THE LOST VORTEX
By Nkoli Os’kar
She heard the cork…and remembered how in a not too distant past she’d desired this tone that was her colleague’s phone.
“Group chat…” she muttered.
“What are they saying now?”
She dressed up, forgetting about the ghost she thought she saw.
Death was after all the license of the bereaved to see ghosts. She thought to herself.
She walked into the living room and browsed though it with her eyes in search of her phone, when she saw a cork that caught her attention.
It stood on it’s side. At least it was…it seemed to be standing, because once again she heard the clattering sound and confirmed the source of the clatter when she watched the cork rattle to silence.
Perhaps the wind, she thought and then turned away to look for her phone.
She turned back again to find the cork standing…again.
“Uhmmm…definitely not the wind…” She appeared calm and casual but gulped what air filled her mouth.
The cork clattered again…and then stood straight. Stood. For it did so a third time.
The normal human would run away from what they could not understand. I would. Most would. But not Nkesi.
Nkesi, I would not describe as normal.
If ever she sought to discover what the norm was, it was usually to defy it. Rebel against it. Do it the Nkesi way; free-spirited and unscripted even by history.
She drew close to the cork only to catch a glimpse of a figure hunched about and above it.
Like the smoke that drifted back and forth…up and out from that strange mushroom I’d noticed earlier yesterday. She thought.
She’d sworn that they were alien bred but Ikenna’s eyes called her paranoid.
“What. are. you?” She whispered.
The cork kept rattling into silence.
She drew closer still…and stretched her hands to lightly stroke the smoke that became clearer.
But then the cork…clattered on…and began to spin.
As the cork spun…the hunched figure formed a vortex that now emanated from the cork’s circumference.
“Wow…” She whispered ‘ever’ so softly.
For that was the last of Nkesi in her living room.
The vortex called her in with her already outstretched arm.
Nkesi neither screamed nor panicked silently.
She lifted her other arm and bent to fit into the direction of the vortex’ twist….
The winds applauded and filtered back the papers and all that rose to clutter in fragile protest.
Shortly after, a child awakened by the vortex, now lost, walked sleepy-eyed into the living room in search of Nkesi.
“Mummy…?” He called.
But all that heard him cry out was his echo from the now empty house.