They sat together in the kitchen store, behind the carton.
The girls waited,hearts pounding from fear. Nola controlled her fear by counting objects.
On the top shelf was the red cooler. She counted the numbers silently, suddenly Ure started fidgeting, tugging at her sleeves, whispering desperately, cockroach Nola, cockroach!
Ure jumped up with the intention of switching on the lights.
Suddenly, a blood curdling scream from the neighbours apartment stopped her in her tracks and sent her right back to Nola’s side.
The terrible screams abruptly stopped with sounds of rapid gun shots and footsteps heading towards their front door.
I walked down from the podium after the valedictory address avoiding Ugo’s eyes.
I knew they were watching me.
I knew they watched amid the proud handshakes, hurrahs and nods of approval.
His gaze alone saw the truth of my ambition, that desire to wipe out my existence.
He saw it in between the jokes and the pauses in my childish laughter.
He saw the lingering pain in the eyes of a portrait skilled at dissembling.
“You will never know me,” it seemed to say.
But I knew what his defying response was: ‘I see you. I know you
Gorata peeked over the window ledge. It was him. She sat to the side of the window, listening. First- knock-knock. Wait. Then knock-knock. Wait. Then a triple. So like Richard, always thinking more was better.
She met him online and should have known, anyone who updates their FB status hourly must have issues. His good looks reeled in her frivolous side. Served her right.
He was up to two double knock-knocks, a split second between them. That was it. She took out her SIM card, broke it in two and reached for the classifieds turning to “Flats to Rent”.
They stood together on the rooftop terrace of his grandmother’s house. Tomorrow, he would be off to Port Harcourt. He didn’t know when he would return, she didn’t know if she’d survive if he didn’t.
“That’s Orion.” He whispered as he pointed to the sky.
“Orion. In Greek mythology, he’s a huntsman. You can see his outline traced by that star, this one, this one…”
She squinted at the stars. “I can’t see it.”
“Why are you whispering?”
“Because it’s romantic.” He whispered.
She laughed. He took her right hand and brought it to his lips.
“I’ll come back, Adesua. I don’t know when but I’ll come back for you.”
Lagos at night scares me but I love the energy that crackles all over my skin and races through my heart, the awareness that swallows my being and wakes up my senses when I walk home. It is dusty and dark, there are no streetlights and the deep darkness breeds shadows, nameless and boneless shadows that slither over roads and disappear in the blinding headlights of vehicles. But, when I walk into the shadows, I smell their day, touch burdens. I see smiles and hear groans and feel fears as they strive to live in this unending cycle of darkness.
The reminiscences before the plane crash were raw like a second ago. The flowers, the gifts, the unhurried, lengthy and intense love making and the after head-to-toe spasms then the unprovoked beatings, the marks you couldn’t cover, the izal disinfectant smelling hospitals, the pity looks, the fleeting, impatient and sudden death sex and the cruelest daily words that pricked like thorns. therefore, as she looked at the sympathisers, she smiled inward but wailed outwardly.
With eyes and blade glinting, they come at me. I strain against the ropes, try to bite as she unties me and asks the evil child to hold me down.
I feel my blood run as the woman slits my throat. She drops the knife and they stand back, satisfied.
I spring up and bolt, my head flailing about, painting the ground red with life and defiance. They clap and squeal their enjoyment. My eulogy?
I fall. The last thing I see is the child. She is peering into my face with a smile.
“Mummy, it has died!”
John was 15 when he discovered he could turn invisible. He dropped out of school a year later, on a quest for quick money.
He was 18 when he was caught. Trapped in a bank vault naked, amidst huge bags of money, unable to figure out how to carry them out unseen.
He cried throughout the trial, interrupting the proceedings with loud outbursts cursing his fate. He slipped in and out of sight as his mood oscillated, the bright orange prison jumpsuit and handcuffs hanging empty in the air when he was invisible.
He got 20 years in prison.
Six-inch pumps; black glittery stones kissing the heels. I towered over Dare. How was I to know I was allergic to sweet and sour pork? He averted his head as I stumbled out of his car, thanks to the dash of puke adorning my dress.
Four-inch strappy sandals with the exaggerated buckle pretty and cool against my ankle. I’m too old for dancing in dark clubs anyway. He should’ve known. Piercing his foot with my stiletto heel had me driving him home.
Eeeniemeeniemanimo. I’ll go for the neon flats. At least they have pretty bows. Lucky number three? Maybe.
She told Caro. Caro sort of told me. “One of them said she’s going to have him whether you love him or he’s dying for you in return.” Caro gave no names.
But she came to me, crying, a month later, as the bell went for Break. “You know TJ’s a bastard, right?” I said I didn’t know this. “He tried to rape me yesterday.” “No!” “Yes! We were leaving the club… he choked me in the back seat. He said it would keep him from his Uni-girls.”
“Thank you Jesus”, I whispered and straightened her uniform.