Wednesday, 20 June 2012

My Angel - A Short Story

Hello, everyone. Today is Short Story Day. Check out Short Story Day Africa whose aim is to highlight all the outstanding short stories Africa has to offer. Visit their website to read great short stories written by Africans.

I thought I'd treat you guys with a story I started writing a while back. I wrote it originally as a piece of flash fiction but I started extending it. So I want to do an experiment with you guys. I'll write and share more if you let me know you want to read more. So please leave a comment and let me know if you want me to continue writing this story.

It's currently titled My Angel. I hope you like it.

I stand on the precipice.

The stark lights of the city glitter below me. Its sounds surround me permeating my foggy brain; the blaring of car horns, music from loudspeakers mixed with cheery conversations. Its smells filter through my nostrils, exhaust fumes mixed with the scent of suya grilled over open fires. My stomach rumbles.

I can’t remember my last meal or what the time is. Yet, I feel more alive now than I’ve ever felt. Then again, I don't know what kind of life I've had previously. All I know is here and now.

Across the street is a large billboard, spanning the side of the skyscraper. On it is a picture of a woman. Her skin is flawless; sultry almond-shaped brown eyes, a small pert nose and full inviting lips framed in an oval face. There’s something familiar about her although I cannot pinpoint it. In the end I give up trying to figure it out. She’s probably a supermodel with her billboards across the city. Stunningly beautiful, she has the air of someone with the world at her feet.

Just like I do at the moment.

The city of Lagos is sprawled at my feet beckoning me as the salty breeze from the Atlantic Ocean buffets me. My skin prickles, covered in goose-bumps. Though the air is warm, I feel a chill in my bones and my teeth chatter. I glance down at my clothes, hugging myself. They are designed to seduce, not for warmth.

Feeling a familiar presence, I turn around. Yet I see no one else on the roof with me. I am all alone, I remind myself.

What am I doing here? How did I get here?

Seeking answers, the questions clatter in my brain like coins in an empty metal beer barrel. I get none. I’m shrouded in a cloak of despair I cannot shed.

“Step back...Slowly.”

I hear a voice. It is masculine; low, deep and calm. A tendril of a shiver travels down my spine as my back stiffens.

There’s no one else here with me.

Shaking my head, I ignore the words and their effect on me, focusing instead on a point down in the traffic jam below—the expensive chauffeur-driven SUVs are bumper to bumper spewing fumes into the already smoggy night air.

Why can’t I remember my name or why I’m here?

“Step back from the edge, Clara.”

This time, it sounds closer, harsher, like the owner of the voice is behind me. The hairs on my neck are erect and the prickling sensation on my skin increases. Even as I hear him say it, I know instinctively he speaks my name.

“Who are you?” I ask, suddenly agitated, as I swing around sharply. The harsh wind smashes into me. I lose my footing, plummeting off the roof top the lights below racing towards me.

Darkness embraces me.
Elephants stampede across my brain. My head hurts and I can’t move it or any other part of my body it seems. I want to scream from the pain but my throat feels parched, hoarse. The sound registering in my ears is more of a whimper than a cat’s screech.

“Don’t try to get up,” the voice I hear is broken up almost metallic as it bounces off the stampeding elephants in my head. “Here, have this.”

Strong, warm arms embrace me, lifting my shoulder slightly off the feathered pillows surrounding me. I feel frosty glass against my lips and open them. Cool, refreshing water hits my tongue. Relieved, I gulp it down thirstily.

“Easy. You don’t want to overdo it.” The voice sounds familiar and has a hint of a smile in it. I struggle to open my aching eyes and eventually crack them open. They feel like someone poured a handful of sand into them. I wince but keep them open. The fuzzy image of a man’s face looms over me. There is a tentative smile on it, his full mocha lips lopsided. I want to ask who he is and where I am. The words stick in my throat almost choking me.

Is that gurgling sound me?

“Rest now.” His deep voice is soothing and he places his hand on my head. I feel warmth spread through my body and soon I cannot keep my eyes open. I drift into slumber, the elephants in my head replaced by the calm, soothing waves of the ocean.

Copyright © Kiru Taye 2012