Thursday, January 07, 2010

Entry #29

Free at Last
by Ayodele Morocco-Clarke


The whip descended again and again with vicious ferocity, slicing through the air with the swift precision of a well primed Swiss chronograph. Mama tried to escape the onslaught. In her haste, she tripped over a side stool, then over the coffee table. And Papa, like a lion which had a springbok it intended to devour within its grasp, kept on top of her, following her as she fled out to the landing.

Abandoning the whip, he resorted to using his fist. The last blow he threw lifted Mama at least one foot in the air, propelling her over the top step. Her arms shot out instinctively, trying desperately to clutch at anything – the banister, Papa, anything – that would stop her from going over.

You will forever be haunted by the final look in her eyes. The tormented yet terrified eyes that were almost swollen shut in her battered face.

There was blood, but not like in the movies. It trickled thinly down both nostrils branching out on both sides of her face. But there was considerably more that seeped out from somewhere underneath her head where her skull had caved in, fanning out on the marble floor until it formed a map; a map that charted the story of her journey as an abused wife.

A map which spelled out her death.

And now you feel her spirit soaring high above the clouds, like a beautiful bird in flight. She is free. Free at last.


(Ayodele Morocco-Clarke is a Nigerian lawyer and writer of mixed heritage who has a passion for literature. She is the editor-in-chief of Critical Literature Review [http://criticalliteraturereview.blogspot.com/] and her written works have appeared in Author Africa 2009, Hackwriters (a University of Portsmouth magazine), Sphere Literary Magazine, Saraba Magazine, Storytime and Author-Me. She also has work forthcoming in Mimi Magazine, Saraba Magazine, The Anthology of Immigrant Writing and African Roar [2010 short story anthology, co-published by Lion Press and StoryTime]. Ayodele hopes to publish an anthology of short fiction soon and is currently working on her first novel.)

40 comments:

Bernita said...

Written with clarity and power.

Nevine said...

This has left me speechless. All I can say is "Beautiful!"

Nevine

Ayodele Morocco-Clarke said...

Cheers guys!

Lena said...

At last she was free. A very powerful writing here. Loved it.

Aniket said...

Ditto to Bernita.

Clarity and Power is just the way to describe this piece. Horror seeped through the images you painted...

Ideal - not so sure, but a fitting end.

Eeman.org said...

Great...except it left one thirsty...

Tessa said...

Freedom in death is desperation. So very sad.

Chris Eldin said...

Freedom can come in many forms. I understand your take on this prompt... it is similar to my first take. But I couldn't pull it off. Didn't want to.
Your writing is so powerful. Thanks for sharing.

Preeti said...

chillingly scary and vivid.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I'm still reeling. Awesome job.

pjd said...

The switch to 2nd person (which wasn't actually a switch) hit me in the gut. The imagery and the self-awareness of it not being like a movie, even though it's being watched like a movie, is powerful. This is quite well written.

Kartik said...

Haunting piece!

JaneyV said...

I was floored by the second person because suddenly I wasn't hearing a story of abuse - I was witnessing it. It was immensely powerful and desperately sad.

Four Dinners said...

WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW!

That is one of the most powerful bits of work I've read in a long while.

I'm so so glad at the 'freedom flying' ending.

That was terrific and horrific in one.

maybe genius said...

I have to echo the power you pack into so few words here. Incredibly horrifying, saddening, and beautiful at the same time.

Ayodele Morocco-Clarke said...

Thanks to all you out there who read my entry and left some feedback. Cheers Guys!

Terri said...

Very powerful. I feel like I've been hit in the gut.

Tara said...

Gripping!

Kate said...

This is really powerful and brave writing. I was impressed by the clarity and frankness of this, so appropriate for the subject.

Amias said...

The first time I got hit, I made friends with a very special sister, Magnum 44. Now if anyone soars it won't be me .. this was very touching and real, but it pissed me off to! very good story.

Aimee Laine said...

A subject that is so hard to create beauty from, but you most certainly did.

Beth Harar said...

You use many fantastic images. I could see everything through your words. Great Job!

laughingwolf said...

written by one who's either seen it or lived it...

Ayodele Morocco-Clarke said...

Once again, thanks guys for reading and leaving your comments. It resonates deeply with me that so many of you feel the clarity and power of the story.

@ Amias, LOL @ "very special sister, Magnum 44".

@ Wolf, Double negative....never seen or lived it thankfully. I take it as a huge compliment that the story seems to speak with such authority. Methinks mission accomplished. My work as a writer (for this story) is done.

Thanks to you all once again.

alexosagie said...

Captivating start, I think there is a flow gap towards the end (how she gained freedom)...

Nice one anyway. Kudos

kashers said...

Very much a case of 'Cry Freedom', i.e. the reader crying at the mc's freedom.

austere said...

Gut-wrenching.
beautiful.

Sam Munro said...

This is an extremely shocking and beautiful story which delivers a killer punch (no pun intended). Told with skill and precision. I liked it so much I had to leave a comment.

Laurel said...

This is the best use of a POV switch I have seen in short fiction. You used it like a camera angle, watching from a distance to being in the scene.

The brutality and release in this piece are consuming. Solid work and I know this one is going to stick with me for a few days.

catvibe said...

THis is so horrifying I can barely read it. Which means it was written very well, I could see and feel it. Excellent.

Emily said...

Absolutely heartbreaking. But the writing is extremely visceral. Stunning.

Maggie said...

Short but very powerful, leave the hair on your neck standing!

Charmaine said...

Everything you write leaps off the page with complete authority.

The African Roar...I wonder if there is an Irish Roar?

Remarkable!

Bankole Adesuyi said...

Wow, Amazingly gripping...I loved it.

Jean Ann Williams said...

Utter silence in my head by the last word.

Stark and honest.

Jean Ann

james r tomlinson said...

This has to be the most graphically violent entry I've read so far (I've been reading in descending order). Interesting take on the photograph.

Deb Smythe said...

Wow. That was a frighteningly realistic story.

desiderata said...

Beautifully told -- tragic end if freedom came about from imposed circumstances. Thanks for powerful narrative that etches into one's mind.

Craig said...

A sad tale beautifully told.

Aerin said...

Dear Entrants #1-105,

I have read your pieces so that I can fairly participate in the Readers' Choice vote. (I read all of them through last week, before I started commenting.) I will be coming back around to offer my keep/tweak comment, but I didn't want anyone to snark.

Cheers,
Aerin (#236)

BTW, it's perfectly fine if you still want to snark, but this way you can choose a more appropriate subject, like the new Starbucks paninis or the people over 35 who are exclusively on MySpace