Monday, July 11, 2011

MWP - The Cat-eyed English Witch By Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

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Today on Myne Whitman Presents, I will share a short story by a writer who I admire a lot. Abubakar Adam Ibrahim has been published in various journals and anthologies, including Africanwriting.com and Sentinel Literary Quarterly. He has a degree in Mass Communication from the University of Jos, Nigeria, has written for Vanguard newspaper, and is now the Arts and Culture Editor of the Sunday Trust. His entry, “The Bull Man’s Story” won the 2007 BBC African Performance Playwriting Competition, and he has a book too, The Quest for Nina.

The story he was kind enough to submit to us is below. I hope you enjoy...

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The tiny corpse lay in a multicoloured bundle, cradled in the mother’s arm. She held out the bundle to me, showing me the innocent face that could have been sleeping but was now very dead. The mother’s brown eyes gleamed, not with grief but with a fiery hostility.

“You killed him, you wicked witch,” she hissed angrily.

The words stung me, like a vicious blow, like the heat had struck me when we first landed in Abuja. It was not particularly strange that she called me a witch; they all did anyway. They found my blonde hair attractive but my grey eyes unsettling. I don’t think they have seen many white women here. They call me The Cat- eyed English Witch and then I’d thought it was kind of…I don’t know, amusing perhaps. But with Manasa standing in front of me, a dead child in her hand; a child I‘d adored, and accusing me of having killed him, it was…shocking, to say the least. Tears fogged my eyes.

It had begun in London one fine Saturday morning in Trafalgar square, six years ago, when I first met Bawa. I was sitting by a fountain, watching the pigeons strolling, pecking at the bread crumbs, pairing up and cooing, doing what pigeons do on a fine summer day. Behind me, I could hear the fountain, sighing sweetly like a lover’s voice. Then the pigeons fluttered their wings noisily, cooing wildly and scattered into the air from a threat I hadn’t noticed. Their soft under feathers seesawed gently down to the ground and then, there he was, standing.


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