Nigeria: Cassava Republic presents ‘A Small Silence’

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Darkness fascinates me in all its kinds, from the summary to the concrete, from the seemingly imperceptible to the uneasy anticipation of penetrating what’s behind or at nighttime. So, once I say that the darkish intrigues me, I imply that I get pleasure from considering what could also be hiding in its shadows and what may materialise from them. Maybe, we are able to take into account it as a manifestation of how we negotiate curiosity.

In A Small Silence, I write about Prof, a protagonist who, metaphorically, wants the darkish to search out his option to the sunshine. The novel’s premise, notably the darkish’s symbolic position, got here to me throughout a go to to an outdated buddy. The lights went out whereas we have been having a passionate dialogue about residents’ impotence within the face of unhealthy authorities. The room’s subsequent cemetery calm and sneaky smatterings of moonlight which produced a deep cardboard tint throughout the furnishings, left solemnity that begged for particular person meditation.

At this level, my ideas wandered to what it will be prefer to spend one’s total life with out mild, and my creativeness took flight. The mixture of speaking to my buddy in regards to the state of the nation and the environment within the room when the electrical energy went off impressed my novel.

A Small Silence tells the story of a former college professor and activist who after serving time in jail, returns dwelling and chooses to stay the remainder of his life at nighttime. Prof, drives his family members away, turns off the lights, and tries to settle into his new existence, however when a girl named Want pays him a go to and sparks recollections from his previous, he begins to rethink his choices.

On this excerpt from Chapter 9, Want meets Prof for the primary time since his return. Regardless of what she has heard about his bizarre, hermit-like life-style, she decides to pay him a go to, particularly as he lives in her neighbourhood. She knew him as a hero as a teenager and held heat recollections of him and is interested by what he has turn out to be, senseless of tales of his eccentric nature since his time in jail.

Excerpt from Chapter 9 of A Small Silence

Exterior Prof’s darkish room have been lights from the amber bulbs and fluorescent lamps of his neighbours. Want stood by his door. She was returning to knock with the hope that he would see her, and as traditional she had not instructed Remilekun the place she was going, however she didn’t suppose her vacation spot was a secret.

At first, Want knocked on the door like a rat nibbling on wooden. She thought-about that he could possibly be asleep, and this meant knocking tougher to awaken him, so she knocked on the door prefer it was about to be pulled down. But, the door remained closed. She listened for footfalls. Her ears full of the congregating sounds of moms screaming at youngsters, infants hollering for consideration, sputtering turbines filtering out the monotony of the visitors’s hum and laughter sneaking out and in just like the disappearing croak of a frog. It was the second week for the reason that energy had gone off within the neighbourhood.

Her legs damage however she was not but prepared to go again dwelling. She drummed binaries on the door till her knuckles stung. “Hiya. Hiya,” a gruff voice referred to as to her. She ignored it and knocked on the door with much more vehemence. Though the darkness enveloped him, she may make out that there was a person standing on the foot of the steps. She additionally seen his arms have been positioned on his hips and his legs unfold aside.

“See, girl, should you knock till tomorrow, that man received’t open the door. I don’t know you or the place you’re coming from or should you knew him earlier than. I can guarantee you, you’ll not know him once more. He has modified from human being to one thing else,” the unsolicited advisor supplied. “I see him stroll out of his home solely at night time. So you need to respect my recommendation, girl, as a result of that man is just not regular once more.”

He lingered for some time earlier than strolling away.

Her creativeness took a leap at his phrases. She pictured Prof opening the door, the 2 of them standing reverse one another with out phrases passing between them. Clods of blood caught to the hairs of his full beard just like the plastered look of unkempt dreadlocks left to outline their very own future. She imagined the way in which he arched his lips right into a crescent, a gesture meant to be a smile however was extra of a grimace. She noticed the blood between his enamel once more and the way the whole lot contrasted along with his peanut-shaped eyes which weren’t bloodshot however the white of coconut meat.

He wouldn’t say a phrase, he wouldn’t chuckle. He would naked his enamel at her. She was about to scream when she snapped out of her daydream. She caught her breath and appeared within the course of the passer-by to search out him gone.

She took step one and scanned the setting. She took one other step and it felt heavier than the primary. She hated herself for coming to see him. She took every step, each feeling heavier than the earlier one till she reached the final step.


The sound of the door struck her. She froze. She positioned one leg on the final step and the opposite on the next-to-last. She was afraid that if she turned in direction of the door, she would realise that she had solely imagined the lock unhinging.

The voice got here to her, wafting into her ears just like the rustling of leaves within the wind.

“Sure? How might I enable you?” the voice stated to her. It was the identical voice she remembered from her childhood. The one which turned to talk warmly to her after spilling a number of offended phrases into the group. The voice that boomed from a speaker however spoke softly into her left ear, these phrases she by no means decoded.

Want walked to the top of the steps stiffly. She fidgeted as she tried to fulfill his eyes. She felt the brightness of his beadlike eyes swallow the darkness within the room. She stopped by the door and appeared on the door deal with after which right down to her legs.

Prof opened the door however remained inside. She studied what was his face hidden within the shadows and tried to smile, however all she may do was pull her mouth into a large stretch that damage her cheeks.

A Small Silence is accessible at Cassava Republic Press. You’ll be able to order right here.

Jumoke Verissimo teaches inventive writing on the Toronto Metropolitan College, in Toronto, Canada. Her writing, which incorporates poetry, essays, and fiction is broadly anthologised. Her newest work is a youngsters’s e book, Grandma and the Moon’s Hidden Secret.


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