Seun, don’t go near the water!
Chill jare, old woman is the response that jumps into his mind – but who born monkey? So he would just mumble a subdued yes mum and sit miserably while the adults laughed and swam and danced.
He sits unmoving now, trembling; his grown behind stuck in six inches of wet sand. He can see lights of various ships; winking and signaling their way through the wet darkness. The evening tide rushes forward and drenches him again – for the one millionth time.
It does not matter.
Seun; why are you in the water?
He almost shoves sand-sticky hands into his eyes in surprise. He looks heavenwards, self-consciousness hunching his shoulders. He comes back to himself – and laughs at his foolishness. Of course she cannot see you; he admonishes himself. Stop feeling guilty. At least you tried.
“I tried, mum…” he begins to say but cannot continue as the tears start all over again. He is convinced; more than anything else that his mother would be heartbroken if she could see him. In spite of the black sheep that had somehow made its way around his name – in spite of all the fights and yelling contests and other things – he was her favorite.
Ah mama, if you could see me now.
“…Caro your body necessary…ah necessary/Caro carry leave story….ah leave story/Caro dey make my head dey turn…” some ridiculously-named Dj’s speakers scream and yell somewhere on his left. He looks that way – and sees an indistinct blur of human bodies seemingly mashed together. He closes his eyes; an attempt to think of what is waiting – but the noise keeps intruding.
What a song to exit to.
He knows it will be days – even weeks – before anyone notices his disappearance. He couldn’t have planned it better. Usually his sister would know – because she once made it a point to talk to him in the morning and at night.
Or easier still, nothing lasts forever.
“Nothing lasts forever,” he says out loud, enjoying the feel of the words on his tongue. He says it again and again; as though repeating it will make it stay a while longer. He stops talking and immediately the words disappear.
Of course they will; he thinks, laughing at himself.
Finally he stops trembling. His racing mind slows down and finally stops. He smiles as he remembers the ‘will’ he’d scribbled and left on his table – as though he had a lot of worldly goods to share with anyone. A few thousand books, a few thousand comics, clothes, love letters –
His smile slips as he remembers his laptop – the stories on his laptop. He had insisted that it goes to his PA; she was about the only one he could trust to do anything with them. He smiles again; thinking of how he will be remembered.
Edgar Allen Poe?
His legs shake a little as he climbs to his feet – but there is no hesitation anywhere else. The water uncurls and spreads cold – cold but nonetheless loving – arms towards him in an eternal embrace. Something nags at his heart; slowing his steps – but he cannot stop thinking about the peaceful dark offered by the ocean’s hug. He starts to run –
And something smacks him in the knee.
It is not as painful as it unexpected. He cannot decide whether to keep running or to stop and inspect the knee – as though he can see anything; as though it actually matters.
In a second of indecisiveness, the tide surges and pushes him over. His flailing left hand lands on something – something that rolls away – and he splashes into the water.
Pushing free and spluttering, Seun staggers to his feet. Salt water stings his eyes, scratches his throat –
This is going to be harder than I thought.
Something gently bumps into his thigh and he looks down. There’s just enough illumination for him to see a huge bottle – a huge bottle with something inside it. Wiping his eyes best as he can, he carries the bottle and makes his way towards land.
I can die another day. This; I gotta contemplate.
Carrying his burden gently, he makes his way towards the lights, looking down every two seconds, checking how visible the bottle’s contents are. And as the blur that were human bodies becomes features and body parts, he stops and looks at the bottle, holding up against the lights from the distance.
It is a book.
It is THIS book.
Read tales spun from the finest of distaffs by fifteen of the best writers ANYWHERE.