Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Honing my Short Story skills - Twin Bonds

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picture from Google search

Papa had hosted his age grade to a feast to celebrate his promotion at work and the new car he had purchased. It was almost over, but people still milled around. The house was all a bustle and Mama had warned us not to get underfoot. We were in the field playing when Odion, my twin collapsed on the ground crying in pain. A sharp stab almost stopped me in my tracks as I moved to him. He was lying like a baby clutching his middle. Another jab had me falling beside him with moan. Odion groaned and rolled on the wet earth not minding the mud, or the thorns hidden between the long blades of grass. I dragged myself up and limped inside to find our parents. This was worse than the pain I had experienced some months earlier, when my appendix was removed.

“Mama, Mama!” I screamed once I burst through the door.

The party scattered soon after as Papa ran out into the field and scooped Odion into his arms. My brother was unconscious by then, and Mama began to wail. Two of Papa’s friends and another woman were squeezed into the back of the car with me as Papa sped off for the clinic. Mama sat in front with Odion on her laps. She fanned him continuously, muttering a prayer intermittently. Odion recovered after some minutes and whispered my name. I whimpered and leaned over the seat. The woman with me dragged me back and pushed a small drink at me. She handed the other to Mama with the instruction to give some to Odion if possible.

We finally got to the same health center where I had my surgery done. It was the same doctor and he again diagnosed appendicitis for Odion. An operation was scheduled for that evening and we were both put on antibiotics and some panadol to stop the pain. Odion woke up after surgery, groggy from all the medication but still groaning in pain. The doctor had gone off by then and the nurses assured my mother his pain must be from the wound of the surgery. My mother and I had remained to sleep over at the center with Odion, and I told her I also still had the sharp pain of earlier in my tummy. The next day, my father came back and demanded to see the doctor. The doctor said he would wait a couple of days till the operation site healed before making any further recommendations.

Odion remained in the health center for another week. Finally the doctor recommended that my parents take him to the teaching hospital in Benin. It was the biggest group of buildings I have ever seen, but I didn't even think to explore it. By the time we got there, Odion was critical. I continued to take panadol on a regular basis for my own pain. Odion's condition worsened, and finally the doctors decided that their tests pointed to a kidney problem. They started what they said would be a long treatment, and I was forced to return home with my father two days later.

When the other children crowded around me, I didn’t play with them, but went into the empty room I used to share with Odion. I refused to eat that night, and fell asleep crying. Something was different when I woke up. There was no pain in my side, but my head was light as if it wanted to float and leave my body. I went to wake our father, and told him I wanted to go back to the hospital immediately. He said we’ll go in the afternoon which was the visiting time, but when I began to shout and scream that something was wrong, he dressed up and we left.

By the time we got to the hospital, Odion was dead. We only saw my mother rolling on the floor, her screams echoing off the walls of the hospital ward. A nurse said they had just taken Odion to the mortuary, and someone was supposed to be on the way to our house to tell my father. My mother had rushed at me the instant we walked in, her tears bathing my face, her wails piercing my ears. At that point, I collapsed.

This blogfest is organised by Rosie at East for Green Eyes. I took part in it because I want to hone my skills at writing short stories. I'm not very good at them, and I have to confess that due to the word limit, this is only the first part of a longer short story. I look forward to your feedback. Thanks!


  1. *sigh* - I think the skill of a short story is knowing where to drop the pen.

    This is a sadly beautiful story.

  2. I love the connection between the twins. You leave us with the question of what was really wrong with the boy. Nicely done.

  3. aww..i'm actually in tears. i didnt want Odion to die :/
    yes i have heard about twin connections..they have this weird bond between themselves

  4. What a beautiful entry! I didn't want Odion to die but you so made the twin connection I want to know more. You've got the genesis for something more here. Keep writing!

  5. I think you did a fantastic job! I'd certainly be keen to read more of this story.

  6. Hmm... Well written, though I screamed "ha!" at the end. I'm always looking for happy endings. Yes, I know, it's naive... (sigh).

  7. You've captured the connection between the boys very well, and even though it's a part of a larger piece I think it also works well as a stand alone!

  8. LOVED IT. HATED Odien died. So sad. Made me mad at the doctors.
    I was unsure about the first sentence, (age grade) and had to reread it. I also was confused about the party scattering. I would think people would stay to see what happened and then you mention some people were stil there.
    Excellent story and could certainly make it a book.

  9. Thanks everyone for reading, I appreciate your comments. I didn't want Odion to die too. :)

    @ Jane, their ages got lost in the editing, it's 11.

  10. lovely story, was hoping Odion survives, but kept me interested from the first sentence.

  11. I like the twists of the story -- the narrator's appendix was already out, but he felt the pain. Odion had surgery, but he wasn't healed. It was heartbreaking when the narrator experienced his brother's death. Great job! Thank you for participating in this blogfest!

  12. why nah? :(

    interesting as usual.

  13. Nice story, but sad and painful. Please myne, is twin connection real in this life?

  14. This was a great read, I was sad Odion died but kinda expected it:( I felt his twin's emotions from your writing and you did an awesome job with details. Can't wait for the next short story:)

  15. Really nice story. Got my attention till the end. Can't wait to read the other parts.

  16. LOL Myne! That's short cut- this one being part of a longer short story lol. This is a sad one! I don't want to read the rest lol *sniff*. The only story i guess would work with such a short word limit may be romance (maybe a special day in a relationship or the start of one?) dunno


  17. Finally after all these blog visits, I ca give a comment other than "just so you know that I came".

    It's a very real story, sounds very well like a narrative. I did enjoy it too.

    Am I permitted to ask why you think you suck with short stories?

  18. I've heard of twin connections before, but what I thought was really original (and was my favorite part) was how the main character felt when his brother died. We don't know what death is like, so he had and interesting perspective into it.

    I very much loved this story, though it felt like a list of events. "I did this, then I did that, then we did this..." Some people like that removed, rhythmic style, but I thought you should be aware of it incase that wasn't what you were going for.

    I'm glad you're going to expand this.

  19. Aww this is sad, its really going to be hard for Odion's twin :(

    Nicely written!

  20. Sorry for making you guys sad, remember it's just a story.

    @iLola, are twin bonds real? I've heard different stories. I actually did a post about it when I started A Love Rekindled. It happens for some twins, and not for others. I also took dramatic license in this. :)

    @Afrosays, I really have no reason, just that I feel more comfortable stretching out a story into a novel.

    @Teralyn, thanks for those tips, I'll bear them in mind when I edit.

  21. Myne! Please don't apologize for making people sad, including me. You've touched us all in the heartstrings, which is difficult to do in such a short piece. The fact that you've done it so well is a tribute to your beautiful abilities with prose. Great job.

    I see that this is a part of a larger story. If that's your plan, then that's great, but I think it could be complete in itself without the last sentence. That implies that there's so much more to come. But the fact that the pain in the MC's side has gone implies some kind of resolution to the problem you've set out for us. *shrug* It's just a thought.

    A question about setting: The family takes the boys/Odion to the teaching hospital in Benin. I like this one small bit of setting, and while Benin isn't a large country, it makes me wonder where they started. And if they're going to the teaching hospital, wouldn't they go to Porto-Novo? I suppose that could imply that they started in Benin when perhaps that's not your intention.

    Anyway, I think this is beautiful. You've done a great job. Thanks so much for participated. I'm glad I could read your story.

  22. Myne, thank you so much for participating in the blogfest. Short stories are hard, and like you I prefer to stretch them out, but I think you did a lovely job here.

    I agree with Teralyn that the really neat original part was the description of the MCs feelings when Odion died.

    I too was confused by the first sentence. From one of your comments above I'm now thinking you meant the boys school grade class?

    My only other problem was that it did feel like a list of events, so telling. This is a powerful idea and when you expand it you can really show us what's happening.

    Thanks again!

  23. That was heart wrenching.

    I love the photo of the two boys you found.

  24. That was really poignant.
    Where's your SPD blogfest? Don't tell me you forgot...

  25. Wow, what a sad story - but so well written. It was really powerful how the surviving twin's pain was gone and he felt light, and knew this was a danger sign.

  26. Myne, what a sad story:(. Beautifully written! You said it was part of a longer story, so of course I want to read more:).

    BTW, you have an award at my blog!

  27. Hate it - awful terrible!

    Ok -its beautiful and perfect and sweet -
    The writing is perfect and it totally sucked me in.......but now I will worry about those poor babies all night. he's lost his twin and nothing will ever be right - he will be a 60 year old man waking up crying. He will give up and his Momma will be broken when she loses them both -grrrrrr! I wanted him to touch his brother and make him come back or something. Thanks for sharing!
    Very nice story!

  28. Good one Myne. Quite believable. I had to check twice to be sure it was fiction. I think its perfectly okay as it is. You want to do Nollywood part 1, 2 and 3?



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