It’s been ages since I wrote anything, but I’m back. This is a fan fiction piece inspired by Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch. Please enjoy.
“Hey! Sunny!” Nwanneka called out as Sunny was leaving her class, Orlu following closely behind.
“Oh no.” Sunny sighed as she tried to put on something she hoped was a warm smile.
“Here comes mama’s baby.” Orlu said with a smirk.
Sunny would have smacked him, but Nwanneka was there already. “Good morning Sunny.” She waved to Orlu and he waved back. They started their walk to the school canteen.
Turning back to Sunny, she said, “I was waiting for you to come out of your house until it started getting late, but when I went to check your house, your mother said you had already left. When did you leave the house?”
Sunny’s and Orlu’s smiles got wider as only they knew that Sunny had turned invisible as she left the house so she could get past Nwanneka undetected. The girl had become a pest and unfortunately, they didn’t make insecticides for her kind.
Nwanneka and her mother had moved to the house opposite Sunny’s a couple of weeks ago and it turned out Nwanneka’s mother Chinemelum, was her mother’s old bestie from secondary school. For whatever reason, the women thought it would be terrific to have their children continue the friendship that had begun with their mothers. Sunny was given the role of “big sister” even though she was only two years older than Nwanneka. She didn’t think she liked having a little sister, at least, not anymore.
“Sunny, did you hear me?” Called Nwanneka.
“Yes, I did.” She lied.
“So, what do you say?”
“Okpa or diet for lunch?” Orlu volunteered.
“Oh, okpa.” Responded Sunny. Throughout the previous week and the week before that, Sunny had been eating diet for the most part and she wanted a break. She still didn’t have an answer for why it was called diet. It was basically puff-puff with onions and pepper in it, oily on the outside and soft on the inside.
As soon as they had bought their snacks, Nwanneka unwrapped her okpa and started eating it. Sunny wasn’t particularly hungry and decided she would take hers home, while Orlu didn’t buy anything at all.
“Ah, Sunny! You’ve forgotten Mrs Aneto wanted to see us at break time!”
Sunny had no inkling what Orlu was talking about, but she played along. “Oh yea, true.” She managed to say as she tried to mask her amusement.
“Nwanneka, we’ll see you later!” Orlu said as he grabbed Sunny’s elbow and pulled her with him. As they half jogged away from the canteen, Nwanneka tried to say something with her mouth full of okpa, but they couldn’t guess what it was. Not that they cared.
Sunny was grateful to Orlu for saving the day and ridding them of Nwanneka. “You’re such an actor,” she said when Orlu had slowed to a walk.
“Naah, that’s Chichi.” He responded.
Sunny wasn’t surprised when they passed by the staffroom, but she had to ask when they went past the side of the building and started going around it. “Where are we going Orlu?”
“I want to show you something.”
She couldn’t begin to guess what he wanted to show her, but she could guess why. They stopped at an old udara tree behind one of the school buildings that were no longer in use.
“Close your eyes.” Sunny giggled, but she obeyed. How dramatic.
“Give me your hand.” Sunny obeyed again and extended her hand, palm up. Orlu placed something in it, but before she could open her eyes to see what it was, Orlu cried, “keep them closed!”
She wondered if he would place something else in her hand, but instead, he grabbed her shoulders and planted a kiss on her lips. She was shocked, but she knew it was only about time and she was glad he didn’t wait for her to do it first. Sure, it lasted only two seconds and she was sure it wasn’t fantastic as far as kisses went, but she liked it.
She could feel herself blushing and unable to meet Orlu’s eyes as he was unable to meet hers. She looked at what he had placed in her hand and it was, well… She didn’t know what it was, but it looked like something he had picked from the ground.
“What is this?”
“It’s an enchanted eburu shell.” Like she knew what that was. He looked smug as he said that, so it had to do something useful.
“When you get home, place it in the centre of your room and ask it to open for you.”
“So, I ask it to open for me and then, what happens?”
“You’ll find out when you get home.”
Orlu had meant the shell to be her birthday present, but the kiss had felt more like a present. Maybe because she didn’t know what the shell did yet. As she got to her door, she wondered what her little friend might have made for her.
At first, she didn’t see it because she had looked toward the dresser first. She froze when she saw it at the foot of her bed. It was the biggest yet that her little friend had created. It was as tall as her and it was her. She stood there looking at the statue of herself made from only heaven knew what materials and she was in awe of what she saw.
She looked like a warrior, with the strangest, most beautiful markings on her face drawn on with something gold. She had her juju knife in one hand and a sword in the other, with the expression on her face suggesting that she was fighting off some terrible enemy. She thought of her grandmother’s letter and the suggestion that she could be descended from some sort of warrior line. She hadn’t decided when she would ask Sugarcream about it.
Her little friend had been still the whole time she was taking his creation in, as if he understood how intense seeing the statue must have felt for Sunny. Then he started buzzing, waiting for Sunny to praise him and she did, clapping as fast and hard as she could.
“I would hug you if you weren’t so tiny,” and the creature flew in an upward spiral only to drop to the floor as if dead, and rise again in excitement. Sunny laughed.
Sunny was ready to open the shell, so she double-checked to make sure her door was locked, placed it on the floor in the centre of her room, and half-jumped on her bed. She looked at it and said, “open for me.”
At first, she wasn’t sure it had worked, but then she noticed the shell was starting to move a little. She held her breath as it flipped to have the side that had been facing down face up. Slowly, the shell opened and after about two seconds, she noticed blue figures started dancing out of the tiny shell, growing in size as they rose.
Soon, a pleasant kind of music she had never heard before started playing and she lay in her bed as she saw a figure that looked like a pregnant woman. Soon the woman was in labour and gave birth to her child. It was then that she recognised the woman, it was her mother. And so the figures continued to dance out of the shell, filling the air until Sunny’s room was awash in blue light. She saw every birthday until this one, her thirteenth birthday, and it ended with Orlu’s kiss.
Sunny was grinning from ear to ear as she grabbed the shell and put it under her pillow. That was no doubt the best birthday present ever. She looked at her statue again and she wasn’t sure how she knew, but her little friend was green with envy. She blew it a kiss and said, “yours is better.”