Fiction: Akané

It would seem that there has been a gap in Nigerian literature, as far as fantasy fiction goes; but there is a growing crop of emerging Nigerian writers in fantasy fiction, and today we feature an excerpt by one of them. Enjoy this piece by Eugene Odogwu, entitled Akané.

Iba descended with much reluctance, crawling his way down like a snail without worries. Iba’s stomach on the other hand had long since declared war on his body and was dealing deathblows within. As the hunger grew, an idea had begun to form in his head and with each passing moment, it had grown into a fully-fledged plan. Iba was going fishing, tradition or no tradition. He was certain that if the Orabé felt anywhere close to what he was feeling, they would hand him the biggest net and point him in the right direction.

It was a simple plan really. He would sneak through the bushes over to the farthest side of Ngasa where he was sure anyone hardly ever ventured and there he would float upon his eko, cast his net and wait for the poor fishes. Oh, how he would eat every bit of them. Iba smiled at his plan as he watched Nda rise white and graceful to bear witness to his actions.

As soon as he decided that it was dark enough Iba ran to where he had hidden his eko and striking stones and brushed aside the palm fronds he used to conceal them. Dragging the wooden bulk of an eko—flat and thick as it was and carved from a single trunk—through the low grass was a lot more difficult than he had imagined, more so on an empty stomach. After what seemed like an endless rhythm of huffs and puffs, he arrived at the farthest bank of Ngasa and managed to push it unto the water. He retrieved his net and ikpo, the fat, short staff used to quiet the most stubborn of fishes. Iba waded into the water, cast his net and tied it to the rear of his eko.  Straddling his eko and using his arms and legs, he paddled away from the bank, dragging the cast net behind.

Far from the bushes surrounding the bank, far from the chirps and rustles of crickets and hoppers, a chilly silence seemed to surround Iba. Ngasa’s surface, black and depthless, rippled under Nda’s silvery gaze, almost seeming alive. Iba shivered slightly. The chill, the silence and, of course, the hunger breathed fear into Iba’s mind. What if the stories where true, he thought. What if the Orabé had creatures that punished those that broke tradition? Iba cast a quick look at the bank wondering how quickly he could reach it if anything happened out there. I should go back. Yes, now while I can.

Read the full story on Eugene’s blog.

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