Category: writing


The Writing Process Blog Tour


Yes, I didn’t die.
No, I’m not suffering from anything terminal.
I’ve just been BUSY.

I won’t bore you with the long details. Anyway!
The Thinking Tank himself enlisted me to join his battle in defeating an evil entity from the future. I won’t lie, I just agreed because of the after-party victory jollof rice. Fam, I don’t even want meat.
Lol ok on a serious note, this is a post about my writing process and strategy and all that.
‘What writing process? You haven’t written a story in ages!’ You say.
Well, sharrap.
I have been and am writing. Just not blog stuff.
Let’s head to the FAQs:

1. What am I working on?

Personally, (and when I say personally I mean for myself), I’ve got two projects lined up. One is a collection of short horror stories I’ve written. They’ve been put up on this blog at one point or another in the span of about two years. What I’ve done though, (just in case you’re wondering why I’d make a collection of familiar stories) is I’ve re-written them; given them more length, depth and alternative endings in most I think. I’ve also added stories I haven’t put up here so there are new things to read eh?
The second thing I’m working on is a novella and no, not horror. My main focus while I’m writing this is creating something that can be used as a literature text in Nigerian schools at all levels.
I’ve been drawing strong inspiration from The classic African literature masters; Achebe, Chukwuemeka Ike, Okri, Ekwensi et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
I’ve kinda stalled on both projects admittedly but I do plan on kickstarting again this summer so pray for me sumimasen!

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I tend to tell myself I write in two genres: one, horror, and the second, the rest all jumbled up.
I’ll just answer this generally.
Sometimes, I don’t know how my work differs from your average horror or thriller because I read a lot of them and I know a lot of what I read leech into my writing. I cannot stop that. However, for how it differs, I’d say it’s in dialogue.
If you’ve read a lot of my stories you’d notice they do contain a lot of dialogue not just a straight run through. In these dialogues, I try to show the state of mind of the character speaking and it works somehow.
Also, I tend to not write happy stories, even when it’s supposed to be a lighthearted story. There is an underlying sadness in a lot of what I pen down (even my romance stories are sad, X for Ada eg) I don’t know why. I’ve just accepted that’s just me.
I’m not one for flowery languages or big words. So I write so that a layman would understand the gist of my tale without Google.
Now for my horror, I’m very keen on madness and the mind. A lot of my horror stories reflect this. I’m also big on creating powerful, psychotic female characters. This is not a feminist bid on my part, it’s just the way my thought process works. I genuinely believe women are scarier than men and so I allow my belief take preeminence in my stories.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I don’t know if I have a clear reason why I write a lot of disturbing things. Lol.
First is probably I’m influenced by what I read, naturally. Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Graham Masterton, Adam Neville etc. I also enjoy African literature even though I think I don’t read enough of them. Now, I’ve always wanted to merge these two ‘styles’. Horror in an African setting. The only book I’ve read that gave me a vague sense of this merger was The Bottled Leopard by Chukwuemeka Ike which still remains a personal fave of mine. Because I’m Igbo, it’s always easiest for me to make my characters Igbo so i can fully capture ethnicity in terms of culture and language.
When I was growing up, my sisters told me a lot of stories, scary stories. Igbo stories. Some passed down, some invented in their demented minds. Horror is an African genre. It’s in our folk tales. It’s in our art, Which is why the British museum have hidden our art in the basement! :’)
What I’m saying is that, this isn’t something new. It is just suppressed because religion and Da Blood! I cast and bind! Blah blah…
It’s just a story. They’re just stories. Or are they… Hehehe
I want to read more African inspired chillers and so I write them for my reading pleasure and for those who have the same appetite as I do.
My non horror stories, I write because sometimes I feel like proving I can be versatile. I don’t want to be stuck in a box. Or have my writing labelled under one concrete genre. I want to be like an amorphous substance; flowing, one molecule into the other.
I also extend my versatility to poetry, plays. Just because I can. I’m not the best at what I do but I don’t care because I enjoy it too much to make it about just being ‘best’.

4. How does my writing process work?

With a dialogue.
Seriously.
I do this thing where I run commentaries in my head. And hold conversations with different types of personalities in my head. And I stumble on that one dialogue that serves as a base to build up an enormous tale. Sometimes, the base isn’t solid and story ends up in my draft. other times, it makes the cut and ends up being told.
I tend to write as my Spirit directs, especially with short stories. I just write as I go, no plans. I find that having a plan restricts my imagination. I write and write till I get to an ‘end’. Then, i begin to edit and end up deleting half of what I got anyway! The editing phase is when I do my serious thinking, trying to make a story as plausible as I can. I mean I know it’s fiction but the beauty of the kind of stuff i write is making it so plausible, you believe it can happen (which most times, it can, but that’s a tale for another day)
When I have bigger projects, like my novella or working on a script for film, I do have an outline of what happens at every turn. I then fill up the outline with a corresponding story to match.
Then the additions and subtractions.
I type mostly but when I stumble on a good story in my head mentally and I’m maybe at work or in school, I go long hand.
Oh! I just remembered another novella in the making I’m writing by hand about cats. I wonder where I kept it… :-/

Anyway guys, that is all from me!
To pass this baton given to me, I’d introduce the next person writing about his own Writing Journey!
You all know him well, he’s no stranger to Phantom Pages.
Edgothboy! One of my favourite writers.
Eddie is an alumnus of the 2011 Farafina Trust Writing Workshop. He has called himself an amateur writer (Smh), cheerleader of the greats and a Melissa Bank groupie.
He blogs at PTS

————————

That’s all folks!
I’ll try write more, no promises.
If you want to ask any more questions, please feel free!

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El Malvado Muñecas


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El Malvaldo Muñecas
Gently, the wind caresses
They swing
Synthetic hair fluttering
Catching the rays of sunlight.
Eyes stitched shut.
Lips stitched to a slashed smile
Across kntted faces
The locals cross the road
Quick signs of the cross
Away from the dolls
Garroted
Under barbed wires.
Puppet-like
The wing, the puppet-master.
No one knows how
Or why
Or when
But even the bravest of men
Would never stray where  they hang
Swinging merrily
Invitingly…
Touch me…

She died,
Nina, the curious.
A week after she had waited,
Away from Papa’s gaze
To quickly touch a doll
Light; just light on its feet.
Drowned.
A week after,
Her doll, redhead and patchy
Hung beside the others.
Garroted.
A dancing puppet.
Touch me…

Papa wailed as he saw
His gift of love,
Crudely added
To the macabre theatre
El malvaldo Muñecas
They took her.

Poseído!
Muñecas poseído!
Possessed,
Every single one of them
Their stitched-on smile
Never wavering
At the accusing glances of the locals.

It is whispered;
Sí, it is true
That on a certain night
They do not just hang.
On a night when the gateway
Between worlds open;
Día de Muertos.
Their stitched eyes open.

It is whispered,
Sí, it is true
They remember;
The warmth of their owners,
The echoed feel of a body
Pressed softly
Against a child
And then, they move
In search.
Of old owners, long gone.
Of new owners,
soon to be gone.

El malvado muñecas
The evil dolls.

Ekwikwi


EKWIKWI

 

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“And that is why you must never look into the eyes of Ekwikwi…”

Red, rheumy red.
Look over you as you try
To sleep.
Eyes tight, clasped shut
Warning ringing in ears,
Yet, eyes beg to see;
Red, rheumy red.
Would you really…?
Can the tales be true?
Cries of a new born child;
Ekwikwi calls to you.
You turn,
Block out the sound.
And yet…
An eye peeks open
Watch shadows play
By window.
You know it is there,
Listening to the wild beats
Your heart plays for you.
Excitement.
Should you…?
Cries of a new born child
Ekwikwi calls to you
Would you really…?
Fingers tightened in between
Legs crooked in semblance
Of peaceful sleep.
You raise your head
Careful, eyes closed
Newborn cries give way
to a name, softly whispered
Gasp of surprise.

Ears twitch.
Eyes open…
Perched precariously.
Ekwikwi.
Eyes clash…

“And that is why you must never look into the eyes of Ekwikwi…”

Now you listen
Now you watch
Now you cry
Precariously hanging on a branch
Eyes;
Red, rheumy red.
Watching.
Calling.
Waiting for another to look.

“And that is why you must never look into the eyes of Ekwikwi…”

——————————————————————————————–

So, this is the first of three posts I have planned for Halloween.
Should have put it up earlier but I won’t bore you with whys and wherefores.
Next story, Next Thursday.
Do have a lovely weekend!

Njem


The hills sit and wait for us
Like old men,  their backs bent
Under the weight of age, 
Time immemorial.
Their beards,  dense foliage
Of hubris-like greenery
Cover their near nakedness

They sit and watch as we climb
Alone
Couple
Family
Young
Old.
Our weary feet, wet
With our tears.
Black, with our sins.
They bleed.
Red, a testament
To our frailty.
And yet, we climb.
Naked as we came. 
Pendulous breasts hanging
Shrunked penises like forgotten stubs.
The unformed.
We’re Adam and Eve.
We do not notice.
Our only aim is to climb.
Some of us have forgotten
Why we climb.
Lost in the madness of scrambles
And brambles.
It can be said we have no purpose
Yet our instincts push us
And we go on our mad dashes.

When we’re near,
The hills would sing to us
And welcome us.
Cold, aged arms embrace,
Guide us.
And we shall lay on the altars,
A living sacrifice.
Our eyelids fluttering to a close with relief
Our dry, mud blood-caked lips expelling
Last breath.
Lying there,
As we surrender
Under piles of bones
That are our brothers.

The Journey through Life
It is called by many.

——————-
I’ve been missing. I know.
Long story.
I write something every week but I’m never sure if I like it.
So I have a piling draft section.

It’s Halloween month and from next week Thursday, leading up to 31st, I’d be doing a lil somn somn.
Not a rewrite like last year.
But I’d be providing stories.

I do hope you’d stick around.

Have a lovely weekend!

The Fall


THE FALL

 

The perfectly golden ring fell,
spiraling;
Before it kissed the surface of the fires of Doom that formed it.
It glowed incandescent,
brighter than the human eyes could take
before slowly, it dimed
and abruptly winked out of existence.
Melted.
Disintegrated.
The Eye bulged in disbelief;
Rings of fire that formed its lashes
Aflame.
A terrible scream;
One the ears of man had never heard before
Neither had the dwarves,
Or elves,
With their immortal years.
Teeth gritted,
Hands gripped weapons tighter,
Eyes bulging from sockets.
Fighting not to lose themselves,
To the madness the screams promised.
The Eye fell.
All eyes watched, transfixed.
Mordor! Mordor!! Mordor!!!
Ah! How you have come undone,
How your yoke evil on Middle Earth
Has been broken, O Sauron!
And the Tower that was built to hold your Eye,
Look! See how it falls!
It gives up its bones,
The bones used to build it up.
The skulls
of men
of dwarves
of creatures long extinct.
Their souls cry as one with relief;
As the mighty eye meets the ground.
At last!
Vanquished!
And all the creatures of Middle Earth
Stand and gaze in wonder
As the ground opens
and swallowed up the servants
Of Sauron.
Of Darkness.
Peace is come.

————————
So, I watched the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King for the umpteenth time yesterday and this wrote itself in my head.
*Shrug*

Have a lovely weekend!
Jana!

Undeparted


“Susan Okpara is dead”

We sat shocked in the assembly hall, our minds trying to assimilate what we just heard.
Susan? Our Susan?
Susan the Head Girl. Susan the M.B.G. in Princess High.
Some of us did not believe it.
We refused to believe, even as we sat on the pews at her funeral, watching her covered coffin as a Bishop spoke about Life and Death.
It still did not…no… would not hit us as we watched her being laid into the ground.
We refused to let it hit us as her coffin was covered with sand, as we took handfuls from a mound; we knew we were just going through a ceremony.
The box is empty.
It had to be.
Susan is not inside.
She couldn’t be!

Susan Okpara is not dead.

Simple.

“Susan is not dead” Mr Ikon said authoritatively when we resumed the next week.
He glared at us, daring us to argue but no one was ready to.
He was her prized pupil.
Mr Ikon walked to her desk and pointed, finger trembling as he tried to control the tremor in his voice.
“Susan is not dead. She is here with us, sitting right here. We cannot treat her as dead”

That was how it begun.

We were willing to go along with it.

Susan wasn’t dead.

Her desk remained there for her.
We stuffed her assignment into them.
It didn’t matter to us that it was soon overflowing with papers.
We packed them neatly, writing her name on each one and storing in her metal locker.

Her name remained on the register and I personally signed her in every morning.

We reserved a seat for her for school trips.

She was the prom queen and her crown was put on her seat.

It was graduation day and for the first time, we forgot about Susan.

“Everybody come together. Now smile. Say cheese”

We smiled as the flash blinded our eyes for three second

Two weeks later, my graduation pictures came.
I smiled as I looked through them.
The last was the panoramic view of all the graduating students.
I smiled as I identified everyone.

My eyes glanced over myself…and stopped.

My heart stopped.

Then redoubled.

I closed my eyes.

I opened them, blinking rapidly.

I looked back at the picture,

No, i was not mistaken.

Behind me, Susan stood in her school uniform.

Her skin seemed translucent; faded.

Lips stretched wide into a smile that didn’t reach her cold, dead eyes that glared out at the camera.

My hands shook, my breathing coming in gasps.

I looked at her hands.

They held my shoulders.

No, not held.

They clawed at my shoulders as if trying to rip my arms out of their sockets.

A whimper escaped from me.
The photograph fluttered away from my hand and dropped on the bed.

Sweat rolled off my brows and I brought out my phone, shakily trying to dial Lola’s number.

Just at that moment, I felt it.

I felt a hand pull on my shoulders.

I turned violently, jumping off the bed, eyes wide with terror.

No one was there.

My throat clogged as I picked my phone quickly and dashed for the toilet.

“Oh God” I whimpered as I locked myself in.

I sat down on the toilet lid, fingers slipping off my keypad as I tried to get Lola’s number from my phone book.

I wiped my hand rapidly on my thighs, trying to control my breathing as sweat into my eyes,  listening to the phone ring.

I licked my dry lips anxiously.

“Hello! Oh my God Feng was just about to call you! Did you hear what happened? Mr Ikon is dead!!”

My brain slowed to a crawl.

“Hello? Feng? Feng? What is it? You crying? ‘Cause of Mr Ikon? No? Feng what happened!?”

I took a deep breath.

“L..Lola…”

“Yes? Talk!”

“L..Lola..Susan…”

“Huh?”

“SUSAN IS NOT DEAD!”

As I spoke frantically to her, I felt it again.

Hands gripping the back of my neck.

I screamed, phone dropping off my trembling hands and clattering to the floor.

“Why didn’t you people let me die?”

—————————————————————————

Hey!
So, this was first scribbled after i finished watching an anime, Another. Served as an inspiration for this story and if you watch it, you’d know why.
I’d recommend to fans of animation. Yes, it is Japanese but hey, I think the Japanese tell the best horror stories.

That being said, hope you have a lovely weekend and Eid Mubarak to my Muslim readers!

Jana!

The Final Trick


“20 minutes Tyler!”

I can hear the crowd roar with approval from the dressing room backstage.
I smile a little, swiveling my turning chair until I’m facing the huge mirror that covers almost half the wall in the ‘common room’ as it is called by everyone. I watch life pass by behind me.
Chorus girls dressing; one trying to pin a tassel to her dark nipple. I watch the curtains leading to the center-stage part a little, allowing the stage light to filter through, before it falls back into place.
Yells of encouragement, of laughter. I sit in front of the mirror and watch in fascination as painted-on faces come into view.
One girl notices me and suddenly her face is lit up with a beaming smile. She whispers quickly to another girl standing nearby and they both turn and look at me.
They make to approach me but suddenly are  turned away when they hear their cue to partake in the spotlight.
Their turn on the big stage.
They wave and the cheekier of the two girls blows a kiss at me. I make a catching motion and place it on my lips, smiling slightly as she blushes red and hurries off.

“Tyler! You shouldn’t be here! Your dressing room. You would be next”

My manager.
Without a word to him, I do as he demands, walking away from the hubbub of the changing rooms of the other side acts to the quietness of mine.
Main act of the night.
Star.
Alone.
My manager hovers behind me like an annoying bee with me playing the flower.
He is nervous; his fingers twisting at a piece of paper, the pamphlet for tonight’s show.
He is talking to me.
“This would be the biggest! The biggest show ever! We are making millions!”
I tune him out.
I sit on my ‘throne’ and face an even bigger mirror.
What is it with mirrors in this place anyway? It seems like everywhere I turn, there is another me, staring out with lost, brown eyes.
Lost.
I watch him talk, bulbous nose moving with every enunciation. He notices my absent-mindedness and sighs dramatically. I almost chuckle at the comical way his already huge girth expands as he takes a deep breath.
I wonder he has a baby hippo nesting somewhere within his voluminous white jacket.
I remember when he was slimmer, hungrier.
I remember when he first met me.
‘Do you want to be a star?’ he had asked me then. I remember looking at dark, shifty eyes and wondering just how he was going to pull that piece of magical trick off. I remember shrugging my shoulder and nodding noncommittally. I did what I did because I enjoyed it, not because of stardom but I figured that too wasn’t bad. Stardom meant I shared my art with a wider audience an of course, better funding. Maybe even one day affording a new suit and not the hand-me-downs I picked up from charity stores.
He was true to his word.
He made me a star.
But he sure did reap the benefit later, if his weight is anything to go by.
I raise one hand to silence him mid prattle.
“It’s just another show Donny. Relax.” I murmur, a small sigh escaping my thin lips.
I have finally responded and he grabs this opportunity before I shut down.
“Just another show? THE QUEEN IS OUT THERE! Dignitaries! This is IT! IT I TELL YOU!” He walks about, guts heaving, hands flailing.

“Yea yea…” I stare at my reflection intently.
I’m not sure what I’m looking for; maybe glimpses of the ten year old boy who stared in amazement at the street urchin’s hands as he made the cards he held up disappear.
I can still remember his toothy grin, his croaky voice that asked me to pick a card. “Go on” he had cajoled and i picked a card.
I remember his cackling laughter at my stare of wonder when he had produced exactly the card I had picked up.
“Another!” I cried out in excitement; that pure, unadulterated excitement.
I am looking for glimpses of the boy who went home and proudly announced to his father that he was going to be a Magician.
‘Stop talking nonsense and get your hands ready for kneading’ my dad had replied shortly to me.
A baker he was, and a baker he was determined to make out of me. To my father, baking was in the Hughes blood and he was ready to knead me into what he was by all means.
I wonder where the boy who went back to that street urchin, begging him to teach him the tricks of his trade is.
What happened to him?
Would I ever feel that way again?
Would I ever feel that rush of excitement and sense of adventure I felt when I finally left home in the middle of the night, leaving to seek my fortunes as an entertainer? That freedom; that belief.
I look hard at myself and I cannot find him.

“Are you even listening to me!”
Donny’s voice breaks into my contemplation and I sigh, exasperated. I turn to him.
“Where did I go to?”
He looks puzzled. “Tyler, you’re here…I don’-”
I shush him. “Do you remember the Canon show?” I whisper.
H frowns, knowing where I was leading to.
“Not today of all days” he mutters to himself as he walks to the drawers, rummaging them, pointedly ignoring my question.
“Remember the way the small crowd cheered? How you lifted me up and called me a genius” I whispers, more to myself.
“Ah!” he calls out, securing a packet of Bupropion. He fetches me a glass of crystal clear water and proffers the two small tablets to me.
“You’re not spazzing out on me today of all days Tyler. No.”
I ignore the tablets in his hands and rest my chin on my steepled fingers back to gazing at myself.
“I don’t need those”
He looks aggrieved and I suddenly feel a little pang of guilt. I sigh, my face softening to accommodate a smile.
“Fine. I’ll take it. Just shoo. You’re a mother hen”
His smile comes back and dropping the tablets in my hands he holds my head and plants a wet kiss Donny-style on my forehead.
“We’ve made it!” He laughs and walks off. I can hear him scream at my makeup team to get to work.
When I’m sure he is out of sights, I get up and dump the antidepressant pills in a bin.
I’d do without them.

Soon, I am on stage and I feel rather than see Donny give me a thumbs up. I hear my wife’s laughter as she claps.
I smile to myself.
She believes I do not  know about her and Donny. Better off that way isn’t it?
A tic pulls at my eyebrow and quickly banishing thoughts, I wear my mask; full wattage smile. All suave.
I can barely make out the said dignitaries in the audience, the spotlight cast on me, turning them into mere shadows with voices.
Alone.
I wait for the rush I get from the applause and cheers but nothing hits me.
It is all noise.
Alone and Empty.
Like an automaton, I go through my practiced routines with such dexterity, I could have been doing them blindfolded.
After the thunderous applause that signals the end of my last performance, I clear my throat.
As if on cue, there is a hush.

I smile.
Not the mask; not the full wattage smile.
I smile; small, sad.
“Now, for my final trick” I murmur.
I hear the buzz of excitement in the audience; i also hear Donny’s voice demanding to know ‘What the hell he’s doing!’ from someone.
I do not turn.
I pick up a sword, one of the props and slowly twirl it like a baton in the air. The silent anticipation is so thick, I could have cut it with a bread knife.
“I’m done” I whisper and without thinking, I drive the sharp point of the sword into my neck.
I bite my lips at the pain, my eardrums able to pick out the gasps and claps over the pounding of blood.
They cannot see my blood, carefully absorbed by the black cloak I have on.
I suddenly realize they are waiting… for the illusion to be revealed; for the magic.
My knees buckle and I crumple to the floor.
Dimly, I hear the first real screams of fear.
Ah…
Shouts assault my ears and I feel arms around me, trying to save me.
I finally see him; the young boy who did Magic because he loved it. He extends a hand to me.
Slowly, I reach out and take it. I feel his small, familiar palm squeeze mine. I try to return the gesture.
Finally.
Finally.

——————————————————–

Hey everyone!
This was a half-finished tale hidden somewhere and decided to stay up (currently 3.23am) to finish it up and ready to post.
I do hope you liked it.
There was some sort of message I wanted to pass across when I started writing this initially; I cannot remember what now but I’m hoping i unconsciously included it in the story so let me know if you see it.

That being said, I hope you all have a lovely weekend.
Jana!

Footfalls II


John sat comfortably, ripping through a pack of sandwiches with his teeth as he dialled a number.
Securing one tuna sandwich, he began to munch as he listened to the phone ring.
“Hey baby!” A cheery voice greeted on the phone
“Hey sugs! You on a break now yea?”
“Mhmm. Just having some coffee and looking through some papers.”
John chuckled,  shaking his head as he picked up another sandwich. “Madae McFaden it is called a break for a reason! Take a break!”
Her laughter blared out of the speaker. “I’d take a break when I’m dead”
“You? I doubt it!  You’d probably ask to be buried with your work.”
“Well, you can’t expect me to fold my hands in the ground,  doing nothing can you now?”
They shared a laugh and a small smile tickled his lips.
“I miss you baby…”
“I miss you too, hun. How’s Edinburgh and the convention? On a break?”
“All good and yes, on a break. Having some sandwiches in this huge cemetery. Real quiet and all”
“Urghhhhhh” She muttered and he laughed out loud.
“You know I hate those places. Dunno why you find them so peaceful”
“Because they are you wuss! Wussy Madea!”

Madea?

John suddenly shivered, turning. Had he heard someone?
“Gotta scram baby. Break over!”
“Ok hun. You take care” John said  distractedly, still looking about.
“I love you” She said blowing a kiss over the phone.
“I love you too”
He walked to the nearest trash can and put the empty packets in. Dusting himself of crumbs, he walked out of the cemetery.

Madea?
Madea…
Madea!

“Lend me your eyes”
John tossed and turned in his hotel room, sleeping fitfully.
“Lend me your body.”
He kicked at his duvet, deep in sleep, as if fighting off an invisible foe.
“Give me my bride!”
He groaned, hands clawing at his bedsheet, sweat beaded on his forehead.
“Lend me!”
“Lend me!”
“Lend yourself to me!”

“Yes!” John shrieked as if in pain and suddenly, eyes popped open.
He shuddered, feeling like he had been bathed in cold water.
He groaned, rubbing his eyes.
“What the hell?” He murmured.
His shivering made him realise he had kicked off his duvet. Sliding his torso out of bed, he stretched his hands and grabbed it, pulling it over himself.
He sighed at the warmth and soon, he fell asleep.

Madea…

She kissed him soundly on the lips and he hugged her hard as they cuddled on the sofa.
“Missed you…”
She snuggled into his arms and he stroked her cheek, absent mindedly.
“Did you say something?” She suddenly said, turning.
He blinked confused. “Mm? No…no I didn’t”
“Oh..thought I heard you whisper My bride”
He chuckled. “Wanna be my bride?” He asked, nuzzling her ear.
She giggled. “You asking me to marry you?”
He licked her neck slow…and she shivered.
“Do that again…” She whispered.
He blinked. “Do what again?”
She turned and leaned towards him, licking his neck slowly.
“That…” she murmured, her eyes glazed.
He felt his tummy clench as his heart began to pound.
Smiling, she stood and dragged him by his shirt, sashaying into the room.
Together, the three of them walked into the room.

Soon, she was riding the two of them to ecstasy.


I walk slowly, grumbling as I try to balance the shopping bags in my hands to lessen the ache in my tiring arms.
“Almost there” I whisper to myself, a billow of cold steam following my words. It is a cold February night and a little shiver dances up spine.
“Brrrr! Onward soldier, onward!” I murmur, egging myself on to walk faster. I muse about getting myself a help just to do the grocery shopping.
It used to be John’s duty but since we broke up…
Well, that is that.
Coming home to rest would be ideal but that would mean living on Pot Noodles till the weekend arrives. My saving grace is the 24hour Tesco store just by the corner of the next street.
I walk past the cemetery and grimace in distaste. Graveyards always leave me with the heebies-jeebies. Not because of any ghostly fears but an aversion i acquired after i got lost in one as a child.
It had been grandpa’s burial at Edinburgh and with the boredom of a seven year old child, I ran after a butterfly delightedly, believing somehow that that was the spirit of my grandpa. It didn’t take long for me to lose my direction in the huge ground. I lost track of the butterfly and couldn’t find my way back. The grounds soon became a labyrinth to me and I was sure everyone had gone home without me. My legs soon got tired from walking and I decided to sit on a little mound of stone that was shaped like a stool. Shock and fear registered in my eyes when I suddenly felt the ground give and I toppled into a shallow grave.
It was in there my father later found me, crying my eyes out, staring at the grinning skull of a dearly departed.

I shudder at the recollection. John had decided to get us a house on a street that had a cemetery just to get me to let go of my fear. At first, I protested but the rent was cheap and so didn’t matter.
Cheapskate.

“Almost home” I whisper, listening to the rhythmic squeaking of my sneakers as I trudge on.
“Can I help with that?”
My head jerks up at the voice behind me and I turn.
There is a man with his face hidden in the shadows. My heart rate increases exponentially and it suddenly dawns on me how vulnerable I am.
As if reading my mind, he comes closer to the street light and it illuminates his face.
A huge sigh of relief leaves my body. “Ah! Spencer! You gave me a fright there!” I chuckle in embarrassment.
Spencer is a friendly neighbour I see around often. John never liked him because he thought he had a crush on me. It didn’t matter that the alleged crusher had a fiancee he had introduced to us.
Spencer smiles at me. “Sorry about that. Didnae ken you stayed out late”
“Huh?” I murmur, confused, eliciting a bark of laughter from him. “I didn’t know you could throw in Gaelic with English”
He chuckles. “Something I picked up. Need help with those?” He points at my shopping bags.
I shake my head, not wanting to burden him “Nah, they’re fine. I’ll manage. Thanks though!”
“You sure?  C’n ‘elp ya”
I smile. “You’re doing the accent thing again. It’s cute. You should teach me.”
His smile broadens and for a second, shadows shift across his face, lending him a look of malevolence. I step back instinctively, blinking rapidly and suddenly, it is gone.
“Gotta…go now” I say quickly, fidgety. He notices my discomfort and nods politely and turning away.
I think I’ve offended him and I suddenly feel foolish.
“Umm…Spencer?” I call.
He turns.
“Maybe I could do with some help” I say sheepishly.
He smiles and walks back to me. “Nothing wrong with that, lassie. We all need help.”
I give him half the bags and he lifts them. “Whao! What’s in here? Bricks?”
We share a laugh. “Tins and more tins!”

We walk along, talking, until we get to my gate which he helps me unlatch as I bring the bags in.
“Thank you so much!” I enthuse, dropping the heavy bags at the front door.
“My pleasure. Always my pleasure” he replies.
I wait for him to start leaving but he doesn’t. I smile at him uncertainly.
Does he want me to invite him in? I haven’t had a man over since John left.
But this isn’t ‘any’ man. This is a soon-to-be-married man!
“So…have a good night?” I venture.
He nods. “I will. You’ll see”
We stand there in awkward silence and I begin to get worried. Is he going to force himself on me?
“How is Dolores these days? When is the wedding?” I ask, trying to remind him of his engaged status.
“Dolores…?”
“Yes… your finacee?”
“Ah…” he says and chuckles, stroking his beard.
My teeth gnaw on my bottom lip in anxiety and my tired hands tremble as I try to get my key out of my bag. They fall and I bend to pick them up.
That is when I notice.

Only two feet are connected to the ground.
Mine.
At that moment, it suddenly strikes me how I didn’t hear any footfalls walk behind me, before he showed up.
I stand up slowly, eyes wide, lips trembling.
He smiles amiably. “Ah…I see you’ve noticed” he whispers.
“Wha..what a..are you?”
“Madea…Madea…Madea”
He whispers softly walking closer to me and I step back, limbs trembling.
“Have you seen Madea? Madea? Where are you?”
I open my mouth to scream but only a croak escapes.
“Little girls shouldn’t disturb my sleep. Mm…Madea?”
The porch light barely illuminates him as his skin ripples, the colour draining out of them, going grey. His clothes tear, suddenly turn to rags.
The smell of damp earth pervades the air, cloying, choking. I gag, tears streaming down my face like rivulets, my saucer-wide eyes shaking. I feel something wet run down my thighs.
“Madea” he growles, his voice suddenly gravelly.
His skin stretches, thin, and a familiar skull grins at me.
“O…ohh..”
“Madea. I’ve been waiting to take you home with me…My bride”
He reaches for my face and i shudder as bony hands stroke my cheek.
The stink of rot…
Of a graveyard…
“Madea… Daddy cannot find you this time…

I scream.

Hands shake me roughly.
“Madea! Wake up!”
My eyes open and I take deep, ragged breaths, body daml with sweat, trembling.
“Jo…hn?”
He stares at me worriedly, eyes red with sleep.
“You ok?”
I open my mouth to speak but he places a hand to my lips, pulling me close.
“Shhh… It’s just a dream…”
My shakes eases and I sigh. “Him again…” I whisper. “Since you came back from Edinburgh, it’s gotten worse”
“Just memories… Shhh. Sleep”
He kisses me softly on my lips and slowly, I drift back to sleep.

“Madea…” John whispered to himself.

“My bride…” Another voice murmured through him, stroking her cheek.

He would not remember saying anything… or stroking her cheek.

—————–
To be continued. Maybe?

Down The Pike


It is like my eyes are suddenly opened and I see them, a host of them, in numerous queues that seem to stretch on till eternity. All sorts of people are lines up; people of all ages are lined up – from the ancient olds to floating masses of what should be fetuses.
How many of these lines there are, I cannot say because I cannot count.
‘As vast as the sand on the seashore’ is the first thing that comes to mind.
‘There are about 7 billion people in the world’  think to myself. ‘Surely, all of them are here today!’

I look forward to see where they’re all heading to; or herded to. There are checkpoints at the start of each queue manned by being  I cannot properly explain so forgive me if my description of them comes off as vague. In fact, if it is possible for a thing to look vague, then these beings are vague.
They wear dark cloaks, or maybe dark clouds as the cloaks seem to swirl like mists if you stare too long. They are hooded; the only visible parts, spindly black twigs knotted to form arms. In one hand of a being is holding what can be most aptly described as a huge scissors; although one cannot be so sure, seeing at these tools pulse with inner light, as if alive.

My eyes ache when I look at them so i return to study the host and that is when I  notice something truly odd. I blink to make sure I am not hallucinating. Slightly above each person is a floating string made of what I can simply describe as Light. Each Light is different in hue and my eyes widen in wonder at the numerous colours that have congregated over numerous heads; from the brightest of yellows that leave a lingering giddy feeling in my body to the darkest of blacks that make me look away, shuddering instinctively. Although  colours are similar, each string of Light is unique in a way I cannot put my hands on just yet.

Suddenly, I understand the function of the scissors held by the beings that man the checkpoints. I turn to watch them snip at these strings as each person is presented before them. Immediately a string is cut, the scissors absorbs the light, incandescent, so bright it dazzles the eyes that by the time you are able to see again, the person snipped is no longer there; replaced by another.
I watch in fascination as spindly fingers hold strings delicately between what would be a thumb and index finger of a human.
It takes me a whole minute to realise what is happening and my amazement is replaced with dismay…and fear.

“Death!” I cry out loud, turning back to the people queued, as if wanting to appeal to them to turn back. The ancient olds walk on, look of pure serenity on their faces. The disfigured and sick (obvious only by their skeletal bodies), trudge on, gratitude written on the harsh planes of their faces. There are the young;  healthy and smiling, oblivious. And then there are the scared, the afraid. They are aware of what is ahead. Their saucer-wide eyes, shimmering with tears; their lips trembling, as they try to stifle screams.
‘If all these people die, then who lives?’ I muse to myself and the answer comes to me just as quickly.
Some have been on these queues for years…for ages. They would not all die immediately.
While some know what lays ahead, a great deal do not and they would continue living unaware, until it is their turn to get their strings cut.

Hands push me forward and I turn back in surpr…
“No..no…no…nono” I murmur, my limbs suddenly losing their locomotive function.
I am on a queue.
I feel sweat bead on my forehead and armpits, and i break out in violent shivers.
I turn to the blank face behind me. “There has be..een a mistake” I stammer. “I do not belong here”
I am ignored and I try pushing my way out.
“Please, let me go. Please. I still have time. I don’t belong here. No. Please”
I choke on a sob, chest heaving as I am clamped into position by a mass of bodies.
I look ahead and my heart stops at the checkpoint that is just a few bodies away.
Tears streak down my face and my legs shake unable to bear my weight. I do not crumple to the ground, still carried onwards by the mass of bodies behind me.
I struggle!
I cry!
I scream!
I pray!
“God no…No please..not yet…still got a lot to do please No No” I mumble, terror settling in the pit of my stomach like an unborn fetus made of lead.

Soon, it is my turn and I stand before my executioner.
“There…has.. has been  mishtake..” I stutter, hiccuping. “It’s…n..not…ti..time. Pl..Please…”
Ignored, spindly arms hold my light and my teeth chatter as my eyes follows the path of the looming scissors.
At the first snap, my heart lurches as if being pulled forcefully out of my chest.
I open my mouth to scream.
The scissors glow green, so bright tha-

———————————————————————————————–

I am reading Insomnia by Stephen King and I was inspired by his depiction of Auras and Bald Docs #1 #2 #3 (Read the book and you’d understand what I’m saying 😛 )
This piece crept into my mind subtly and evaded my faculties till i was so distracted, I had to stop reading to write it down on paper, before continuing with my book.
(And it is a good read so far, I’d recommend)

Hope you enjoyed and do comment thaaaanks!
Have a lovely weekend!
Jana!

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