The skeleton key

In the face of an inevitable reality, the insane option might be the right one.

The skeleton key

My sister's husband caught her strangling their three-month-old daughter. She was always the calm one, with the yoga and the to-do lists, yet here I was in the Psych ward to visit her. 

Her husband and mine were outside speaking in hushed tones; Yoruba demons wondering how they missed the schizophrenia in our family.


I went in and saw my sister on the bed, cool as ice. If she was crazy, I was a break-dancing Eskimo. "Where is the maid," she asked. Like really, the Alfa is on fire you are asking after his beard. Me- "Demola sent her back to her village." 

"Yeepa, Demola has killed me! I watched the maid transfer her mind into baby and transfer baby's mind into her own body. That's why she suddenly couldn't talk and started peeing herself. I was strangling her to get her to switch back. You know me, you know I'm not crazy! These maids from Kawo, that's how they escape poverty, you end up raising them as your own child. A friend warned me but I didn't listen."


I almost believed her- until she started screaming. It took four nurses to sedate her. Driving home, I kept thinking about our own baby; home alone with our maid, who was also from Kawo.  

I parked the car and raced upstairs, my husband behind me. I opened the door and saw baby smiling in her high chair. On the floor beside her, the maid had peed herself and was crying. Husband- "It must be some kind of virus. Our maid has caught it too. I'll take her to the hospital".


I looked from the deflated maid to the ecstatic baby. I picked up the baby and put her to my breast. I wouldn't look good in a straight-jacket. 


Abidemi Abudu is an avid reader and part-time writer of short stories.

Copyright © Abidemi Abudu, 2022. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form on by an electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author/Alolitmag.


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