Fri 04 Sep 2020
Will the colourful birds of noon cease to flap their wings, will the moon sing her a song tonight?
This, Tiri could not tell, as the gentle breeze that came in through the open window behind her, blew her long black, already dirty hair off her face.
Uncle Dunji had come to visit after a long time yesterday, not like anyone had wanted him to come around anyways.
Now, Tiri wished she had not gone to open the door, when she heard him knock.
It all seemed like a nightmare after that.
He had followed her dad to the kitchen, when he had gone to get a bottle of wine last night, during supper.
After that, this happened, and that followed.
"You look more beautiful than the young shy Tiri that I use to know."
He touched his beards, obviously enjoying the look on her face.
"You are so smart aren't you? Trying to even run away but just take a look at yourself."
He took a step towards her.
"You look so much like her now, and it reminds me of the days I used to have her in my bed.
I wish to grant you the privilege of replacing her, but you are not all that smart anyways." He laughed.
There was no way Tiri's angry voice could be heard.
The force of the gag, held back all the words.
Words that she desperately wanted to spill in his ugly face.
The beast! She thought.
The cut on the bridge of his nose, the one her father had given him before he had fallen hard on the kitchen floor, was still so fresh.
She shook her head, turning this way and that way.
Her hands were held by shiny silver handcuffs that was connected to chains, fastened to the iron bars of her window.
Each move, made her to wriggle in pain.
He touched his lower lip and raised his right brow.
His darling sixteen years old Tiri wants to talk, and he'll let her, even if it's for the last time.
"You will so rot in prison; bastard!" She said at the peak of her voice.
"No Tiri, don't be so rude, you should first of all thank me, for letting you talk, so those words don't give you a heart attack."
He let his tongue trace the shiny metal, and used his fore finger to play with its sharp edge.
"I will slit your throat the next time you fail to wisely select your words, before throwing them at me."
"Let me go, you sick bastard!" Tiri screamed.
He smiled. A smile that was meant to warn Tiri.
"You killed my mother, shot my father on his leg, leaving him to die.
Isn't that enough payment for not getting married to a gem like my already dead mother?"
"I am amazed that you remember so well what I am capable of doing, yet, you still toy around with me."
He shook his head, as he gave her a stinging slap on her left cheek.
"What exactly, do you want from me, why don't you go ahead and slit my throat, or isn't that enough satisfaction for your evil soul?"
Tiri asked staring at him in the eyes.
"I am Dunja, I revenge, I torment, and I will watch you suffer before I finally kill you like I killed your-"
"You will do no such thing to my daughter Dunja!"
Tiri stared in shock at the figure behind Dunja.
"Mother?!" Tiri gasped!
"Dunja, move away from my daughter immediately. I am not Ayo the daughter of Lamisi for nothing!"
"Mother, you are alive! How?"
"Oh my darling child, death can not take me away from you."
Tiri was overwhelmed by joy, and at the same time, struck by the events of the last fourty hours.
The tears trailed down her cheeks.
"The bullet only brushed through my arms, I survived it. I haven't lost much blood."
Ayo explained to her daughter.
Her brown lacy dress, was soiled in blood, her eyes were so red, she looked like a ghost.
Tiri stared at her mother, still looking beautiful, even when she was a total wreck.
It was dark and Dunja had broken her light bulbs three hours ago but she could still make out her mother's face in the darkness.
"Dad?" Tiri could barely see with her swelled eyes.
"Your dad. He's uh-"
"I am right here beside you."
Tiri had not even felt his hands on her skin before now.
The whole room was dark and she was getting numb.
Dayo was working on the handcuffs that held her.
"So I see; love is stronger than the bullets I drove into your bones right?"
Dunja was obviously confused and directed his question at Ayo.
Where had he gone wrong, how had they entered Tiri's room without a single sound to alert him?
His plan was to kill father and daughter, then take Ayo his love along with him.
He did fire his shot, but Ayo had run towards him and had gotten hit, instead of Dayo her husband.
The second shot, had driven a bullet into Dayo's leg, he had bled profusely.
He had left Dayo to die slowly, and not to be up strong and breathing.
The man was limping, but he had the strength of ten soldiers.
He can't face a military man who is now well armed.
He had no more bullets and he was fast losing strength.
His attempts to kill Dayo had failed for the sixth time.
He had poisoned him before, even hired a killer but the man seemed to have something that protects him.
He and Dayo use to be friends from high school, down to the university.
He had planned on marrying his girlfriend Ayo after their youth service, but Dayo had gone behind his back to be introduced to Ayo's family.
Years have come and gone, but his life has not been complete without Ayo.
He got no stable job, his dreams to even be one of the top musicians in Nigeria, had also failed.
"Listen to me Dunji, drop the knife in your hands, don't you move another step closer to my wife!" Dayo ordered him.
Dunji will rather wipe out the whole family, than watch Ayo and Dayo live the life that they had denied him.
He rushed towards Ayo with the knife in hand, when he felt a sharp pain on his forehead.
Ayo had shot him.
"I will always love you." He said, as he fell backwards.
Those were his last words to Ayo before he drifted out of existence.
Dayo held his daughter in a tight embrace.
He cried like a woman, knowing how he had almost lost her about an hour ago.
Ayo moved towards her husband and daughter.
She hugged them both. The last fourty hours was a miracle.
"We breathe." She said to Dayo, who stared at her lovingly.
"You are more of a soldier than I am. You handle the gun as well as you handle the kitchen."
She smiled, even though she was breaking inside, seeing her husband in so much pain.
"I will clean your wounds again, before the cops should get here."
She said to him, holding his face in her hands.
"I love you Ayo."
That was the only way he could say thank you to his wife, for attempting to take a bullet in his place.
She understood him well enough.
"What is love, if I live only because I let you die?"
Tiri moved away to sit down on the tiled floor of her room, an inch away from her parent.
She looked around her room and took a deep breath.
Dunji had earlier planned to take her life here, in her own room.
All thanks to her mother, who had showed up.
How did her parent get into her room in the first place? She wondered.
Then, she remembered the underground door in her bathroom. Goodness!
She touched the swollen places, where Dunji had hit her over and over again.
She went straight to where his body laid and kicked him here and there.
"He's already dead!" Her parent chorused.
"I wish he'll wake up, so I can kill him a second time" Tiri wailed.
"It's okay now, he's not going to harm you anymore."
Her father assured her, and motioned for her to come sit with them.
It was dark already, so they sat down together in Tiri's room, awaiting the arrival of the cops.
™ Joy Okwori.
Sat 10 Oct 2020
A fair shadow passed beside my window. Creak. Creak. Creak. My door cracked a little open. I could hear the sink knob turning slightly and water gushing out. 'Who is that?', I muttered quietly. 'Who is that?', I asked this time around trying to sound audacious. I just hope it's not Bob. He was fond of sneaking home and doing creepy things. But,it was not him. I quickly turned off the sink knob.
On. Off. On. Off. On. Off. The lights in my bedroom begun to fluctuate. 'What is really happening here?', I asked no one in particular. I thought it was the power supply system having some problems. I peered outside through the window towards my neighbours house and still saw his electric bulb producing light bright enough to lighten the whole street. I made a u-turn and what I saw was enough to keep me blind for the rest of my life.
We are are coming for you. I had to read those words for the twelfth time trying to assimilate what all of this was about and at the same time carrying out mental calculations to find out who I had just offended. I sank on my bed in great fear, covering myself with the blanket as if that will shield me from whatever weird things are happening here.
We are coming for you. The words became alive and at the same time put on red clothes with a sharp knife in its hands repeating those same words. 'We. Are. Coming. For. You'. 'We. Are. Coming. For. You'. I ran to my dining hall. Another weird surprise. I saw my favourite food - panini on one of my favourite China wares - the flowered frangipani coated China ware. Beside it was my favourite tea. This was surely a great meal for this time of the day. I immediately begun to hear voices of my Parish Priest: 'you serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies,you revive...' The words faded away. I can't even remember the remaining words of his message that day!
As I was about to munch at the Lord's Table , I was cut short in my thoughts by a reverberated noise in my sitting room. 'I've had enough surprises in one night', I mused to myself. My favourite movie - the Jacksons was playing on the DVD player. 'No,it can't be. Only Bob knew this was my favourite movie. Was he around? Was he trying to pull some stunts on me with all this surprises?' I asked my subconscious again and she winked me a frown. She must be suspecting something too.
I could feel the walls of the room coming down on me. I felt a cold touch accompanied by a light smelly wind rush past my ear. I turned back and saw those words again - 'We. Are. Coming. For. You.' I ran to the front door. The handle wasn't replying to my pulling. It seemed to be locked from outside. I ran through my dining hall to the back door. 'Oh,thank Heavens,it was opened', I ran out.
In my deep panting and rejoicing at my escape, an oncoming vehicle knocked me down on the street. It was Bob. He was driving down to pay me a surprise visit. This was surely his last surprise. It was truly a night of surprises.
My spirit walked away majestically.
Tue 20 Oct 2020
The palm tree's leaves swayed its hips from left to right at the beautiful melodies Emeka whistled with his mouth. The birds on the tree tops served as his backup. It so reminded him of his newly married beautiful wife's voice. She sang so great like these birds. "Anyway," he shook his head shaking off the thoughts to concentrate on what he had to do.
Hunting was one of his favourite hobbies, especially in the evenings. "Now that I'm married, I could even hunt down a lion with a bullet," Emeka boasted one day. So, he ventured into the forest,stepping daringly on every tree chunk; cutting down every green man who crossed his path; and seeing bravely all the animals in the world to pick his choice.
On the other hand, his newly married wife knowing fully well her husband would be back with good meat that evening, went in search of choice firewood in the forest. She sang along the way amidst the hails of "Nwabeke" that trailed after her. She always let her wrapper hang loosely at the waist revealing the heavily pumped FIFA football that bounced up and down behind her, leaving the young men drooling for more.
Emeka stopped whistling so he could hear clearly the steps of his preys. Stealthily, he cocked his gun and on tiptoes walked the breadth of the forest in search of an animal to kill. The deer he saw and tried shooting ran away cunningly. But,he still targeted it.
A hundred feet away from Emeka, he saw the animal crouched picking at something from the ground. "I can't miss this target," he mused as he cocked his gun to fire. One shot sent the animal sizzling to death.
Hurriedly he slung his gun across his shoulder and got to where the animal lay. There at his feet lay the animal he shot. It was his newly married wife.
Wed 02 Dec 2020
"I do not like the small talks that is spreading like wildfire in the neighborhood. Am I the first to get pregnant for a man out of wedlock? I did right by keeping this pregnancy, but those who go for abortions weekly, are now the leaders of this criticism, and I do not like it!"
"You worry too much Ana, let them say whatever they want to say. It was a mistake, but we are all not doing the right things in this world. Even Ochanya won't close her big mouth, is she not the sex doll for all the rich men in town? 'Twah,' I don't like that girl at all!" Ene said at the top of her voice.
"Don't worry, all of these will be over soon. This doesn't equal the end of my life. Yesterday is gone, today is here, and my sun is rising." Ana said in an attempt to console herself.
"I admire you so much Ana, you are full of hope and some rare strength for someone your age. So why haven't you told anyone who it is that got you pregnant?" Ene inquired. Ana laughed, Ene stared at her in absolute confusion.
"The one responsible for this pregnancy, is someone whose reputation I do not wish to tarnish. I can't even tell my mother! She is not happy that I have brought her hopes down, and dragged it in the gutters. Mother hopes that my life will be different from her's but look at me!" Ana used the back of her left hand to wipe the tears that stubbornly dropped from her eyes.
Ene was moved, and rubbed her friend's back, as if that will solve the problem. "You can't keep all of these a secret, there's so much that you are not saying, and aside being your friend, I am your confidant. You can talk to me! You are due to deliver this baby, and it is not wise that you keep quiet anymore."
Ana stared at Ene for a long time as if deciding if she should tell her secret or not. "The baby in my womb is for the senator's son." The tears started to drop even more this time, Ene was stunned at her friend's confession.
"There are so many senators, which one are you talking about?"
"The one who lives at Greenfield avenue." Ana bit her lip and tried to stop herself from crying, but she couldn't.
"Wait, wait, is it not the one whose son is about getting married? He has just a son, so?"
"He is responsible for my pregnancy. His wedding is next month, and I don't know what to do. The last time I tried to reach him, he demanded that I get rid of whatever it is that I currently have in my womb!" Ana broke down completely this time, Ene froze in her chair.
"Ana, Ana, Ana, wake up. It is morning, and the sun is rising already!"
Ana stood up from the bed with a start, it was Inayo her mother's younger sister who had come to wake her up. They had planned on going to the market together, but she woke up dizzy with this funny feeling in her stomach. She ran to the toilet to throw up.
"Ana, you have been acting really strange these days, are you pregnant?" Aunt Inayo jokingly called after her niece, who had so many thoughts that were rubbing shoulders in her mind.
Sat 05 Dec 2020
Screams of pain. Echoes of pleas. Subdued silence.
Agnes woke up panting like she had just seen a ghost in her dream. Her bed was soaked in nightmarish realities of her past. "Babe, what's up with you? This one you dey behave like fish inside water." Jessica jeered at Agnes still focused on the mirror applying all sorts of mascara and pomade on her face. "Babe," Jessica called again. Agnes paid deaf ears as she walked into the bathroom. Looking at the bathroom's mirror, the memories of time past began playing in front of her.
It all started when she was thirteen. She lost her parents in a car accident and had to stay with her mother's sister in Lagos. Her aunty was a workaholic, working three jobs in a day. In the mornings, she served as a cleaner in a factory; in the afternoon as a trader; in the evening as a nanny to one Chief Oluda. So, she's always home late. However her husband who was always home earlier was drunk and smelt of cheap cologne which nauseated Agnes.
With tears in her eyes, Agnes looked deeper into the eyes of the mirror as the images played faster.
On that particular night, her aunt's husband came home drunk as usual,passing his normal sexual advances which Agnes had reported to her aunty countless times but her aunty so trusted her husband to a fault, she wouldn't believe him to do such. Mr Husband tried forcing himself on Agnes but his drunk state limited him. "Those mangoes are ripe for sucking," he said to Agnes as he managed to cup one of them in his hand. "Uncle. No. No. Please. Please." Agnes begged on the top of her voice but it was too late. Like a lion tearing its prey, Mr Uncle tore at Agnes front and back to his satisfaction. Her muffled silence during the action thirty minutes later surged him with joy and strength. He felt like a man. When he was done, he kicked Agnes out of his room threatening to kill her if she ever spoke.
Agnes bled out her eyes with tears that night. She had lost her honeypot and soon she lost her honeycomb because it became a regular affair between she and her uncle. Every 6pm, she laid naked on his bed as instructed for the usual until this particular night her village people spelt her name correctly.
This time around,her uncle laid on the bed while he commanded her to slowly peal off her clothes as he watched the whole process of God creating Eve. That was when her aunty stepped in.
"What? Wetin you dey do my husband? Chineke ekula o," her aunty bolted at Agnes hitting her head on the wall thrice to show her frenzied anger. The husband quickly quipped in that he was trying to sleep while Agnes was trying to seduce him. That day, they beat Agnes blue and black leaving her cheeks sore with swollen marks. Like Joseph and Portiphar's wife's story, Agnes was thrown into prison - the prison of the wicked world's hands.
She had no where to go. So,she went to the nearest bridge to sleep and slip away from her problems and fears. Thirty minutes later she thought she was sleepy eyed seeing eleven trees. She cleaned them again. This time she saw eleven men who surrounded her. One covered her mouth while the rest undid their trousers zipper.
Screams of pain. Echoes of pleas. Subdued silence.
Tue 19 Jan 2021
Adamma slept behind the wall of enmity between the other wives and her. Okonkwo hated her because she couldn't give him a son.
"Don't I give you children? Why do you hate me?" Adamma would ask. "Why...?"
And a slap would interrupt her. "What children? Give me men, warriors," Okonkwo will say amidst beating the woman. "Men, not weaker vessels."
Okonkwo felt like a man whenever he beat Adamma until that morning, his body lay lifeless beside the stream. The chirping of the birds announced his death. Though his stomach was bloated, the village women couldn't tell what killed him; they only waited for the Ifa Priest.
On the night of Okonkwo's death, Adamma was seated outside when the cries of an owl was heard from her rooftop. It didn't take long for the people to know; while the other wives mocked at her, the villagers accused her of poisoning her husband. Punishment was by death.
It was too late. By the time the Ifa Priest finished the cleansing rituals at the stream, he was greeted by the hanging body of Adamma on a tree beside her house. Whereas Okonkwo died from drowning, the villagers killed the wrong person.
Thu 21 Jan 2021
The consistent screams from the children's room had brought you back to reality as you were long gone in a deep sleep.
But you just had to lie down there for a while to confirm if it was a dream or not.
Then she called again, but this time in that soft and mild voice: "Mummy"!
And without thinking twice, you sprung up and gathered momentum and dashed into the room with the speed of light.
A mere guess could tell she was crying, as visible drops of tears were clustering around her eye lids.
"Mum I'm scared" she whispered.
"it's okay honey, mummy is here" you said while stroking her cheeks.
But why were you screaming? You asked.
But she shook her head and said:
"No mum, I wasn't the one screaming"
"it's okay honey. where is your doll?" You asked scampering around the bed.
Then she pointed to the floor and said: "it's under the bed".
Just then you stepped down on your knee and peeped under the bed.
And there she was, your pretty daughter, shivering while grabbing her doll so tight, and she spoke with a shaky voice:
"mum there is a monster on my bed"
Fri 26 Feb 2021
You must have heard of the story of a beautiful woman; whose full beauty was never noticed nor seen until the juice from an Apple bite became the education of good and bad. So you must have heard the story of Eden. But you have not heard all. Not the part told by imagination. The tale of chaos in Eden.
The hairs of Time were now grey with age. The Sun was becoming a little bored of drawing circles. Generations of time had raced on, stopped, and begotten more time and more time. Many tales were now dust, dead with the characters that lived them. Crushed under the action of new tales edging out for survival. But the tale of Eden still lived on; in Adam’s journal. Passed through countless minds and hands. Adorned in the beauty of the tatteredness of time. In it was Adam’s plan on how to re-enter Eden and get to the tree of immortality. So a new tale had begun. A continued tale rather; for the quest for immortality had been a long journey that stained the very fabric of time. But this time around, the stain itself was the power-hungry Aain and his group of shady figures. And after many years, the only thing standing between Aain and Eden was the missing Adam’s journal. Stolen nights ago from his abode.
The sky was deeply breathing night. Flace pulled his gaze unto a clock on the wall. It was almost midnight. He closed the almost shredded journal he was reading. It was covered in the rust of time. How long? He knew not. But he could guess it was very valuable. For in just two days, the nameless old book about a man and some weird garden had shattered his jolly life. He had missed a date with his dream girl, had almost gotten killed, and was now hiding in an old house he knew nothing about. If only he knew what made the journal valuable; he could earn some cool cash from selling it. Tired, he carefully wrapped the journal in a fold of cloth and placed it underneath the hard pillow he was going to use. He then laid down with half-opened eyes, expecting trouble before morning.
The specks of sunrise gradually coloured Flace through a window caked in a layer of dirt. He closed the journal again for the fifth time that morning. Those dark figures that chased life out of him two nights ago could not have done it over just an ordinary journal. The voice of the bleeding old man kept ringing in his head. The same old man that gave him the journal and signaled his death with two words, “protect it.” Flace had been on the run since then; trying his best to know more about this mysterious tree mentioned in the journal. A sudden shattering bang at the door threw Flace from the short nap he was beginning to drown in. In an instant, he found himself standing before four hefty men significantly missing the tiniest hint of a smile. Cornered in total surprise; his heart beating furiously as though it wanted to flee from him. He grabbed the journal and made a sudden dash for the open window. A clean dive through it and Flace found himself in the waiting arms of another hefty guy. Held tightly by his jacket, he was unprepared; but getting caught was not part of his plan. He slipped right out of his jacket and dashed away from danger, and away from the journal he had placed in his jacket.
Aain's quest was finally becoming a success. The most sort after journal had been retrieved from Flace’s jacket. Their desperation was finally paying off for the journal contained directions to Eden itself. By the next day, the location of Eden’s entrance had been found, hidden in the heart of nowhere. All that was left was to follow the directions on the Journal’s map. The paranoid group journeyed for days under the guidance of what Aain could decipher from the journal. They were armed to the teeth, ready for whatever resistance would be in Eden.
Meanwhile, Flace had watched and followed closely from a safe distance since his last encounter with Aain’s men. Days had passed; days of preparing himself for the perfect moment to strike. The journal was his to protect; a task he had failed at already. But he was not going to let Aain get anywhere near whatever treasure the tree in the journal had to offer. He watched closely at the roaming men; like a herd stomping behind Aain. They had stopped suddenly and were now trailing in a single file behind Aain. It was just a normal trail of weird-looking people until Aain varnished. And then the guy behind him at the same point where Aain had. And then the next, and another and another; continuously like they were walking into an invisible cave. “It must be the entrance,” Flace said to himself racing from his hiding place as the last of them varnished. He saw nothing unusual at the spot apart from series of footprints that all ended at the same point. Flace followed the footprints and soon found himself stuck in what seemed to be an unending shock of amazement. Before him, was the beauty he could not describe.