In a brightly lit garage, a young mechanic worked on a hovercycle and her name was Akyeabea. Her mind was racing with versions of her latest creation, a hovercycle. It had taken her dozens of loans and three other jobs but she was now closer to her dream than ever before.
In the corner of the room, a small red mechanical spider watched her. The image was transmitted to several monitors in a dark room beneath the earth. It had been watching her since her arrival in Tamale.
Two women watched the mechanic at work with interest on the monitors. One wore a veil over her face and stood next to an older woman who was seated. The old woman sighed and clucked twice. The veiled woman looked down at the old one as she stretched out her palm. The intervals between the treatments were getting shorter and the old one was running out of time. The veiled one put three yellow pills in them and her hand closed into a fist.
She closed her eyes, threw her head back and swallowed them. She yawned loudly as she attempted to fight off the urge to sleep forever.
She opened her eyes, “Ti, go with my best converts and bring my daughter to me at once for the procedure.”
“Yes, Mother Superior. I’ll make sure that your new body is brought back here unharmed.”
Back at the garage, Akyeabea dusted off her blue overalls and pressed a red button on the cycle. She crossed her fingers and at first nothing happened. Then it began to hum loudly.
It slowly rose from the ground and hovered just above her knees on a cushion of air. A faint smile spread across Akyeabea’s lips. She would have to fix the humming problem but other than that, she had actually done it.
Suddenly the garage door was blown off its hinges. She ducked for cover behind a workbench. The veiled attendant walked in with four women in white suits.
Akyeabea grabbed a spanner from a wooden table. There were only four of them. Maybe they were thieves coming for her invention. She had not told anyone about it but she was certainly not going to let them take it. The mechanic had worked too hard on it. She sunk into a defensive stance, brandishing the work tool.
“Seize her!” Ti barked.
The quartet rushed at her from all sides. Akyeabea struck one on the left with her spanner. The assailant was sent crashing into the wooden table. Another one began to pull out a dart gun from a holster attached to her belt. Akyeabea darted forward and gripped the barrel with her right hand. She kicked the wielder into the hovercycle.
Akyeabea flung her spanner at the gun hand of a third. The gun was knocked out of her hand and she tackled the assailant to the ground. The fourth woman drew out an ahafo sekan (hunting knife) from a b)ha (scabbard) on her belt.
“What are you doing?” Ti hissed. “You’re supposed to bring her in unharmed!”
The fourth lunged at her, blade swinging. Akyeabea grabbed the blade in mid-swing with her left hand and snapped it in half. She grabbed her face with her right hand and then slammed her assailant headfirst into the floor.
The mechanic turned to face Ti who looked at her calmly. She had always had a battle instinct which made her excel in fights but something about fighting this one suddenly seemed wrong somehow.
“Who are you”’ Akyeabea asked.
“A woman trying to help her dear mother”’ Ti replied softly.
Akyeabea stared at her, puzzled. There was something familiar about this woman but she could not put her finger on it.
Ti sighed and pressed a button on her belt. The tiny mechanical spider jumped from the corner of the wall and landed on the back of Akyeabea’s neck. Tiny needles sprung out of the spider and pricked it.
Akyeabea staggered backwards as the room began to swim around her. Her eyes rolled upwards and she fell towards the floor, unconscious. Ti caught her in mid-fall and walked towards the entrance of the shop with an unconscious Akyeabea in her arms. She reached a white car and put her in the backseat.
The car drove towards a skyscraper with the signboard, ‘Soyoukor Foods‘ next to it. She drove it inside and down a steep tunnel. It stopped in front of the metallic doors of a bunker.
That afternoon, Soyoukor, known as Mother Superior to her people, entered a sterile white room on a metallic chair that glided on a cushion of air. For years, she had sought the key to immortality. The answer had been the mind. It was a simple question of transferring one’s brain into the body of another.
She had begun working on that concept using homeless people. A cult following had grown from this desire by rich people quick to support her with guinea pigs and cash. With the aid of the unethical Dr Yel Ti, she had set everything up to transfer her brain into her young daughter’s body.
Unfortunately Akyeabea had escaped from her clutches. After six months, she had finally tracked her down to Tamale. Now that Yel Ti had secured her, she could finally taste immortality. There was nothing to stop her from repeating the process when the body got too old on her granddaughter!
She stopped next to one of two steel tables. She looked at Ti, who was wearing surgical gloves and a mask.
“Good work, doctor.”
“Thank you, wura (master)”.
Ti helped her onto the table on the left. She glanced at the next table, where an unconscious Akyeabea lay. Soon, there would be no Akyeabea, just a body for her perfect mind. It was why she had given birth to her in the first place!
Ti placed a breathing mask over her face and patted her head gently. She frowned. The doctor was being too emotional around her lately and that was inexcusable. She would have a word with the doctor after the procedure. Ti placed a breathing mask over Akyeabea’s face.
Soyoukor calmly surrendered herself to sleep. She had a nightmare about having Akyeabea’s body but having no recollection of who she was! Suddenly everything around her burst into flames and then there was nothing.
Two hours later, Ti sent Soyoukor’s body down an incinerator chute built into the far corner of the room. She watched it burn to a crisp with a sigh of relief before slamming the door to the incinerator chute shut. The room was suddenly flooded with red light.
An alarm went off. She then wore a gas mask and did the same thing to Akyeabea. She slung the child over her shoulder and pushed open the door just in time as a brown gas flooded in. She then walked out of the room. The entire underground complex was filled with a thick brown gas and she walked past fallen security guards in white suits. She opened the main door, letting in a flood of white light. The doctor reached the ground floor of the building and drove off in a red car into the night.
Moments later, police cars screeched to a stop next to the building. She listened to the news on her car radio about the arrests of Soyoukor’s converts including a brain surgeon named Dr Yel Ti and smiled to herself.
She stopped at the garage and set Akyeabea down on her workbench. She closed the door behind her outside the workshop and walked off into the night.
The next day, the veiled woman lay on a steel operating table in a white room. A fat, short and fair doctor with a shaven head placed a breathing mask on her face. Four hours later, she unwrapped several bandages from her head.
“Well, doctor, how do I look?”
The doctor handed her a small hand-held mirror. She now resembled a younger Akyeabea.
“It’s nice to have my old face back, Obe,” she smiled.
“You’re welcome!” Obe smiled back.
“I’m a little confused, Akyeabea. You went through all that trouble to clone yourself and take Yel Ti’s face for the operation but Soyoukor got exactly what she wanted. Her brain is in that clone’s body so what will stop her from trying to cheat death again?”
“I didn’t just transplant her brain into the clone’s body. I managed to fuse parts of the clone’s brain with Soyoukor’s which I altered a little. The clone’s brain was incomplete, meaning that at the age of nineteen, it would have ceased functioning.”
“It was the only way to help both of them. Soyoukor will live a long, healthy life in that body, but it will be the combination of her brilliance and the clone’s innocence that will dominate her life.”
“So you altered Soyoukor’s personality. I hope it sticks.”
“I’m certain of it. I wiped her memory clean so that she no longer remembers being kidnapped. In fact, she should be resuming work on her hovercycle as we speak.”
In the garage that evening, the clone inspected her new hovercycles. She must have fallen asleep on her workbench or something because she had no memory of what happened after finishing the hovercycle.
Now she had built six more, a feat which surprised even her. Perhaps she had unlocked her inner genius or something. She nodded satisfactorily and turned off the lights. It was the start of something. She felt smarter than before for some reason.
Hover chairs and other images of hover vehicles danced in her head and she knew exactly how to make them a reality.
“You’re a genius, Akyeabea,” she said to herself.
She closed the door behind her.
By Nana Kwame Antwi-Bosiako. Read more stories on his blog, Ghana Martial Tales.