The Key

by Nnedi Okorafor

It was due to a stupid thing done in a fit of panic that Fwadausi Bello altered her life forever. It’s amazing how sometimes the things we worry about most don’t happen and what we should worry about are often those very things we never imagine. So was the case with Fwadausi.

For the last few months, she’d been losing little things, including her favorite pencil from school, the plastic bracelet one of her friends had given her, and her lip gloss. It was infuriating, because her auntie and uncle rarely gave her money, so she couldn’t replace anything. This fateful day, she lost something not so little– she’d lost the key to the house and she was terrified of her uncle’s wrath. She had good reason to be.

Her uncle, a tall man with arms bulging like pineapples, had the violent temper of a demon, especially when it came to money. Only two weeks ago, he had beaten Fwadausi for spilling a pitcher of milk. She’d fallen and hit her head, knocking herself unconscious for thirty seconds. She’d come to still lying on the floor as her uncle was shouting at her auntie not to help her.

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