I know it’s been a while. Stuff has been happening here and there and keeping up is crazy. To whet your appetite though, I have a couple of stories I write for short story prompts that you might enjoy as you wait for Everything Changed After Calabar Pt. 2.
As always, thank you for reading. You’re the real MVPs.
She strolled into the arena with her heart thudding in her chest, but a familiar silence in her mind. She took deep, calming breaths, running through everything her coach had taught her.
Focus. Balance. Discipline. Confidence.
She spoke those basic principles into her being, tuning out the sound of the crowd chanting her name and shouting. The time to exult in her accolades would come, but now was the time to manifest her destiny.
She’d become quite a sensation in these parts, but she knew that one mistake could cost her their adoration; or her life.
The stakes were too high to get carried away now.
Rolling her neck and limbs, she took count of every muscle and joint, making sure they were ready and responsive for what was coming.
She’d done it before. She would do it again.
And suddenly it was time for her act.
Everything in her went still, and the world was silent in a muted hush. All that remained was the training and instinct, years of talent honed into sharp competence.
Then she was going through the motions, flowing flawlessly into graceful contortions that made the watching crowd scream in ecstasy.
The arrow was notched, the bow taut.
Her feet drew and released.
And the crowd went wild.
She’d been walking around with a new, infuriating confidence and I resented it. Gone was the woman who cringed when I raised my voice or scrambled to do my bidding. Gone was the woman who hid with the children whenever I came home drunk.
The days before the incident, she looked at me with barely concealed contempt, her eyes cool and daring.
To be honest, it unsettled me. I have maintained a hold on her all these years because I built fear in her.
If she doesn’t fear me, then what am I?
What has she become?
The day I finally decided to put an end to it started like any other day. She put out breakfast for me (not bothering to ask what I wanted, another one of her new proclivities) and set out to wake the kids and feed them. They had picked up on their mother’s new attitude and did not run from me or refuse to look at me like they used to. They were even bold enough to sit with me at the dining table.
I didn’t know how to feel about that. A part of me was relieved that my children did not think I was a monster too fearful to be around. The other part wondered just what they now thought…
I picked my moment carefully. She was pouring out hot water into my mug and I imperceptibly nudged her hand.
The hot water spilled on my shirt, making me cry out in pain at the scald.
There was a moment of panic for her; I could see in her eyes that she was not used to her new confidence. I capitulated on that weakness, it was the opening I needed.
I stood, looming over her menacingly as I shouted at her. She drew back, apologising frantically…and then, the coup de grace.
I raised my hand in a gesture familiar to us two. It was a dance we had been through countless times before, a dance in which we knew our parts like clockwork. he knew what to expect.
So did I. She’d cry, and I would beg, and then I’d have a solicitous woman who will respond to my every whim.
It surprised me just as much as it surprised her when my hand did not reach her face.
She stared at my wavering hand, a look of triumph dawning on her face.
“It worked, it really worked”, she mumbled under her breath.
What worked? Why couldn’t I move? All my muscles were locked in place, and I was in harrowing, burning pain the likes of which I had never felt before.
I couldn’t even speak, only grunt wordlessly, spittle running down my chin.
She put down the flask she’d been clutching protectively to herself and calmly faced me. “Emeka, I am not completely human anymore. Remember that the next time you want to punch me in the face, you bastard.”
Then she spat in my face and gathered up the shocked kids, the front door closing with a final boom behind them.