glint, Short Fiction

Funsho Olododo


If you look beyond the black noise of ceremonies of burial, he would be knee-deep in nearby headstones, staring on in dead-eared silence and chewing on boli & epa. He’s a slim man, one would call him thin until they saw him move – which he barely did. He often stands until the coffins key into the grave and are covered in tears and siftings of red soil, moist humus and carpets of grass. Then, he is gone. One moment, there is a man in a black buba and sokoto with a grey moustache and red cap looking on at the grieved with clear eyes, the next, he is gone.

His house is a room in the muck of downtown Lagos and there is a mess of comfort. The floor is soft soiled mattresses and blankets and pillows. Four large black dogs are gathered under the shut window, licking themselves with joy. He takes off his cap and reveals knotted and healed sores from when he had needed to hit himself in the head to do it. He falls to his knees before the century-old dogs who are slightly shaking with every rapid breath. He closes his eyes — feels streams of existence whir by and swirl across the skies, a sea of roaring thought. He is heavier now that the burial has passed and simply falls backwards and up into nothing, leaving his broken body behind.

This time, he is an old woman scooping balls of bean paste into a pan of hot oil. They fall in and begin to fry with a cheer. From beside her heel, in a bowl of coal a black thing slithers and strikes, opening the flesh to pump in poison. Funsho feels the death cloak her blood and hears the breath that isn’t his die in his chest as it always does. He wonders if it is a dream for the thousandth time, in the moment before the light dies out of the eyes and the sky goes.

Always, he has found himself sleeping deeply then waking up alone, past the hour of death.


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