Fall 2020 Issue

Five Shorts

Planting Season

Our task was to plant things we believed would never grow but looked as if they would. One of us planted a can of De Rica tomatoes. We suppose in a few months you would be harvesting ripe plum tomatoes, we said and laughed.

Another planted a bottle of soda. Imagine if we returned a week later and there was now a soda creek?

The laziest one among us decided to bury his little plastic horse.

That night, that little acre where the horse was buried became a battleground where cavalries charged at each other.

Even in our sleep, we heard the neighing of horses and the pounding of hooves.

The Girl Who Ate the Harmattan

She lived in this way—one leg in the land of the living and another in the land of the dead. Coming & going, to & fro, hither & thither e.t.c, e.t.c…

On alternate days she ate roasted yam with salt-sprinkled palm-oil.

On her spirit-days, she ate dank earth and earthworms—the food of the dead.

At year-end, when the harmattan sweeps in—she fed on the harmattan haze—she grabbed the haze with both hands—she ate greedily like a child wolfing cotton candy at a baseball game.

What Could We Possibly Learn From Lizards

When the earth was still young and fragile, we would gather a family of agama lizards and lecture them on why they must not feed on their young.

The lizards nodded vigorously in agreement—though their hearts whispered a different notion entirely.

It is not unusual these days to see a gaggle of children being lectured by  a lone agama lizard on why they must not  strangle their parents in their sleep.

The children take copious notes.

You seem nice to me, I lied.

Black Ghost

The war is over—go home, they said to me. Not for me, war has no end, I replied. From Opi Sector to Kanly Sector, I, the expert artillery soldier, continued to dutifully fire my live bullets at ghosts.

When does the enemy even sleep?

At night, I bivouac myself in my razor wire bunker.

Even in my sleep—I still shoot black ghosts.

Fish Wife

In the heat of the night, even as darkness slept, he stayed up late entertaining himself with long stories.

In these stories, he was a King with an expansive harem. He even had concubines on the side.

At dinnertime, his youngest wife fed him a delicious broth made with poisoned catfish. Every night he ate the poisoned fish and smacked his lips.

E.C Osondu

EC Osondu is a winner of the Caine Prize, a Pushcart Prize and several Pushcart Special Mentions and most recently the BOA Fiction Prize. He is the author of the story collection-- Voice of America-- and the novel--This House Is Not For Sale. His writing has been translated into many languages including Italian, Belarusian, Japanese and Icelandic. His latest book--Alien Stories-- comes out May '21

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