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Title: Time Flux

By Deborah Johnson

This was it, she thought. This was the beginning and end all at once. Everything she did in this moment would define her future, past and  present. 
She’d been stuck in time before, it wasn’t pretty and right now, if she didn’t stop this monster of a man from activating the quantum accelerator, it would be the end of the world as she knew it.  
She swallowed her tears at the thought of her son and yelled. 
“Stop!”At the mad scientist, holding up a gun which she had picked up during one of her fight with the guards. 
“Stop or I’ll shoot”She yelled again, more forcibly 
“Never”He said, laughing maniacally  as he hit the activation button on the accelerator, ducking behind it for safety. 
“No! “She screamed, she couldn’t let all those people die. But that would mean she would die instead, because of the countless experiments done on her, she was connected to the machine, this was their plan all along!. 
Time slowed down as she struggled to make the hardest decision of her life. 
“I’m sorry”She whispered with tears in her eyes, to no one in particular and smiling, she pulled the trigger.

The Awakening

By Nana Khadija Yahaya

 Shobha stares out the window, waiting for him to come home. She knows he is angry just because she gave him the black shirt instead of the white one. He beats her up but sometimes he is sorry, he buys her flowers, even cries sometimes, then he tells her not to go out. He says that she should stay until the wounds heal, the neighbours are too nosy. She slumps on the couch sighing heavily as she realizes that it’s past midnight. Unconsciously, she falls asleep on the couch.

This time he isn’t beating her up. She looks around trying to leave this place but she realizes it’s closed. It takes her time to realize she is in a coffin. Last night, he had finally killed her, strangling her to death for talking to the milkman.

   Shobha wakes up holding her chest as she sighs heavily realizing it was a dream. She holds her head as tears stream down her flushed cheeks.                                                                

“This has to stop today”, she whispers wiping the tears from her cheeks, she walks to the room turning her drawers upside down and then she finds it. When her father had given her a gun when he was retiring, she had thought it to be strange but now was the time to make good use of it.

  The door flung open as her hulk of a husband stepped in, not even glancing at her but heading straight for the dining room. She waits for it, one, two, three“SHOBHA!” he shouts as he steps into the dining room this time a knife in his hand. She suddenly pulls out her gun and takes in the astonished look on his face. That memory will forever remain with her. Smiling, she pulled the trigger.  

By Chidiogo Nsude

Tension trickled through space, and she met his gaze, eyeball to cowering eyeball. Utterly frightened, he swallowed.
She cocked her head to the side, a smirk lingering on her lips. He ducked behind his desk and her smirk grew.
“No last words, Kola? Or are we too scared to talk?” 
Kola held up his hands in defence.”Easy Chika, you don’t wanna hurt anyone, put the gun down; you don’t wanna cause anyone pain…”
“Shut up!” Her smirk morphed into a frown in a heartbeat and her grip on the gun tightened. “Shut up Kola!” Her eyes misted from the wealth of emotions she felt. “Pain you say?” She shook her head. “Pain? You don’t know what pain is, but I’ll tell you anyways; good girl that I am.” She chuckled bitterly. “Pain is seeing you bring another woman into our home in my presence and sleeping with her under the same roof. Pain is you throwing me out after making her pregnant; and humiliating me. And now I want to make you feel the pain too.”
“No, please you can’t. Chika, please hear me ou—”
“Oh yes I can. And I will.” Smiling, she pulled the trigger.

Once upon a time, even though I’ve never counted, but I was reading an average of 3 books a week and almost a hundred a year.

I was a chute sucking up all the wordings and meanings and at that time, reading a 200 hundred paged novel a day was a small task. I didn’t care what genre or age group or era it was from, I just read everything. But even then I was also a fiction person. I had tried to read ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ and it did not seem significant to my life in anyway. I could not read inspirational books or biographies/ autobiographies, still can’t. The closest I’ve read was the ‘Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck’ which was a very good read. (Books about creative writing are exceptions)

Then as I grew up, I started getting picky. Some books like Animorphs disgusted me. Some books like high school love stuff became too childish, some Mills and Boons book were too unrealistic, some science fiction books made no sense, some bippity bappity boo books were just lazily recycled narratives. I’d read the first 3 pages and dump the book without ever looking back. That is something I never did during my book gouging stage; in fact at that time I’ll probably start liking a book well into the 100th page but I’d still drag on and read on because well, It was a reading sin to dump a book.

It was that time that I discovered that I’d rather read Sidney Sheldon’s books than John Grisham even though I want to be a lawyer because it wasn’t ‘adventurous enough’ for me. And that I’d still rather read Sidney Sheldon than Jeffrey Archer because his books are so long you’d probably get lost in the narrative half way (except his short stories which I love).

I discovered my love for fantasy books and Sandra Brown over any romance writer. I discovered I liked mystery and suspense but didn’t like the suspense and the waiting period; always leaves me physically tired.

I discovered one genre that not many people know or worse appreciate but I like it because it is so easy-going and fun and some are actually funny- Chicklit.

I love reading the imperfections of the characters of Chicklit novels most of which are by Marian Keyes or  Sophie Kinsella (Chicklit novels adapted to movies are Diary of A Shopaholic, The Devil Wears Prada, Beauty and the Briefcase etc).

I like Fantasy, the Harry Potter kind and Percy Jackson kind. Zarah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor was the first book I read in that genre by an African and it’s still my favorite .

I like books like Divergent and I usually read the books before the movies are released as soon as I watch the trailers. Because the books are usually better.

I love action books  and horror but please don’t disgust me with scenes too grotesque to incite any fear… thank you. To think once upon a time my idea of a horror book was Goosebumps.

Wattpad spoiled many genres for me like Vampires and werewolves, I don’t take them serious now because I feel it’s just another unreadable Wattpad something. Fanfiction is the wooorrsseee *Harry Styles* 😭

I love unconventional books like Alif the Unseen, it’s tech with a touch of Jinn- really unexpected.

Unpredictable books in a good way? Sign me up. Because some authors in a bid to be unpredictable just do the most.

Generally, the books I’d love to read are the ones I’d love to write. So when I don’t find what I want to read on the shelves, I write one.

He was having a very bad day. He wasn’t sure the day could get worse but if it did, then he might completely lose it and breakdown. 

His landlady sent him packing so that the meagre clothings he had were thrown in a worn out, shabby backpack, along with his last money, some measly six hundred and fifty naira. His phone had been stolen a day ago else he could have probably called his rich Aunt to appeal for some funds and Binta had broken up with him because he couldn’t send her the 500 naira recharge card she had demanded for. 

She had already had enough of his bullshit according to her and he had tripped his last card. 

But that wasn’t the worse thing. The worse thing was that he couldn’t get any pot to smoke. The six fifty could sustain him on garri and some moldy bread sold at a cheaper price for some days but that was it, his weed funds were out.

He would have to resort to the job he had rejected, manual labour. He hated working and the only reason why he wasn’t in a gang of thieves was because his late mother had made him promise her he wouldn’t do anything illegal as a source of income. Sometimes, he hated himself for promising her.

He was tired of walking, he had to trek the length of the city to locate his friends house for temporary asylum. A lone shade offered some solace to his lonely self and he walked towards it already sighing in anticipation of being away from the scorching heat.

The shed wasn’t empty. It was occupied by an old man whose wretched possessions were scattered all over. His face contorted in annoyance as if he had found someone taking up his personal space.

He lowered himself and sighed. He was thirsty. He had no water to drink and there was no shop in sight. In fact, the place was partially deserted as it always was. There were just a few houses scattered around, everyone avoided the area because of the rampancy of rascals.

He glanced at the old man who looked creepier than most haggard homeless old men and hissed. He didn’t know why the old man was consistently staring at him. 

He arranged his bag beneath his head and placed his hand on the side where his last money was. Then he dozed off.

He jolted with a start, he had slept off apparently without realizing it. He knew something must have woken him up but he wasn’t sure what it was. He hissed again and readjusted his head on his bag- on the place where his bag was meant to be – because his head lay rudely on bare sand.

He sat up with a start, eyes wide searching for his bag. The old man looked at him keenly as if he was an interesting thing, chuckled, then laughed.

‘Why are you laughing old man?’ he asked still dazed. ‘Where’s my bag? You stole my bag you crook’. 

He held the old man by his worn out lapel. 

‘It wasn’t I, it was some kids. You were sleeping like a log, didn’t even feel them take it from beneath your head’ he shook his head ‘ lazy children of nowadays’.

He wasn’t even sure what to do to the man. He was super annoyed. 

‘ And you let them? You didn’t wake me up?’.

The old man shrugged ‘ Better you than me’.

He was furious now, and since he couldn’t be furious at the culprits, he directed it towards the old man. He balled his palm to fist and knocked the old man right in the middle of the head. Then he snatched the cap the old man stored his begging loot in and rushed away with it leaving the old man to clutch his head in pain.

For some reason, the sight made him laugh. He laughed so hard he doubled over. The old man deserved it for being a silent party to the theft. And what he did wasn’t stealing, he hardly thinks his mother would mind.

‘You know what they say boy’ the old man said between gritted teeth ‘ he who laughs last laughs longest’.

That made him burst into another fit of laughter. Silly fool. He had lost his few belongings but at least he was having a good laugh out of it. If every loss will make his spirit dampen he would have been in the bottom of a river by now.

He walked off still laughing. He didn’t know why but he couldn’t stop laughing. He didn’t start noticing something wrong until when he walked on for three minutes and he was still laughing.

Okay that’s enough laughter for one day you can stop now, he told himself. But he couldn’t. He kept on laughing even as he tried to close his mouth and stop emitting any sound.

He laughed on even as panic rose within him and set like a pregnant cloud full of terror. He laughed on…

The old man had cursed him. The sudden realization gave him an adrenaline pump and he turned and ran back towards the shed. 

Ever seen a man running and laughing like his life depended on it? Well he did. It wasn’t funny to him but to anyone who might be watching, it was a funny sight.

He arrived the shed, the old man had left, no traces of his footprints were visible, all the stuff scattered around where gone and in their place, his bag lay. He didn’t want his bag, he though in annoyance. He wanted his sanity back. 

‘He who laughs last laughs longest’ the words of the old man rang in his ears as if he was just an inch away from him.