Category Archives: Short Stories

The Gift, Part 2, Short Story

Shade felt the warm rays of the sun caress her face and her eyes flickered open. She turned her head away from the sun and saw the picture of Kola her fiancé smiling at her. Next to that picture was the picture they took on a boat in Dubai with the Burj Khalifa in the background. She had fond memories of that weekend in Dubai. She tried to smile but was rewarded with a headache.

She sat up in bed and noticed that she was still wearing the clothes from yesterday. One thing she never did was wear her work clothes to bed. She got out of the clothes, rushed into the bathroom and took a shower. Minutes later she emerged from the bathroom, did her beauty routine and put on some new clothes.

She entered the kitchen and made herself a cup of mint tea. The heat of the brew helped to clear her head. The clock on the microwave oven read 9:23am. A frown creased her face as she looked at the time. She never slept this late on a Saturday. She was supposed to be at the gym at 7:00 am, but she had missed today’s session by two hours. She pushed aside the cup of tea as concern rose up in her mind. She remembered going to Uche’s apartment. She couldn’t remember leaving it or what happened afterwards. As hard as she tried she couldn’t remember where she had been last night.

Her phone beeped and rescued her from the agony of trying to figure out where the last eight hours of her life went. It was a text from Kola, her fiancé. He was on his way to her apartment and wanted to know if she was back from the gym. She evaded the question. Yes, she was in, she ended the conversation. He had requested for a key to her apartment but she had refused. They were not yet married and until then he had no right to barge into her apartment whenever he wanted. She needed her own space where she could think her own thoughts, process freely and do as she pleased. She felt some sadness as she looked around her apartment. She would miss this apartment when she moved into Kola’s house in Magodo after they returned from their honeymoon. She had so many fond memories, secrets locked in the walls of this house. After living here for seven years, the environment, the people, sights of Surulere had become a part of her life. She wished she could keep the apartment and return to it when she needed some alone time. But society wouldn’t allow her do that. It would be regarded as an act of rebellion for a young bride to retain her former apartment. Her mother would see it as resistance to marriage or the fear of moving into an uncertain future with her husband. She stood up and touched the leaves of the plant that grew in a pot by the window. She liked the scent of the flowers when they blossomed. There were other flowers pots on the balcony but this one was special. She even gave it a name. Cher. Its flamboyant colours reminded her of the ageless, iconic rock artist.

*******

‘Where were you last night?’ Kola asked her as he drove.
‘I was at Uche’s place then I came back home to sleep,’ Shade avoided his eyes.
Kola gave her a curious look. ‘I called your phone over ten times but it was switched off. When did you start turning off your phone? We had an agreement that our phones should always be on in case of an emergency.’
‘I must have forgotten,’ Shade said without conviction.
Suddenly Kola veered off the road and entered a gas station. He found a spot and parked the car. Shade looked at his face and feared for what was about to happen. This could very well be the end of her intended marriage to him.
Kola held the steering wheel tightly. Shade watched him.
He turned to her. ‘Shade, I am going to ask you one more time. Tell me the truth. I know you weren’t with Uche last night. I called her at 11:25pm. She said you had left her apartment and you said you were going to your mother’s place. I called your mother and she said you were not at her place.’ Kola paused and rubbed his palms together. Shade said nothing.
He continued. ‘I was tempted to call your pastor and let him know what was going on but it crossed my mind that if I brought him into the matter, there were questions I wouldn’t be able to answer. He could also tell us to call off our wedding. I didn’t want that to happen, so I didn’t call him. but if you don’t start talking to me, I will call your pastor and tell him what is going on.’
Tears came to Shade’s eyes as she listened to Kola. She saw the end of her relationship with him. She saw the wedding cancelled. She saw herself shamed out of the church. She saw herself mocked by fake and false friends who would rejoice about her break-up with Kola Owolabi. Her face would be splattered on social media platforms and people would call her mean names. Continue reading

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The Gift, Part 1, Short Story.

 

‘This looks so good on you,’ Uche said admiring the necklace on her friend’s neck.
Shade smiled. ‘And it is real gold,’ she said with some pride.
Uche examined the pendant that swung from the chain. She had a concerned look on her face. ‘Shade, this looks like a mermaid. Why are you wearing it?’
Shade caressed the pendant. ‘This was a Christmas gift from deacon Soleye in church. It came with a matching bracelet.’
Uche sat back in her chair. ‘Deacon Soleye gave you a necklace and bracelet as a Christmas gift? That doesn’t sound right. Why would he give you such a gift when he knows that you are already taken by another man? What did Kola your fiancé say about this?’
Shade’s eyes fell like a child who was caught lying. ‘I didn’t tell him about this.’ She lifted her head. ‘And I will really appreciate it if you kept this between us.’
Uche regarded her friend with suspicion. ‘You mean a man gave you such an expensive gift and you didn’t tell the man you are going to marry? What is going on here?’
Shade was silent for a moment, then she turned to Uche. ‘Kola is my fiancé and not my husband. We are not yet married. Should I tell him everything that goes on in my life? Shouldn’t I have some privacy?’ she asked.
Uche’s mouth hung open as she regarded her friend in shock. ‘I don’t understand. Are you telling me that the introduction and wine carrying ceremony you did in Osogbo counted for nothing? Remember that Kola was ready to go ahead with the whole wedding formalities but you said he should wait until April. Why you did that I have no idea. That guy was ready to marry you but you said he should wait and now you are saying that you want some privacy in your life? Are you really sure you want to get married? Uche asked her friend.

‘This is not what you think it is. You are taking everything out of context,’ Shade said.
‘What context? Isn’t Kola your fiancé anymore?’
‘He is but this gift has nothing to do with our…’ Shade stopped talking mid-sentence. She tilted her head away from Uche as if she was trying hard to hear something. Uche noticed the far away look she had in her eyes.
‘Shade, are you okay?’ Uche asked her.
Shade dropped the glass of orange juice she was drinking on the table. ‘I have to leave.’ She began to look around to put her things inside her bag.
Uche gave her a look. ‘Why are you leaving? You haven’t spent thirty minutes in this house.’ Shade said nothing. She was still looking around her to make sure she took all her items with her.
Uche regarded her closely. ‘Where are you going at this hour of the night? This was supposed to be a sleep over. Is it your mother?’
Shade nodded, her eyes not really focused on anything. ‘Yes, it is my mother. She needs me now,’ she stood up. Uche got up with her and held her hand.
‘Shade,’ Uche looked into her eyes. ‘It is almost 11pm at night. You told Kola you would sleep over at my place. Why are you changing your mind? It seems so sudden.’ Uche noticed that Shade’s hand was growing cold. She dropped it and stepped back. ‘Shade, I don’t think you should go anywhere tonight. Wait until tomorrow morning and I promise you that I will go with you to go see your mother.’
‘It will be too late by then. I have to leave now.’ She reached for the door and opened it.
Uche watched her leave with trepidation. Continue reading

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The Pastor’s Secret 6, Final instalment.(Short Story)

 

He stood before the door to the private hospital room with trepidation. He hesitated and muttered a short prayer. What lay behind this door, he wondered. He wanted Susan to be okay. Two nurses walked past, giving him side glances. They whispered to themselves and looked back twice as they walked down the long hospital corridor.
He stepped into the room and stopped. Susan lay on the bed sleeping. In spite of the bandage tied around her head she looked beautiful. He stood by her bed side observing her breathing. She opened her eyes. When she saw him, she forced a weak smile. ‘Thank you for coming,’ she said.
‘How are you doing?’ He asked.
‘The doctors say that I will live.’
He didn’t want to pressure her but he had to know what happened to her husband. ‘How is Bassey?’
Susan shut her eyes. When she opened them they were angry. ‘Please don’t ask me about him. He is the reason why I am in this hospital.’
Ogedengbe ignored her. ‘Where is he?’
She was silent for a moment. ‘He is dead,’ she started crying. Ogedengbe stood there not knowing what to tell her.

******

The maid brought in drinks and set them on the centre table. As soon as she left the room Susan turned to Ogedengbe and kissed him on his lips. Ogedengbe didn’t know how to respond to her.
‘I have wanted to do this for a long time,’ Susan said, kissing him again.
Ogedengbe’s mind was racing. He was in the house of a man who was buried ten days ago. This was supposed to be a condolence visit but it was getting out of hand. He looked into her eyes and unbriddled passion stared back at him. He wanted her, but not here, not now, not like this. Continue reading

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The Pastor’s Secret 5 (Short Story)

He entered the sitting room and sat on the sofa. He picked up the remote and surfed through channels, his mind pondering the possibilities that existed in his relationship with Susan after this new information he had acquired purely by accident. Ogedengbe did not consider himself as spiritual as pastor E. A Adeboye or Bishop T.D Jakes, but he could recognise God’s providence when he saw it. Listening to Susan’s conversation with her husband was an act of divine providence. It was a sign that God wanted him to move on with his plans for Susan. How else would you explain this wonderful gift that was given to him even without his asking? A placed his hand on his forehead trying to sooth a twitching vein. No matter how he felt, there was only one meaning to what happened this evening: God wanted him to deliver Susan from the hands of that monster called Bassey Akpabio. He will assume the role of a deliverer sent to her by God; his relationship with Susan would be an act of mercy. No, it would be a supreme act of God’s grace on his hurting daughter who desperately needed help.

The thought crossed his mind that he was married and this would be a sin in the sight of God and man, but he waved it off as you would an irritating mosquito buzzing around your ears. As a deliverer he was entitled to some collateral benefits arising from his acts of mercy. What was wrong with Susan thanking him personally with her love if she so desired? She could reward him with some money, but he didn’t want her money. She would be his reward.

The thought he had swatted away returned, this time louder, like an enraged bee. Yes, he knew this would be considered sin in many religious quarters but he refused to be judged by any of those hypocrites who pretended to be better than him. His face creased in anger as he thought about the religious licence his colleagues had given themselves to contravene all the sacred teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ by acquiring material things and heaping up money like pagans who didn’t know God, yet they preached publicly that their followers should follow God.
‘Hypocrites!’ Ogedengbe spluttered, throwing out the word like a piece of stone found in a meal of beans.

‘Who are hypocrites?’ Ngozi asked, walking into the sitting room. Continue reading

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The Pastor’s Secret 4 (Short Story)

The sermon notes he was preparing for the following morning were scattered on his table.  He picked up a note and read it. He sighed deeply, pushed aside the papers,  stood up and paced his study. It had been four days since he spoke with Susan. What was going on in her life, in her marriage? Had Bassey changed his ways or was he still treating her bad? This silence was almost driving him crazy. A thought scurried through his mind and he stopped pacing. Had Susan found a man? Had she found somebody who would treat her with the respect that she deserved? A frown creased his forehead. From somewhere within him anger rose up slowly like steam rising from a pot of hot okra soup as he contemplated the possibility that Susan could betray him in that manner. He sat down heavily on the orthopaedic chair he had bought to help with his lower back pain. It didn’t seem to be working. The pain shot through his back and he stood up again. Surely Susan couldn’t have met another man and abandoned him after all the work he had done for her? She should understand that he was important to her happiness. She should recognise that he was a man who has feelings for her. He had gone beyond the boundaries of counselling her and now took her life as a project. No, it felt more like a calling to make her happy, to put a smile on her face and deliver her from the misery that Bassey inflicted on her daily. That man was nothing but an animal. Continue reading

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The Pastor’s Secret 3 (Short Story)

Ogedengbe regarded the bible which lay on the table before him. The rays of the sun streaming through the window bounced off its gold rimmed edges making it look like the open jaws of a predator. He shook his head slightly to clear his mind and dislodge the apparition which hovered before him. He reached forward to push the holy book aside but changed his mind and held back his hand. He thought it best not to touch it just in case the apparition was real. After all he was a man of the cloth who understood spiritual realities. This could be a sign or a warning for him not to go ahead with his plan. The book lay on the table like a barrier between him and his guest. He shifted his gaze away from the holy book which suddenly looked menacing and regarded the woman who sat before him.
Her perfume caressed his senses taking him on a fantasy which was unlawful for him to engage in.
‘He said I have to stop attending church. He said if I don’t stop he would be forced to leave me for that whore he is having an affair with,’ Susan said.
His heart leapt for joy like the cripple at the Beautiful Gate who received a miracle of healing through the hands of Peter and John but he kept an impassive face. This was the best news he had received all week. His plans were going better than he anticipated.

As he regarded her he wanted to confess to her what he felt for her. He wanted her so much that it gave him a headache when he thought about how to get her away from Bassey. But now he didn’t have to do anything. Bassey Akpabio was doing his work for him. Continue reading

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The Pastor’s Secret 2 (Short Story)

 

‘You have to stop counselling that woman,’ Ngozi said.
‘Why do you say that?’ He feigned surprise knowing what his wife meant.
‘I don’t feel comfortable with her. I don’t like the way she hangs around you. I just don’t like her.’
‘Ngozi please don’t say that,’ Ogedengbe said. ‘She has been a faithful member of the church and a generous giver. She desperately needs our help at this moment and we cannot afford to let her down,’ he implored his wife.
‘But I can’t shake the feeling that she may be up to no good.’ She said.

 

Ogedengbe knew what was going on in her mind. In fact it was because Susan was a generous giver that Ngozi didn’t want her talking with her husband every Tuesday afternoon at 2:00pm. The envelope which started the conversation lay on the table between them. Susan had managed to give her way to become the assistant leader of the women’s fellowship. When Ngozi questioned him about it he pointed at the fact that she was more financially committed than any other woman in the church, therefore he had to encourage her by giving her such a visible position. He knew he was right about that. If she wasn’t given a notable position she may decide to leave the church. And there were many churches willing to welcome someone like Susan Akpabio as a member of their congregation.

‘Are there no other pastors in the church capable of counselling that woman? Why don’t you hand over her counselling to your associate pastor? He is quite capable of handling such matters.’
Ogedengbe flinched at the thought of Joseph Odewunmi his associate pastor rubbing shoulders with the financial pillars of the church. Before he knew it some of them will invite him over for dinner and he will begin to nurse grandiose ideas about having a calling and launching his own ministry. He had studied pastor Odewunmi and saw the fiery ambition in his eyes, cloaked as godly zeal and spirituality. But he would not be fooled by that. He had seen that look before in the eyes of men who tried to take over his church barely one year after he started it. Only the grace of God saved him from their bid to usurp his authority and install another pastor. They accused him of having an unhealthy relationship with a female member of the church. They couldn’t prove anything and the woman involved refused to join their witch hunt against him.

No matter what his wife says he would never trust Odewunmi with a rich member of his flock. Never! It would be like handing over your ATM card and passsword to a known thief to help you withdraw some money. Technically that would be entrapment because the thief would eventually fall for the temptation. You had to be careful with ambitious men who were looking for any opportunity they could find to position themselves with the rich in the congregation. And he could begin to nurse ideas for Susan. No, it was definitely a bad idea to allow another pastor take over the counselling of Susan Akpabio. But he had to find something to tell his wife. She wouldn’t let this go until he gave in to her demand.

The envelope Susan gave him lay on the table in front of him. It had been a mistake to tell his wife about it. When he opened the envelope he found a cheque written in his name. He shouldn’t have told her about this gift from Susan. The moment he told Ngozi about the financial gift from Susan, she turned against her.

‘Do you like Susan Akpabio?’ Ngozi broke into his thoughts like a bugler from the Bronx.
His chest tightened and his breathing became laboured. He prayed Ngozi didn’t notice the sweat building up on his forehead. Ngozi was stepping on dangerous grounds with this line of questioning. He had to be careful with his answers. He liked Susan. He preferred her to his skinny wife who sat opposite him at the dinner table nibbling on a piece of carrot like a starving rabbit.
‘I like her as a committed member of the church, if that’s what you mean,’ he said.
Ngozi regarded her husband with suspicion. His face was an expressionless mask which betrayed no emotions. ‘No, that’s not what I meant. Do you like Susan, do you like her as a woman?’ she asked again. She looked him in the eyes. Ogedengbe evaded the question. ‘The only thing I feel for that woman is compassion,’ he said. ‘Her marriage to that man has been nothing but torture. My prayer is that the Lord would deliver her in his infinite mercy.’ Although he felt compassion for Susan, that wasn’t exactly the only thing he felt. If Ngozi suspected what was going on in his mind she would impale his bald head on the table using the thin carrots on the plate before her as murder weapons.
‘Why don’t you ask her husband to come in for counselling? That should be a better way to resolve this matter,’ Ngozi said.
‘I invited him twice but he failed to turn up for our appointment. I will try to get him to change his mind.’
‘I know you mean well,’ she said and her features softened. ‘But we have to be careful with a woman who throws her weight around the church. I will feel better if you handed her case over to someone else,’ she rose up from the table and walked into the bedroom.

Ogedengbe waited for a few minutes until he was sure that she had settled down then he entered his study and locked the door. He dialled a number on his phone.
‘Why are you calling me?’ a female voice said on the other end of the line. ‘I told you that I could handle this. Give me some time.’
Ogedengbe touched his temple. ‘I paid you a lot of money to do a job for me. I need you to give me good results. You promised that you could get this done. Things are getting out of hand.’
‘Is that the reason why you are calling me at this time of the night? Where is your wife?” she asked.
‘My wife is none of your business.’
‘On the contrary, she is my business. For your plan to succeed she has to go along with it. So, she is very important to me.’ said the voice on the phone.
Ogedengbe wanted to say something but kept quiet.
There was a knock on the door. He ended the call abruptly and put away his phone.
The knock came again. He took his time and opened the door. His wife stood before him in a red night dress. She looked like a piece of thin brown wood tied with a red ribbon.
‘Why did you lock the door?’ she asked.
‘Ngozi, you know that when I am praying I lock the door so that I can have some privacy.’

She leaned against the door like a coquette and twisted a strand of her hair. He regarded the Brazilian hair on her head. He hated it. He liked it when a woman carried her hair natural the way God made it. But his wife preferred to wear expensive human hair which belonged to God knows who. He regarded the contraption she put on her head. How could she carry that thing around with her all day not knowing to whom it formerly belonged? Was it hair cut from the head of a mad woman, which probably still carried with it the spirits which caused the woman’s insanity? Was it hair which belonged to a demon worshipper or a prostitute? Had the hair been dedicated to a demon deity at some pagan temple before it was exported with its attendant demons to women who were not content to live with the natural beauty the Lord gave them? How many women suffered from unknown ailments, mysterious problems which defied all rational solutions because their vanity made them wear human hair? He shuddered at the thought of lying in the same bed with hair belonging to a devil worshipper from Brazil. The day will come when he would burn every strand of Brazilian hair and every other kind of artificial and unnatural hair he found in his home. He would not make his house a warehouse for demons. He had enough problems already without inviting sophisticated fashion demons from half –way across the world to add to it.
‘Why are you starring at my hair like that?’ Ngozi asked.
‘Nothing,’ he said.
‘Oluwayemi, please come to bed.’ He liked the way she called his name. It rolled off her tongue like oil, soothing like a hot cocoa drink on a cold night. He felt a flicker of arousal in his loins. She had a way with words, that was one of the reasons he married her. She turned around and walked towards the bedroom.

He remembered the night of their honeymoon, how hot she looked in her night wear which clung to her curves. A lot had changed since then. She had become a scarecrow in his home. After one child she said she had become ‘too big’. She worked out at the gym like a North Korean gymnast preparing for the Olympics. Her rigorous exercise regiment had eaten away the succulence of her beauty and left her with…almost nothing. He sighed bitterly.
‘Baby, I am waiting,’ she called out in a sultry tone.
He swallowed hard and entered the bedroom.

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