Home / Chronicles / LITERARY CHALLENGE (Round 1)

LITERARY CHALLENGE (Round 1)

This is the first round of stories in the literary challenge between Walter Uchenna Ude and James Becks Robert.

Each round will have its stories guided by a theme. And the theme for today’s stories is: The use of one’s status of advantage to steer a situation in his favour.

Both stories will not have the authors’ names attached to them, in order for the readers to be more objective in their voting. Readers may vote for their story of choice in the comments section. Readers are required to state their reasons for choosing the particular story, and critique either of them; in other words, point out any errors or conflicts in theme, or just basically whatever dissension they have over either story.

And finally, readers should read and enjoy. It’s not a battle to the death. The writers had fun writing. Every other thing should follow in the same vein.

Thanks.

 *

First Story

DIFFERENT SHADES

I care, that is my problem, I care too much. I have been scorned more times than I can count, fleeced even when I am aware. My heart has been repeatedly plucked out leaving a grotesque hole behind but I still care with the fragment remaining. I have been lectured by friends and foes of the need to become meaner. I had it rammed down my throat that it makes people take advantage of me. Yet that hasn’t stopped me from caring when I shouldn’t. It sure feels like an addiction now. I often blab about not caring, I would be defiant that I am now indifferent. I would walk with a straight face for days enveloping my cupid smile, with a fierce resolve. Then the itch would return, convulsion follows and I would find myself mechanically crawl back to get a fix. I would get a syringe and stick it in like a junkie. I always felt the pain, but caring is my drug and I am shamelessly addicted to it. Everyone knows, it had ceased to be a secret. It wasn’t something worth hiding anymore and I specially care for Uncle Lanre, although that is not for everyone to know.

****

“Why are you still sitting there?” Aunty Peju asked.

“You are wasting your life,” she added.

“I don’t know when you will finally learn to become selfish,” she said. She was standing at the door, with a wrapper clutching her breast and a bra the other thing above her waist. I recognized the bra, I had bought her that bra while back; I went ‘bend down selecting’ and chanced on it. The design was too prime for its price. They must have mixed it up while opening the bale; I was scavenging through third class and it felt alien there. I had mean mode activated when I showed it to Mama Kabiru, she frowned and mouthed about it costing more, but I didn’t flinch. I showed her where I picked it from, the sign ‘Hundred Naira per piece’ was written boldly on a cardboard above the pile. It wasn’t my pot of beans they kept a Victoria Secret-esque piece with third class stuffs. I didn’t care when I gave her three hundred for three pieces, they had said I cared too much. I had mean mode activated.

Mean mode was still active when I stopped at Julieta’s boutique on my way home. I sprayed perfumed on the bras and skillfully wrapped them; Aunty Peju was stunned when I handed them to her. I found favor in her eyes even more. I didn’t tell her the price, I made her take a wild guess and said nothing when she did. Even with mean mode activated I still cared, I didn’t want to ruin her happiness.

 

“You should eat something,” Aunty Peju said, she was still at the door. I didn’t reply, she has repeated the same ritual for four days. Morning, noon and evening she would come, stand at the door, lean on its frame and ask me the same questions but I would stay mute. She would leave to return shortly. Tray in hand, chilled water and juice a can a piece, soup overcrowded with meat and a supporting cast of eba. Lay it carefully on my bedside table and remove the tray she had left behind on her previous visit. The plates always remain neatly covered, on the exact spot she had left them. And no matter how detailed you look you cannot trace a stain on the tray just as you cannot trace a morsel of eba nor a strand of soup on either plates. Aunty Peju never ask how the food gets transfigured, her can of slimy worms needed to be kept covered. She would silently drop the new tray then go with the old, soja go soja come barrack remains.

Once Aunty Peju leaves, I would switch gear. I always sense an omniscient hand nudge me and my addiction would resurface like the Pentecostal fire, I care too much for the food to let it get cold. I would uncover both plate just to take a peek, but when I would return their covers not one soldier would remain standing. Neither the juice nor the water would be spared. One doesn’t pour libations with just words; a pint of piss would do as long as the gods’ get their throats wet. Besides I care; her effort should not go wasted.

*****

Yemi always thinks she knows better. She has this idea in her head she can outsmart anyone and to her credit she does. She has a way of scheming things in her favor and would make everyone believe the exact opposite of what she actually means. But not me, I would always follow her script. Whenever she decides to do an ‘Amaechi’ I was always ready to bring out the ‘Mama Peace’ in me. It required little effort. I had become an expert at it; it was this inert talent that enabled me to sway my way into Honorable Lanre’s heart.

Tongues wagged, they are wagging still. They say I washed things into his food, that I have him wrapped between my fingers because I have his head stuck between my thighs. They say I make decisions for him, that I have replaced his brain with potato. Some say when I do my wifely duties, I always insist on being on top, I wonder how they learnt that, Lord knows that would not be fun. But like kermit the frog that’s none of my business, the business of keeping everything in place is not a child’s play. The things I have given up on, the rage I swallow especially when Yemi threatens to let my husband know my secrets. These things demand a greater ounce of courage to accept. They think it is easy getting off the street. I moved from grace to grass with such ease that would make a waterfall envious. But these world people, instead of joining me to shout Hallelujah, they sneer, gossip and throw endless jibes at me. But who cares? I am still where I am. Patience nor sabi speak English she still be first lady. Yinmu for them jor.

*****

Peju!  How people change or rather how they make people presume they have changed. I cognized all along but she doesn’t know I know. Peju deserves an Oscar; AMA would be an insult to her precocious skill. She is a deceptive enigma. She would take to Hollywood like Ekiti people and rice. The way she pretentiously screams my name when we do our nocturnal tussle, how she feigns her face as it gets intense, I sometimes wonder if she was the politician. But I guess birds of a feather don’t just flock together, ‘na the same Mama born dem’ so they say.

Moreover she doesn’t know I know that those sumptuous hot ogbono soup with kpomo competing with ugu for space grinning evilly on death cold pot were imported from Madam Lovito’s restaurant. Peju didn’t know I know that those Isiewu and Nkwobi she prepared just for me only knew her fingers on their way to her stomach. She believes me when I tell her, that her pounded yam was as smooth as her skin when I gulp them with the ogbono. She would always plant a soft kiss on my lips; she didn’t know I know that the mortar and pestle in the kitchen have never crossed each other’s path in anger. Often she would smile to show the only real thing about her; the gap between her teeth when I tell her that her BB is the most fascinating thing about her. She should realize I meant Mouka foam special, stuff full with feathers like a pillow. Peju didn’t know I know, that the voluptuous hills of her chest are like bicycle tires, the pump always supplies air to make it firmer. She still thinks I can’t smell the coffee that I am as dumb as I choose to look. I play the game with her; she thinks she is a master at it. But I merely use her to flex my muscle, I have to be match fit all year round and she is a perfect dummy to hone my skills. It is the same game I play in the office and when the Local Government Council meets. The players might be different but the rules are the same. Besides I am beating her at her own game with the odds stacked in my favor. I feel like George R. R. Martins and can toy with anybody in my realm. But Yemi still tastes better than she does, why should I then disrupt the existing equilibrium?

 

*

 

Second Story

THE PROMISE

“OH MY GOD…!” Esther screamed. “CHIMA, LOOK AT WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO MEEEEE!”

The face of the man who hovered beside her was stricken with anxiety. “Oh, baby, please don’t say that–”

“DON’T YOU DARE TELL ME WHAT TO SAY…!” Esther cut him off with a shriek.

“Try and relax –”

“AND DON’T YOU DARE TELL ME TO RELAX!” she shrilled again, and then threw her head sharply backward before letting out a manic scream that tore through the tense atmosphere in the room. Her forehead and temples were dewed with perspiration, and her fingers gripped the sides of the bed with such strength that the veins on her hands stood out.

“Baby, please…” Chima cajoled in a breathless voice as he reached out to touch her arm.

“GET AWAY FROM ME!” came her outburst, which made the man flinch. She waved her head about, lank tendrils of her sweat-drenched hair flipping about her face, before she stabbed her furious gaze at the team bustling about before her. “AND GET THAT THING OUT OF ME!”

“Madam, just take it easy…” a flustered nurse began.

“Don’t tell me that, don’t tell me that…” Esther’s voice lost its volume and she flopped back on the bed, clearly spent from the recent bout of labour.

“I see the head, Esther,” the midwife coaxed the exhausted woman. “It’s almost over now. Just one more push.”

Esther clenched her teeth and strained with all her might, her face flushed and sweating, her hair wet from hours of the effort. A huge gasp broke from her when she could push no more, and she dropped back on the bed again, falling into the supporting arms of her husband.

“Esther, you have to try…” the midwife cajoled.

“I can’t…I just can’t…” she whimpered. “God, please, why me…I can’t do this…”

“Babe, don’t talk like that,” Chima said soothingly, running his palm gently over her forehead, wiping sweat and smoothening her hair back. “You can do this. You’re strong. You can –”

“I can’t… Please, don’t make me do this again… Please, please…” Her eyes, which had simmered with rage moments ago, had now turned glassy with unshed tears, and the words she spoke were tremulous with the enervation she was starting to feel. “Oh God, please take this away from me… I just can’t…”

“Esther, just one more push,” the midwife said firmly but kindly. “The baby is crowning. You’re almost there.”

And just that fast, the need to push rushed in on Esther yet again. Chima went to work as well, supporting her back and shoulders and whispering words of encouragement as she screamed and strained so hard the sinews on her neck stood out prominently.

And then it was over. She gave one final push, one which produced a wriggling, wet baby. A piteous wail cut through the air, loud, halting and plaintive, the sound Esther realized would haunt her for a very long time to come as she dropped back on the bed, too tired to see the miracle she and her husband had made happen.

****

A nurse, accompanied by Chima, brought that miracle to her several minutes later, when she was out of the delivery ward, and in the private room she’d been admitted to when she first started experiencing labour pangs. It was a boy. And he was making gurgling sounds as the nurse maneuvered him into his mother’s arms.

“He’s precious, isn’t he?” the nurse said wistfully.

“Yes, he is,” Chima said as he hurried to the other side of the bed, to join his wife in gazing at their child.

Esther stared at the bundle in her arms, drinking in the exquisite little features, the tiny nose, the soft mouth, the lashes that cast shadows on the round cheeks, the wisps of dark hair that was a curly mop on his head. He gurgled again, making some jerky motions with his face and hands, before letting out soft whimpers.

“Uh-oh, I think someone’s hungry,” the nurse said with a small laugh.

Chima chuckled as Esther wedged her right breast from the flimsy gown she was wearing. She brushed her nipple at the corner of the baby’s mouth to stimulate his rooting reflex. He turned his head toward the touch. After some fumbling, he latched onto her and began to suckle, his cheeks moving rhythmically.

“Be sure not to block his nose,” the nurse cautioned.

Using her finger, Esther pressed her breast away from the baby’s tiny nose to prevent interference with his breathing. The nurse nodded approvingly, before walking out of the room.

“He’s adorable, isn’t he?” Chima said gushingly beside Esther.

“Yes, he is,” the new mother said, before looking up to face her husband.

“So what name are we going to give him from those two we picked out two weeks ago?” Chima queried, as he stared lovingly at her.

“In a minute, we will get to that,” Esther said brusquely. Then she paused, staring pointedly at him before saying heavily, “Sixteen hours of labour, Chima. Sixteen.”

Chima smiled self-consciously. “Okay, but baby, you were so strong –”

Esther cut him off as she barreled on, “The total number of times you spent giving me the pleasure that resulted in me having to go through sixteen hours of labour does not even come close to sixteen hours.” The stress she kept dropping on the word ‘sixteen’ was heavy.

“Ouch.” Chima chuckled.

Sixteen hours of labour – painful labour… Who does that?” Esther said incredulously, shuddering slightly as the memory of what happened in the labour room surged through her mind.

“Baby, I’m sorry you had to go through that,” Chima wheedled, as he lifted her hand to her face. “I’ll make it all up to you, I promise.”

“Oh you will,” she replied, widening her eyes fractionally to emphasize her determination to enforce the fulfillment of his promise. “You will.” She thought about the hell that her friends told her came after childbirth – the sleepless nights, the round-the-clock wailing demand of the baby, the towering laundry of dirty diapers, the feedings the baby would devilishly seem to want whenever she would be ready to drop.

All that after sixteen hours of labour.

“You will make it up to me,” she said again, emphatically. “You will.”

And when her husband nodded his acquiescence and hugged her to assure her that he wouldn’t break his word, he had no idea just what he was giving her his assurance for. His friends hadn’t known to give him the knowledge that her friends had given her.

 


About shakespeareanwalter

Walt Shakes(@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter.

Check Also

“I Will Fight For You But…” The Shame Of The LGBT Activist

“I will fight for you. But in return, you must never be free enough to ...

61 comments

  1. Both stories are great….but DIFFERENT STROKES carries the day in this round. The perspective, the metaphors, the imagery, the theme….Superb! THE PROMISE is great too; so much passion and detail in one scene, plus the woman’s manipulative nature on display in the end. Wonderful stuff….

    But i love me a good old African setting with that large web of deceit, so DIFFERENT STROKES edges this one for me.

  2. I prefer the first one. It is very captivating. The second one for some reason seemed too short.

  3. The Promise hands down! The relation of a woman’s biggest pain was very startlingly narrated. And the thread of humour in the story did me in. Sixteen hours of labour… The not-so-delicate stress on that was classic.

    ‘The total number of times you spent giving me the pleasure that resulted in me having to go through sixteen hours of labour does not even come close to sixteen hours.’ BURN! Kai! What a mean mouth Esther has. And what a conniving woman. I love a story that makes me laugh.

    Different Shades was good too, but I’m in for The Promise.

  4. I will go for story two, it is more detailed, the theme is easily identified “the rigours of child birth” clear pictures were painted it was almost as if I was in that labour room, the touchiness of the mother which made her an easy prey to anger was also a good touch. A lot of research was definitely done in order to birth this story.

    I like story one two, expecially the humorous touch to it, but story two edges it for this round.

  5. The promise is my choice. I don’t know but for some reason I couldn’t quite grasp the story 1. Perhaps I would read it again. But story 2 just jumped at me. Hence my decision.

  6. I prefer First Story. The imagery keeps the reader enthralled, even though you don’t really understand the feelings of the character.

  7. Am going for DIFFERENT SHADES. Its very real and deals with the true nature of humans. And yes,am also a victim, i care too much and people love taking advantage of that caring attitude. As humans , we claim to be wiser than others not realising that we are only players that the founder of the game is out there and some players are better than us. I also love the THE PROMISE though, it deals with the pains of motherhood. The diction is much more easy to understand and the writer painted a clear picture of child bearing, but he ended the story so soon, leaving us curious as to what the “making up”was. I’m in for different shades.

  8. Story one is good but I was a bit confused while reading it. Story two had me laughing out loud, so I choose Promises.

    • Exactly!! I was confused when I read the first story… I kept wondering what was happening? :s :s. But the ‘bekee’ no be here! 😀

      The second… I loved the beginning…only it was short and it increased my fear of childbearing! Anyway, I go for the second one!! Yay…

  9. The Promise.
    Its not to complex. Its creates an amazing visual imagery.
    Its very expressive n passionate

  10. As much as I love Story 2, Story 1 is my choice. The writer portray different kind of emotions like care betrayal deceit etc, such a way that keeps one curious and wondering. Tho’ it looks like something one can’t easily understand, but then…kind of suspense filled. So Story 1.

  11. I’m going with story two. The theme was easy to identify. It was short but precise and funny too. I couldn’t quite get the message of story 1 though. But the writing and grammar was top notch. Bring on week 2!

  12. The promise is easy to understand and the theme is right in your face. The 1st story is too complex. I wish the promise was longer sha. The promise is my favorite.

  13. I choose The Promise. The message was clearer than the first one.

  14. I choose different strokes simply because d promise was just too short 4me

  15. The Promise. I like the smooth and simple flow of prose. Too short though. I think there should be a uniformity in the number of words in subsequent entries.

  16. The promise for me also, I clearly understood what d title meant in d story. The emphasis on *sixteen hours* is funny. The man is in for it big time, the second story is nice also also, I guess wat d writer was portraying was dat there are Different strokes for different emotions. Well,maybe not sha.

  17. The Promise! Captivating and straight to the point, with an even clearer theme.

  18. I prefer the first one. I wouldn’t say it was complex but it was not simple. I love the imagery, the diction, and the style. I love the fact that the emotions were swaying through my thoughts, and has made my thoughts more complex than they were.

    The second one portrays a clear picture of what is obtainable in childbearing. it’s vividness is thrilling.

  19. Both stories are nice but The Promise has my vote…the writer makes the scenes jump to life and i definitely could relate more to it.

  20. I’ll go with the promise. It made me laugh and flowed with the theme more than the first story. It was really short tho.

  21. I will go with the first story.its speaks volume about a whole lot human feeling.

  22. I prefer The promise. It was funny and relateable. The first one was vividly described. i had to read it twice but still could not grasp the story. Great job done by both of you

  23. I choose both stories. That’s right, I’m throwing a spanner in the works.

    • Too bad one story would definitely be voted for than the other…your spanner throw in the works can come in handy some other time.

  24. Looks like one story is winning it….where are the fans of long stories? The non-lazy and patient readers???

  25. Both stories are nice but i vote Different Shades in this round… though a bit complex but i like the picture the writer painted.

  26. I loved both stories, but while “The Promise” is more easily grasped, “Different Shades” conveys its themes with such subtlety: undercurrents in the story, which the reader takes in subconsciously. “The Promise” was quite predictable too. I knew the end from the first line of dialogue.
    So, it’s “Different Shades” for me.

  27. Wow! Two great writers on a collision course in a race against time to unravel the greatest perhaps??? OHK! Am done rambling, let’s get this show on the road shall we?! *laughing*

    The first story thrived in witticisms more than anything else and the second, its strong descriptive powers, and believability! Those were just dope! Plus, the first story got all lost on me! Has all the trappings of a lurid tale of sex, lies and deceit! The narrator’s wife to Honourable Lanre, has a pretty questionable past and also seems to be swinging with Aunty Peju in a ‘nocturnal tussle’, whilst Yemi ‘tastes’ better! Em….too much ‘attention to detail’, as in too much going on there that I just kinda got lost altogether! The meaning got totally lost on me, scatterbrained somewhat!

    So, the second story takes it for me! ‘The Promise’ captured a real life drama as seen in a delivery unit of an hospital! Its not far-fetched, its very believable and the storyline’s crystal-clear; easy to understand! It resonates and I can pretty much relate too! Let’s have round two now shall we?! Please?!

    • Aunty you suppose be English teacher ooooo

    • Ooooo Yemie, I just read your comment after posting mine…my thoughts exactly…I just couldn’t understand the lead character in different shades…was she a female or male…a bisexual or what…too confusing abeg…the promise gets my vote too..

  28. I typed a long epistle and network did not let me post it, so, I’ll just vote. No.2

  29. Pls biko make una no vex ooo. I might b slow or something but wetin story 1 dey talk? Can some one pls explain. N d writer for story 2 abi u no see d lenght of ur competitor’s story? N wetin na? Wc kin short tin b dis? @least u for tell us d kin promise nah!! O chim. Make una two take time.
    Anyway I don vex finish. I like story 2 cos story 1 na real jagbajantics for me

  30. The minutes of pleasurable pleasures enjoyed and the excruciating atmosphere of childbirth.
    The aspect to which every young lady
    who wants to be a mother would dare to face
    The supportive company of a devoted Husband
    sixteen hours in the theater unequal to the moment spent together
    The Joys of motherhood
    the welcoming of another being a baby bouncing boy”
    The happiness and uncertainties of going to be parents now… hence THE PROMISE!

    DIFFERENT SHADES I must confess is a bit too difficult to understand. One have to be careful enough to comprehend the subject matter of the story. The characters are quite delirious to come to grasp who really is who? or maybe Yemi is the troublesome co-wife? always at war with our narrator whose name wasn’t mentioned!

    And the narrator being a keen and easygoing character though witty and smart too! Knowing what next!

    But THE PROMISE is more amplified and articulated!

  31. It just has to be THE PROMISE for me

  32. I vote for different shades. The suspense kept me reading the the end.

  33. I choose The Promise

    • Finally!!! That smarts Anyi, phew!!! After going round and round in several circles, you eventually made a clear choice for how?! How’s that even possible?! *rme* Anyways, to God be all the glory, Hallelujah! I shall surely testify of this ‘wonder’, of a truth, I shall! *Yinmu* LMAO

    • shakespeareanwalter

      Finally he has taken out the spanner and made a choice, ladies and gentlemen.

  34. I so much enjoyed the humour and word use in the first, but really, it’s a tad confusing. The second story on the other hand paints the picture clearly; I could follow with ease (lazy me shey? Different strokes—or shades—for different folks abeg 🙂 ).

    THE PROMISE it is. I promise to visit again. 🙂

  35. Well looking at it in relation to the theme of the challenge. THE PROMISE killed it.

    Looking at it from the literary devices employed I choose DIFFERENT STROKES, the flow and rythmn is complex and so different. Its a work of genius.

    But I vote for THE PROMISE direct and straight to the point.

  36. I could actually hear Esther screaming in the second story. I could almost feel her pain – I pity the husband sha. Ehem. The story was too short but I guess thats because the message has already been passed. That said, I think I ‘ll go with story 1. I like the style and concept even though I haven’t totally grasped the full meaning of the story. I ‘ll do well to go through it again.

  37. OK, I do not want to read any comments before I comment. In my own critique, I just have to give my applause to ‘THE pRoMiSe’ it does stick to the theme and is easy to read and follow. ‘ different shades’ on the other hand is too complicated with lots of characters, I got lost on the theme…
    So without knowing which writer wrote which story, I am voting for *ThE PROMISE *

  38. I chose Story 1. I love the intrigue and humour. Had to laugh out loud a couple of times. Its interpretation of the theme is interesting and enigmatic. Story 2 was also interesting and had a straightforward way of interpreting the theme but I wouldn’t say it had the measure of suspense and fascination I usually like to enjoy in short stories. So happy about this competition, looking forward to Tuesdays *rubbing my hands gleefully*

  39. I love story 2, The Promise. I can relate to that and i believe for me, it suits the theme of the week perfectly. It was short yes, but flowed well and was very understandable. I felt the emotions which the woman in labour was going through. From start to finish, me likey.

    Story 1, Different Shades, however got me quite confused. I’m not a great fan of that style of writing. I read it 2 times but it failed to paint a clear picture to me of what i feel the writer intended. Infact, at first i felt it was a woman who was narrating the story…then as i read on, i concluded it was a man. And till this moment, i’m still wondering what or who the narrator is. Nice descriptions though, but my vote goes to The Promise.

  40. First of all…go down low.lol. Really though, this is good stuff; well done, guys.

    I like the direction story 1 was going in, which was aptly chorused by its title. Different shades indeed. The writer did an admirable job of capturing different perspectives of one story in a few paragraphs, and he did this with a healthy dose of humor; also he (you both are male, right?) could do better with construction and choice of diction. Make we wey dey try read follow enjoy the gist ni.
    Story 2 was wonderful too, started out on a very ‘sit-up’ note with good imagery, unencumbered flow of thoughts and equally good humor. I suspect the brevity was intentional, a la suspense but writer, your readers have spoken!

    I won’t be voting today because somehow I don’t see that either story did justice to the theme – The use of one’s status of advantage to steer a situation in his favour. In story 1, it seemed to me like the theme occurred in one or two places, places I only discovered upon the second and third reading; this made it more like an aside than a central idea. And story 2 ended just at the point I expected it to break open the theme.

    If I were absolutely forced to vote, I maybe would be eyeing story 1 but I see no guns around so no. Great stories, guys but I’m keeping my vote.
    You garra work forrrit!

  41. shakespeareanwalter

    Its been 48 hours now.

    Voting is officially closed. Any further comments from hereon in should probably be about the stories, not voting the ones preferred. as for the writers, James Becks Robert wrote DIFFERENT SHADES and I wrote THE PROMISE.

    Thanks, guys, for all the positive feedback. Your comments, critiques, quips and corrections and informed dissection of the stories were immensely appreciated.

    • you should not have spilled who wrote which to the end. at the end of the challenge, you will now analyze the stories and the votes each got. that is when the writers of each story should then be revealed.

      but even without you saying it, I knew unequivocally that you birthed “the promise”. it had your signature all over it.

      Writing style, diction, grammar, ease of reading, clarity, “the promise” had it. it had a beauty in its simplicity but then it was one dimensional and was too oversimplified. it lacked punch…

      “Different shades” had going for it intrigue, exploring the basest of human emotions and behavior, use of metaphors and imagery. however, it fell short in writing style, I noticed some typos and wrong tenses.
      it’s message was not clear and that was a big minus. if your readers are unable to understand the message you are trying to pass across or need a degree/diploma in English Literature to adequately analyze your work, then I think that work has failed.

      since voting has closed…I will refrain from voting…

  42. I will still comment joor, as I started reading this yesterday till ‘something came up.’ Story 1 would have it for me. This is because that’s the story I’d like to know about. There’s something market-place about Story 2. It is short as should and I can’t see the story headed anywhere that would be of interest for the kind of literature I like to read. When it comes to themes, I’d still go for story1 because it had a lot to offer.

  43. I remember when I was still in the secondary school, about to take SSCE. My English teacher will always tell me to make my essay unambiguous and straight to the point. Reading the first story reminded me of all those; thus I will go for the second story which is clear and straight to the point.
    Oops…guess I’m the last to comment…lol.
    The Promise takes it all.

  44. The second story for me. It was simple and actually told a story. More importantly, it made me want more.

  45. i know i’m late…but number 2 is so so cool! the mixture of pleasure and pain is clearly portrayed here and the theme:”e use of one’s status of advantage to steer a situation in his favour”. is shown when All that after sixteen hours of labour.

    “You will make it up to me,” she said again, emphatically. “You will.”

  46. Commenting on January sounds ridi-absurd, but I will comment anyway.

    First story seem to be like reading a two hundred and ninety pages and summarising it for a Prof in one page. Will like to read the story in full. It holds some very nice dirty secret and down play of integrity

    The second, I pity Chima for only God will save him from his promise. This is so much easy to read and one could almost think one was reading from the labour room.

    I need not vote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *