“What are you doing?!” Sompisi raged. “I trust you with my important business and I find you wasting time in a graveyard?”
Nqobi cleared her throat, as she lowered the violin and bow, tucking them behind her back. “I … I was just–”
“You ungrateful child. Your mother is worthless, and, it seems, so are you.”
Locust was fluttering around Sompisi’s face, as Mantis ran up Nqobi’s neck, tucking herself behind the girl’s ear. At the feel of her tiny friend, the girl lifted her chin. “I have been practising the violin. I wanted it to be a surprise for you and Mama.”
“Oh, it is a surprise,” Sompisi spat. “Never did I think you would steal from me.”
“What? No, you don’t understand, it was a gift–”
“Oh, I do understand. I understand that you just helped yourself to my money; a little here from one envelope, a little there, hoping I would not notice, eh?”
“That’s not true!”
“What is true is that you are never wasting time on this foolishness ever again.” With that, Sompisi reached around Nqobi and wrenched the violin and bow from her hands.
She cried out, but before she could try to get them back, Sompisi had broken both over his knee, tossing their remains at the tree. Both bounced off the trunk, landing on the ground like birds that had flown into a window.
“You are so mean!” Nqobi yelled.
Sompisi replied with his hands, striking the girl so hard across the face that she fell, landing hard on the ground, which pressed against her now bloody nose.
Sompisi crouched down, hissing in her face. “Don’t come home until you are ready to apologise.”
Nqobi could hardly see, let alone reply. But as she blinked, she spotted a dragonfly hovering above Sompisi’s head. The sight made her brave. She struggled to a sitting position, the blood from her nose now running down her face and throat. Nonetheless, she looked at her step-father and said, “Someday I will make you regret all the evil you have done.”
Sompisi drew back his fist, as if intending to strike, when a small voice said, “Done. Your second wish is granted.”
Sompisi whirled around.
The sky above him boomed.
Forks of lightening shot down, nearly striking him, but hitting the violin and bow instead.
The man ran, as the sky boomed again.
Yet, not a single drop of rain fell. As the smoke cleared, there on the ground were the violin and bow. But they were changed. Whole, and shiny, as if they’d been transformed into something else entirely.
Locust flew down from his perch on the tree. Mantis came to inspect the instrument, too. Using one of her hooked front legs, Mantis plucked at a string.
A note rang out, but unlike anything the instrument had ever played before.
“Electric,” Locust said in awe.
“Yes, it does appear to be so,” said Mantis.
Nqobi limped over and picked up the renewed violin and bow. She tucked the instrument under her chin and drew out a note, strong and loud. The sound reverberated along her arms, up her neck, until it reached her face. The bleeding in her nose ceased.
“Epic,” Locust said.
“Indeed,” said Mantis.
Tell us: The dragonfly granted Nqobi two wishes. If you had two wishes, what would you wish for?