The entries for Week 1 of The Writer Competition are up. The theme is Romance. Below are excerpts of all the 12 stories and you can read them all from HERE.

(A Haunting Past)

I was seduced by the exotic dinner he laid before me that evening.

“This smells like heaven,” I said. “It’s all very beautiful.”

“Not as beautiful as you.”

“Thank you,” I said, warmth flooding my face.

His gaze stayed on me, disrupting the thump-thump of my heart. “You shouldn’t stare at me so.”

The dim lighting threw dancing shadows across his full lips when he smiled. I imagined them on my bare skin.

Reaching over the table, he stroked my hand. I exhaled sharply.

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(Bleed)

“I’m staying at TJ’s tonight,” he says.

“To come back when?”

He holds my eyes in a crestfallen gaze.

“Paulie?”

He zips the case slowly, deliberately, lifts it off the bed. I hold out a hand as he goes by me.

“Paul, please.”

He stares at my hand. His elbows twitch, but he doesn’t take it. He puts one foot in front of the other, hesitates, puts another, hesitates, then moves. I’m too stunned to follow.

At the door, he turns.

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*****

(The Chief’s Daughter, The Warrior and The Grootslang)

“No… not you, no…” she whispered.

“I know that I disgust you,” murmured Kambe. “But no one else is coming and-”

Nanzi shook her head miserably. “Don’t you see, Kambe? The beast will kill you. I broke your heart so you could live!”

Kambe’s world ceased to spin as he realized she loved him more than her own life. He pulled her to him and they embraced, then she kissed him through her waterfall of tears. He held her shoulders and looked into her eyes. “Let us both live. Tell me everything you know…”

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*****

(Inside Of Cucumber)

For that night I taking her to hall with light and we sitting. I carrying one book. I liking the book because it get picture of small boy in front. This small boy not smile. This small boy is being like me and the book name is Kaffir Boy.

I reading and Recalcitrant smiling like she understand. I not understand every of things, but I smiling too.

Till one mosquito fall on top the book and she slap it with force.

When she remove hand I see tiny blood cover one word.

She look me, smiling; I smiling, she laughing, I laughing.

Laugh bring her head come my legs.

I stop laugh.

She stop laugh, like Saint Peter’s generator – slow, slooow, stop.

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*****

(Raindrops And Stares)

A woman runs out of the bus park. ‘Help!’ is the word that springs from her throat. No one responds. Gaining on her is a naked man with engorged penis like a compass pointing him in the right direction. Onlookers point and laugh and say:

“Look at the short dress she is wearing”

“Shebi na man she wear am to seduce?”

“Why won’t he chase her?”

“Ehen! She don see man begin run.”

“See as im prick long, Conji don hol’ am wellwell.”

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(Raindrops and Ten Calls)

They stood in front of the strange box mounted on a pole held in place by the parched earth of their farm. It had some buttons in the centre that went down when pressed, and a handle that rested in a groove cut into it. One end of the handle was connected to the box’s frame by a long metal rope.

 The box was silent now, a terrible contrast to the moments before Ebere had come home. Before now, the box had cried out, as if in protest, beckoning her to take some form of action. She had gone to it, eventually picked up the handle, and immediately threw it down at the sound of the voice that had come from it:

“Hello, is anybody there?”

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*****

(Requiem For A Dream)

“There are two great loves in a persons life,” Alfa pontificated, “The love of your life and your one true love. The love of your life will climb a mountain, swim a river and meet you at the point of a great need but if you are not careful you will not see him when he comes. Your one true love you will only find after you have lost the love of your life”.

I thought about my great need- a Range Sport, the love of my life must be one loaded guy! “How will I find them?,” I asked, “I need a sign”. “You do not need a sign to find the love of your life, you will see him before midnight today,” said the Alfa as he stood up to leave. “Wait! What about my one true love, how do I find him too, just in case?” The Alfa smiled. “A birth mark just behind the right ear”.

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*****

(The Oak)

I gaze out the window every night, and sing our song to myself whispering a silent prayer for you. That God returns you to me. I hear rumours in town of how a ceasefire might be called within the next four months and a flame is renewed in my soul. It burns long and bright, reminding me of the night we eloped. We danced that night, to no music but the beating of our hearts. My heart is beats like the wings of a hummingbird as I remember that night. Two souls became one, now they are ripped apart again, you have taken a piece of me my love.

 I lost my father to a war, my husband duels with death in the trenches and I have gotten word that my brother will set off soon for the reserves. I fear I might be cursed. Why must every man I love leave me? Why must war snatch them away from me?

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*****

(Love, Again)

Her brown skin was the shade of perfectly cured wood, an unending smoothness revealed where the wrappers around her waist and comely bust didn’t cover.  Her head was crowned with a full head of healthy hair. As he gaped at her bright eyes and pointed nose, her lush lips parted, showing white rows of teeth arranged like seeds on a perfect corn cob.

“Have you never seen a woman before? Must you stare like an idiot?”

The words jolted him. Her voice was melodious, dripping like warm honey, but her tone was heavy with sarcasm.

“Must you greet a stranger with such rude words?” he retorted. “Since I came to this village, no girl has spoken to me like that.”

She scoffed and returned to cracking open the palm nuts gathered at her feet. “Then, I suggest you return to wherever you came from, stranger.”

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*****

(Untitled)

Obinna knew all these. Was he suicidal? He shook his head in the negative when she asked him that and confessed that he was tired of hiding. Tired of hiding? How could anyone be tired of it? It was the reason some of them were still breathing. Adaeze started crying. Obinna pulled her into his thin arms. He kissed her tears away and vowed to return. He would marry her and they would plant a mango tree in their own compound – Promises they both knew were beyond him.

Later that night, for the first night in hundreds of nights, Ngozi saw Adaeze sitting by herself under the mango tree but her beautiful face was turned up to the inky starless sky and tears were rolling down her cheeks.

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*****

(Ruined)

The first mistake was applying for the undergraduate degree in Economics, and she should have known that she was on the wrong path, even before Richard, her childhood friend, told her. His face had been crumpled like an unwanted piece of paper heading for the dustbin- so much that it seemed as though his creased forehead would never smoothen, as he asked her a condescending why, lamented their being in different schools, then blamed and cursed her teachers for letting her cross from science class.

“Why would you waste your intelligence like that?” Richard had asked.

Still, she did not see them coming, the many mistakes that that initial one would propel.

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*****

(Temporary Cast Members of a Play called Love)

If you ask Akuli why she loves me, she rattles on about my intelligence and large breasts. After our friends have left, when we have both removed our costumes as friends or acquaintances, when we can be fully ourselves-skin to skin, brain to brain, crazy to crazy and she thinks I’m asleep, she tells me she loves me because I am a wonderful ending chapter to her small life.

When people ask me, I laugh and tell them I love her for the sake of love. When we’re in bed, I trace the lines on her palms. The anxiety I have pushed down all day resurfaces as Akuli falls asleep. When her heavy breathing begins, the room suddenly feels too hot. I take my hands out of her hair, and go to the balcony. I sit on the floor cross legged and light a cigarette.

Why do you love her?

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