short story, you show more and tell less. If you show all, you’ll bore the readers. ”

        Says who? Again, it is “Show, don’t tell”. They didn’t say ‘Show some’. If I can’t visualize what you are trying to make me see, how will it make sense to me?

        As for your Ominiscient view, you mean 3rd person POV, right. The problem is, you know what you see, but your readers don’t know what you see. It’s even trickier to write a short story than a novel, to be honest.

        Anyway, good luck.

  14. On to the next installment!!!!!

  15. @dkny111 @nicolebassey @raymond has said a lot. do take heed.
    the issues are
    1. in trying to paint a picture, you overdescribed. it is comparable to make up, when used appropriately, it beautifies; too much and you get grotesque.
    2. poor sentence structure. made the reading boring. try for more compound sentences.
    3. inappropriate use of some words e.g engender
    4. believability of the story. e.g accepting a boy that spooks you rather than face embarrassment.
    5. all telling and no showing. you want us to use our brain while reading, let us make the deductions, dont tell us.
    6. fiction is all about telling a story, be fluid and seamless…

    writing is not easy. we are all learning. keep writing, keep getting better, you have it in you.
    well done

    1. @topazo

      I appreciate your outlined analysis. Guess the baffling issue here is this showing thing. Please give me some tips…….

  16. @kodeya, many have said what I would otherwise have said about the telling of the story. Wrong/clumsy use of words, tense confusion, grammatical issues, halting narrative, etc.

    As for the story itself, you have certainly created a mystery about this little boy, and I’m curious to know what happens to him, so I’ll keep reading.

  17. Jo (@josephoguche)

    coming out good … !

  18. It would be unfair of me not to drop a comment after reading this captivating story. Quite interesting i must confess.

    How do i get the link to part 2 of this wonderful story? I’m actually a newbie on this forum.

  19. mendel martha (@ihenyengladysusile)

    wow!! can’t wait 4 d next sequel.

  20. Read this story, agree with the corrections, especially the #500 egunje, doubt if money is that easy to come by in lautech. Suspense heightened, can’t wait for the next part, great job

  21. nice…keep it up…keep improving too

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