dropping ink



"I want to live well, but not like this Nneka, not like a waste bin. I want to smile without tears trailing down my cheeks."

"Nneoma, you will live well, you will smile and your pain will be a thing of the past."

"What do I do with these boys? They will kill me before my time. I have spoken to them severally but they will not listen to me. Sometimes I am like a microphone in an empty hall; a drummer without an audience.

Ogbonna stole goats from our neighbors house, he sold it to some men who sell meat at the central junction. Now he is nowhere to be found, police men were at the house yesterday, and I was threatened; if he doesn't report himself to the station, they'll take me into their custody."

"Hian Nneoma, this is too much now. Nne, you didn't give birth to these boys so that they can take you to an early grave, they should heal your wounds and not cause you so much pain like their father does."

There was a moment's pause as Nneka stared down at her sister with so much pity. What curse was placed on Nneoma? It was from one big problem to a bigger one. Nneoma's husband had beaten her so much in the early days of their marriage. He was warned by the elders in the family to cease from doing so, but it was all to no avail. He rarely gives her enough money to take care of the home if ever he does, but he will rather go out to eat with friends, spend all his earnings on alcohol and prostitutes. Nneoma is still a very young woman yet her age was far younger than her looks due to hardship.

The teenage boys who should help change the narrative for Nneoma are now the ones making her so lean like a dried corn stick and so dark in complexion. Nneoma who was once as pretty as a damsel worthy of any palace has been reduced to nothing. As she stared at her sister, she couldn't stop herself from crying as well. "They must pay, they must pay for all these!" She hissed.

Money was not a problem for Nneka, she happens to be a successful public speaker who owns her own cosmetic company. She thought of the best way to bring her sister out of her present predicament, and an idea came to her.

"You have been in an abusive marriage for too long Nne, you should divorce your husband, and start living a good life. You have taken too much than any woman will endure in this generation. It is time to look out for yourself too. I have not come all the way from Abuja to leave you this way. We have been speaking on phone but I have never imagined that your situation is this bad. Please Nne, do this for yourself, you can help the boys only when you are helped yourself. It is the maltreatment from your husband and his family that made you lose your first two pregnancies, and these boys who are surviving must be frustrated.

They are too innocent to steal goats for trivial reasons. I will search for them until they return home but before then, I will pay for the stolen goats. I do not wish to let the police men come for my own sister. No now, there's no wisdom in that."

"You are right my sister, but I made vows to my husband on our wedding day to be beside him for better, for worse. I don't think it is a good idea to leave now, not when I have stayed back for this long." Nneoma was pale as she said this to Nneka.

"Just listen to yourself Nne, take a look at yourself and take a look at me. For better, for worse? This is not what that vow you took is all about my dear sister. Are you not tired of looking like garbage? You should be beside your husband and not beneath him!" Nneka shouted at her sister as it seemed she was not listening to her. I am married but I don't see any reason why my husband should maltreat me." Nneka was ready to persuade her sister into doing what will be best for her.

There was a sharp knock on the door, it was pushed open by Ikenna. Nneka rolled her eye balls at the sight of her sister's husband. She watched as he made his way to her sister. "Useless woman, all you have given me are useless sons like yourself. There is nothing good about you!"

"They are our sons Ikenna, and not mine alone. If you are a good father to them, you won't be throwing blames at me right now." Nneoma spoke back at her husband for the very first time in years. He raised his hands to strike her on her face but Nneka quickly held it in a flash of light.

"You dare not lay a hand on my sister, especially not in my presence!" Nneka said angrily. He pushed her away and eyed Nneoma. He left them and went out again. "What an excuse for a man!" Nneka said, obviously irritated.

Nneoma's eyes were red from crying. "I am ready to divorce him now, I will go and start afresh somewhere else" she said in a whisper but it was audible enough for Nneka to hear.

"Worry not Nne, tomorrow we'll take a flight to Abuja." Nneka said with a note of finality in her voice.

™Joy Okwori

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by Joy Okwori, published 1 month ago


I was once imprisoned by words whose aura is darkness. I was held down in this prison by unfriendly forces, so I sat on a stool of uncertainty as I held the moon.

I crawled through the night with gritted teeth, like one with no hope. And I couldn't dance because shackles held my feet.

Yesterday was once, today doesn't make it twice. I breakout, I don't belong to prison; the Judge said so. I smelt like rotten tomatoes, frail from tireless torture.

The Judge beckoned with open arms, and I ran with the speed of light. My accusers didn't know what crime to nail me with. The Judge knew what currency to bail me with; the blood.

Broad smiles.

Heartfelt laughter.

I dance.

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by eli-smooth, published 2 months, 4 weeks ago

The ride down the empty hill felt like a deluge. Five people cramped into an old Peugeot 504. The car jolted its way down the rough terrain and with each sharp turn, their eyes narrowed with despair.

The driver was Kelechi, a 22 year old medical student who had joined the fraternity about a month ago. His low hanging beard chiseled into his sharp jaw-line. The scar that was above his eye gave him a menacing look.

“How could this happen?” He wondered as he drove through the rickety slope. His eyes squinted a little as he swerved to avoid a goat that had moved into their path. The sudden swerve forced the engine to quake mildly and shut down.

They all moved out into the open space.

Silence lingered for a while.

“What do we do now?” Simi asked. Her dark skin glistening under the low light of orange setting sun. She was a psychology student. Brilliant but edgy; unwilling to succumb to the wild stereotypes that followed the other women in her life.

“We do nothing; we just bury the body where no one can find it” Sam whispered coldly.

Leah winced and paced the space around them, sobbing gently as she walked from side to side. She seemed the most distraught of the five. She wondered how different the day before had been and wondered if her life would ever be the same.

But it was the fifth person who seemed the most odd.

His tattoos were visible under the sleeveless shirt he had on. A nose piercing marked him out from the rest of them. He barely talked as the others encircled the empty bushes around. He just leaned on the car and peacefully disappeared into his thoughts.

“We were only supposed to scare him” Simi lamented. Her voice seemed to echo a distant regret.

“I keep asking what happened and no one wants to tell me. We were all on the same plan but as soon as I turn to take a leak, I return and find a fucking dead body on the floor. What happened while I was gone?” Kelechi asked. He seemed to be screaming at everyone else.

“Is it that important? Would you rather not have the truth be a little subdued from your conscience now?” Goni, the boy with the tattoos whispered back at Kelechi. His voice was cold, almost haunting.

“I don’t know. I didn’t sign up for this.” Kelechi confessed.

“Oh, so you think we all woke up and planned a murder and you were the only person out of the loop?” Simi asked angrily.

Kelechi looked away. His hands shaking under the weight of his deepest thoughts.

Sam chuckled slyly as he watched Leah’s wandering theatrics. He seemed calmer than he was a few minutes ago.

“The truth is right here. Whatever we say it is” Sam cuts in. The others looked at him. He nodded. They all nod back except for Goni.

“We still haven’t answered the most pertinent question though. Who poisoned the little old chap?” He asked calmly.

“Does it matter, we all know he was a dwindling, two faced monster” Leah said.

She had stopped pacing and sobbing. She seemed calmer and her big round eyes cut into her beautiful face. Sam looked at her in admiration

“We all knew that, but we also knew that the idea was to scare him and not to murder. So who amongst us had the most reasons to murder him?” Goni asked.

They all went quiet. The few seconds left between their breaths built up a reckless angst. Leah stared at each of their faces. She wondered who amongst them fits the murder type best..

Sam was a nerd.

It was odd that the frat boys loved him but underneath his queer humor and deep lingering eyes, there was no reason to suspect that he could be a killer. Leah thought. Simi was mostly indifferent; capable of the mundane but also the awe inspiring moments. Her calculative mind set her apart as the most logical of the group.

Kelechi was by matter of chance, the only one that was unavailable when they witnessed the death.

Goni was the one who seemed the most vulnerable to accusations. He had fought with the dead boy just a few minutes before the boy broke into a fit. He seemed more dangerous than anyone else and he also seemed to be nonchalant about the corpse that lay in the trunk of the car that had just stopped.

  • Simi looked at Leah from the corner of her eye. Their eyes meet and for a few seconds, they lingered on in their sanctified space. Simi felt a rush of casual emotions rushing within. She remembered their nights underneath the moon when the boys were away. She remembered every feeling and it made her question her every truth. But she also knew the other truth.

The five of them stood in an arc as the trunk was slowly being opened. The three boys straddle the body and move it towards the empty path that led one into the bushes. The rustling of the leaves just in front of them stopped them in their tracks.

A Park ranger had his gun pointed at them. The boys surrendered and raised their hands. The Ranger looked on in surprise.

“Who killed him?” He asked as he nudged the safety of the gun; turning it off.

The group stood, staring at him in silence.

“Who killed my partner?” The Ranger asked again.

This time his gun was pointed at a visibly distraught Simi.

She was overcome with fear.

“Leah, Leaaah,

She poisoned him because he raped her” Simi confessed.

The boys look back at Leah, stunned.

Leah’s face bore a look of resignation.

“Thanks so much for having my back; Lover” she said in disgust.

They boys all stood stunned. Processing both news that had crept into their ears.