Flash Fiction: Death is A Rumour

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Amori quickened her steps toward the peculiar pathway to Jagunlabi’s house. Their quarrel the other night left trails of guilt in her heart and she had to cleanse it. The day seemed unusual with spectacles of astonishments. Her eyes lingered on an old woman by the road side with an ugly bowl atop her laps.

“Child” the old woman’s voice reverberated through the weary atmosphere. Amori stopped in her tracks, swiftly glancing at the woman. She dumped some cowries into the woman’s bowl and walked off.

“Why hurry to a place where death sings?” The words echoed in her ears. Perhaps the woman bewailed her circumstance. Either way, Amori must reach the Fisher man’s hut before nightfall. It was a long walk through the muddy paths to Ajeyipo and gossips had began to linger about unfolding tragedies. Amori shuddered as she passed a group of men by the river, gravely patronizing the scenery of the rising sun.

“The birds echoed differently today. It’s a dirge loitering freely in the air in the pretext of Felicity”

They talked on in stranger tones, admiring the river and condemning the lurking shadows of restlessness. Amori sighed to herself and began a song of ‘The Antsy Maiden” with earnest joy. She sang her way across the market and wondered why it was empty. It breathed looming woes and unknown apprehension. Her naked soles resounded as she walked on, the melody of placation on her lips.

“Your songs are in reverence to the woman of the river. As if that would bequeath joy upon her”

Amori turned sharply, eagerly combing the market for the speaker. The market had spoken and now she had to listen. She quickened her steps and ran all the way, adjusting her wrapper once in a while. She ignored the eerie voices, gnawing her mind, the smell of tragedy lingered still. Her mother had told her the story of Akeetan, the woman that walked with a scythe all her life snatching souls unknowingly with every display of friendship. Akeetan could not take the curse on her and finally resorted to taking her life. Amori spat on the ground and crushed it with her feet.

“Now I put an end to the negative hands of fate against my life”, she murmured and soon reached the outskirts of the village where Jagunlabi’s hut was located. He walked out of his hut toward her with a smile plastered on his face.

“I knew you were coming”

“Who told you?”

“The ground has been echoing your name all day”, Jagunlabi concluded as they entered the hut. He had prepared her favorite meal. They ate in silence and soon talked of Labake, Amori’s mother.

“She is willing to take you for her son-in-law”, Amori chuckled and leaned into Jagunlabi’s arms. He breathed a sigh of relief and soon ran his hands through her hair.

“The winds told a tale today Jagunlabi. They sang the songs of Akeetan and whispered the approach of death”, Amori poured out hoping to find relief from her man. He laughed and began to recite her pedigree, smiling on with such immensity. For the first time in ever, Jagunlabi was calm. His voice reflected the memories of their youth when they played in the river and talked about the witches of Ajeyipo.

“Death is a rumor, Amori. It is already spoken of before it ascends, a gossip of cheerless value, the eerie words of Ifa’s mouth piece…that is Death”

Amori shuddered at the revelation, clinging to Jagunlabi’s embrace. The house had suddenly manifested into an abode of obscurity. She soon drifted to sleep in fear.

“The Fisherman’s hut has welcomed the woman of the river”

Amori suddenly jerked awake. It was nightfall already. Labake would be angry with her for overstaying. She looked around the misty room for Jagunlabi. He was reclining happily on a chair by the door. She smiled to herself and adjusted her clothes. Home was calling.

“You could stay…it’s dangerous by this time”, Jagun offered, concern written all over his face. Amori smiled back, “I’ll stay with my relative that stays a few walks from your house”.

Amori walked into the dark, illuminated by the bright shadow of the moon. A sharp voice etched into her silent thoughts as some villagers walked past her, singing dirges. The night was sad.

“Jagunlabi died a real man. The house of the Fisherman will not be shamed.”

Amori ran back to Jagunlabi’s house where a procession of mourners were waiting. Jagunlabi had died yesterday in his sleep and was no more. Amori screamed and rolled on the ground, painful tears cascading her face. Jagunlabi was gone and the Hut of the Fisherman was no more.



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39 Responses

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    Wow! I didn’t see that end coming. I really love the setting.

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