Written on her Skin

Beep…Beep…Beep…Beep

She lies there; connected to the machine keeping her alive. Written on her skin are the answers to their questions, but somehow they don’t see them, or maybe they do but refuse to acknowledge them. I wonder if they are blind, yes, they must be blind like the eyeless fishes in the sea. The doctor says to her, “Madam Okoli, you need to learn to be careful one of these days you will really hurt yourself.” Hurt yourself!! Hurt yourself!! She is in a coma – what more do you want her to do?

“Don’t worry I’ll make sure she is more careful next time” that was the voice of the man that caused her so called clumsiness. Her so called, “she fell and hit her head.” I hate this man. Hate him because I have his eyes and when I laugh people think it’s him, but most of all I hate him because his blood runs through my mine.

My mother stirs; but doesn’t wake. Just stirs and mutters something no one can hear. Don’t worry mum, your hero is here to save you. This time I‘ll rescue you from him. This time, I won’t end up hurt like the last time. I was fourteen then. 2 years ago. Now I’m stronger, more powerful and I’m here to protect you.

I hold your hand and almost like you can feel me, you stir and smile. I see how this irritates him. Maybe he knows I’m here to save you. Maybe he would rather ___ he made you smile. You told me, he used to___ make you smile. That was a long time ago. Before I was born. You were both happier then ___ richer. You worked in the local secondary school and he in an oil company.

 

Beep…Beep…Beep…Beep

 

‘Her stats are fine, I guess we just have to wait.’

‘Thank you, Doctor.’

 

You told me on the day things changed, you sat in the living room waiting for him. It was 2 am in the morning. He was always home by 8 pm and called when he was going to be late, but not on that day. You must have slept off because when you woke up again he was on top of you. Trying to make love to you. He reeked of alcohol again something out of the norm, because he never drank. You tried to fight him off but he held you pressed to the sofa. You screamed; his response was a slap. You said he was startled, taken aback by what he did. But that didn’t stop him. You watched as he got up and took off his belt. Your senses screamed run but the part of you that loved him made you stay.

That was the beginning of the marks that now cover your skin. He was good; always made sure he only hit you in places where your clothes could hide it. The lies began that day, in the hospital his friend worked in. His friend didn’t ask how you got the marks on your skin, but he told him anyway, told him you fell and cut yourself. His friend didn’t look him in the eyes but he knew he would go along with it.

Later he apologised to you, told you it wouldn’t happen again. That he got fired; was scared of the all the debt he owed and took it out on you. He promised and you believed him, but he didn’t stop.

 

Beep…Beep…Beep…Beep  

 

I rest my head on your chest. You love when I do this. You say it reminds you of when I was born. You used me as a shield to make him stop hitting you.  You thought having me would make him love you again. Instead it was the opposite. On the day you told him, he went crazy. He walked out of the house and didn’t come back that night or the night after. It was a week before he returned home drunk. He had a present with him while stumbling through the door. Another woman.

You said she must have been a prostitute the way she was dressed. This time you didn’t wait for the beating. You attacked him and his mistress. In his drunken state he didn’t put up much of a fight. You managed to chase her out of the house, before walking back in the downgraded two-room apartment you lived in. He kicked you in the tummy, not once but five times, screaming how will we feed this bastard. He only stops because of the blood. He smiles at you and you hear it break. The heart that once loved him breaks as the smile on his face widens

 

Beep…Beep…Beep…Beep

 

The doctor comes in to check on you again. He listens for your heartbeat, checks your pulse and lifts up your eyelids. They fall each time he lets go. This seems to please him as he states you are improving and it’s just a matter of time.  He smiles the man I look like and I smile too, but I smile because I know something they don’t.

I didn’t die. He thought I did; so he didn’t go with you to the hospital. The doctor said it was a miracle that I was alive. You went home depressed but heart filled with joy. He didn’t ask about me, so you didn’t tell him. He only noticed around the fifth month, when I became too big for you to hide.

You called me Vito___ life, because you thought I was dead. The beating stopped for a while, after I was born. The beating stopped but the drinking increased and so did the women. Each night he came home smelling of a different perfume, with lipstick all over his body. You got a second job, because he stopped giving you money. Said he didn’t have enough to drink with and feed you and your bastard.

When I was one I was diagnosed with asthma and the first time he hit me I was three. He stole your money, the one you were saving to pay my school fees. When he finally staggered home, you confronted him and he lashed out at you with his belt. I stood in the way wailing; don’t hurt my mummy! I think he heard, because he stopped and instead turned to me.

That was the day he started beating me. He started at age three and finished at age fourteen.

He stopped because I died age fourteen, died escaping another hiding from his belt. It started the same way all the others did, but this time ended differently.  I was protecting you from the fury of his belt, when he turned on me again. I ran out of our apartment and into the busy street that ran in front of it. I didn’t see it until it hit me. A truck carrying food from the north, on the front was written, “Drive slow, speed kills”. People screamed as the truck ran over me crushing my bones. You went mad when you saw me lying there, but all he did was smile and mutter something like one less mouth to feed.

 

Beep…Beep…Beep…Beep

 

You open your eyes and see him. He smiles and says welcome back darling I’ve been waiting for you; the doctor was scared that this time you might not recover from your fall. He reaches out to touch you, but you flinch, the movement makes you see me. You smile and again it makes him smile. Mummy this time, I’ll save you from him. Just hold on to my hands and I’ll take care of it.

Your eyes open but you’re still in a coma. You squeeze my hand grabbing on to it. My heart fills with joy. I know what’s about to happen so I wait.

 

Beep……………..Beep ……………………..Beep ……………………………………Beep………………………..be……………..b

 

You are slipping away. He doesn’t scream, doesn’t call out for the doctors, nurses, just stands there and watches you and so do I. I am glad you are leaving glad I’ll be finally able to save you. Where you are heading, he won’t be able to touch you, touch us. I guess like me you will see the darkness for a while. Don’t be scared it will only be for a while and then the light will appear and just like the rays from the sun your soul will be filled with warmth. It will be difficult to see, to make out what’s in front of you, but then it will become clearer.

That’s when you’ll see me, I’ll be behind the gates, jumping up excited. Please don’t be angry that I’m disobeying your rules mummy. I know you said jumping will trigger my asthma, but here mummy it doesn’t. Here we are safe from all evil, safe from he who has written on your skin and mine.

 



46 thoughts on “Written on her Skin” by Mee (@dkny111)

  1. This is a really good story but personally, I felt the potrayal of the father’s character was a little unrealistic. Perhaps if there had been a little more remorse or ”human” in him I would be more convinced.

  2. @Yeniee thanks for the comment, I can see what you mean and I thought of that a bit. But I wanted it to seem like he didn’t want to reconcile with her and the whole point of why he kept hitting her was because he wanted to get rid of her but yeah thanks will take it on board.

  3. Sigh. Very sad story, @dkny – the ‘happy’ ending for the wife was kind of bittersweet for me; part of me wanted the man to get his comeuppance, but I know that life doesn’t work like that. So it’s good that you kept it real.

    I have to agree with @yeniee, though – the man appears like a caricature of a violent man. I never really got any insight into why he was the way he was.

    Also, there were many places you say ‘would’ when you should say ‘will’ (e.g. you need to learn to be careful one of these days you would will really hurt yourself.) ‘Will’ is used when you are talking about something that will happen in the future. More here.

    Well done.

  4. Nice. Got me really emotional. A few typos though. Try proof-reading or ask someone to proof-read for you before you submit.

  5. @TolaO
    @Estee Thanks for the comments, Yes I really should have proof-read it properly, was just in a hurry to get peoples comments. I’ll learn to be more patient next time

  6. wow! this was so touching. I actually teared up. I really liked it and the ending was superb. As for not telling the reason he got violent, I think that’s okay, cos hate often blinds people to reason at times, and this was from d lil boy’s Pov. well done

    1. @Olan thank you, really glad for the comment, glad it touched you the way it did. That’s the reason why I want to write, to be able to touch people

  7. Bola (@basittjamiu)

    Really nice.
    Me likey@dkny111

  8. nice story… but u switched POV midway frm d 3rd person to 2nd person… tense issues too…
    rly nice story

    1. @topazo yes men you should have read the first draft kept switching the POV. I changed and changed it, but guess I still have a lot to learn and that’s why I’m here. Thanks again man

  9. Nice story. Nice plotting. Nice characterisation, apart from the husband/father.

    You should edit your works better next time. Very nice touching story though. Loved that you told it from the POV of a little girl, while she was alive and while ‘she’ was a spirit.

  10. @dkny111. Was confused at first, then I started getting the gist. Was quite touching. A good story but could be better written.They’ve said it all. Cheers!

    1. @Mimiadebayo thanks for the comment

  11. I loved the plot of the story and the way you revealed the dead boy was beautiful.

    However, and this is a very big however the grammatical errors take away from the story a whole lot. There were a lot of them; mixed up tenses, inappropriately placed or missing punctuation (a lot of comma splices), inconsistent tone (at some point you referred to the mother in 2nd person and at others in 3rd person) and typos. Also, I think an ellipses or a hyphen would have been better than the serial underscore (don’t know if it has a name) you used countless times.

    I still think it was a good theme behind the story. The execution was good too. But the grammar takes a whole lot away from it

    1. @jaywriter
      @brizio

      thanks for the comments, yeah I definitely should have edited this story better. Guess this is what I get for believing my own hype. I’m always preaching to people, to proof-read before submitting anything and then I fail to do the same thing.

      Lesson learnt :(

  12. @dkny111, it’s a very good story. About switching from 3rd person to 2nd person narrative point of view, you can do that, but it has to be deliberate and meaningful, and you should indicate the transition by starting in a new section or segment, or by changing the font style. Of course, it can only get better.

    1. @febidel thanks for the comment, will definitely remember for next time

      1. So? @dkny111, I haven’t seen your comments yet. Have you read them like you said you would?

  13. Uyiosa (@wordsfromuyi)

    @dkyn111 powerful story, back and forth, you moved and played well with your reader. Creative and Reflective. Your work as usual was unique but you need to be more free with your words (In regards to your transition from 2rd to 3rd). As a writer you are blessed with freedom. You have a big room (paper or Microsoft word), a pen (press or tap), and also your readers minds at the tip of your fingers, so do not be afraid to spread and splat some of your gifts. P.s after reflecting on your work, my mind somehow drifted back to the Television show called Lost.

    1. @wordsfromuyi thanks for the comment, will keep that in mind. I never really watched Lost, got bored after the 1st season

  14. Uzoma Ihejirika (@literarymouthpiece)

    Apart from the POV switch. This is very good. I like.

  15. @literarymouthpiece thanks for the comment

  16. What is this?!

    I swear, some writers should be flogged. WHAT IS THIS?!?

    How dare you carry such a brilliant idea and concept – only to totally massacre it with terrible delivery?!?!
    HOW DARE YOU?!

    Punctuation: fail. Continuity (consistency of tense): fail. Proper structuring (of dialogue and paragraph): fail.

    Every step; every part of your story matters! Just because you have a wonderful unique idea does not mean the idea will sell itself. You have to convince us of the strength of your idea! This is your first piece I’m reading, and if I sound unfairly harsh, it’s because you’re freaking good!

    Better adjust. Adjust o! Else…

    1. @Seun-Odukoya you are not being harsh at all, it’s your opinion and I agree with you, I should have proof-read and edited it properly.

      Thanks though I’m here to learn so believe me when I say I’m grateful for the comment.

    2. hi @seun,
      i love that you were brutally honest, but please give him a break. For someone who just started writing like a year ago, this was a very good attempt.

      @dkny111 Proof read a lot before you submit. And I find that even on your own, you can never really proofread enough. Thats why you are here on Naija stories. I find I have to proof read everything I write, including my comments as well before hitting that submit button. Then take time to read other writers and learn from them. Go online and read up on grammer and literature, everything you can that can improve your writing.

      You are on your way to a great start. Keep churning out those stories. And yes I agree with everyone, that husband was so mean, he was unbelievable.
      Thumbs up.

      1. @funpen thanks oo will look into the tips

    3. Hehehehehehe… sowi o, I just couldn’t help laughing. @Seun-odukoya, u tough, no be small o

  17. @dkny111, i read this story like twice, it was that riveting. You do have a gift for the unconventional narration, a certain honesty of emotion…it shows here.

    And the ending was pitch perfect, dared us to question our preformed thinking…a sorta happy ending to a tragic occurrence.

    On grammar errors, i won’t speak to that since i get caught on that as well…the excitement of writing can do that.

    1. @ayomitans thanks again, I definitely need to be more careful next time, but I’m glad I’m getting all these feedback it can only help me improve

  18. Many have said it all.

    Got a little confused at the beginning, then I was back on track, but the POV change derailed me again, but was able to catch-up in time to see what a wonderful plot you’av got….

    Good job…. Thumbs up

    1. @kodeya thanks for the comment, will aim to improve

  19. Another story depicting men as monsters. Mtcheew. The work is terrible. There is nothing here a good reader should like.
    But..be encouraged. You are better than many. Try to write something different, something unique, something that has never been done before.

    1. @kaycee. Oga nah wah ooo. Thanks for the comment it can only help me improve.

      This is my second story on NS, I asked for your opinion on the first one I wrote but I’m still waiting for it.

      I just started writing and all feedback I get can only be good for me, good or bad.

      So please if you have the time read this story and give me your comments.

      I’ll really appreciate it and your comments can only help me get to your level and higher which is my aim.

      http://www.naijastories.com/2013/02/he-that-invades-the-house/

      But thanks for reading this I’m very grateful for the comment.

  20. Sad and nicely written piece.

    I like how you got us thinking the boy was also there in person only to reveal that he was actually also dead and in spirit. That was a subltle but shocking twist as we eventually begin to realise that she was going to die.

    But I feel the father was a bit too heartless in the way you portrayed him. At the begining he seemed to have heart but got worse. I feel he should still have some iota of remorse and guilt. He carried the mien of a cold blooded killer, he could have been a bit more human…that would make him more realistic and create an emotional balance for the story.

    But I like the way you wrote this. The style and thought transition as well as the narrator telling the story both from his and the mother’s point of view in 2nd and 1st person helped the depth of the story and brought it closer to the reader.

    Don’t mind kaycee…u know the dude is abnormal. E dey hard to impress am.

    Nice work…I guess its just not for folks who like happy endings. That shouldn’t bother you, we can’t impress everyone.

    1. @Afronuts thanks a lot man. Harsh comments don’t affect me, it just motivates me and all critic is only good for my writing

      Yeah that was my whole point i.e. make the reader think he was there and make them expect he saves his mum.

      I don’t necessarily agreed with everyone about the husband, remember the story is being told from the little boy’s view and from what his mother has told him. He doesn’t know both sides of the story, so he narrates what he knows.

      But also I do agree maybe I should have mentioned that somehow, but glad you liked it, you know I’m a big fan of yours, so your approval means a lot to me.

      Meanwhile why don’t you comment on the writing prompt anymore?

  21. It could be better, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

    1. Thanks @IdiAce for the comment

  22. A nice bit of writing, for one who just started writing recently! With constant writing, you’ll definitely do quite well! Kudos bruv

    1. @wendeekay thank you very much for the comment

  23. Brilliantly done.
    I choose not to highlight the obvious errors because that’s already been done ad nauseum.

    I do have a few questions, though.
    1) What’s with all the underscore signs in the third paragraph?

    2) I believe by now you would have done some initial editing on this. Now, if you had written the ending differently, how would you improve on it? Because I thought the “big reveal” would be in the very last sentence, and therefore pack more of a cerebral punch.

    Overall, I liked it very much. I cried a bit at the end (yes, I’m that deranged hormonal cow who cries every time she sees Armageddon)

    I am not formally trained as a writer, so I’m not going to say anything about your structure, style, syntax or whatever else might be wrong with the piece. It appealed to me mainly because it sounds almost like you’re speaking to me about this, not writing a story, which is a “style” I am a big fan of. There’s something very stream-of-consciousnessy about it.

    I’ve rambled on, haven’t I? My apologies. I do enjoy your work; please keep it coming!

    1. @hotchocolate, don’t apologise for rambling one (which to me it isn’t) I’m very grateful for the feedback.

      Also I’m like that when I really love or hate something I go on and on about it.

      1) The underscores are meant to be an alternative to hyphens or dashes, I’ve seen them used in books I’ve read but guess 9ja people don’t like it or I might be using it wrong (it’s probably the latter)

      2) I tried to make the reveal the last sentence but I couldn’t, I had to tell the part where he is heaven awaiting his mum or else the story wouldn’t be complete. It would seem like the husband won.

      I like the fact that it made you cry, that’s my aim as a writer to be able to tell stories that move and touch people. I guess I still have a long way to go, but I hope and with comments like this, that I am moving in the right direction.

      Also thank you so much for the phrase “stream-of-consciousness” that my new word for the day :) Don’t be surprised if you see it in my next story :)

      Thanks again for the feedback

  24. This is a beautiful story. All you need do is reread and edit. I agree with your explanation of the man’s character. It’s more in line with the little child. If your father causes ur death, sends ur mum into a coma, there is no redemption for him. Not if you are still a kid.

    Other errors would be taken care of by editing. Well done, keep writing. $ß

  25. @sibbylwhyte thanks for the comment, I have learnt from my mistake, there is no way I’ll post anything again on NS without editing properly

  26. an archetypal story………….

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