Abigail Anaba’s short story is an engaging and compelling read, with all the mixtures of romance, suspense and horror. Her versatility is brought to bear in this story about Otutubike, better known as Kenneth, a young man in a dilemma whose malleable mind is in a conflict with himself.
His mind and the conflicts there in are laid bare for the reader, a conflict which he has almost to the end of the story. A conflict of religiosity versus spirituality, a conflict of societal versus moral standards, a conflict of guilt versus belief.
We get to see that Otutubike is not the only person in the story with a CONFLICT. His pastor, Pastor Yemi also has a conflict, as does his woman friend, Mercy.
Our first introduction to Otutubike is during an act that is central to the story; an act of self cleansing, an act so bloody and gory to us as it is liberating to Otutubike, an act of self maiming. But what is of more concern here to him is not his dismembered part but the object used to perpetrate the act, a kitchen knife.
Abigail’s attention to fine details is seen here as she describes the knife to us. We can almost see the knife in our mind’s eye, the sort of blunt knife many of us have used to try to cut an object and been disappointed at its ineffectiveness. This gives an insight into Otutubike’s mind, the sheer simplicity and its ability to believe something strongly; sometimes too strongly.
The story is not all macabre as there is a love story, a family story and a salvation story; between all these we are taken back and forth and we realise the origin of Otutu’s problem- the death of his mother during his birth, the loss of his father and the sexual abuse by his uncle.
The love story is initially overshadowed by a disturbing dark curtain of gay sexual abuse which we are introduced to early in the story, abuse by his uncle, his school teacher and his senior at school; however, the love story struggles to shine through in the closing paragraphs. Mercy, the symbol of his love also has her conflict, that of exchanging sex for favours; however, she comes through eventually as his knight in shining armour, not his doctors or his pastor as we would have expected.
We get a glimpse of a happy childhood, albeit short-lived, of walks and talks with his father and a seemingly prophetic statement by his father,”… sometimes what we seek finds us.” Was his father talking about Mercy?
Then there is a story of salvation; here we get introduced to Pastor Yemi, a pastor with his own weakness and conflict which, like other characters is also sexual. Pastor Yemi tells him he would know the time he is delivered and Otutu holds on to this dearly; we see his strong trust in the pastor and his dependence on his pastor’s prayers rather than God, as his aunty would tell him, “If anyone can deliver you from this evil, it is Pastor Yemi.” At the end of the day, it is not Pastor Yemi that does this as we see he is also struggling with his own issues. As Mercy puts it when Kenneth is recovering in the hospital, “Your aunt went to fetch your pastor. I think he lost his way or something…”
In the end Love heals all, the influence of Mercy being there for him starts him on the way to healing and salvation, and we get the first sense of his path to recovery during a psychiatric session where we are told Kenneth “now only sees people.”
It is clear that Abigail has painstakingly researched her subject as she gives us clear details of medical procedures, diagnosis and management as well as current societal trends.
I would love to read more from this writer in future.
You can read the short story here https://t.co/k35FldqfIy
Or buy Abigail’s new book by that title.
Nigerian buyers head over to http://www.eljara.com/product/about-last-night/and download a copy for N500 only. PLEASE NOTE VOGUE PAY ONLY WORKS FOR VISA CARD USERS. ALL OTHERS USE BANK TRANSFER TO GTB ACCOUNT.
International readers buy kindle edition go here http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01A3IB3UY/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_awdo_88lIwb0K9KVV8
Thank you for your support 😘