“Candid” by Amma Konadu Anarfi.

Dear Lord,

It’s 4am. The entire neighborhood is quiet and those bloody cats are mating right outside my bedroom window, I’ve had to turn the music up although I like to listen to Pachelbel’s Canon with the volume low. Those felines sound too human, Lord, it is very disturbing! Not that I’d rather hear humans do it, but animals should sound like animals.

Anyway about the other day when I wished them dead, I wish I could say I’m sorry. However, I am sorry I am not sorry. Forgive me. It has been hard developing any love for them, those cats; they have lost their sense of decency, it makes me wonder if that is the reason why they sound human. The dogs were much better, why did they have to die when my evil intentions were all directed at those disrespectful scrawny excuses of cats?

Father, I think I need more patience. You keep them alive to test me don’t you? My patience keeps running out. Please keep refilling. I know you are constantly at it. One morning, I was so charged up, ready to poison them and not apologize for it after. When I opened the front door, the tiniest of them all was sitting right there, staring at me doe-eyed. No, it did not break me. Just irritated me!

Which reminds me yet again, I have been meaning to ask you this. If I developed a character in a story, and killed that character, will that be counted as sin? Seeing that I created that character with a real face behind it, and I killed that character so thoroughly, too thoroughly, for it to be mere fiction, and that I relished the kill. I am not a murderer am I? But if I killed those cats I would be, not so? I hate them.

Oh God, about Maurice though, I thought briefly, just a little bit, what a relief it would be if he died. When I heard he had died, I felt like you, yes like you Lord, before I felt sorry. Just a little bit. That is just wrong. I’m sorry. Is he with you in glory? I will be so surprised if he is. I mean he was an ass to his last breath. Forgive me, o forgive these thoughts, but Maurice was the devil.

At the funeral while half the family lied through their tributes and the pastor shamelessly committed him into your hands, I watched; silent, cold inside. I should have read my tribute. But James, who is still not on talking terms with me, tore it to pieces and would not allow me to say it from memory; it was all in my head, word for word. I only wanted to say the truth. Lord he is still angry with me. Is that justifiable? I forgave him a long time ago for not allowing me to vent. I’m still working on forgiving Maurice, so help me. He was after all my brother.

I think that is the only time I have felt that way towards a human, but these cats…these cats bring out the worst in me! Thinking about them has angered me so much I can’t even breathe! I really can’t breathe Father… I should breathe. Lord??? I can’t breathe!!!

Salma folded the letter and placed it back into the chest that contained other stuff that had been her daughter’s. A year gone and she still could not let go. She could still remember that morning, exactly at 6am, when she had gone to her room and found her face-down on the floor, naked, her eyes wide open.

She closed her eyes and fought back tears.

“You really are a scrawny excuse of a thing!”

She whispered, stroking the back of the black skinny cat on her lap.

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Just A Year Ago

Hip, hip, hip!

Hip, hip, hip!

Dear reader,
Before we even knew it, a year has come by since this project was launched. Whoa, right?

Over the last twelve months, we’ve been overwhelmed with the talent for flash fiction in Ghana. There’s a lot out there in the wild we did not expect to see last year, when it all begun. Thanks to our dedicated authors and readers, we harvested from the fertile field to present the best of Ghana’s flash fiction to the world.

The short form allows us to see glimpses of the Ghanaian world view from various contexts. Well suited to our fast paced life, the success of the project is largely due to the enthusiasm with which flash fiction has been embraced by our young writers.

Throughout the last year we’ve seen posts ranging from horror, comedy, suspense to speculative fiction; the latter proving (to our pleasant surprise) that many genres could be adapted to our unique cultural context.

The response has been encouraging, and we’ve seen posts that have shocked, pleased, amused and inspired us. But this is just the beginning, folks.

We hope to bring the world even more flash fiction from Ghana. The selection of writers has been too small to our liking. A recent drive to get more contributors on board proved successful. We intend to continue this, because we’re certain there are many out there with more talent than they know. As our store of stories grows, we will become more stringent in our submission guidelines. The aim has always been to bring out the very best of Ghanaian flash fiction. That will not change.

In the next year, we look forward to bringing our collected stories to you in more innovative ways. It’s been a joy working with wonderful writers and engaged readers, and we know things will only get better with time.

In the spirit of brevity, thank you.

 ~from the Flash Fiction Ghana Team

“All In A Night’s Work” by Jermaine Kudiabor.

Innocence breathed deeply, then tugged his black jacket closer around his shoulders. It was a chilly night. There was a full moon, and it provided the only light along the tarred road. The street-lights had long been destroyed by the wayside robbers who prowled this route, and had not been replaced by whoever was supposed to be in charge. Once in a while a taxi would roar by, its headlights making it look like some amber-eyed monster. The bush on one side of the road was filled with the music of crickets, and the occasional sound of some creepy-crawly moving within the undergrowth. This was the scene for a perfect horror movie. Or a mugging.

“Hey you”, a voice said. “You know the directions to New Ejisu?”

Innocence looked towards the bush and had his view almost fully obstructed by a massive chest in a black and white stripped muscle shirt. Innocence wasn’t a shrimp, but this guy reminded him of WWE matches between Great Khali and Rey Mysterio. He could smell the heavy scent of weed in the air. The figure stepped into the moonlight and Innocence, much against his own will, gulped. The guy’s dark, hard face had a long scar from the right side of his forehead to his cheek. His red eyes quickly went over Innocence’s jacket and black knapsack, his Tag Heur gold watch and moved down to the black Levis and expensive Nikes he had on. A sly looking grin twisted his already dangerous looking features.

“You’d have to walk along the road till the get to the crossroad junction, then you turn right.” Innocence croaked.

“Since you seem to be going there I hope you don’t mind if I tag along?” the smile appeared again, the scariest attempt at affability he’d ever seen. Innocence couldn’t say no, so they set off together. The giant took his time walking, and Innocence had to shorten his stride to accommodate him. His name was Gideon, but everyone called him “Shotta”, he said. He inquired after Innocence’s name, and where he was staying. He also said he was from the nearby nightclub and had gotten lost on his way home, and that Innocence was the only one he’d seen that night. That last statement put him at rest somewhat, but he still didn’t let his eyes of the huge man. Was it a trick of the moonlight, or did he see a grin when he told Shotta he didn’t stay anywhere around here?

“Don’t move!” Shotta barked.

Innocence froze, just as he asked. The moon had chosen this time to hide her face in a cloud, as if terrified of what was to come. Even the crickets in the bush had gone silent. They were alone.  The blow to his head wasn’t hard enough to knock him out, but he still saw stars as he fell to the ground.

“That’s so you don’t have any funny ideas. Give me your watch and other valuables before this becomes more painful. For you.”  He added as an afterthought. A kick in the ribs made Innocence grunt in pain.

“Please I beg”, Innocence said weakly as huge hands grabbed him by his jacket and hauled him to his feet.
Innocence let the jack knife he’d palmed as he lay on the cold road slash across the man’s throat. Shotta stepped back as his blood started to trickle down his neck like a waterfall of wine, his eyes opened in shock. Innocence followed a step, plunging his knife into his chest over and over again, even as the man lay still on the road. He knelt by the thug, his arms shaking and breathing hard with exhaustion, but with a maniacal grin on his face. He ripped open the man’s shirt and placed the tip of the knife under his left breast, and pushed downwards…
By the time Innocence was done cutting out the heart and testicles from the dead man, he was covered in blood. He took out the spare clothes in his knapsack and changed into them, wiping the blood carefully of him. He wrapped the body parts the fetish priest required for the ritual which would make him rich with the soiled clothes into his bag. He dragged the body into the bush and continued walking along the road to New Ejisu. The moon was back out now, so he could see better.  He tried to whistle an accompaniment to the crickets’ symphony, and there was a spring in his step as he walked, his sneakers crunching on the gravel.

“Osofo Maame” by Jesse Jojo Johnson.

Ebenezer always had a strong dislike for charismatic pastors, and now with good reason. He had come to Tech, from his quiet life in East Legon. There, the culture shock had been spiritual; right out of this world. What he thought was a simple Church, where one went for a formulaic mass, sang, chanted, sat, knelt to pray and listened to long announcements as the Sunday morning norm, transformed into a mini rock concert interspersed with sermons and “Sumsum” sessions. Every morning begun with an “Arise unto prayer!”, at every service, someone will scream and fall during the prayers, and every weekend had its own this-that fest, or christo-[insert contrived name] convention.

The charismatic types he found curious, but mostly avoided. Until he did what most young men do when they stay away from home for the first time: he met her.

Akua was slightly plump, endowed in spirit and flesh at both ends, and had a charming smile to top it all. Her Fante was as sexy and saucy as it ever comes, and she gave the “dzes” with enough flair and eye movements to fell the most reluctant.

Things moved quickly form there, and three years after dating, they were married KNUST alumni. Married first at St. Martin’s Church, they went for the thanksgiving at Jesus’ Power Miracle Worker’s Domination and Christian Empowerment Center – International; JPMWDCECI for short.

It was odd, that one: He wasn’t used to having a young, dashing, glossy-haired pastor with his hot bodied assistant pastor/prophetess preach to him in an expensive suit, and ride off in a 2013 E-Class, packed full with ladies of the ministry, doing the Lord’s good work.

The service was long, 4 hours, plus 1 hr intercession, during which the gentlemen prayed over his wife, and the ladies prayed over him in separate, poorly ventilated rooms. There was no communion and no Benediction; they just ended, the Spirit left, and the folks sung and dispersed. But the pastor was very friendly, and they quickly put their trust in the man of God.

Things went quickly from there: The visits became regular, and the little issues that will come up were prayed away by the pastor and his devout wife, often when Eben was away at work. The man of God was really concerned about them, and took special care to help with counsel when he was called.

Eben remembered all these as he turned in the divorce papers and paid off his lawyer.

Now, Prophetess Akua McAddisson-Owusu was osofo maame, and an elder of JPMWDCECI. Her hat had the widest rim behind the pulpit, her face had the brightest smile, and her God-given hips the most relentless shake of them all.

It was a gloomy Saturday afternoon and all these Ebenezer called to mind, as it was his turn at the priest. He swore under his breath the 26th time that afternoon, that he will forever stick to sworn-celibate priests who wore white cassocks and sang Latin prayers.

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned…” he began his long confession.

“Perspective” By Daniel Hanson Dzah

Maame looked into his face as he smiled. She smiled back; those dimples were irresistible.
She smiled wider and leaned closer to him, laying a soft kiss on his left cheek. He simply smiled, and then seemed to frown momentarily.

Cheeky, Maame thought. She giggled and leaned forward a second time, planting a longer peck on his feather-soft right cheek. As before, he smiled and then frowned again.
“No, no, no lip-kisses for you Mister!” Maame protested. However she pitied him and leaned forward. She hesitated at the last minute and pulled back, chuckling at his already pouted lips.

“Naughty…naughty boy,” she whispered, then leaned closer and pulled back again when their lips almost touched. She repeated the playful act and enjoyed teasing him.

Finally weary of the monotony, she leaned in for what was to be her final time. This time, he was ready for her. He thrust his short arms forward and grabbed her left breast in both of his palms.
She shrieked slightly in surprise, reached for the transparent feeding bottle with the big rubber nipple and shoved it between his lips

“Defining Pain: Episode One” by Akwele Patricia

I saw her. I could almost feel her pain pierce through my soul, but I didn’t have enough strength to carry such a load. They say the eyes are the windows to one’s soul, well; she looked lifeless to have a soul, her eyes almost inexpressible only for the tears that run down the same lines falling to her ears every time she blinked.

Akwele: Oh my! Look at you, what have you done to yourself? Who did this to you? How… how long have you been like this? C’mon girl, talk to me.

Finally her eyes turned to look at me. The swift glare caused my heart to miss a beat whiles sending chills down my spine. A sudden breeze of heavily weighed down emotions just covered my entire body and for a moment, I almost looked like her; lifeless. A series of plausible scenarios that might have caused her state flashed my mind; pregnancy, terminal illness, rejection, theft, failure, suicidal attempts…

Nana Esi: I… I had to speak with someone

What happened to her voice? When was the last time she spoke?

Akwele: Speak to me. I’m here. We’ve had 4 mid-semester exams between last week and yesterday. You aren’t in good shape Nana Esi, talk to me, I’m listening.

Nana Esi: I have a story for you and I want it written and published so my message could be sent across. Akwele, I messed up. I messed up real bad and I need you to forgive me first but try not to judge me. I thought and considered ending my life, have I sinned?

Akwele: hey… hey… hey..! What’s that supposed to mean?

Nana Esi: Answer me

Akwele: umm… you haven’t done it yet and I can’t judge you as well so I guess it’s a NO.

Nana Esi: Mother kept me in the dark all this while. She said I had a biological father and that my twin brother’s my half brother. According to her, my mother was also her best friend and died when she delivered me, and that was about the same time she delivered Akwasi so she adopted me and made me hers. A week after this confession, she took me to my real dad’s house to meet with him. When we got there, he was ill, very ill. She told me he’d a few more days to go so had to tell me the truth. My biological dad is Mr. Smith. Who would’ve thought my favorite uncle would be my real dad? /coughs/

How long has she been like this? Her breath smells like the debris of a whole month’s meal stuck in between her teeth. Her lips gave the impression it’ll be torn apart the moment she utters her next words. I offered her some water. In lifting herself to take the drink, I realized her skin tone took two different shades of her pretty flawless chocolate body. The part that was exposed looked worse and dirtier than that which rested on the bed.

Nana Esi: About 2 days after the visit, he passed away. I felt… well, I don’t really know how to describe what I felt. You are the writer so find me a vocab. His wife for some weird and unknown reason detests me, and warned me to stay away from her family and not to show up for the funeral. Some days later, I felt really sick and was rushed to the hospital. After several days of tests and examinations, the doctor said one of my kidneys was malfunctioning and the other is infected. He advised a transplant and said I could live with just one. That was the same week my other dad started his medical treatment for HIV/AIDS. School was resuming the following week so I needed to psych up for the semester. But then my mother and other dad had a big fight after she caught him cheating on her again. How could he? He’s infected!! Mom wanted to leave the house. Hmph… She actually left and left me behind. All that while I was quiet and said no word about the occurrences. I didn’t know it was eating me up so bad. My medication got finished so I’d to purchase more but dad said he had no money. I started feeling sick again but I held on to the pain and relied on my singing gigs and paintings for money. I started well /chuckles/

Akwele: what of your boyfriend? Didn’t he know?

Nana Esi: he didn’t need to. He cheated on me with Ewurasi

Akwele: you’re kidding me, right?

Nana Esi: I met another man. He was sweet and nice to me, and would do anything for me. But I took advantage of him. I seduced him and dumped him, found a silly excuse not to be with him since I felt I wasn’t good enough for any other man. I mean, look at me, a true industrious Ghanaian man wouldn’t want to get involved with a girl who’s unsure about how far her education was going, a girl with unstable health and… and a painter /shakes head/ no way!

/silence/

Akwele: so what happened?

She looked up at me again. This time I could read eyes; pain, agony, remorse, only that the tears didn’t drop but stayed and filled her eyes. I bet she cried so much till she couldn’t.

Nana Esi: I slept with other men, Akwele. I loved sex. I love the way it takes my mind off the issues and doubts and uncertainties. But they weren’t random men. Alex came hard on me and said I was really sexy and asked me out on a date. Jason thought I loved him but well, he’s just fine. Peter /giggles/… Peter and I’ve got some sort of attraction so I just saw the opportunity. Kwame was just hot. He invited me over for a little family and friends get-together. I don’t think you know Theo, umm he came back from the States after school and I actually don’t remember how it all happened but umm yea… who else… who else… /shakes her head/ I lost count.

You sure did mess up.

Nana Esi: I decided to go low on the sex but interestingly, I took to drinking. I had a drink every night so I could sleep. My favorite was Vodka, Malibu and Bailey’s /smiles/ but then the doctor had already warned me not to drink or smoke. My illness worsened. My urine was painful and bloody, my abdomen and back hurt all the time, I coughed blood at times, with other funny symptoms yet I couldn’t stop drinking. Last week, the doctor told me I needed an urgent transplant else…

A tear finally drops from her left eye but too short to run down her cheek.

Nana Esi: I didn’t mean to destroy my body. I didn’t mean to sin against my body. I didn’t mean to sin against God. The sex and drink only satisfied me and made me forget all those worries for a moment. You see, at times when the burden is so heavy, you just wish you could lay it down for a moment and be relieved however it’s your burden and you’ll have to take it back. You’re the first person to hear all this. I’m sorry about my appearance; I’ve been in this same position for over a week now because I don’t know what to do, I’m financially unstable and stranded and I don’t have enough time anyway.

Akwele: pray, Nana Esi…

Nana Esi: Pray? With all I’ve done, I don’t think God will ever forgive me. And oh! I bet my illness is the price I have to pay. But why did he do this to me? Why did God give me this load? Why did…

Akwele: I know you’re going through a hell of a time right now but hey even the elephant has to fight off flies. Life… life is /stuttering/ life is… the

Joshua: Cut! Cut!! Cut!!! What happened to you? It was going on so well. Memorize your lines well. /addresses team/ Alright guys, let’s take a short break, and resume in 30. Good start, ladies…

“That Day At Kluu’s” by Daniel Hanson Dzah.

I loved Kluu’s. It had taken me daily visits for two weeks to fall in love with the place. I loved the affordable yet delectable food served, the ever-grinning waitresses and the free bottled water for each plate of food bought. I loved the idea of a cafe where I could eat outdoors and enjoy free wireless internet connection. Determined to be stingy about my new discovery, I always waited for all my co-employees to leave for lunch elsewhere before I sneaked my way out to Kluu’s.

Today was no different. I had managed to get out of the office just after everybody else and ordered my usual lunch: Chicken and Chips with dessert of Peeled Bananas. I sat in my favourite seat far enough towards the roadside to enjoy the view of slowly moving Ring-Road Central traffic but just close enough to the café to get a strong wireless signal for my smart phone. In a matter of minutes, my lunch was served by a smiling gap-toothed waitress. I said my ‘thank you’ brusquely and instinctively concentrated on my food. As per personal routine, I had to turn my attention to ongoing traffic and gesture a playful invitation to any commuter inquisitive enough to look my way.

It was then that I saw her. For whatever reason, she had her eyes fixed right in my direction and I observed them move from the plates in front of me to my face, until our eyes met. She smirked shyly and nodded as if to say, “go ahead, enjoy.”
I nodded in comprehension and picked up the peppershaker. What looked like a cell phone was clutched to her ear when I looked back at her again while peppering my plate. She was extremely beautiful and her laid-back hair brought out her charming facial features more distinctly. I continued to sprinkle even as she got off the phone with a slight frown on her face, obviously angered by her caller. Realizing my inquiring gaze, she smirked and shrugged to convey a message I understood- some idiot had called.
Right away, the traffic began to move along and she licked her lips jokingly before waving goodbye.
I waved back with a smile, dropped the shaker and checked my watch only find out I had just about ten minutes to rush back to the office. Swearing silently, I began digging into my food. The Chips and Chicken was done with in record speed. I picked up one thin finger of peeled banana, slid it into my mouth and froze. In one swift and bizarre motion, I leapt to my feet and coughed out the partially-munched peppery banana.