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Ojemba: The Venal Solution

The light of the moon played against the backdrop of deep blue skies; the music of the night, a sweet melody as she danced. The dried branches crackling beneath her feet as she did. The villagers of Ichoku gathered at Nkwo, that night, like they did every full moon; the children listening to folklore, the Nwa agboo dancing to the beat of the drums and Nwokorobia wrestling and chanting praises. How she would have loved to join them, she would have trounced any of those girls any day. But she knew what she was… The one thing she hated; being reminded of the dishonour that the mere name held.

She danced; each sound from the Ogene more intoxicating than the last, the Opi giving her a reason to move her waist. The moon’s light peeped over the bushes behind which she hid. She closed her eyes, gripping sand with her toes with each stomp.
Then she felt a sharp sting on her leg. She blinked rapidly to adjust to the light when the slippery creature slithered away. She sank to her buttocks with a great thud, desperately gripping the leg as she let out a sharp wail,
“Agwo!” She cried.
Out from the bushes, a man appeared, swift like an Agu. His eyes were small and sunken in his well chiselled face. His body was tall and huge like the Iroko, moving towards the wound. Putting his lips to the wound, he sucked the venom and spat. Her eyes were getting heavy. He picked her up like a limp antelope and threw her over his shoulder.
She fell into a deep sleep.

He watched and waited; watched the young wrestlers at Nkwo, hoping to see Otimgbo, to see if the bastard would show off any new skill like he usually did. Otimgbo was walking in circles and spitting all around, a sickening habit of his, that being his sign of ‘victory’.
But then, she caught his attention. She was hiding in a shrub beside him but he could see her. Her hair was as long as the mare’s tail; bouncing on her back with every step she took. Her eyes were closed but her skin shone with sweat, showing a glimpse of her well-endowed bosom. Her Akwa looked worn and torn but they caressed her so well in the light of the moon. He hid behind the bushes and watched her, carefully examining every inch of her. When, suddenly, she fell; he knew she was hurt and instinct kicked in. Continue reading


Kalahari Review Feature: Many Faced Gods

Hey buff folks! 

My short story ‘Many Faced Gods’ is on the Kalahari Review. Read and be blessed lol.

For this Sunday service, I know the exact number of people wearing red. I do not like the colour red because my Father says it represents witchcraft. My brother is sitting beside me, but is too busy typing instant messages on his phone. He is the only one who dares to do this in my family: use a phone in church.

I allow my eyes search the crowd for my mother, even though I know exactly where she is sitting. The small church is built in a semi-circle and there are many partitions and seating arrangements to allow everybody see the preacher well. From the angle where Ibinabo and I are sitting, we could see almost all the church clearly. I now see my mother sitting at the second row of the church where she always sits.

Even though she is a Pastor’s wife, she still isn’t allowed to sit at the front row. Father says front row seats are for the men. Her hands are clasped tightly between her laps and she looks like she is squinting at the preacher. I don’t know if she is listening to the message, because she is just sitting like a statue. Her skin is the colour of dark chocolate and the kernel oil she rubs every morning, gives her a clean glow— even though it gives her a weird smell. Her long, black hair is now thinning. I can clearly see the purplish bruising on her neck, even though she tries to cover it with her scarf. I heard her telling Mama Tobi, the busybody, earlier, that it is an allergic reaction to a fake gold necklace. I don’t think Mama Tobi believes her though. I think my mother doesn’t know how to lie.

I hate lies. Continue reading

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Featured: An Abundance of Yellow Paper by TJ Benson

Wherever the man came from he didn’t stop running.
He made a turn at the end of Maikano Street, ran into a men’s wear boutique in a white jalabiya and ran out through the back in an ash three-piece suit, a brown leather suitcase in his right hand, red tie flapping over his shoulders as he ran. Even at cross-roads he didn’t stop to catch his breath, he only slowed into a jog after crossing, up the sloping crescent that led to the River View hotel.
The receptionist didn’t know what to make of him, this dapper-dressed stranger with full beard that concealed most of his face and sharpened his eyes; she didn’t know what to make of him at all. She wished him a happy stay and gave him the chip-key for Room 101, the penthouse apartment he requested. How he knew it was available was beyond her and she stared at him, at his brown leather briefcase until he disappeared into the elevator at the far end of the lounge. She turned to her desk to answer a call.
In the roof-top apartment of the hotel he sat on the lush four-poster bed and sighed. Beside him on the bed was the brown leather briefcase. All his running, all his life-savings had come to this. He ran a hand over its creased surface and thought of her. He thought to open it now but knew it was foolishness; there would be surveillance cameras in the room. He picked up the briefcase and walked out to the open air of the roof top. At the edge a table and chair overlooked the sun-dappled Victoria Island skyline without any parapet wall to keep from falling. He dropped the briefcase on the table and sat on the chair before these monsters of concrete and glass, his only spectators for now.
He opened the briefcase knowing what he would find but this knowing didn’t quell his thrill. When he saw what was promised a sense of sanctity overwhelmed him. He knew what he had to do but when he whipped out his ink pen he hesitated. It was a dangerous time to write poetry. Digital poems were traced back to their author’s IP addresses and the discovered poets were stalked and raped to death at first by fans and eventually assassinated when poet-homicide increased and their poems turned to the authorities all over the world. Continue reading

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A Roland For An Oliver

A sunny day in 1953, a woman and her six-year-old son strolled towards their house, after a long day’s trade at the Ekwulobia market. A loud audacious voice made a few people stop and turn, including the Woman. It was Timothy, the village’s fore spokesperson, who had only just gotten a scholarship to study Political Science at the University of Ibadan. He was the only son of Efuru, the late famous Wine tapper, and had been a favorite since he was a baby. His father did his best to send him to the primary education in their town but died before Timothy could finish. When the village saw the great feats he accomplished at primary school, they contributed some money to send him to secondary school in Lagos.

He had become their pride and joy, destined for great things. The woman was a good friend to Timothy’s mother; she recalled how his mother labored at the farm, day and night, for meager yams and measly corn she would trade for Timothy’s primary school fees. She also knew the joy that his mother felt when Timothy had gotten the university scholarship. Ever since he was a child, he always had strong opinions and spoke big grammar that nobody understood which was why no one was surprised when he came back to town and started organizing political rallies.

He was having one of his usual demonstrations at the market square and had a larger crowd than usual on this particular day. He stood comfortably on the wooden platform shouting some words that the Woman couldn’t care less about, but still she stood, listening from a distance. A few people in the crowd held placards of convicting but poorly written messages that read: NO MORE KWEEN, WE WANT INDEPENDENCE, and WHITE PIPUL MUST GO etc.

Some of the red-capped chiefs stood behind Timothy, with their yellowed singlets and threadbare wrappers, smiling proudly at the son of the soil. The eldest man in the village, Mazi Amadi, was also present with his wife, Ekutus, which made the Woman wonder how important the rally was. This old man was almost eighty years and he walked with a stick because of his bent back. Everyone in the village called him Npa, which meant Father. He was a wise man that everyone went to when they needed advice and he would always say the old Igbo proverb first before anything else, “What an old man can see sitting down, the young men cannot see from the tallest mountain.” His first wife died during childbirth many years back leaving behind no child. He married a second wife soon after and she had seven children who were all mostly grown. Mazi Amadi had been a catechist in his young age and knew a little English. Children came to him when they wanted to hear stories of his travels and English adventures. He was also somewhat wise when it came to English politics. The Woman realized that Mazi Amadi was at the gathering because the elders wanted the villagers to take the rallies more seriously.

The Woman moved closer, pulling her son along with her. Timothy’s voice reverberated through the crowd, “We want to live in an independent nation; where our sons and daughters can lead us. We were here before they came and claimed our soil as theirs. They have helped, yes, but they have overstayed their welcome. Let them go back to their civilized country and rule themselves. We are tired! Are you not tired?!” He shouted, shaking his hands vigorously as if to impart some of his exasperation on the crowd. “Yes, we are tired!” The crowd shouted back. The air was buzzing with a strange energy and the Woman couldn’t help but shout “We are tired,” with them when Timothy asked again. Goosebumps appeared all over her skin as she imagined the greatness that awaited Timothy. She hoped to God that her three sons would have such courage to voice their opinions.

Sweat trickled down her back and her face; she released the edge of her wrapper and wiped her face with it. Timothy continued with his speech, “Aren’t you tired of being robbed of your resources so that they can fund their businesses and industries while we suffer here? Are you not tired of being just an annex for them to exert their power on when they feel like?” Most of the villagers didn’t understand what he said but they still murmured, “We are tired” during the speech. The Woman had a feeling that Timothy found it hard to speak coherently in his native tongue so he spoke in English, but the kind of energy he talked with made the crowd to become more and more pepped. Soon, people were pumping their fists in the air, shouting “Independence!” Timothy spoke up again, “This has gone on for far too long and we can’t just keep quiet anymore.” He paused to wipe his face with a small material.

Just then, an engine revved behind them and Police officers stormed into the square shouting “God save the queen! Everybody lie dan!” The officers rounded the people up and soon, everyone was flat on their faces, quivering. The overzealous and enthusiastic officers in rumpled khaki shirt and shorts with dirty brown sandals, that waved their guns all over the place, were Nigerian; even Igbo.

Their inspector was a blond white man with neat, ironed khaki trousers and shiny black boots. He walked around for a while and then shouted, “Who is the chief speaker here?” He spoke Igbo, probably to impress the villagers, even though his British accent was still clear and he didn’t get the pronunciations right. The Woman heard murmurs but no one spoke up for a while. The sun was burning her back and the hot red sand was searing her face.

She wished the police hadn’t come. Timothy was still so young and the future of his generation; also, the future of their village. He could be charged with treason and be killed. She had warned Timothy’s family about the dangers of this his political interest, but no one listened. The Woman was now sure that all the money, labor and sweat of the whole village for Timothy would go to waste.

Someone finally stood up. “Is me sah!” The croaky voice said in shaky English. The Woman peered from beneath her arm and saw that it was Mazi Amadi. The fib was not nearly plausible but no one said a word wither ward. It seemed the Igbo Policemen knew the gist of the matter and decided to keep shut too because they quickly bundled the old man into the vehicle.

The rest of the villagers got up slowly while Ekutus screamed “Mba Mba, No, No!” and ran after the speeding rover. Timothy looked dumbfounded as his mother led him away. As everyone else departed in their various directions, they heaved their shoulders up and down in disapproval, hissed and sighed deeply, clucked their tongues or shouted, “Hei!” at intervals.

The Woman dusted the sand off her son’s body, retied her wrapper and continued her stroll towards her small family home.

Hope you enjoyed my story, thanks for reading!

Oh and before i forget…. Food for thought:


Art by Okechukwu Ofili from Ofilispeaks.com

Have a buff day! :*