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 100_7320-1

In the wilderness of my mind, I am conflicted as to what course to take. Door one will take me through the Swamps of Sickness, past the Valley of Terror into the Caves of Confusion. Door two will take me up the Mountain of Doom, through the Path of Pain and down the Waterfall of Tears. The last door will lead to the Plains of Woe, a ride down the River of Sorrow and into the Tributary of Tribulation.

The journey to Eutopia has claimed many a life, but I am determined to keep moving forward. No turning back.

[100 Words]

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 the_second_hand_shop-1

Granny’s wedding dress was passed on to my mum and now to me. I have only seen photos of the wedding, but it never beats the way Grumps tells the story.

“We were barely twenty when we got married. She was my high school sweetheart,” Grumps would say affectionately, staring into space, completely oblivious to the rest of us. “We exchanged our vows in front of family and friends. When it was her turn to say her vow, your Granny said, ‘I will love you till the end of time’.  And she did so until the Lord called her home.”

[100 Words]

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The story of Umuofia continues…

Two generations after the protagonist’s tragic demise in Achebe’s timeless Things Fall Apart, the British Colonial Administration is deeply entrenched in Nigeria. The descendants of native tribesmen walk in the footsteps of both their ancestors and the strangers they now call their government.

Lagos has become the city of dreams where anyone who wants to be someone lives. From time to time, a war veteran in need of attention will amaze naïve villagers with stories about the big city.

‘There is no darkness there,’ he told his admiring listeners, ‘ because at night the electric shines like the sun, and people are always walking about, that is, those who want to walk. If you don’t want to walk you only have to wave your hand and a pleasure car stops for you.’

Little Obi Okonkwo drank in such stories without a doubt in his young mind.

For many years afterwards, Lagos was always associated with electric lights and motor-cars in Obi’s mind. Even after he had at last visited the city and spent a few days there before flying to the United Kingdom his views did not change very much.

But Obi returns from England to meet a very different Nigeria. Slums are springing up in Lagos and the people’s proclivity for bribery and corruption is insatiable. He is expected to pay back his scholarship to the Umuofia Progressive Union and support his family back in Umuofia from the meager salary he earns as a civil servant in Lagos. Meanwhile, he intends to marry his unwilling fiancée Clara, the young Nigerian nurse he met in England.

Obi’s expenditure inevitably exceeds his income and he finds himself in a quandary that borders on a conflict between the idealism he had learned in England and the temptation of accepting gifts and tokens from his fellow countrymen in exchange for favours.

Though Achebe’s No Longer At Ease is another masterpiece, its brilliance is overshadowed by its predecessor. The novel explores the cultural, sociological and economic divide that European influence brings to Africa. Family bonds begin to weaken. The ‘white man’s religion’ now competes with African traditional beliefs and technology like cars and electricity makes the cities more alluring to the younger generation who in having an affinity for Western culture, gradually forget theirs. Education suddenly becomes the yardstick of prominence instead of the customary titles bestowed on men. The literate are said to have ‘the white man’s power’.

… Obi heard his father talk with deep feeling about the mystery of the written word to an illiterate kinsman.

‘Our women made black patterns on their bodies with the juice of the uli tree. It was beautiful, but it soon faded. If it lasted two market weeks it lasted a long time. But sometimes our elders spoke about uli that never faded, although no one had ever seen it. We see it today in the writing of the white man. If you go to the native court and look at the books which clerks wrote twenty years ago or more, they are still as they wrote them. They do not say one thing today and another thing tomorrow, or one thing this year and another next year. Okoye in the book today cannot become Okonkwo tomorrow. In the Bible Pilate said: “What is written is written.” It is uli that never fades.’

Achebe is one of my favourite authors because of the versatility in his narration. He is able to blend excellent grammar with transliterations of his native Igbo dialect, making it easy for anyone who speaks a West African dialect to relate to such dialogue and at the same time whets the appetite of those who don’t for a better understanding of the language.

In this novel, he cleverly juxtaposes the benefits of European influence with its adverse effect on pre-colonial West African culture and family values as he paints a vivid picture of life during the Colonial era. Although No Longer At Ease is not as popular as the legendary Things Fall Apart, I think it is every bit a classic as the latter.

Ermilia’s Picture it & Write.

man-sitting-on-a-cloud

Peter took in the scenery with much amazement. Things had really changed since his last visit. He swooped down from the clouds to get a closer look. His clothes of intricately woven leaves would not do. He had to blend in. Then he remembered that on one of his previous visits, he came across a home for lost boys just like his gang back home. Perhaps, he could get some clothes that looked like what everyone else was wearing. With much difficulty, he snooped around until he finally found the place. Yes! It was still a home for lost boys. All he had to do was to sneak in through a window and get some modern clothes. Within a couple of minutes, he was in and out, looking like a boy who belonged to this new age. With keen interest, he walked along the road and watched as people whisked by in automobiles that looked quite different than he last remembered. He walked by what looked like a window with an invisible wall showcasing stiff people wearing clothes like a spell had been cast on them. He saw many people in trains that looked longer and moved much faster. Several people walked past him without so much as a glance at him. Everyone and everything moved in a hurry. And the buildings were now much, much taller than he recalled. If only Tinkerbell was here to see this.

He would have loved to visit many places, but it was time to fulfill the reason why he came. He had to see her once more. He wondered if she or any of her brothers would remember him. It had been so long since their adventure and he had not come by since then. Despite how much things had changed, he knew exactly where the house was. With a leap and a bound, he was in the air again. As he approached the house, he felt excited. The little boy inside him wanted to play again, but he knew better than that. Regular people stopped playing as they grew older and she must be much older now.

All the windows were shut and the curtains drawn. This had never happened before. He usually swooped in through the children’s window each time he came. He was puzzled for a while until it occurred to him that these were people who couldn’t fly so they walked into their houses through the front door. He glided down gently in front of the house and knocked. An elderly man answered the door.

“Hello. Who are you?”

“My name is Peter. Is Wendy in, please?”

“Yes. How are you acquainted with her?”

“She’s an old friend.”

“An old friend? Boy, you’re hardly fourteen years old. How long has it been since you’ve known her?”

“I meant she’s a friend of my family,” Peter recovered quickly.

“Well, don’t just stand there. Come in. Wendy! There’s a boy looking for you!”

A wrinkled face greeted Peter with a smile.

“I wondered if I’d ever see you again, Peter”

“You remember!” he shouted with joy.

“How could I ever forget you? After all the adventures we had.”

“Wheeee!” Peter lifted off the carpet and sailed around the room.

“You can’t do that in here. Thomas doesn’t know anything about you or magic.”

“Who’s Thomas?”

“The man you met at the door. He’s my husband.”

“What’s a husband?”

“I’ll tell you all about it later.”

Later that day, Peter sat on a cloud while looking down at Wendy’s house. He thought about the long conversation he had had with her. She had told him about the interesting life she had lived in this world; about her brothers, her husband and her children. He wondered about may things – if they would have had a more bedazzling life if they had stayed with him to have more adventures, and if Wendy would ever visit him again; if he should have returned to live with Wendy after he defeated Hook; if he could have become her husband and if he would have looked as old as Thomas by now; if they would have had children of their own.

No! He would never trade his life in Neverland for any other.

HEIST

 lvbydawne_3

“Okay. Everyone know what they gotta do?”

“Yeah, Boss!”

“Umm. I got a question, Boss”

“What’s it, Bruno?”

“If there’re three guards and five of us, how come we don’t take ‘em all out?”

“You listening to anything I said? No contact with the fake popo! We get in and out clean.”

“But Boss, what if they make us out? Can we kill ‘em?”

“We’re gonna be wearing masks for Pete’s sake.”

“Okay. But let’s say we disabled the alarms and the cameras, but I gotta pee…”

“Shut up Bruno! You’re just like your old man. All brawns, no brains.”

WORD COUNT: 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Ermilia’s Picture it & Write.

creative-writing-exercise

As Sam got to the fork in the road, he turned off his iPod, trying to remember if he had to take the right turn or the left. The signpost looked like it had been caught in a hurricane whilst being mauled by a bear. There was no way to read anything off the termite-infested wood at this point. Aunt Gloria had said something about wild flowers or a vineyard on the road to Back Turn Village, but he was playing Grand Theft Auto V at the time; with divided attention, he scribbled the directions on a napkin which was nowhere to be found.

It was a fifty-fifty chance he had to take. When in doubt, take the right turn, he thought to himself; after all, right is right. He breathed heavily as he laboured on his bicycle along the untarred road. Suddenly, he came across a sign with the inscription ‘NRUT KCAB’. The words were spray-painted and looked like an act of vandalism. Someone was trying to be funny. He continued for a about half a mile before he got to another sign that said ‘NRUT KCAB WON’. It was no different from the first. Another prank by kids, he thought.

It wasn’t long before he came to a cliff. He got off his bicycle, walked over to the edge and knelt down to see if the village was in sight. To his surprise, the road continued vertically downward for about five metres and then leveled up again at the bottom. He took out his camera to take a photograph of what he deemed a rather intriguing sight.

In a flash, he felt a force of some kind pulling him over the edge. He tried to stand up, but couldn’t. He tried crawling backwards on hands and knees, but that didn’t help either. It felt as if he was tethered to a post while someone gradually pulling on the rope. In one cataclysmic moment, he found himself falling to his death, but as he got closer to the bottom, it felt as if he was floating like a feather. Landing softly on the ground, he puffed in relief and lay there for a while, thanking God for what seemed like a miracle.

“Olleh!”

He looked up and saw an elderly man and woman standing comically upside down on the road, peering at him.

“I didn’t know the circus was in town,” Sam said, smiling at the overweight couple.

“Ew era ton sucric elpoep,” the man replied, smiling back. “Ew era raluger elpoep.”

“Come again? I don’t understand the language you are speaking. Do you speak English?”

Sam picked himself up from the ground and found himself looking at the couple face to face.

“Emoclew ot Yspot-Yvrut Egalliv,” the woman said grinning at Sam. “A ecalp fo on nruter. Uoy lliw reven og kcab emoh.”

“Tahw?” Sam exclaimed. Then he caught himself. That didn’t sound right. He meant to say ‘what’.

“Tahw?” he found himself saying again.

He started to panic when it suddenly occurred to him that he was also standing topsy-turvy.

Out of the brushes came more people, all walking awkwardly on both hands, each person beaming at Sam and saying “Olleh” and “Emoclew”.

 church_and_tree-claire-fuller

“What did you learn at Sunday School today?” Susan ruffled the four-year-old’s hair.

“The story about Jonah and the whale,” Jimmy replied.

“Tell me about it.”

“God told Jonah to go to Nevada and Jonah said no and went on a cruise ship, but he fell off the ship and a whale swallowed him. Then Superman came to rescue him. Superman told the whale to spit him out, but the whale said no. So Superman gave the whale a really good spanking and he spat Jonah out and Jonah changed his mind so Superman flew him to Nevada. The end.”

WORD COUNT: 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

Life had always been about social propriety. Being the princess meant doing what she was told for the sake of her mother’s reputation; for the sake of the crown. Someday, she will be queen bee.

The law dictates she has to marry royalty, but she didn’t want to marry him.  He is a prince, wealthy and handsome, but she was already in love with another – a modest drone in the countryside. Marrying a commoner was not an option, yet she was adamant. She had already made up her mind. Even if it meant forgoing the crown for a commoner’s life.

WORD COUNT: 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 maui-from-mauna-kea

He could barely concentrate on what she was saying. Something about civil rights or being a paralegal and the case she was working on. All he could think about was how the night would end.

She couldn’t remember a word he had said in the restaurant. Something about stocks and bonds and the factors involved in risk management. She could only visualize the impending goodbye at her front door.

Now, here they are– fingers dovetailed, barely an inch separating them, lips closing in. Then music swirls, cupids circle, fireworks in the air – the whole shebang.  They are on cloud nine.

WORD COUNT: 100

Friday Fictioneers is a meme by Madison Woods

Now hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

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