I moved towards the mirror I had once cringed away from. Perhaps it held the answer to my present trouble. The sounds and laughter from the room had become secondary as my mind kept drilling hard for answers to what I was experiencing. Slowly and painstakingly, I drew closer to it despite the fact it made my blood run cold.
As I stood before the mirror, I looked squarely this time at my features. My shoulders were broader, my eyes were narrower, but all these only bore a tiny bit of resemblance to my real face. This was nothing like me. Where were my facial marks? Even if some certain advanced surgery had been performed on me, I still had to know my own eyes when I checked through the mirror, right? My eyes weren’t brown, they were kind of teal in colour. I moved closer to the mirror, my head almost in contact with it. No, there was no way this could be me. A certain fear crept in, but what kept me looking at my strange features what sheer amazement. True, it all of a sudden was greater than the fear.
A closer look revealed that my ear lobes were pierced. Wow. Rather than hate what I saw, I kinda was intrigued. Not that I would have ever thought of piercing my body even under duress, but I for once thought that if this was real, or maybe the real part of a dream, I might as well begin to be comfortable in my new skin. I pulled my left ear and realized that the pinna felt really soft, compared to the tough and rigid one that bedeviled my growing up years. I mean the real me. The Eli me.
I touched my nose. It seemed as the only thing I was slightly familiar with. A little bit broad but not flat. I –
“Time to go, buggie,” Dan didn’t drag me calmly. I wondered what the real owner of this body was really like. From the way they pulled me and talked, they must be very fond of me. I mean, the real bearer of this body most have been real fun. I wasn’t a boring person, fortunately, but living in a body younger than mine made me feel more like a spring chicken.
We assembled with the rest of the family down the hospital hall. I would have responded to what I saw only that I was too mesmerized, which in itself what a sort of response. People of divers colours where all around, speaking a few more languages than I understood, going about their different directions. There was a recognizable pattern here. It was easy to see that some were staffs of the hospital, while others were either patients like myself, or visitors like my family.
Every sign that hung from the ceiling or gave direction on the wall were digital, and 3D-ish. That’s the best way I could describe it. The floor glittered with our reflection, and I could only look down for so long to avoid staring at my unfamiliar face. Where was our location? Who were this people? Truth was, all I had been told earlier may all be a lie. Some well scripted lie. In fact this people who posed as my family could be adopters. Perhaps they were taking me to some facilities downtown to complete another series of test. Even gan sef, this might just be a test. Some test of social adaptiveness. All the movies I had seen about survival started taking their toll on me. Could I be as fast as the Maze Runner if it ever came to running for my life?
I almost began going nervous just as we took a turn and stood before a transparent door. I was an elevator, only that it was voice activated. The see-through door parted as Suss gave the command, and we all went in. I was caught looking all around me. Lord have mercy… Jesu gba mi ke…
In less than ten seconds, we had descended a hundred and twenty floors. No one had been able to answer my question about our location. I realized then that I hadn’t really asked anyone. I looked at Joko who returned my gaze with a smile. I spoke quietly almost into her ears, as we moved towards another glass counter. She seemed to like it. Although I had never had a close acquaintance with a young beautiful white girl, I seemed to be doing well relating to one. A thought came into my mind just then, and I withdrew just a bit. Was she one of those foreign psychoanalyst, monitoring my social skills? I studied her look. She seemed awed rather than observatory. “I didn’t hear you,” She had a perfect smile.
Lord knows you are beautiful. And I was only too delighted to ask the question again. “Where are we?” I looked in her eyes again, while Suss and Dan were addressing the uniformed man across the glass countered.
“We are in the hospital.” It seemed she had been so eager to have a conversation with me. Yeah, I know we are in the hospital, gorgeous, I mean where is this place? “Yes, I know this is a hospital. But I mean where are we? What country are we?” With the mixture of a balance of white and black people, my answer was easily the US, but watching her shake her head slowly, made me start guessing.
“We are in West Africa. Lagos, West Africa.” She seemed happy to give me the news while she studied the contour forming on my face.
“It’s your turn,” she said, shifting my attention to the rest of the family. I moved towards the glass counter and realized the desk was a soft touch 3D console. A green piercing light got my attention, and immediately I responded to it another screen sparkled with life, showing my image and all my data. I tried to read as fast as I could, skipping whatever looked like gibberish to me. I saw my name, age, eye colour, tongue print and carotene type all display before me. The uniform man behind the console was studying the same thing via another screen. So I’m twenty years, and 6 feet 1 inch tall. So incredulous.
Before I could notice what had happened next, my finger print had been confirmed from the tip of the desk where I had casually placed my hands. Oh, before I say ‘that was so fast’, he was done.
“Have a good day, Mr. Samuel Goerge-Akinfe,” the uniformed man said with a cultured smile.
When I looked behind me, my family members were eager to leave this facility. Everything moved too fast here, and the people didn’t think time was enough to look around. Before I could conclude or make sense of any thought, my mind was bombarded with more than a neutron voltage of other thoughts, all struggling to register first on my virgin brain. I stared up to the ceiling to vent a little of my frustration. The clear blue sky stared back at me through a concave transparent ceiling. A minute ago, the roof over us was a musk green patterned enameled ceiling, now it had all folded up to give a natural ambience. Either this is magic, or this is heaven. Or both. But then I realized I was still dreaming.
As soon as we were out of the facility, we walked towards the end of the concrete pedestal, and I read the words inscribed upon a giant onyx marble: Pope Matthew Kukah Memorial. I knew that name. It was more than familiar. In less than a few seconds, I had scanned through the files in my brain for an image to set in. Yeah, Rev. Fr. Matthew Kukah was the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto. He must have been lucky to become a Cardinal before he was eighty, and then elected the Pope. Was he the first black pope of the Roman Catholic? I made a mental note to google that out. But for the main time I swelled with good envy.
I seemed to be in a world of my own, I wanted to take in the future in one fell swoop. I was pulled away from my thoughts when our vehicle arrived, and we all went in.
The conversation as we journeyed had a lot of magnitude, but no direction. And I guessed it was simply because everyone was excited.
From my peripheral vision, I noticed Suss monitor me. Her smile seemed plastic now because the wrinkles that initially cut beneath her eyes were now missing. It was obvious she was in some thought of her own as well, and yet trying to observe me, and also keep up with the conversation in the vehicle. From the inside of this car, it must be a Toyota Siena. Roomy enough to host a small party, the seat had a massaging effect on my butt. By the arm armrest was a screen that allowed me to regulate the temperature and posture of the seat.
Now I thought of what model this vehicle should be, and I had another reason to smile. Perhaps a 75. No, not a 1975, but a 2075. Goosebumps grew in seconds over my exposed skin. How was I going to cope with the barrage of information I would be getting. I must remain as calm as I have been so far.
The last time I googled on the Toyota Siena 2016 model, I felt the world was coming to an end. Now even thoughts can’t be adequately described on paper. “May I use your phone, please?” I looked over at Dan who sat across from me.
Instead, he looked over at Suss, then back at me. I noticed the body language. “I’m sure Suss can make an excuse for you, right?”
“Yeah, Suss said no phones today,” said Clay. “Except for something very important.”
“Who do you want to call?” Suss asked. “We could make an exception for you.” I thought about the question for a bit. Who could I even possibly get to call? It was 60 years into the future. If I ever lived this long, I would be what? 87 years old? Yeh, mogbe. All my friends would have been long dead. I almost raised my hands to my head.
“No. No one. I just wanted to check up the model of this car on Google.” I felt a little smart with my answer.
“What’s google?” Cinda asked, not sure what I said. Everyone apart from me shared the same look. I didn’t care anymore. I put my hands on my head, and dramatically bent my body until my head was between my knees. I was sure going to be on tenterhooks for the rest of my catching-up life.
“Anyways, Peter can speak for himself, can’t he?” Joko said. Before I could understand what she meant, the must-be Peter had responded. “Very well, Joko,” came the drivers voice, I guess. All the while, I hadn’t bothered to look over my shoulder to at least say hi to the driver. So I turned to face the dashboard which kinda looked like a cockpit. I turned back to look at my family in astonishment. There was no driver. I looked back at the cockpit. It had two empty seats and a ten inches screen on the dashboard. That was all. Who the heck is Peter, and how come… My thoughts trailed into silence.
I sat back, literally collapsing into my seat. “Thank you Sam for seating back,” said the human-like voice over the speaker. “Now to answer your question, Joko, I’m a Subrid Land Bus created on 2 August, 2070 as a 71 model. I run on hydride water, oxy-laser or solar charges. I am currently carrying 6 passengers, weight of approximately 351 kg. I love moving at a speed of 200 km/hr but as instructed by Dan, I must do only a hundred. I hope he changes his mind soon. At this pace we will get to our destination in approximately 15 minutes.”
At this time I was kneeling on my seat, staring at the dashboard, watching as Peter’s voice was graphically represented on the 3D screen.
I finally sat down, and crossed my legs as a gentleman, my smile returning to my face. In my mind I had done fifty million back-flips, counted seven thousand Sub-zero combos, and ran round the Olympic stadium in Beijing three thousand times.
“Although, if I’m super charged and licensed for air travel, I could go as the crow flies and get to the Bay in 5 minutes, 20 seconds.
I just nodded my head. “Would that suffice? Or would you need me elaborate further on engine capacities.”
“That will be fine,” I answered.
“Ms Joko?” Peter asked.
“Yes, Peter, thank you. That will be enough.” Joko instructed.
“It’s my pleasure.”
It had to be either of these two: I wake up from this dream, or I run mad. Then I thought further. Perhaps another comatose session might just do.