Tag Archives: Writing101

Serial Killer 2

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Writing 101, Day Thirteen: Serial Killer 2
Earlier in the course, you wrote about losing something. Today, write about finding something. For your twist, view day four’s post and today’s post as instalments in a series.

I found out today that there was more to your innocence and calmness than you portrayed. Yes I suspected that you might be in some funny association, but hey it was just a thought. Wait a minute, what am I on about? You told me about it, so why am I feeling as if I found out myself.
It must have been one of those ‘dare or truth’ moments and looking-somewhat-sheepishly-or-embarrassed-to-speak, you began.

“I don’t want you to be upset about what I’m going to say, I mean well” stumbling over a few of your words for someone who speaks flawlessly.

“Yea, what’s up?” I replied trying to pretend I was calm whilst imagining the worst news ever.

“You see that ring with a dark stone I always wear and don’t let you touch” (trying to describe this funny ring I noticed on your finger sometime back and had queried you on) “It’s not an ordinary ring” you concluded.

“How do you mean?” I asked stepping away from you as a feeling of sudden dread came upon me.

“Nothing to be afraid” you replied, reaching out but I pulled away. “I wear it when I’m out of the house just so I know who is planning evil against me” you continued.

Interested, I asked “So how does this work?”

“If an evil-doer is around me, I feel a heat sensation on that finger”

“Do you know the repercussion of wearing this ring? What if something bad happens to you?” my questions poured at you. “Please dispose of it; I don’t want it around you anymore.”

The D-day came shortly. Painting your picture to my mum had made her ache to see who had captured my heart. This new Eva was one she liked and she needed to know who made it so. It’s been years now, and I can’t remember that meeting day but knowing mummy, I’m sure she offered you some refreshments and the questions began, while I pretended to be busy inside the kitchen and the next minute my room. Of course that entire journey had to take me across the sitting room where I would eavesdrop while walking past both of you. And seeing you calmly seated and answering her questions made me join you two there.

“Darling, did you know that Wande’s mum (Peggy) and I taught in the same school?” Mum said to me.

I had outdone myself, I soliloquized. Was this a good sign?

“Go to the box of pictures and bring them over, I have something to show you,” she continued.

That box of pictures was an easy find as every time we wanted to poke fun at mum over her olden days dressing, Afro hair and simple makeup, we always pulled it out. Going through the collection of pictures, she brought out one. Fair, bright eyes, full African sensual lips and Afro hair, a beauty untainted by harsh weather or life’s condition, she sat beside three rows of children. The first row had the pupils seated, the next row some stood; while the last row stood on a bench so that the final outcome was like a pyramid. Mum looked really beautiful. Auntie Peggy on the other hand was chocolate complexion equally beautiful and her hair made in some lovely African style. Looking closely, I noticed a cute boy standing between her legs and to my shock – it was you!

By our love, mum had re-discovered her long lost friend and what a joy that her friend’s son was in hot pursuit of her daughter if only she knew that by this discovery and encouraging us she would ‘lose’ me. I’m positive she’d send you parking that very moment.

To Whom It May Concern

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Writing 101, Day Fourteen: To Whom It May Concern
Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What jumps out at you? Start there, and try a twist: write in the form of a letter.

Flipping to page 29 of my book “God’fessions: Daily confessions of God’s word and promises over your life”, the first word that hits me is ISAIAH! Now that’s a dicey one as I’m wondering what will I say to Isaiah, which Isaiah? And then I remember an Isaiah I knew but didn’t know, one I met but didn’t meet. You must think me confused. Wait till you read about him then you will understand the Isaiah that was and is.

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Dear Isaiah,
I’m not sure you would approve of my calling you by your name and neither do I. But for the sake of intrigue, suffer it to be so now; now I sound like I’m preaching, don’t I?

I’ve been meaning to tell you so many stories and fill you in on my updates and what’s been going on in my world, but you seem too far to listen. Do I pen down those thoughts or make a call? Who will deliver this letter when I’m done? Oh, the few complexities of life and one more reason to live on and that is the joy of solving these kinds of mysteries. Did you know I love puzzles, enjoy watching thrillers and reading books whose end is difficult to grasp?

You were not there when I got married, when I had my first child or my second. You were not there when I was growing up too. Hmmm! And it just occurred to me that you weren’t there when I was born either. Where were you, I ask no one in particular, no one but you.

It’s been a very long while I heard from you…actually, I have never heard from you. But I suspect that you peep through daddy, reflecting another of your nature through Uncle Rich and another aspect in Mma Uju. Uncle Sam, Auntie Rose aren’t left out. I didn’t mention Auntie Mmayen because she came to visit and stay with you. Hope you still recognise her. She’s all grown now and has grandchildren you haven’t met too!

So much has happened in all our lives, the good, the bad and the ugly but in all we are grateful for every new day and the opportunity to reflect a part of you Isaiah our grandfather we never met! RIP.

Your grand-daughter,
Iman

Happy Christmas – the Eket way!

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Writing 101, Day Ten: Happy Christmas!
Tell us about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.
Feel free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.
Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.

I’m excited just remembering what Christmas meant to us. You are right to request that I talk about my childhood experience as Christmas is no longer what it used to be. No one goes to the village so much like then.

In the 70s, 80s and mid-90s whenever it was December, I always looked forward to the holiday as that meant new clothes and shoes, fancy hats and hair do, plenty of gifts, visits to cousins (you hadn’t seen in a long while), masquerade displays and of course Food! Food!! Food!!! Correct Rice and Stew plus Ekpang Nkukwo and Afang soup with foo foo. Yummy! 🙂

Rice & Stew

Rice & Stew

Ekpang Nkukwo

Ekpang Nkukwo

Afang Soup

Afang Soup

We didn’t care much about weight gain when it came to the food or decorum when it got to the point of being chased by a Masquerade. You had better run or else you would either be beaten with their whip or harassed/detained, while they sang some silly songs and expect you to bail yourself out by dropping some coins in their bowl.

It all starts with plenty packing and re-packing to be sure you had your favourite clothes in the box and then a really long journey from Port-Harcourt to Eket. Back then daddy would drive very slowly (with plenty respect for other road users) and being a Safety-conscious person we always arrived the village in the night…no matter when we left the city. But always in time to meet the evening Carol service in church and old friends too.

Christmas Day itself began a bit too early as we had to cook different dishes (the ones mentioned above and more) and prepare for the influx of persons that would come to visit their family members that had come in from the City. Of course when on such visits, they didn’t expect to go back hungry or empty-handed. Food and money had to exchange hands. Christmas back then was a time to spend and spend and return broke. Now people are wiser…giving only to the point where they can afford.

After the first batch of early morning visitors, we would go for Church Service and return to hot steaming plates of Rice and Stew…with intimidating chicken on it. You had other options to add to your consumption or choose from, but we only ate a dish because we had other plans and that included visiting. Hmmm…there were soft drinks to go round too for the children; while the grown-ups drank alcohol and some palmy or Palm Wine (some local drink from the Palm tree usually whitish).During this period, there wasn’t a home you visited that didn’t have food to offer you and the beauty of Christmas was in your ability to eat almost everywhere you went and still have space in your stomach for the next Auntie’s house!

The Masquerades usually don’t show up on December 25th but on the 26th so we are already aware and prepared to either avoid their paths, stay indoors and watch from our veranda or brave up and face any ‘consequence’ we met on our way out. An easy route of escape was going out with a male cousin who resides in the village. They normally would know who was behind the mask and stand in to prevent you from being ‘flogged’ or harassed.

Masquerade

Masquerade

A group of Masquerades

A group of Masquerades

Beyond the food and Masquerade was the feeling of togetherness and warmth this season brought and that was a high point too…and a childhood I sometimes miss!

The Red Sweater

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Writing 101, Day Nine: Changing Moccasins — Point of View
A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.
Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

Mark:Red Sweater
Feeling his side pockets to be sure it was there; a simple 18 carat diamond piece. “Today is the day,” he mutters and tugs his jacket closer to himself, while clamping onto her hand…so warmly yet a tad too tightly. “Too much has slipped through my hands in my bid to make my life better; I’m not letting Susan go. And if going for another bout of rehabilitation just to keep us together, I am willing.” With these thoughts running through his mind, he looks up to meet her gazing straight into his face with concern burrowing into her face. Mark smiled at her.

Then he saw it…letting go of her hand suddenly, a memory replays.

That fine sunny morning, Venus had pleaded that they go to the beach. “The holiday by the seaside is no fun, if your feet are not in the sand or the shoreline.” She preached like she did every morning.

“Honey, you know I don’t enjoy the water like you, I’ve got a phobia for it and it is called Aqua phobia” they both chorused and laughed at each other. But he loved her too much to let that silly fear he brought upon himself stand in the way of their fun.

At the beach, she did all the swimming, while he watched and read. One of the times he looked up, he saw a child by the edge of the shore and before he could gather his thoughts, she was gone – swept further into the sea by the rushing tide. Venus saw it too and jumped back into the sea against the strong currents she swam but it took both she and the child in Red sweater away.

He wailed like he always did whenever he saw a Red sweater. And he hadn’t told Susan about his past relationship and loss yet.

Susan:
Susan was shocked at the sudden show of outburst and change in emotion Mark displayed; from a smile to wailing bitterly. What could have brought this on she questioned with her looks as she reached out to touch him and bring him out of that place he had journeyed.

“Is there something you would like to share with me?” she enquired. She had heard in the neighbourhood some tales but Mark never spoke about anything that had to do with his past.

Probably that’s his long lost mum; and she started at the old lady with silver-coloured hair. Maybe he remembers his Red sweater from childhood. “People can be funny you know crying over all manner of silly things,” she mused to herself.

Mrs. Bennet:
As she had always done for the past 20 years, ever since Richie left home for some foreign missions in Liberia. Seated amidst all the lush green, with trees swaying to the music in the wind; she whistled softly to herself a joyful tune. One of the tunes she used to sing as he lay weary from work at the Railway Station. Occasionally, she sighs as she remembers how he would turn and mutter in his sleep about the untidiness of some of the coaches, but then there wasn’t much he could do about it. That manager just won’t listen! “I should change my job”, he thought to himself in dreamland and suddenly, he hears her sweet voice calling him back from that place of despair. He returns to the land of sweet dreams and succumbs to peaceful sleep though his body racked with pain.

Today on her favourite bench in the park, (the one positioned nearer to the flowing stream paved with interlocked stones) made of cold steel, a reminder of the harshness of the world round about her in the midst of such beauty. She knits the Red sweater slowly. “I wonder how many more of these I would have to knit before he comes home”, she soliloquizes, “perhaps they would come with him.”

© Frances Kelvin Otung June 2014. All rights reserved.

Death to Adverbs

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Writing 101, Day Eight: Death to Adverbs
Go to a public location and make a detailed report of what you see. The twist of the day? Write the post without adverbs.

I would love to go to the Park or a public place at that, but I’m at work and as such do not have the luxury of such free time. I calculated how to write today’s challenge and it seemed there was no way out of this one.

And as I pondered over my predicament – files everywhere beckoning. Illumination and ambience battle with the chill in a space set for 4. Stroking to calm the rising hairs at the nape of my neck, today feels different. Sweetly fragranced our space; I reach for my shawl. The room temperature is always too cold for me. But the atmosphere was no longer welcoming. My attention was drawn outside and as I watched, the bright light-blue skies darkened from one hue to the next. And with each hue, the greens disappeared. I looked at the car lot underneath my windows (where I often got inspired when bored just by seeing the colourful array of different cars) and they all seem to have been colour splashed with grey tones!

“What is going on?” Waz asked no one in particular as he took in the scenario below.

“Wow”, Cybel gushes, with excitement jumping out of her pores, reflected in the springs aimed at getting a full view. “I love this weather!” Smiling, click, click her shutters hold still the moment capturing it forever.

I sat surrounded with gloom; I must have been transported to the grey-colour party. My chair held me down in its grip as I minded my work looking untouched by their reactions. The clouds go from 7am to 5pm and 12 midnight right before my eyes in less than 3 minutes!      14227267349_afd16bf9b9_t

He smiles, bares his dark teeth and as he laughs lightning strikes! I cower.

“I’ve only just started,” the dark clouds seem to say and it began to pour. From a cup, it went straight to raining cats, dogs and buffaloes. The more he laughed, the more it got dark and darker and rained and the colder I became. What a scene to behold on a day you wished for the sun!

© Frances Kelvin Otung June 2014. All rights reserved.

A Lovers’ Tiff

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Writing 101, Day Seven: Give and Take
Focus today’s post on the contrast between two things. The twist? Write the post in the form of a dialogue.

Tugging at her shoes as she pulls them off with more energy than necessary, ‘I’m upset with you!’

Continuing nonchalantly browsing on his phone, he pretends not to hear her. ‘I’m sure she calm down if I don’t utter a word,’ he says to himself keeping up with the pretence.

‘Baby, I said (she emphasises) I’m upset with you’, this time staring at him with eyes blazing hot from anger.

He reaches to touch her hands. She snatches it away. Pulling himself forward, he begins to massage her shoulder and breathe gently down her ears. Thinking to himself this usually works. Shrugging him off sharply Valerie gets up from the bed. Strolls two steps away from him and with her back against the wall, the words just tumble out as the tears drop without stop.

‘How dare you! How dare you, play your usual games on me after what you just did? Of all the girls in the world Henry it had to be my baby sister!’ she sobbed loudly.

‘Honey,’ he stammers ‘we were just chatting and there’s nothing more to it or can’t I talk with your sister anymore?’

‘Liar,’ she interjects. ‘Hold it there young man and why am I even listening to you?! She exclaimed incredulously. With that she picks a flowery blouse from the arm chair, her pair of jeans from the dresser, some dresses that were in the wardrobe. Bending over him to reach for her jewelleries that lay on the other side of the bed, he grabs her enfolding her into a hug. She beats at him with everything she had gathered initially, screaming at the top of her lungs to be set free.

‘I can’t take this anymore, no matter how hard I try, you just won’t stop! From one lady to the other?! I’ve had enough.’

Usually given to much speech, it seems Henry’s oratory prowess failed him that cold windy day. Valerie had been good to him, having sustained him through the traumatic period he crashed his car, lost his job and was practically a wife. For him, that was the problem, as he needed to explore a bit! But how do you push away such a kind-hearted person he battled with the thoughts.

Based on this need, he had decided to ‘chase’ her sister so as to put her off and it worked. But watching her hurt deeply was too much for him to bear. ‘Don’t go,’ he pleaded, ‘Please forgive me.’

© Frances Kelvin Otung 2014. All rights reserved.

Day 4- Serial Killer One

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For months I remembered every stab, every second of every day. The pain was so intense that by just watching me, mum would sometimes turn away sobbing. Once she was bold enough, she confronted me head-on and spoke to me through the journey…seeking to reach my inner most being and unplug my adaptor from its source of pain. Why did her precious daughter have to go through such …? I could hear the thoughts of her heart saying “Why didn’t it end with me? Must my children go through this?”

As you tore each piece, you smiled. Enjoying the thrill my cries brought whilst ignoring my plea to stop and just rewind the times back to when this period never happened. Who would have thought that such an innocent, quiet, really handsome boy with an unassuming look could unleash such! Maybe Psychologists, definitely not me, not my mum or the people that had to suffer as I suffered for something they had nothing to do with.

Standing by the window of my class (I think I was talking with some girlfriends…the usual stuff girls talk about) and I noticed you walking pass. You had this cool look and some twitch by the corner of your lips as if to say…“go on drool, girl… I know the effect I’m having on you!” When I noticed that, I quickly looked away and pretended to be engrossed in the conversation whilst making a mental note to steer clear of you or your likes. A part of me said “he’s innocent enough…you are too strong-willed for this one”. I loved the conquest-feeling that followed. Avoid you I did, but not for long. As sometime soon you would come searching for me and I wish I had said no and walked away. I wish, “but wishes are no horses or beggars would ride”.
‘Hi Eva’, you said
‘Hi’, I replied ‘and how did you know my name?’ I continued
‘You can know anything and anyone you want if you so desire’, you said and added ‘my name is Wande’.

Immediately I got the feeling I had just met a ‘fraternity boy’ as they are the ones that go through the trouble of searching out information about anyone and to think that the day you walked past, I felt like the conqueror not knowing I was the rat walking into a gathering of cats. Wande! Or is it Wanderer? Oh, my goodness, who will deliver me from this unfolding saga, I pondered.

Embrace_borealnz_1112962450_8a7bc7d566_m In poems, beautiful cards, lovely ‘hanging out’ times (such that made me wish classes didn’t have to close at the end of the day) those were your skills. Did I forget to mention the flowers? People didn’t believe in flowers anymore (especially from our side of the planet) but you were a lover to the core and knew how to ‘spoil’. I’m not given to flamboyant living, you understood this but every little act of love you showed, always made others wish they were us. 🙂

We were even called ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at some point until the other couple won that tag through their constant being together even to the point of missing classes. I didn’t mind giving the name to them, as what we shared was deeper and more private – not a matter for public debate. Besides, we had a reason for coming to school in the first place and falling in love to the point of stupidity wasn’t one of them.

My attitude to school changed, I looked forward to my transition school (College of Art & Science) more oft than nought and mum noticed my eagerness. She recalled my initial resistance to attend the school whilst waiting to get into University. This ‘new-me’ she couldn’t understand and knowing me, she knew something was up and this period wasn’t different. I couldn’t hide it from her as I needed advise too before I (we) got into trouble (you know the kind you are unprepared for).
“Darling, you have been really bright these days, what is happening to you?” she asked.
“Nothing mum, just a new friend I met”, I replied.
“What kind of friend?” she queried. Looking pained that I had hidden such information from her for so long, as we practically tell each other everything. “I’m grown, mum!” I thought silently to myself. Now I wish I had listened then. Who knows, I would have saved myself from many-a-trauma, and mum from being a team member on my sobbing committee 😦  By the time I described you in glowing colours, she fell in love with you too. You know I’m gifted with words and a beautiful picture I did paint. Mum just had to meet you…hmmm…someday soon I told her, someday soon.