U is for Ugbor
Standing on tiptoes, her arms and jaw resting on the frame, Elizabeth Ikhide looked out of the living room window of her parents’ apartment. It was a warm and tranquil Nigerian Wednesday morning on the BDPA estate. No outsider would ever have guessed how cold and terrifying the previous night had been: dogs barking, ripples of gunshots, three apartments robbed and two people killed. Little Liz hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep.
Wow! The opening paragraph of On Tuesday Night, Ofure Omoike’s story in story in Cat Tales, the anthology drawn from last year’s Book a Break short story competition, takes us straight into the thick of the action.
Ugbor, incidentally, is a district of Benin City, where Ofure’s story is set. It’s where Liz and her family go to live at the end of the story, with its cramped and ostentatious duplexes encased by gigantic fences and gates all screaming two words: Security and Privacy. Liz doesn’t want to go. She’s only eight and there’s a lot she doesn’t understand. Why is everyone acting strangely? Why are her parents so quiet? And what happened to Tom and Thelma, the cats she tried to keep secret?
Betrayal, illness, growing up, loss, departure – Ofure’s story describes the brutal end of a childhood. It’s something we all go through – well, kittenhood in my case – but to poor, bewildered Liz, the change is sudden, the cruelty of the world all crammed into Tuesday night.
Well, today is Tuesday of course, and perhaps tonight will be just as eventful in Taunton. I doubt it though. The only thing that’s happened so far is that firefighters rescued a woman who got her leg trapped in a sun lounger. That and my maiden flight with Desdemona Dimple, which ended in disaster, I’m afraid. She crashed into the Stantons’ sycamore. A cruel deception indeed. Oh, well. It’s plan B now. The Eurostar.
The proceeds from Cat Tales go to two charities, Cats Protection and the Against Malaria Foundation. So please don’t hesitate to spread the word and help us raise more funds. And of course, if you click on the button, you can read Ofure’s story yourself and find out exactly what happened on Tuesday night.
In a special promotion deal, the price of Cat Tales is just $1.99 for the whole month of April. Available as a PDF (or epub / mobi) complete with colour illustrations directly from this site* by clicking the button below. Also available in print (black & white, $9.50).
*Buying from this site results in $1.61 after the PayPal commission, as opposed to just $0.70 when buying from Amazon. An insecticide treated mosquito net, which protects on average 2 people for 3 to 4 years, costs $2.50. PLUS, if you buy from this site, you’ll get a personal message of thanks from Curtis along with a short story of his own (in which Nibbles the cat, I’m sorry to say, comes to a rather unfortunate end).