Moonlit Clearing

Moonlit Clearing

a story of a young boy abducted from his home in the village and the conflicts that arise in captivity.

 

The moon has punctured
A hole in the blank night sky.
She peeps out envious:
Love-struck frogs are croaking loud
Symphonies around the pond.

 

— Moon

****

On the night it began, there were no stars in the sky. The Full Moon would be out in three days, so the night was bright. I could clearly see the barns and maize crops behind our compound, through the gap between my mother’s hut and the kitchen. The heat in the huts was unbearable, so we were all outside, lying on mats. Father, Mother and my six younger sisters were asleep. Except me. I was gazing at the moon and weaving a story I planned to tell my sisters the next night. I was a boy of twelve, who loved the night.

I imagined the Full Moon had come out in great splendour to marry the Sun but had found the sky devoid of her wedding guests, the stars. The stars were angry that she had gone to see the Sun at twilight, veiled as a New Moon. Her groom, the Sun, had also not come for the wedding. She was sad, and became angry when she heard some frogs on earth croaking at each other under the romantic charm of her light.

A bird flew into our compound and alighted a few paces from where I lay, interrupting my musings with its tweets. It hopped towards our well, still tweeting. I stole towards it and tried to catch it but it hopped forward, barely escaping my grasp. In the bright moonlight, I could see the bird was coloured red. It had a black triangular patch on its face, only broken within, by tiny eyes and a small red beak. I wanted to own this bird and make a fine cage for it from the dried guinea-corn stalks in the farm.

It flew and perched on an excellent position on our well wall. As I lurched forward to grab it, I tripped and fell into the well.

I screamed but no sound formed. There was something in my mouth. I was falling straight down at a terrible speed.

Moments from crashing into the water, two hands grabbed my head and swiftly pulled me into a side tunnel, with some other hands grabbing my legs, as soon as my body was fully in the tunnel. They sped ahead right away, with me in their arms. Everywhere was dark. The rapid thump of their feet moved in sync with that of my heart until we broke out into the open.

We were standing on the farm behind our compound. I could see my parents and my sisters through that same gap. They were still sleeping. Had they not heard the noise from my fall and scream? I recalled that there had been no scream. No noise from my fall.

I looked down and saw two short beings with big round eyes that gleamed. They had large ears too and were identical. I wanted to scream out and wake up the whole village but that thing was still in my mouth. My legs were trembling. I couldn’t run.

They took out a mat, rolled me in it, lifted me up and carried me on their heads. As we moved away, I knew I had been abducted by bush babies.

The bush babies carried me through the forest for what must have been four or five hours. We eventually entered a large tree hollowed out at its base, and walked into a cave with a stalactitic network of glowing tree roots, brightest at their tips. Deep inside the tree cave, they unwrapped me at the feet of a frail bush baby then removed an egg from my mouth and stood aside. I knew afterwards, that she was their mother, and that they were twins.

She got up from the glowing stump she sat on and walked to me. She stared into my eyes and looked at my feet. I named her Mu.

She called one of the twins and asked him in Idoma to guard me. Hearing her speak my language froze me. It had sounded like a little baby crying while being forced to drink pap by its mother. I couldn’t understand her speech well, but her excellent gesticulations made up for that.

The twin came to me and told me, in a voice that sounded like Mu’s, to follow him. Seeing I hesitated, he asked me to be calm, promising not to hurt me. Then he led me through a dimly-lit woody tunnel that stopped at a small brighter flat area. Leaving me there, he dashed away and soon came back with a pillow he had made from roots and leaves. As I lay down, he stood upright, stroking my head with his long bushy tail. I soon fell asleep. I saw him in my dream and named him Long Tail.

At twilight, I woke up and saw he was gone. I stood up and wandered a few strides down the tunnel, stopping to gaze through a crack above. Long Tail was on a branch plucking ichinkla, the small yellow fruit of the tree. Without warning, a hand yanked me back to where I had slept. I cried out but stopped when I spotted the fiery large eyes that questioned me. It was the other twin. He had a scar on his face. He was shaking his tail in a way I assumed to be a heightened show of anger. Just then, Long Tail dashed in. He gave his brother some tree gum and looked at me for some seconds. His brother’s tail stopped shaking as he ate the gum, obviously enjoying it. Long tail then gave me a ball of leaves he was holding and told me to remove the top leaves. I did so and found it was filled with ichinkla. I ate it slowly, with caution, relishing its sweetness. Later, Long Tail brought me bananas and mangoes, and some water in a broken coconut.

I remained there throughout that day with Long Tail, listening to him tell me stories.

He told me they were forty bush babies in their clan, that his mother was the oldest, and that she had given birth to eleven sets of twins. Six had left the clan. Three elder sets, along with their father, had been eaten at different times, by a dreaded snake they called Ebli-Aboinu. He told me his twin was always fighting with the other bush babies and that we were going to watch him fight tomorrow in the tree cave. When I asked him about his brother’s scar, he told me a sharp stone had wounded him as a child, on a day he fought with Mu over some grasshoppers she had refused him. I named his brother Stubborn Scar. When it got dark, I plucked up courage and asked why I was abducted. He told me I would bring them good luck. They would take me back home soon, he said. I was happy. I missed my family, even though I now liked the tree cave. And Long Tail.

That night, I dreamt that Stubborn Scar fought with the biggest bush baby in the clan and won him. He, Long Tail and I raced on the loftiest tree tops in the forest. My parents and sisters were with me in the tree cave, listening to Mu tell the clan a tale about the moon, the sun and frogs. I was taken by some evil bush babies from another clan, to a clearing in the forest. They buried me in mud and left me to die.

I woke up screaming and scanning the area at the same time. I was in a clearing, naked and half-buried in mud. The Full Moon was out, shining brightly in the night.

My breathing became rapid and my hands felt like I was holding ice. A cold current swam from my head and terminated at my waist and fingers. I couldn’t feel my legs. There were many bush babies high up in the surrounding trees, all crying. I wondered if these cries were of pity or mockery. I had been foolish to trust Long Tail. And the clan.

I didn’t know what was about to happen to me but I believed I was in terrible trouble.

Then it came. A snake so big and strange, it was inconceivable to believe a creature like that could exist. It could coil twice around fifty people standing together and still be able to move its head. Its body was pure white but its head was a deep blue, and very scaly. This could only be the dreaded Ebli-Aboinu, Long Tail mentioned.

Fear.

My mouth was dry. I had since frozen. As the snake drew closer, I began to murmur, ‘Enem eh um ge ku eh … Enem eh um ge ku eh … .’
Ebli-Aboinu undulated around me twice, steering clear by an arm’s length. I was shuddering and humming my chant now, my eyebrows raised and drawn together above my wide-open eyes. The snake coiled again, drawing closer to me with each undulation until its cold smooth skin touched mine. Then it wrapped me up to my neck and positioned it’s head directly above mine.

With my neck bent backwards, straining to keep my eyes trained on its head, I rapidly screamed, ‘Papa! Mama! Owoicho eh! Um ge ku eh … Um ge ku eh … .’
Ebli-Aboinu lowered its head, terrifying my eyes with its very bright ones. It opened it’s mouth wide revealing six fangs shaped like screw drivers, and threw out its tongue at me, wetting my face with the thick blue fluid of its tongue.

The smell from its mouth was reminiscent of garlic. A nauseating kind. I vomited on its body. It kept wiping my face with its tongue triggering a more forceful vomit.

In a split second, it uncoiled itself from me, forcing out tired shrills from my mouth as it sped away to a tree many yards away. It started dancing there, swaying on one spot and shooting its head to within inches of my face at times.

The bush babies were still crying. I could see Long Tail now. He was standing on a tree stump close to where I was half-buried, his upper frame slouched. He was calm. He was not crying like the others.

Ebli-Aboinu drew closer and began to coil around me again, with a measured pace that made me shudder in frightened anticipation of my end. It began to raise its blue head but stopped all of a sudden in mid-air. It spat a loud hiss and swerved its head backwards. Long Tail was in the distance, a long narrow object in his hand. He had stabbed Ebli-Aboinu on its lower end.

It spat another hiss and hit Long Tail with its tail, hurling him at the tree he had just left. But Long Tail was fast. Moments away from the tree, he grabbed one of its branch, swung around and landed on the ground. But this time he was not alone. Stubborn Scar had joined him.

The bush babies above were jumping back and forth amongst the branches, screaming.

In a flash, Ebli-Aboinu darted towards Long Tail, its mouth wide-open. But Stubborn Scar was already in the air aiming for this dreaded snake’s head with a long spear-like branch. He stabbed it in its left eye before it could get to Long Tail. He was seconds late. The snake spat a green fluid directly into Long Tail’s eyes, before it fell to the side, hissing in pain.

Long Tail was screaming and jumping about. He couldn’t see and didn’t know when the snake darted at his right leg and yanked it off with its powerful jaws.

Horrified by what was happening to Long Tail, all the bush babies jumped down, each with a rough spear fashioned from the branches. They began to pierce Ebli-Aboinu’s body in different places. But it did not attack them, even as it groaned from the pain. It held on to Long Tail’s tail and left leg, concentrating all its attention on him, desperate to swallow him completely. It was blind now. Stubborn Scar had taken away its second eye and was pulling Long Tail by the hand. It was all so clear and frightening because the battle was raging within six paces from where I was buried.

All the bush babies kept piercing Ebli-Aboinu’s body with all their might. Some took up big stones and rammed them at its body. Stubborn Scar was now piercing the hollow where Ebli-Aboinu’s eyes once where, desperate to have the snake free his brother, now being dragged by two bush babies. Long Tail was letting out soft, tired cries now.

Soon, Ebli-Aboinu stopped moving. Long Tail too. The whole clan gathered around to open its mouth and draw out Long Tail. His tail was gone. Both legs too. He was barely alive. He whispered to be brought to where I was buried. Looking at me with his eyes almost shut, he slowly whispered, ‘Ah eh chonun … Ah eh chonun … ‘. He was sorry.

The next day, after Long Tail had been buried, Mu asked Stubborn Scar to bring me to the cave. The whole clan was there. Her large brown eyes seemed even wider now, her iris covering the most part of her eyes which were already grey with grief. She said only two things to me. She said Ebli-Aboinu was now dead and that I had brought them good luck. Then she told Stubborn Scar to take me home.

We didn’t say a word to each other on our way to the village. Emotions were mixed. We walked past the clearing, past the spot where Long Tail had died, and where I had been buried. We didn’t stop. We continued walking for hours until we got to the tall palm tree that bordered my village and the forest. I looked at Stubborn Scar for some seconds then bowed my head and muttered, ‘Ainya’.

I continued the walk into the village. Alone. The day was dawning. A few paces forward, I stopped and looked back. He was no longer there. I swallowed hard, my eyes squinting out some tears. I looked forward and continued walking into the village, tears of emotions I could not really explain, streaming down my eyes.

****

The events of those few days took place seventeen years ago. I decided never to tell a soul about that episode of my life, in memory of Long Tail. I narrate this tale now because, I believe, Stubborn Scar, Mu and the others must have since passed away.

Comments

comments


99 thoughts on “Moonlit Clearing” by chemokopi (@chemokopi)

  1. Profile photo of topazo
    topazo (@topazo): Head Wordsmith - 59191 pts

    Nice story…captured the emotions nicely

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      @topazo: Thanks man. Emotions were important to me here.

  2. Profile photo of shadiat
    shadiat (@shadiat): Writer - 8712 pts

    Interesting. Av always loved adventure stories.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      @shadiat: You are not alone! Thanks

  3. Profile photo of Daireen
    Daireen (@daireenonline): Scribe - 16239 pts

    Reminds me of DO Fagunwa and his classics. Hope you didn’t pilfer ooo :p.

    Cool description, damn too esoteric chei. And you didn’t translate, bawo lo se ma ri ti mba ko gbogbo kommenti yi ni Yoruba?

    #nuffsaid.

    We’re waiting, longlist shey…

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      @daireenonline: Thanks for making me know who DO Fagunwa is. The guy try fa! Hmmm…you want translation? Read in between the lines. lol

      1. Profile photo of Sueddie Agema
        Sueddie Agema (@sueddie): Head Wordsmith - 48050 pts

        @daireenonline: Nice one! Seriously, you didn’t need to revenge in Yoruba na! A lu se cii se lam ken dzwa wase yo, ka ana naan pase se kwa u i bape a or? :)

        1. Profile photo of chemokopi
          chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

          Hahahaha…@sueddie, you have increased the combined local languages spoken on this post to 3. Hehehe…

  4. Profile photo of ablyguy
    ablyguy (@francis): Senior Scribe - 21682 pts

    Painstakingly written Chemo. I love this. There’s a huge improvement in your writing I must tell you… Keep the light on boss!
    But who will explain the dialogue for me oooh!

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Hehehe … @francis you want explanations abi? Go and ask your Idoma friends … Lol. Anyways look for the places where these will fit:

      “My mother, I am dead!”

      “God, I am dead!”

      “Don’t be annoyed”

      “Thank you.”

      And yes thank you for loving this. You are too kind!

  5. Profile photo of Ife Watson
    Ife Watson (@petunia007): Scribe - 15246 pts

    A nice depiction of the world of the mystical. However, there was so much of telling rather than showing which is a major weakness you have to watch out for when using the first person point of view. Well done.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Interesting @petunia007. The funny thing is I was very conscious of not ‘telling’ in this story, except for some places. I would really like you to provide some examples and suggestions. Inbox me if you prefer. Thanks a lot for reading and commenting.

  6. Profile photo of Yeniee
    Yeniee (@Yeniee): Writer - 6719 pts

    I like this!!!!!! :) Ah-mazing! as always.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Thanks a lot @yeniee. You are too kind! Glad you enjoyed this.

  7. Profile photo of Ellie
    Ellie (@elly): Writer - 9168 pts

    Nice read, been a while I read an adventure piece. They bore if not well writtten, this didnt bore me though. Kudos!

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Thanks @elly. I guess the movies feed us more adventure. Really glad I didn’t bore you!

  8. Profile photo of omojola
    omojola (@omojola): Writer - 6544 pts

    @chemokopi: Your imagination overflows, and ought to be harnessed more resourcefully. The style as @petunia007 remarked is more of telling than showing, and that was a shortcoming. The events covered here could only have been thought up by a writing mind, but delivery is another matter. I wish you good luck. Ps: Kindly read and comment on my entry: Okula – a daughter’s vengeance. I appreciate your input, always. Thank you.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Thanks a lot @omojola. Your points have been noted.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Ok boss. Will get to it @omojola

  9. Profile photo of Eletrika
    Eletrika (@babyada): Wordsmith - 36524 pts

    Yeah. Something quite different to keep our minds busy. I like tales about unusual imaginations, too.

    Well done.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Thanks @babyada. Decided to take the ‘risk’ of doing a fantasy story. Glad you liked it.

  10. Profile photo of Olaedo
    Olaedo (@Olaedo): Senior Scribe - 27027 pts

    This is something definitely out of the ordinary… bush babies et al.
    Why did they bury you, though? That part isn’t clear. Was it to draw the monster snake out or was it really a betrayal by Long Tail and the clan, like you had thought?

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Well, betrayal had to do with Long Tail telling him that he won’t be hurt, he they had actually abducted him to feed to the snake. As for the burying, I think some things are better imagined than told. Your imagination will do the rest :)

      1. Profile photo of chemokopi
        chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

        *even though they had actually abducted*

    2. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      @olaedo: Well, betrayal had to do with Long Tail telling him that he won’t be hurt, he they had actually abducted him to feed to the snake. As for the burying, I think some things are better imagined than told. Your imagination will do the rest :)

  11. Profile photo of Uzoma Ihejirika
    Uzoma Ihejirika (@literarymouthpiece): Junior Writer - 3218 pts

    @chemokopi, Good work. It was very engaging. I liked this.

    Pls read and comment on mine: http://www.naijastories.com/2012/12/fountain-of-tears/ Thanks.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      @literarymouthpiece: thanks a lot. Glad you liked it. Will do check yours out.

  12. Profile photo of Bubbllinna
    Bubbllinna (@sibbylwhyte): Head Wordsmith - 123317 pts

    Interesting story Chemo. You did it finally. Weaving a fantasy tale, I mean. Well done. Goodluck. $ß.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Thanks @sibbylwhyte. And you know what it inspired it…hahaha…awaiting another child from that. When will you birth it?

  13. Profile photo of howyoudey
    howyoudey (@howyoudey): Head Wordsmith - 98138 pts

    @chemokopi, Your poetic prowess showed in the first half of this piece, but the need to tell the tale diluted the power in the second half. My suggestion for rewrite is to compress it and spend sometime revealing character either through dialogue or character actions. Goodluck, and Happy Holidays, my friend.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      @howyoudey: thanks man. Appreciate your comments sir.

  14. Profile photo of Alloywrite
    Alloywrite (@ify1986): Junior Writer - 2766 pts

    Well written, chemokopi. Remind me of the days my late grandmother told us the story about bush baby. We well done.
    Please read and comment on my. Here is the link. http://www.naijastories.com/2012/12/still-love-you-2/ thanks.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      @ify1986: Thanks a lot. Glad I took you down memory lane. Will read yours too.

  15. Profile photo of khadijahmuhammad
    khadijahmuhammad (@khadijahmuhammad): Senior Scribe - 21715 pts

    A great story.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Thanks a lot @khadijahmuhammad. You are too kind.

  16. Profile photo of Joseph Omotayo
    Joseph Omotayo (@strongself): Scribe - 13947 pts

    Really good. I wish you good luck in the competition.

  17. Profile photo of chemokopi
    chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

    @strongself: Thanks bro. I wish myself luck too. :)

  18. Profile photo of Da Writing Engineer
    Da Writing Engineer (@banky): Wordsmith - 32922 pts

    Different. Best of luck.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      @banky: Thanks bro. Risky.

  19. Profile photo of ayistar
    ayistar (@ayistar): Writer - 7792 pts

    I enjoyed this sir Chemo….%

    Good Success!

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      @ayistar: Thanks man. You are too kind.

  20. Profile photo of Sueddie Agema
    Sueddie Agema (@sueddie): Head Wordsmith - 48050 pts

    Interesting piece. To be honest, the beginning was really really nice. Was pacy but at some point, the ‘telling’ got to dilute the beauty of the tale. I know this can be better…
    Can this be extended into something long – a novel? Hmm.
    Hope you doing good Chemo! Well done on the adventure of going to a different realm and bringing it home to our Idoma land. Anya.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      @sueddie: Hehehe, thanks man. I appreciate your kind comments. I grew up thinking bush babies are spiritual beings until I began writing this story. Then I found out the exist and are also called galagos!

      Yeah, I hope to develop this into something longer but still within the Short Story format. Maybe 7000 words.

      When four correct people say the same thing about a particular issue, the wise would do well to take heed. So Sueddie, I would be grateful if you can please provide a more detailed critique of the “telling” problem, with examples from the story. Especially from the drama at the clearing, where I thought I had done mostly “showing”. Also please tell me what exactly fascinated you with the beginning of the story. You can post it here as a comment or inbox me. Whichever you prefer.

      Thanks man! And yeah, I am doing great!

  21. Profile photo of Jefsaraurmax
    Jefsaraurmax (@jefsaraurmax): Scribe - 13702 pts

    Great story @chemokopi! I couldn’t stop reading.My only issues were that birds don’t fly at night (except for owls) and that snakes don’t chew but swallow whole but you could always go around that if they are magical beings. :-) Well done!

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Hehehe…thanks @jefsaraurmax. You are too kind!

      To be frank, I didn’t even consider whether birds fly at night or not … and knowing that, is important, even if I didn’t plan to use that in a fantasy tale! Though, I just searched the net and found quite a number of other birds fly at night, surprisingly.

      As for our dreaded snake :) he actually didn’t chew. He just forcefully pulled away Long Tail’s leg and tore at the other parts with its powerful jaw. I was conscious of that cos I knew snakes don’t chew. Fantasy needs some good dose of reality too.

      Thanks again @jefsaraurmax!

    2. Profile photo of igbor clemency
      igbor clemency (@clemency): Senior Scribe - 23604 pts

      The bird was the only slight i noticed, i was wondering what kind of bird…witch? Anyways, very splendid story, really captivating and touching too. I am in support of the novel idea! Compliments! …and thanks for inviting to drink at ur table. It was a great feast

      1. Profile photo of chemokopi
        chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

        Ah, @ clemency,thanks a lot! You are too kind I tell you. Glad you enjoyed the story. Well, let’s see about the novel thingy. Anything can happen o! :)

        1. Profile photo of chemokopi
          chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

          @clemency

          1. Profile photo of igbor clemency
            igbor clemency (@clemency): Senior Scribe - 23604 pts

            @chemokopi, you are most welcome, and if anything is happening, we’d always be here by GOd’s grace.

    1. Profile photo of sambright
      sambright (@sambrightomo): Head Wordsmith - 94734 pts

      Seeing my name first amongst other esteemed writers on ns, to critique your work,I feel humbled, very humbled.

      1. Profile photo of chemokopi
        chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

        Ha! @sambrightomo, you know you are a friend and a wordsmith ;)

  22. Profile photo of sambright
    sambright (@sambrightomo): Head Wordsmith - 94734 pts

    Beyond technical issues highlighted above, I am trilled by this amazing chronicle encapsulated in the marvellous realism mode.The storytelling act(typical to Africans) exploited in the narrative, only inspired me to read on. I am reminded of Amos Tutuola’s Palmwine Drinkard and Wole Soyinka’s Forest of a Thousand Daemons.

    I like the opening lines, it was told in a peculiar African manner.The aesthetics and creativity that is original to our oral tradition.I take home line- “I imagined the Full Moon had come out in great splendour to marry the Sun but had found the sky devoid of her wedding guests, the stars.” What a line.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Ah, @sambrightomo, I drink your words like sweet palmwine. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment so. I should read these books you mentioned.

      You are too kind!

      1. Profile photo of sambright
        sambright (@sambrightomo): Head Wordsmith - 94734 pts

        You are far too magnanimous!

        1. Profile photo of chemokopi
          chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

          Hehehe … @sambrightomo, and you too.

          1. Profile photo of sambright
            sambright (@sambrightomo): Head Wordsmith - 94734 pts

            lol

  23. Profile photo of jollyone
    jollyone (@jollyone): Junior Writer - 3349 pts

    Great story, Beautiful telling. I think I’m reading about bush babies from a contemporary writer for the first time. Thumbs up!

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Thanks @jollyone. You made me smile.

  24. Profile photo of yejide kilanko
    yejide kilanko (@yejide-kilanko): Writer - 5134 pts

    Enjoyed the story. It was appropriately fast-paced and kept my attention. All the best :)

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      @yejide-kilanko: I am glad the story held your interest. Thanks a lot. ;)

  25. Profile photo of innoalifa
    innoalifa (@innoalifa): Head Wordsmith - 113733 pts

    I admire the original creative spirit of the writer… simply captivating story… keep writing because it seems the writing muse dwells right in your soul…

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      @innoalifa: Your words are like music from a harp speaking to my spirit. Thank you very much for your kind words.

      1. Profile photo of innoalifa
        innoalifa (@innoalifa): Head Wordsmith - 113733 pts

        You are most welcome… just keep writing…

  26. Profile photo of sylvia
    sylvia (@sylvia): Scribe - 11584 pts

    this is wow…keep it up!

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Thanks a lot @sylvia

  27. Profile photo of EXCELLENCY
    EXCELLENCY (@excellency): Scribe - 13141 pts

    Nice work sir, simply lovely. The style, language, everything just fits, with good telling pace too! Bravo sire!

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Thanks a lot @excellency. You are far too kind sir!

      1. Profile photo of EXCELLENCY
        EXCELLENCY (@excellency): Scribe - 13141 pts

        You’re most welcome

  28. Profile photo of missmeddle
    missmeddle (@missmeddle): Scribe - 12076 pts

    I really enjoyed this. You entered the realm of fantasy so naturally… I kept thinking of Amos Tutuola as I read this. The only issue I had is that you failed to translate most of the Idoma speech. Great job.
    Here’s the link to mine:
    http://www.naijastories.com/2012/12/shards-of-love/

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Thanks very much @missmeddle for your kind comments. They are well appreciated! I have read yours and I found it to be nice.

  29. Profile photo of QueenNobo
    QueenNobo (@queennobo): Writer - 7307 pts

    @Chemokopi, this is a story that held my attention from ”the moon” to ”passed away”. Very unexpected and thrilling, considering the genre you dared to write. And a refreshing change from the usual kind of stories we read (and write too!). Thanks for not disappointing my trust in your ability. Even if you don’t win a prize, (which is quite unlikely), please enjoy the knowledge that you’ve brought a very beautiful story to many readers. (I mean, just look at the likes and comments).
    Bonne travaille!

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Woah! What can I say @queennobo? Thank you so much for your kind words. They make me so happy.

  30. Profile photo of Salliness
    Salliness (@Salliness): Writer - 6586 pts

    Very well told. Great narrative. This is a fantasy story that was well told and not boring. Refreshing read.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Thank you so much @salliness. You are too kind. Glad you enjoyed the story.

  31. Profile photo of Jaywriter
    Jaywriter (@jaywriter): Junior Writer - 1829 pts

    Wierd in a very nice way.

    Could really relate to the story probably because we used to lie outside at night on mats. And my mind travels a lot too that period (mostly amourous teenage fantasies). And bush babies used to scare us then, even though I have never seen one. Nice one man.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Thanks very much @jaywriter. This story is really for you then!

      Thanks again.

  32. Profile photo of Efadel
    Efadel (@febidel): Senior Scribe - 26518 pts

    The beginning of the story captivated me, but the middle tired me out. You could have used some more dialogues. Also, even if birds fly at night, I wonder how the subject identified the colour with the poor illumination of the new moon. I also wonder if anyone with their mental faculties intact would chase a bird with bare hands. You could check these out. On the whole, it is a very imaginative piece; it is in no way banal. Good one there.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Thanks a lot @febidel for reading, and for your candid comments. I have noted your observations.

  33. Profile photo of shaifamily
    shaifamily (@shaifamily): Head Wordsmith - 40556 pts

    The poetry part? I think I remember dt from one of ur pieces…..@chemokopi
    Is dt wah u meant?

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Yeah @shaifamily, that’s what I meant. I decided to feature it in the story. Our poems can inspire stories, I guess.

  34. Profile photo of elovepoetry
    elovepoetry (@elovepoetry): Wordsmith - 34282 pts

    Ain’t this great??

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      You tell me @elovepoetry :)

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  35. Profile photo of Sharon Salu
    Sharon Salu (@SharonWrites): Head Wordsmith - 68995 pts

    @chemokopi First of all, thanks for inviting me to comment. Secondly, Congrats on being short-listed. I am so not surprised :-)

    I enjoyed the story. However, I was actually praying that the snake would swallow Long Tail simply because he was one of the kidnappers. Other than that, I would say you should try your hands at songwriting. Seriously.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Thanks very much @sharonwrites for your kind words. I am happy you enjoyed the story.

      About songwriting … interesting you mentioned that. It might surprise you to know I came into the literary world, as a little boy, by way of songwriting :)

      Thanks again.

  36. Profile photo of Joey
    Joey (@brizio): Junior Writer - 2433 pts

    Thank you for inviting me to read this. I was reading the entries for the competition, saw a few good ones, then saw 2 stories back to back that I couldn’t help but wonder how they made the ‘longlist’. So, first of all, thanks for restoring my faith in this competition.

    The story as you already know was beautifully told. There is one error a good proofreader would have picked out though. “The heat in the huts was unbearable” did you want to go plural or singular?

    Then in this sentence “…because the battle was raging within six paces from where I was buried.” Don’t know if you intended to write “…because the battle was raging six paces from where I was buried.” The word ‘within’ changes the scene.

    Then the story itself, I can’t fault your writing style because it’s your identity. I may have done a few things differently and considering you want to extend the story, these tips may help
    – The bush babies, you assumed we all know what they look like. Fantasy requires a lot of description. what they’re skin was like (colour, scaly or feathery, etc.), their height.
    – I would also have shed more light at how he brought good luck. Surely they must have tried to kill the snake before, what did his presence add or subtract?
    – what was long tail sorry for?
    – I absolutely love short sentences and I like how you tried to use them.

    I know it was a short story and probably had a word limit, these pointers are just for when you decide to go through with it.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Thank you so much for this @brizio. I really appreciate your tips.

      As for the huts, I wanted to go plural; the compound had several huts.

      As for the other observations, I have noted them and would scrutinize them later.

      Thanks again man!

  37. Profile photo of Psalmy
    Psalmy (@psalmy): Writer - 6623 pts

    Chemo, you dey write abeg. It was more interesting 4 me ’cause I had a hausa guy beside me while I read. I’ve learnt new words- Owoicho, ainya, etc. I dont think you should translate them, they emit the African flavour. If I may, you should work more on the middle of the story when developing it. Often times, when the beginning of a story is as interesting as this, it becomes difficult to keep up to the pace. It’s a wonderful tell, unusual theme, very creative plot. Respec’

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Thanks too much @psalmy. You are too kind. I agree the middle is the least strong part. I think I wrote it last. Plus I was trying to subtly reveal a lot their that time didn’t permit me to refine to the maximum.

      Thanks again.

  38. Profile photo of Leelyan
    Leelyan (@Leelyan): Newbie - 115 pts

    Sammie, realy love ur story and hopin it doesnt it end cause i waz taken into imaginary lane and almost 4got maslf. Quite interest, and also captivatn. Howeva, d idoma language usd made it unique bt i kinda got lost cuz i dnt undastnd idoma and cnt tel what d words culd possibly mean. Dnt u tink u shld av transanlatd it 4d benefit of pple lyke me who dont undastnd idoma? Nt withstndn i wont deny d fact dt i actuali njoyd ur story. Kip up dear m proud of u.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Thanks a lot @leelyan, you are far too kind :)

      Actually, I didn’t want to translate the Idoma so to infuse the story with some mystery, and encourage people to find out what it means. But then, I have noted your desire to have it translated.

      Thanks again!

  39. Profile photo of elovepoetry
    elovepoetry (@elovepoetry): Wordsmith - 34282 pts

    deserves an award @chemokopi

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      Thanks too much man @elovepoetry

  40. Profile photo of olajumoke omisore
    olajumoke omisore (@olajumoke): Head Wordsmith - 135488 pts

    @Chemokopi, making it a resolution to read all your pub work on NS. Man, you can write. Great story. The fantasy came alive for me.
    One thing though,

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      You do me great honour @olajumoke. I am humbled by your words. Thanks very much. Honestly.

  41. Profile photo of olajumoke omisore
    olajumoke omisore (@olajumoke): Head Wordsmith - 135488 pts

    I meant to say, (and I truly hope you don’t mind me saying this) Perhaps you could make the story longer so that there can be more showing, (dialogue etc). I hope you don’t conclude that I am saying, it is lacking something. It isn’t. I thoroughly enjoyed it.You are a good writer. Just a suggestion, incase you are thinking of doing something with it and I hope you do. Welldone @Chemokopi.

    1. Profile photo of chemokopi
      chemokopi (@chemokopi): Head Wordsmith - 281697 pts

      @olajumoke: Thanks for your insightful suggestions. Trust me, I am still a learner, and I will need any kind of criticism no matter how served. So feel free, anytime.

      I am actually considering developing this to a novella or trilogy or something. Not sure yet though. So you just might be reading an extended version of this with some dialogue, someday ;)

      Thanks again.

  42. Profile photo of innoalifa
    innoalifa (@innoalifa): Head Wordsmith - 113733 pts

    @chemokopi
    I found this interesting……………

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