ALL THAT GLITTERS (a short story)

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    Episode 1
    45minutes later.
    He stumbled out of the house in shock. He could
    barely see where he was going. He just
    wanted to
    get out from the house far away from her….
    her dead body.
    You could almost hear his heart beating from down
    the street. He wasn’t scarred, no, he was just tired
    and short of breath. He needed to breath clean
    fresh air.
    So he staggered down the street like a drunk,
    ignorant of his environment and the vehicles that
    went out of their way to avoid him.
    Suddenly he fell on his face, unconscious. The sun
    and the sky playing a game of hide and seek on the
    back of his unconscious body.
    45minutes earlier
    Richard hummed under his breath to the music
    playing on the radio as he drove through the neatly
    tarred streets of Enugu, His fingers taping gently
    on the steering wheel. Occasionally, a presenter
    interrupted the music to make an announcement.
    Annoyed by the interruptions, Richard changed to
    another station.
    “Better” he said to himself after changing to a
    different station, “this is more like it.”
    He had just dropped his four year old daughter,
    Nnenna, at his sister’s place. She needed the
    change and so did he. Coming to Enugu was
    probably the best thing he had done in recent
    times. He felt lighter and somewhat relived, even
    happy. He anticipated an evening of silent
    relaxation. No friends. No family. And certainly, no
    child. Richard felt a little guilty for thinking of
    Nnenna as a burden. He loved his daughter dearly,
    almost to the point of stupidity, but a man needed
    a break once in a while.
    “Caring for a child is not a man’s job,” his mother
    had told him countless times.
    “Marry another woman, who can take care of you
    and my grandchild. Or better still, come down to
    Enugu. We can get you a good job here. That noisy
    Lagos, that is full of thieves and low life, is not a
    place to raise a child. Inugo (have you heard)?”
    Richard heard but he didn’t really listen. The truth
    was that he didn’t want to listen and agree with
    what everyone was telling him.
    “You must go on living. Life must go on.” One
    person will say.
    “It has happened and there is nothing you can do.
    Thank God that you’ve collected back her bride
    price” another person will say,
    “There are many fishes in the ocean. If you catch
    one and it is not good enough, throw it back into
    the ocean. You will definitely catch a better fish
    before sun down.”
    He took all the advices with a ready smile and a
    heart burning with anger and frustration. They
    spoke as if they understood or even cared -even
    though it was obvious that they didn’t. A deep
    urge ran through him to punch the twinkling stars
    out of whoever was giving the advice. But he held
    himself. Over time, the smile became a permanent
    part of his countenance, using it in place of words
    to the numerous unsolicited advice and sympathy.
    It soon began to hurt and feel like a huge burden.
    So he started avoiding people and places he knew.
    Thankfully, Lagos is a big place.
    []But his boss, at the telecommunication company
    he worked at, had had enough of his fake smile,
    sullen face and dispirited attitude towards his
    “Go home. Take a vacation. Find a wife. Visit
    family. And come back when you have lost that
    nasty smile and don’t forget to retrieve your voice
    wherever you kept it,” his boss had told him, his
    burly stomach shaking as he spoke.
    That was three days ago.
    Bored with life, irritated by the blue painting of the
    walls in his flat, hurt by the way Nnenna looked at
    him –as if she was scared of him- he had called
    his eldest sister, Margret. He was duly informed, by
    a visibly angry elder sister, that their parents were
    not in the country.
    “Were did they go?” Richard asked
    “Why? What happened?” he pressed on, ignoring
    her contemptuous voice.
    “Nkeiru have given birth. A baby boy and she
    stupidly named the poor child Richard, of all names
    on earth,”
    “She had a child? How come nobody told me?”
    “Yes she had a child three months ago,” Margret
    replied, her voice richly spiced with sarcasm. “While
    you hid yourself and avoided everybody. Are you
    happy? You almost made mama to have a heart
    Richard patiently held the phone as his sister
    shouted. Margret continued shouting into the
    phone for a minute or two.
    “How are you?” Margret asked in cool voice after
    she was done chastising her younger brother.
    “Come to Enugu and spend some time with us. Or
    send Nnenna over. She can go to school with her
    “Ok sister. We’re coming. Tomorrow.”
    “Yes. Nnenna can stay in your house, I’ll stay in
    Dad’s house. You’re with the house key?” Richard
    The feeling was mutual, between Nnenna and her
    father. She quickly settled down with her cousins,
    laughing and playing like a normal kid. It broke
    Richard’s heart that his daughter appeared to be
    happy with his sister’s family than with him. But
    he understood. His pains were infectious and his
    morose life was unsuitable for a child as
    rumbustious as his daughter.
    “She loves you. But she really needed a change of
    environment, with the divorce and all the drama.
    Glad you came,” Margret had told him as she saw
    him off to the car she had loaned him.
    Honestly, Richard was glad he had left Lagos and
    his flat with its annoying blue paint. The air was
    clean here and life was evenly paced. He could
    hear himself think and pick out the lines of his
    thought. He felt alive, relaxed and young. And for
    the first time in almost six months, he was singing
    and happy. Yes that’s what he was feeling, happy.
    It’s a good feeling, a refreshing feeling that he had
    almost forgotten.
    []As he waited for the traffic light to change to
    green, the radio changed to an upbeat afro beat.
    He clapped his hands and sang along. Despite the
    fact that he was singing off tune but it felt good to
    sing. He hadn’t sang like this since… since Ifeoma
    Ifeoma. That’s her name. A very beautiful name
    that rolls over the tongue effortlessly, as if it was
    dipped in a bowl of red oil. She was even more
    beautiful than her name suggested. Tall with skin
    the color of ripe pawpaw, eyes a light gray shade –
    almost cat like, and elegant with a well-structured
    teeth –which she always put on full display. She
    had this way of speaking that was so engaging,
    almost mesmerizing, and she gave off a slight lisp
    that sounded unintentional but in actual truth, it
    was intentional. She was ambitious and strong will,
    little wonder she was rising quickly through the
    ranks of the bank she was working with.
    Everyone, including Richard, had thought that it
    was a union made in heaven. Ifeoma dazzled
    everyone with her wit and infectious laughter. She
    seem to exude a sort of sexual magnetism without
    actually being flirtatious or seductive. Even
    Richards’ mother, who had an uncommon intuition
    and a hugely conservative African woman, fell for
    Ifeoma. Thus, six months into their courtship,
    Richard proposed. Ifeoma accepted.
    Denying the fact that he sometimes felt stifled by
    Ifeoma would make Richard a bare faced liar. She
    had a way of controlling him without, him, actually
    knowing that he was being manipulated. She
    accentuated her every request with a kiss or a
    touch, on certain sensitive body parts. Being a
    hopeless romantic and a true believer in the
    Shakespearean tales of romance, which he now
    considers idiotic, Richard did all he could to make
    her happy.
    Their wedding was a big affair. And if weddings
    were parameters to decide how successful a
    marriage will be, then Richard and Ifeoma will be
    married till thy kingdom come. But it wasn’t and it
    would never be. Slowly the threads of whatever
    that held them together began to fall off and with
    it came the wool that had covered Richard’s eyes
    for so long. He began to notice changes in his
    wife’s behavior. She became more controlling and
    aggressive. Countless times, Ifeoma accused her
    husband of keeping a mistress. Richard denied. But
    she wouldn’t believe him.
    “Am pregnant,” Ifeoma announced one evening a
    few months after the wedding.
    Pregnant have never sounded so good nor looked
    so beautiful. It was as if her energy and beauty
    was multiplied. She glided through the nine months
    effortlessly. And in that nine months marriage
    tasted like honey to Richard.
    The first year of Nnenna’s birth, were the best in
    Richard life. He felt young and loved. Nnenna, like
    her mother, was a beauty. Her eyes were gray and
    engaging. Ifeoma was totally enwrapped with her
    child, so much so, that Richard was relegated to
    the back. But he didn’t mind. He was proud of his
    small family and all he wanted was to see them
    happy even if it means being relegated –once in a
    ……. ……. ……..
    “Who is she?” an angry Ifeoma asked Richard one
    “Who?” Richard asked, the smile on his face
    frozen. The question was thrown at him
    immediately he stepped into the apartment. Ifeoma
    had yet to greet or welcome him before confronting
    him. Her face was wild. You could almost see the
    blood taste in her gray eyes. It scared Richard.
    Never had he seen his wife like this.
    “Who is she?” Ifeoma screamed, pulling at her hair.
    “I don’t know what you are….” Before he could
    finish, Ifeoma lunged at him, grabbed him by the tie
    in an attempt to strangle him. Richard was
    shocked at first, but he quickly recovered and he
    seized her hands. Placing his left leg between her
    own legs, he tackled her to the ground.
    “What is it?” Richard inquired in a soft voice. He
    pulled her up and gathered her into his arms.
    “I don’t know. I saw you leave her car, she dropped
    you… the car…“ Ifeoma said in between tears.
    “Now? That was Charlie’s wife. You know Charlie
    my good friend at the office. His car was broken,
    so he called his wife to come pick him. I decided
    to hitch a ride with them instead of taking a taxi.
    Didn’t you see Charlie in the paasenger seat?”
    “Am sorry,” Ifeoma whispered. “Am tired of staying
    at home. I need to start working. Nnenna… she’s
    tiring me out and… and staying with her all day
    long, is a torture. Am tired of her. Am tired of this
    “But I thought you quit your job so you could stay
    at home till baby begins school?”
    “I said am tired,” Ifeoma snapped, pushing herself
    off Richard’s body. “Or didn’t you hear what I just
    said? If I stay with her alone in this house for one
    more hour, I’ll kill myself. Why are you so selfish?
    And her name is Nnenna not BABY.”
    In other to keep peace, Richard agreed. They got a
    house help to look after Nnenna whilst Ifeoma
    went back to her old job. But the job didn’t solve
    the problem. She became more cantankerous and
    authoritative. Numerously neighbor had come to
    quell the fight between the young couple.
    Afraid of being seen as a failure by his family,
    especially his father, Richard kept his problem to
    himself. He tried as much as he could to avoid his
    wife and keep her happy. But Ifeoma was
    On a Friday, Two weeks after Nnenna’s third
    birthday, Ifeoma stormed into Richard’s work
    place. Richard was telling a joke to a circle of
    friends. He looked relaxed in his brown Ankara
    traditional attire. Ifeoma rushed at him, without a
    word, she seized his trouser at the waist.
    “That your witch girlfriend, where is she? Show me
    the useless Charlie that works in your office? Liar!
    Show me the useless man that allows you to frolic
    with his wife?” Ifeoma screamed into Richard’s
    “Are you mad?” Richard asked in a voice that was
    little more than a whisper. He was confused on
    what to do. Attack her verbally or physically, and
    the whole world would call him a wife beater.
    Ignore her, and he would seem spineless.
    “Me, mad?” Ifeoma inquired. Richard saw it. The
    madness and the hate in her gray eyes.
    “Am Charlie” someone was saying from behind, but
    Ifeoma wasn’t listening. In what seem like a film
    trick, at least to Richard, she tore through the light
    fabric of Richard’s attire and attacked his penis.
    She squeezed his penis and scrotum together
    shouting like a woman at the onset of madness.

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    Episode 2
    Richard felt as if a part of his body was being
    pulled out as Ifeoma tightened her grip. He was
    too shocked, and honestly too much in a pain to
    strike at her. Thinking about it, he often regretted
    not punching the life out of her with his free hand.
    He screamed out in pain, begging her to stop.
    Strangely, the more he pleaded the more Ifeoma
    tighten her grip. To ease the pain, Richard bent
    slightly, as if he was kneeling. He could almost feel
    his testicles melting away under the crushing hold
    of his wife.
    Ifeoma lunged at his nose, as he bent a little below
    her height. She increased the pressure on his
    penis. Richard scream out in pain. Ifeoma bit into
    his nose, as hard as she could. He felt something
    like sweat crawling down the sides of his face, only
    it wasn’t colorless, it was bright red in color.
    Instinctively, Richard struck his wife on her throat.
    She scream out in pain and freed his penis and
    nose. She put both hands on
    her throat.
    The last thing Richard remember before he fainted
    was seeing Charlie tackle Ifeoma to the ground.
    .……. ……… ……….
    Richard turned into the street that his parent lived
    all his life. The street was empty and deserted as
    usual. He liked it that way. Too tired to open the
    iron gates, he packed in front of the fence that
    enclosed the bungalow building that his father had
    built years ago.
    “Later I will come and drive it inside” Richard
    As he opened the door, he felt something.
    Something was out of place but he wasn’t sure
    what it is. He was uneasy.
    “It’s probably the after effect of being home alone”
    Richard said to himself as he chuckled. He turned
    on the light and the television before going into the
    kitchen to pour himself a glass of juice.
    The three o’clock news was being shown on the
    television. A youngish woman with a brown
    spectacle balanced on her nose was reading the
    news. As Richard stepped out of the kitchen, he
    heard her say:
    “… The owner and chief herbalist of a traditional
    home in Njaba local government area, was this
    morning attacked by three persons, they are
    believed, by police, to be mental patients in the
    healing home. However, reports reaching our news
    desk has it that two of the assailants has been
    arrested and the third, a female, is still at large. In
    another development….
    Richard froze. It all started falling together, in
    Richard mind, why things had seem out of place
    when he came in. Ifeoma was here. He could feel
    her presence. The smile of coconut butter cream
    which she used on her hair hung in the air. He
    hadn’t noticed it before but now… now he could
    perceive it, as strong as he had perceived it five
    years ago. He had always liked the smell.
    He wasn’t scared of her –he was just scared of
    what she would do. This time around, he would
    not hesitate to smack her as hard as he could. She
    still tormented his dreams. In them she was,
    always chasing him with a blunt kitchen knife.
    Which she used to cut off his penis and then she
    would plunge the bloody meat into her mouth. And
    as he shouted, Ifeoma sawed through his man
    meat with a salvage energy and laughter. The pain
    of the blunt knife was indescribable, even in his
    dream. Blood lined her hands and mouth, giving
    her the appearance of a vampire that had just
    received his worst Christmas present from his
    human friends. He wasn’t sure why he never raised
    his hands against her in his dreams, something
    was always pinning him down and holding his hand
    down. But that was a dream. Reality is far much
    different and, for all intent and purposes, he
    planned to strike hard and fast.
    He heard her footstep as she came down the
    stairs. Richard walked back a step or two. His
    heart beating a fast staccato beat. She came into
    view. She was so beautiful, more beautiful than
    she had actually been on her wedding day. Her
    long natural hair had been cut short, thus giving
    her a school girl kind of look. Her lips were painted
    a bright red and her eye lid was neatly lined with a
    black eye pencil. She was wearing a long red gown,
    that she had split into two and as she cat walked
    down the steps, Richard could see her slim, long
    legs. Those legs stirred something ancient in him.
    A desire to have her there and then. To make love
    to her till she was incoherent and speaking
    gibberish. But he suppressed the feeling.
    “Richard!!!” Ifeoma shouted when she saw him. Her
    face was lit by a beautiful smile. She pulled up her
    skirts and ran down the stair. “Oh darling I’ve so
    missed you, how are you…” she halted on seeing
    the look on Richards face.
    She came a step forward, and Richard took two
    steps back.
    “Richie am so sorry. I didn’t mean to attack you. It
    was that stupid woman, I think she was in my
    head, she told me that you were cheating on me
    with Charlie’s wife. Am sorry. I shouldn’t have
    listened to her. I promise I won’t listen to her
    again. Can I hug you?” Ifeoma asked. The look on
    her face was beyond innocent and sweet, so
    innocent that it would have made an angel jealous.
    “No,” Richard said in a deep voice, he narrowed his
    eyes and looked straight into her eyes. “Don’t
    come near me. What are you doing here in my
    parents’ house?”
    The innocent look disappeared from Ifeoma’s face
    and was replaced by look that was akin to devilish.
    “I see you didn’t miss me. She was right –the
    woman in my head. You were cheating on me with
    that black witch and I know that you don’t love me
    anymore. She was right. And I made her go away
    because I wanted to believe you“. Ifeoma
    screamed. She stamped her foot on the floor and
    then looked up as if something just occurred to
    “How is my daughter? Nnenna?” she frowned and
    then laughed, “I never liked that name, Nnenna, is
    like a song and a useless repetition of redundant
    names. Father mother? How is that a name? Who
    answers that?” she smiled an evil smile “but you
    liked it, and I had to like it too so you would be
    “D–k, I like that name, it suits you more than
    Richard. Richard sounds too mundane, and my
    God! What a boring name. But then you’ve always
    been too traditional, conservative and boring. It
    drove me out of my mind along with that baby’s
    crying every second of the day. You know she’s is
    just like you, Nnenna, too boring and ultra
    conservative. I guess you all get it from your
    mother, my dear, dear mother in-law.
    “Where is she, by the way? I’ve been waiting for
    her, wanted to have a chat with her. So she could
    tell me what I did wrong. I know she was the one
    that fed those ideas into your head. She told you
    to f–k that woman, Charlie’s wife. And she told
    you to put me out of your house, our house.”
    “How do you know that?” Richard whispered in a
    voice that was a little more than a whisper.
    “The woman in my head, she told me. She knows
    everything. Don’t look so shocked sweet D–k, I
    know you f—-d her too,” Ifeoma said in a drawing
    voice. “She told me that she loved you, but you
    broke her heart. She warned me that you’ll do the
    same to me. But you don’t expect me to fold my
    hand and watch you break my heart? Did you,
    sweet D–k? What a nice name. I know your
    mother have turned Nnenna against me. She never
    liked me and I tried to be a good daughter in law.
    Where did you say she went again, sweet D–k?”
    “I don’t know. Please come let me take you back
    home…..” Richard began
    “Don’t you dare patronize,” Ifeoma screeched, she
    pulled at her short hair and jumped up and down
    hysterically. “Don’t you dare lie to me? You think
    am crazy don’t you” she stopped smiled and
    started removing the sleeves of her gown, “let’s do
    it here on your mothers cushion. Let’s f–k, like we
    used to do”
    “Ify calm down. Maybe later. We’ll do it…” Richard
    started to say
    “I knew it. Liar. You never loved me. You still want
    her. Ahhhhhh” Ifeoma screamed. She ran towards
    Richard, but he hurriedly stepped aside. Ifeoma ran
    into the kitchen shouting. Richard went after her.
    Yes he was scared, but to his utter chagrin, he had
    discovered that he still loved her. And wanted her.
    Seeing her like this, like a crazy woman, had broken
    his heart –despite his earlier resolve. He wanted to
    reach out and touch her and hold her close to his
    chest. But once bitten, twice shy.
    Ifeoma stopped at the kitchen sink, smiled and
    raised up her hand. A knife gleamed in her hands –
    the one he had seen in his dreams.
    “Ifeoma stop, don’t play with a knife. STOP,”
    Richard pleaded.
    But Ifeoma kept on walking towards him. Slowly at
    first. She stopped for three seconds, smiled again
    and then she rushed towards Richard, knife raised
    high, poised to strike. Instinctively, Richard reached
    for the pestle that his mother always kept by the
    door, near the cupboard. He swung. A strong single
    A red blobby matter spattered on the kitchen wall.
    The knife dropped from Ifeoma’s hand. Her head a
    red mess. Ifeoma fell to the ground and breathed
    her last.
    The End

    #1168743 Reply
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    #1168766 Reply
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    hmm wat a life

    #1168775 Reply
    Jos Andy
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    #1168791 Reply
    Aishat Bint Sanusi
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    #1168820 Reply
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    #1168821 Reply
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    A nice story

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