Vincent de Paul – EAFF Profile

The EA Friday Feature is a circle of five writers who write 1,000 word flash fiction stories every Friday and post them on their blogs.  This week, we feature these authors, as we get to know them better, and learn what inspires them to write their stories.

Vincent from Flashes of Vice

He writes stories of crime and vice, meant to leave you sleeping with the lights on, or just wondering at human nature and the decisions we make.  Vincent has written several books of poetry, and has recently published a book named TWISTED TIMES: Son of Man.  Here’s a short excerpt:book-cover-final-01front

The fallen children of darkness, that’s what we were. Vampires. Ghosts only heard in the darkness of the night whistling by the unlucky few.

At night we would go to rob the dead of their last signs of love and affection from their families, their last possessions in their transience. It was almost a year now since I joined the Mavis gang and I was changed. The inborn human fear of the places we visited at night to steal coffins was long gone. To us it was a waste of resources for caskets costing hundreds of thousands going to waste in the polluted soils of this world…

It is much harder for a poor coward fool to enter the kingdom of money and riches than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle…

Read more of this here

Author Bio:

Vincent de Paul is a freelance writer, blogger, poet & author. He studied Comprehensive Creative Writing at the Writers Bureau, Manchester, UK. He is an Indie author with collections of poetry and short stories. In his words:

Thirty years ago I was born. I had a life I can’t talk about, yet. Went to school barefoot like any other ‘90s village kid. Had all the mischief. Made it through what life presented. And then became a writer.

Elly in Nairobi: You have recently published a book: Twisted Times.  Tell us what the book is about.

Vincent: The book is about self-independence from parental control, choices and consequences of the decisions we make. A story of love, betrayal, and vengeance. A twisted society where corruption is the order of the day, murder is like a ritual, and religion is the haven for the devil incarnate. In the end, victim or perpetrator life is a twisty bastard.

Elly in Nairobi: You write both poetry and fiction.  What is your favorite to write?  Short stories or fiction?
Vincent: Both are my favourite, but poetry carries the day. Poetry evokes emotions, feelings, that fiction doesn’t, and I connect more with my poems than fiction.

Elly in Nairobi: Have you always written?  If so, do you remember what first inspired you to put pen to paper and write?
Vincent: In primary school I hated writing compositions. Things changed in high school. It was a national competition that made me write and let my work out there.

Elly in Nairobi: How do you juggle your day job, and writing?  Does it affect your writing process, and how do you handle it?
  Vincent: Mostly during the day I work, unless I’m having some me time when I write. Writing is at the witch hours of the night.

Elly in Nairobi: You have Mystery Publishers running, tell us a bit about this company, and what your vision is for fiction in Kenya.
Vincent: Mystery Publishers is an online Indie author-focused self-publishing company devoted to publishing genre fiction with contemporary settings, story lines and characters; thrilling, fast-paced African stories about everyday life purely for entertainment. We publish eBooks via Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and Print-on-Demand paperbacks on CreateSpace for those who don’t have the time to do it for themselves, don’t know how to, or they want a company that will publish their stories. My vision is to introduce pop literature books in the Kenyan book market which is populated with educational and school text materials. Not that pop literature books are not there, they are, but the readership is low compared to literary works which are mostly done in school. The students leave the books immediately they are done with the exams. They prefer to watch movies, play video games, read western novels, or engage in idle talk and gossip. I want to produce books that read like a movie, a video game, like the western novels, and bring the idle talk and gossip to the reader; books the examination council won’t recommend for schools but would be unputdownable. I am looking for the writers who would write that kind of stories.

Elly in Nairobi: Do you have another hobby other than writing?
Vincent: Yes. Swimming, cycling, hiking.

Elly in Nairobi: A short statement on what you’d like the readers to know about your writing and your stories.
Vincent: I will not always write what everyone likes, but I will try as much as possible not to bore. My stories are not parables, or sermons, so cut me some slack.

Get his books on Amazon:

Thank you Vincent for answering my questions.  Tomorrow this blog features Awesome Dora from Nilichoandika

Annemarie Musawale – EAFF Profile

The EA Friday Feature is a circle of five writers who write 1,000 word flash fiction stories every Friday and post them on their blogs.  This week, we feature these authors, as we get to know them better, and learn what inspires them to write their stories.

Annemarie from Child of Destiny

I love her stories because they always touch on the paranormal, the other world, or just plain fun.  Her wit makes me laugh, and let’s not forget the love of Sam and Dean in Supernatural.  This October, she’s worked on her story about a man named Bulitia.  He’s a man taken from his home and thrust into a new world, this story reminds me a bit of Amistad.  Annemarie has also published a book this October.

Child of Destiny is her third book out…here’s a short glimpse.

….“Where’s your grandmother?” he asked, in a tone that strove for light curiosity but ended up sounding 9adeaa199e5a6176d119271c9da987e2e13ff309merely exasperated.

She narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously; he noticed that they became almost black.

“Why?” she asked.

“Well, I’ve been here three times and haven’t really seen her. I just wondered…” he replied, managing this time to sound casual about it.

She seemed to think about his answer like she was searching for loopholes or hidden implications.

“She went to New Orleans,” she replied finally,“for the festival.”

“Festival?” he asked, intrigued.

He put down his brush and sat on the floor facing her.

“The Feast of the Dead,” she replied.

“The feast…of the dead?” he asked tentatively.

“Yes,” she replied without embellishment.

“You mean like Toussaint?” he asked, accenting it correctly in French.

“Yes,” she said in surprise that he knew that name.

“But…isn’t that like, on Halloween?” he asked, trying to get her to speak in more than one syllable.

“It is.” She replied.

He raised his eyebrows at her, and kept silence so she would be forced to fill it.

After a minute of staring, she sighed and said, “My grandpa George is buried in the family crypt in New Orleans. Every year, my grandmother and…other friends gather to celebrate the day of his death which was 17th of August, 1980. They prepare immortelles for his grave, burn candles and tell stories to remember him. It is a ceremony that starts on the day of his death and concludes on Toussaint or the All Saints Day as the Christians call it. This year is special because it’s the ten year anniversary of his death.”

This little speech brought up so many questions for him; he didn’t know where to start…

“By friends, you mean other witches?” he asked her, wondering if she would answer.

She did not generally talk about her witchyness. If it hadn’t been for The Charlotte Incident, he probably wouldn’t have believed the stories.

“Witches, warlocks, other family members…” she replied with a shrug…”

Read more of this story, get the book here: Child of Destiny

Author Profile:

Annemarie Musawale is a free spirited single mom with a passion for reading and writing stories.  She’s lived in Nairobi, Kenya for most of her life but considers herself to be a citizen of the world. She is a very cerebral person, able to exist mostly in her head which is very advantageous because the life of a writer is rather solitary. Her first story was written at some point in nursery school and her mother said, “Very Good, keep going”, so she did. But somehow she did not consider it as a career choice. She assumed writing stories is just what people do…like in their spare time. However when her son was about nine, he got a serious respiratory infection that required him to be admitted to hospital. Her job working as a pharm tech for a chemist meant she could not get any leave time to go be with her son in his time of need. That was when she considered a career change which would give her greater flexibility. Enter Academic Writing…which lead to other types of writing for money. Somehow, through that process, her first book, Child of Destiny was written and submitted to the Kwani Manuscript Project.  The rest is kind of history.

Elly in Nairobi:  You have recently published a book, Child of Destiny, tell us a bit about this book.
Annemarie:
Child of Destiny is the first book I wrote in this series (Child of Destiny series), yet it’s the last to be published. It’s about the power of love to overcome and what the magic of love can produce if you let it. It’s totally not a romantic story though. It serves too much realness for that. But because of its realness, it seems to me to be likely to happen sometime somewhere. That’s what I try to do with all my stories however outlandish; make them likely. I really enjoyed writing this one; I didn’t hold back in any area and people might go from fanning themselves in arousal to embarrassment. Hopefully it starts some conversations going. Mostly I just really want people to enjoy it.

Elly in Nairobi: What inspires you to write fiction?  What is your favorite thing about writing fiction?
Annemarie:
The thing I love about fiction is the creation of worlds and universes that both the reader and the writer can escape into when reality gets too harsh. Its also just another form of being a creative being that
God made us to be. Everyone has the gift of creation;mine is stories.

Elly in Nairobi:  What is your day like?
Annemarie:
My day begins with checking my mail and then my social media. After that, I set up my ‘office’ either on my verandah or my living room depending on the weather and my mood. Have some breakfast and get to
work. Sometimes I exercise before starting on my workday, other times I don’t. Depends on my energy levels. I write most of the day sometimes until past midnight with one or two stops for meals and lots of tea.

Elly in Nairobi:  The quirkiest thing you’ve done lately.
Annemarie:
The quirkiest thing I’ve done lately is DM Rihanna on twitter a link to my book I guess.

Elly in Nairobi: What is it like for you writing the EA Friday Feature?
  Annemarie: I enjoy the camaraderie of having five other writers collaborating with me. It’s a window to other worlds and teaches me something about how other writers are doing things. It also gives me feedback on my writing which is wonderful. I love honest feedback.

Elly in Nairobi Anything you’d like to tell your readers, and new fans.
Annemarie:
I’d like to tell my readers that I have created the Child of Destiny universe for their enjoyment and maybe also they learn something new they didn’t know. I try to base my legends and all in actual historical fact as much as possible though I don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Get her Book today:
9adeaa199e5a6176d119271c9da987e2e13ff309

Download it at Smashword

Price: $5

 

Thank you Annemarie for taking the time for this short interview.   I look forward to reading more stories from your blog.  Look forward to an interview from Vincent of Flashes of Vice

 

Maureen Wakarindi – EAFF Profile

The EA Friday Feature is a circle of five writers who write 1,000 word flash fiction stories every Friday and post them on their blogs.  This week, we feature these authors, as we get to know them better, and learn what inspires them to write their stories.

Maureen Wakarindi from Nepenthe

Maureen joined the EA Friday Feature group in September, and she’s blog2added a great new set of stories to our little circle.  I have especially enjoyed reading her story, Some Kind of Love.  Here’s a short glimpse:

 ….As for technology, the villagers were a simple folk. They were used to relying on what they could see with their own eyes.

Last year, Waiguru, a daughter of the tribe, had gone out to the world in search of education and come back with many new things, including a mobile phone. As was customary, she had presented it to her father as a gift and showed him how to use it to call his brother who lived in another country. The whole village had gathered to witness this strange phenomenon.

When the brother’s voice came over the speaker, Mzee Ayubu having not known what to expect, had reacted with fear. He had declared that, as the spiritual leader of the community, Ngai had told him that they were evil spirits. He also declared that the devil had decided to pitch tent in his daughter and therefore, the only way to get him out was to beat the hell out of her. That said, the next hour was spent publicly flogging his daughter while the other villagers simultaneously prayed for their souls and encouraged him to beat her harder.  To get out the devil, of course.  As if that wasn’t enough she had to watch as her precious phone was thrown into the communal fire and burnt to a crisp. Henceforth, she was known as the girl who had brought the devil to the village to feast on everyone’s souls ( the gossipers had exaggerated the story a little bit to make it more interesting). It was no wonder that when she next left the village she did not return. Neither did development….”

Read more of this amazing story at her blog.

Author Profile:

I am Maureen Wambui, God fearing, intelligent and an observer of
people. I love cars, heights and sarcasm. I can be loud, opinionated
and stubborn, but you’ll love me anyway. I am a lover of words and
nothing gives me greater pleasure than being able to use those words
in my story. I have two blogs, and I also write for the Storymoja blog
using the name Maureen Wakarindi. Please feel free to stalk my work,
and tell me what you think.

1. What has it been like to write for the EA Friday Feature?
Writing for the EA Friday Feature has been a great experience. Apart from meeting and knowing other amazing writers, it has really pushed me to write something that my readers will love and can relate to.

2. What inspires you to write fiction?   Have you always written? Do you share your work elsewhere?
I have always written fiction. I find it easier to bring out my thoughts and feelings when it’s in a hypothetical situation. I share my work on my personal blog, wakarindimaureen.wordpress.com.

3. What type of characters inspire you?  When you read books, what kind of stories leave you feeling like you’ve really changed, or been inspired?
I love characters that are real,characters that have a certain human flaw or are endearing in their very nature.When I read a book, I am drawn to the stories within the story. That is why I mostly look for series.

4. Tell us what fun thing have you done this year?  Do you think you’ll do it again?
I was an intern and blogger at Storymoja Festival this year. It gave me the opportunity to learn from and interact with many well known literary personalities and they really helped me to be better. Given a chance I would definitely do it again.

From Maureen:

When I write I use my words to paint a picture of what I want to
say. My only wish is that the reader feels and can relate to the
emotion I portray.

Thank you, Maureen for agreeing to do this short interview. Look forward to the next interview from the Super Annemarie of Child of Destiny

The Girl with the Golden Smile – Final

Part 8 – On Love, Waiting & Realization

The thing with love, Nicholas thought, is that it didn’t come like in the movies.EA 2

There was no spark, no wave to wash over the heart like magic.

Love at first sight, he scoffed.  Yeah right.

He’d never subscribed to that piece of lunacy. All he knew was that love came when you least expected it. In the form of realization, and not struck down like an idiot holding a lighting rod.

He shook his head, his gaze on Nalia who’d spent the past five minutes lighting a jiko. She was coughing now, the smoke rising from the lighting charcoal all but choking her. She wiped a hand over her brow, and left a smudge of charcoal on her forehead. Her weave was covered with an old scarf, and the green apron she wore had definitely seen better days.

Nalia scowled at the rising smoke and stepped back from the jiko. She entered her bakery, using the back door and returned with a plastic lid. Nicholas sat back in his seat, watching her fan the jiko like her life depended on it. She had a cake order due in the afternoon. Her charcoal oven was unlit, and it was almost eleven o’clock. He’d asked her countless times if he could buy an electric oven for her, but she refused. Preferring the charcoal oven to the whopping electric bill…the woman was strict when it came to expenses.  Her bakery was doing well. She was the baking primary school teacher now, instead of the divorced primary school teacher.

She’d worked a year to get rid of that title.

One whole year, he sighed. One year of watching and waiting for the right moment. One year for the realization of love to come, take root and take over his life.

Nicholas visited Nalia when he could.  He sat here in the small yard outside her bakery and rental house watching her work to build a new life out of the ashes Malik had left her.  She never complained, even when her orders overwhelmed her at times. Or when she ordered sacks of flour and her supplier refused to bring it over, making her get it from the shop. Nicolas chastised her constantly when she chose not to call him for help and instead struggled with public transport.

Stubborn woman…Miss Independent…he sighed.

Yet her tenacity made her appealing. Hell, he’d probably started falling for her when she’d jumped in front of his car one rainy night. Those days, he’d not been ready to imagine he could allow a woman close to his heart.

A painful poke on his shoulder brought him back from his thoughts, and he blinked when he realized Nalia stood a few feet away.

“Your phone is driving me crazy,” she said. “Answer it.”

The ring tone penetrated his thoughts, and he grinned. Reaching for the gadget, he watched Nalia walk back to her jiko. Thankfully, there was progress and the charcoal was lit.

“Hello,” he answered his call.

“Did you find the courage yet?” Eli asked in greeting.

Nicholas sighed staring at Nalia as she carried the jiko to her charcoal oven.

“I’m afraid to talk about that right now, she’s on a tight deadline…

“Chicken,” Eli teased. “If you don’t tell her, I’ll call her and break the news to her.”

“You wouldn’t dare,” Nicholas said, afraid Eli might carry out his threat.

Eli and Nalia had formed a fast friendship. He’d been jealous at first, but now he liked that Nalia had Eli to rely on too. AFter learning the truth about her submissive life with that Malik, he wanted her to have people to call on, people to trust.

“Your pitiful stalking is getting to a critical stage.” Eli sighed on the other end. “You’ve even kept the villa, Nick. Is it for her?”

“She liked that house,” Nicholas said with a sigh. “The books in the library…Oh stop rushing me, I’ll do this on my own time.”

Eli laughed. “Fine, you coward, if she calls me at all, I’m going to drop a huge hint.”

Eli ended the call before he could protest, and Nicholas got to his feet.

“Do you have to leave?” Nalia asked her hands at her hip as she turned to look at him.

“No,” he said.

“Oh good, make yourself useful.”  Nalia frowned, her gaze taking him in. “You might want to roll up your sleeves. Don’t want to ruin your handsome shirt.”

Nicholas put his cell phone into his pocket and did as asked. He neatly folded his shirtsleeves to his to his elbows.
He glanced at Nalia, and almost balked when she pointed at a sack of charcoal leaning against the wall.

“Will you put that in for me?”

Nicholas shuddered glancing at his pristine pale blue shirt. He had come straight from his office, hoping to catch Nalia and ask her out. Instead, here he was…he gave an inward groan and bravely walked to the sack of charcoal. Thanking his gym time, he carried the bag into the bakery and placed it at the spot she designated. Dumping the bag on the stand, he stepped back quickly and caught a snicker from Nalia.

Turning to look at her, he frowned when she laughed.

“I didn’t think you’d do it,” she said in between chuckles. “Nick…

“Woman,” he said inspecting his shirt.  There was a smudge on his stomach, he wiped at it with his hands and frowned when he added to the stain.

“Stop,” she said, swiping his hands away. “You’ll only make it worse. Come on, wash your hands, and take the shirt off, I’ll clean that spot for you.”

“Why would you make carry the charcoal then?” Nicholas asked as she led him to the sink and handed him soap.

Nalia leaned on the counter with a smile.

Damn that smile, the golden smile he saw in his dreams.

Nicholas stopped washing his hands and turned to her.

“I came to ask you if you’d go see the villa with me.”

Nalia met his gaze in surprise. “Are you selling it?”

Nicholas winced. “I was going to, when we first met.”

“Oh,” Nalia sighed. “I guess the new owners will have asked you to gut it and—

“I changed my mind,” he said then.

“About what?”

“Selling the villa,” he said, taking in a deep breath. “I kept the house.”

“Kept it?” Nalia stared at him. “As in you’re going to live there? Here I thought you were a simple man…what do you need all that space for—

“I was going to ask you to move in with me.”

Nalia gaped, her eyes going wide. “What?”

“I—,” Nicholas broke off and he reached out to wipe the smudge of charcoal on Nalia’s forehead. “I love you.”

“Nicholas.”

“I have thought about this for months, and—

“Months?” Nalia sighed. “When were you going to let me in on your thoughts?”

Nicholas shrugged. “When I was sure?”

Nalia stared at him and for a moment he thought he’d misread her.

She grinned.

“I’ve known for a while, you know. No man will agree to carry charcoal when dressed like you are right now.”

“I should have known you knew,” he said then, staring at the smudge on her face.

“Why?”

“No woman will stay with charcoal smudges on her face in front of a man she likes, without assurance,” he said.

“Oh you,” she pushed at his chest and he caught her arms with a laugh, pulling her into his arms as he’d wanted to for a year.

He kissed her then, and smiled when she wrapped her arms around him. It was like coming home.

“I promise to protect you,” Nicholas said when they broke apart and he hugged her. “I won’t break your trust, Nalia.”

Nalia sighed and held on tighter.

“You gave me strength when I didn’t have any. If I hadn’t met you, I’d still be married to Malik. I’d have gone back to him, thinking that I’d keep surviving. But meeting you saved me from that.”

“Nalia.”

“I’m glad that you’ve waited this long for me,” Nalia leaned up to kiss his left jaw.

“So what is your answer, girl with a golden smile?” Nicholas asked needing a clear way forward.

Nalia kissed his right jaw, and said, “Yes.”

Nicholas let out a happy sigh and wrapped her in his arms, whirling about in the middle of her bakery.

“I have a cake to bake,” she said when he held on.

“You’re spoiling the moment,” Nicholas complained.

“And I have a business to run,” Nalia said extracting herself from his arms. “You’d better go inside and get that shirt off. I have t-shirts in there…

Nicholas smiled as she moved him aside to wash her hands.

His woman, he thought as she went to whip up a cake recipe…he couldn’t wait to see what the future held for them.

***

Fin

Thank you for reading.

Previous Chapters

Girl with the Golden Smile – 7

Other EA Friday Feature Stories

Can I take your order

The Prostitute Killer

Some Kind of Love – 5

It’s A Rat Race

The Girl with the Golden Smile – 7

7 – Choices

Nalia clutched her handbag, as she waited outside the Kilimani courthouse. Her choices led her to this moment; still divorceEA 2 wasn’t an easy choice. She’d struggled with the decision. Her hand touched her jaw, and for the first time in years marveled at the lack of pain.
Men and women alike glanced her way, as they passed her. She was glad to find the overwhelming urge to keep her head down gone. Before, with Malik, she’d found it hard to look up, afraid people would guess how she’d gotten the bruises on her jaw. God, she’d hated that feeling. That helpless feeling that she couldn’t express without tears filling her eyes, and sliding down her cheeks.

Nalia let out a soft breath and glanced at the time on her phone.

Nicholas was late.

She frowned.

Nicholas.

He remained worlds away, even though they’d spent almost everyday together for the past two months. Nicholas had turned cold toward her after he found out she was married.

As if a switch had turned off inside him, Nalia’s frown deepened.

Perhaps he judged her choices harshly. She couldn’t tell. Nicholas helped her without complaint. He wasn’t her lawyer; he’d refused that job outright, and instead, had gotten a competent woman named Christine who worked with FIDA.

Christine was a godsend.  Christine had taken her through the divorce process without asking for money first. When Malik had shown up at the new one-room house Nalia was renting, Christine helped save her from a beating. Christine had used that incident to get the law on Nalia’s side. There was nothing to fight for in court. Nalia didn’t want anything Malik owned, or his money. She was afraid that money would haunt her. She thanked God everyday that they hadn’t gotten children. It made the divorce process easier.

Nalia sighed leaning on the wall.

“Are you happy?” Malik asked and she looked up in surprise to find him standing a few feet away from her.

“I asked, are you happy Nalia?” Malik asked when she didn’t answer him right away.

Malik looked tired, his suit hanging on his shoulders, his jaw unshaven. His eyes, however, still held the same anger toward her. He refused to forgive her for making the choice to leave their home.

“I’m happy,” she said now, her voice strong.

“You’ve made us into the talk of the town. Everyone knows we’re divorced. How are you going to keep working at the school? Surely parents will shun you for being a divorcee,” he sneered.

“If they don’t want me there, I can always get a transfer to another school,” Nalia said.

She had options. Christine taught her that. Refusing to leave a bad marriage was not one of those options. Christine taught her that choosing to live a free and happy life was the most important decision to make.

“You have everything figured out,” Malik said.

Far from it, Nalia thought. Holding Malik’s gaze, she straightened her shoulders.

“No, I don’t. All I know is that I don’t want you slapping me because you don’t get what you want.”

Malik scoffed and took a step closer.

Fear arced through her, irrational fear, because they were in public. There were people passing them and the sun was out. Malik wouldn’t dare hurt her here, but still the fear grew deep inside her and she had to clench her fists to keep from running.

“You’re weak,” Malik said in a hateful tone. “You’re no beauty, and you could never fit my standards. It’s good you’ve left. I’ll find a better wife now.”

Nalia bit her inner lip wishing she could ignore his words. She knew Malik wanted to hurt her, and she shouldn’t let his words matter, yet they did. They mattered because she’d loved him. Loved him enough to marry him, and try to build a life with him.

Tears stung the back of her eyes and he smirked.

“I hope you’ll be happy,” she said in a tight voice.

She locked her knees as he stared at her for a moment, before he turned away and went into the courthouse. She fell back on the wall with a sigh once he disappeared, and took in a deep breath.

Warm hands clutched her shoulders and she looked up into Nicholas’s kind eyes.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

The tears she’d held back fought their way out, her eyes filling; she blinked fast hoping to keep them at bay.

“You did well,” Nicholas said, squeezing her shoulders. “You did very well.”

She closed her eyes and the tears fell down her cheeks. Nicholas moved closer, handing her a handkerchief, he waited for her to wipe her eyes and compose herself.

“You’re late,” she said after a while, staring at his white handkerchief.

“I’m sorry.”

She met Nicholas’s gaze.  She wasn’t sure what he was sorry about, being late, or being cold toward her.

“Well, you’re here now,” she said with a small shrug. “Christine is getting paperwork done. She wanted to talk to you.”

“I know,” Nicholas said, his gaze still holding hers. “I’m—

She frowned when he broke off.

“What?” she asked.

“I thought distance was better,” Nicholas said abruptly. “I thought it would make this easier for you. Watching you stand up to him, I think I made a mistake. Nalia—

She dropped her gaze to his shirt collar. “I thought you didn’t want anything to do with me because of him and the divorce.”

“That’s not true,” Nicholas said touching her right shoulder.

Nalia met his gaze, a soft gasp escaped at the longing in his eyes.

“It’s time,” Christine interrupted coming up to them holding a pile of files. “We should go in.”

Nicholas nodded and squeezed Nalia’s right shoulder. Christine headed into the courthouse, but Nicholas stopped Nalia.

“It’s almost over,” he said.

Nalia smiled. “I feel like its just beginning.”

Nicholas took her right hand and squeezed gently.

“I’m right here,” he said. “Right here with you.”

It was hard to ignore the wave of happiness that swept through her.

****

Other Stories from the EA Friday Feature:

The Restaurant: You’re a Waiter

Some Kind of Love – 4

Unlucky 13

The Plot it Thickens

 

The Girl with the Golden Smile – 5

The Girl with the Golden Smile – 5

Nicholas couldn’t help stealing glances at Nalia. He drove with care, keeping to the speed limit, not overtaking at EA 2will. A smile tagged at his lips.

Eli would be proud, he thought.

Nalia sat with her hands on her lap. Her fingers were in tight fists, her gaze fixed outside the window. She hadn’t spoken much after her consultation with Eli.  Eli resisted his efforts to discover what they discussed in privacy. Instead, Eli had given Nalia his card and made her promise to call him.

Nicholas stopped the car at the first bus stop he found on the main road. Parking on the curb, he turned to Nalia.

“Do you live close?” he asked.

She nodded, but didn’t say a word.

Reaching into his jacket, Nicholas got his wallet and found a five hundred shillings note.

“Will this be enough?” he asked, holding it out to her. “It should get you home—,”

“That’s too much,” Nalia said. “Two hundred is fine.”

Nicholas sighed.

“I don’t have loose.”

She frowned at him.

He didn’t like those little frowns of hers. She probably thought him stuck-up or something worse for carrying large notes.

“Take the money, Nalia,” he urged.

She scoffed and took it with a short jerk. “I’ll pay it back.”

“Are you always this stubborn?” Nicholas asked. “You don’t want help from anyone. Who lives like that?”

“Me,” she said and reached for the door handle.

The surge of panic that flooded him was new.  Nicholas was sure he’d never see her again, but…he wanted to see her again.

“Wait,” he said when she opened the door.

“For what?” she asked jumping out of the cab.

She held the passenger door open and met his gaze.  When he didn’t say anything, she shrugged.

“Thank you,” she said. “You’ve been very kind to me.”

Nicholas nodded and watched as she closed the door and took two steps back.

She had his card, he thought.

She’d insisted on it, to be able to pay back the money she borrowed.

A matatu stopped in front of his car, and he watched Nalia hurry to board.  Nicholas smiled when she paused at the last minute to look back at his car. She gave him a short wave and he scoffed at the little flutter in his chest. The matatu took off as fast as it had shown up.

Nalia was intriguing.

She was a woman who took the time to bake to thank him for being kind. Her sense of humor made him laugh, not to mention she was beautiful in her own right. The bruise on her face brought a frown, and Nicholas wondered what it was Eli had learned about that bruise.

Domestic violence came to mind. He wondered what kind of man dared to hit a woman like Nalia. Would that bastard do it again?

Nicholas frowned, staring after the retreating matatu.

Maybe he shouldn’t have let her go.

“Come to your senses, Nick,” he murmured and started his car. “She’s a stranger you met last night.”

Turning the car around, he drove back to the villa and his renovation plans.

****

Malik wasn’t home when Nalia entered their small rental house.

floorNalia stood in their living room staring at the plates she’d dumped on the living room floor. She leaned down and righted one of the two dining room chairs they owned. She rubbed her arms looking around the little living room that could fit in the bathroom she’d used to clean up hours before.

Her home was small, but she’d once thought to be happy here, now this small space felt cold. Colder than the rain she’d ran through last night.

Ignoring the mess on the floor, Nalia went to the single bedroom she shared with Malik.

The bed was unused. Malik hadn’t slept here. She stepped over Malik’s soiled shirt on the floor and sat down on their bed. The room was messy: the clothes she fought to keep neat in their tiny closet were falling out.

Nalia shook her head.   She needed to figure out what she wanted.

****

“What kind of woman runs out in the rain?” Malik demanded later that day when he got home. “You made a mess, and then left me to clean it up. What did you think was going to happen?”

Nalia sat at the small dining table peeling potatoes for dinner. She kept her gaze on the potato peels, refusing to look at Malik.  Her husband was drunk. He had come home from one of his binges at the bar. Something was either right or terrible wrong. She didn’t dare ask. Her cheek was starting to heal. She didn’t need a fresh bruise.

“Are you just going to sit there?” Malik asked, standing over her. “All you do is cook and clean, work. You have no time for me. Why did we get married again? You don’t even try to look pretty anymore.”

Nalia closed her eyes and forced her fingers not to stiffen on the knife she held.

“Go sleep,” she said. “You must be tired.”

“Sleep here?” Malik scoffed. “This shack we call home is not comfortable, Nalia. What do you want to do about that?”

Nalia’s eyes opened and she dropped the knife on top of the potato peels.’

“What do I want to do?” she asked, her tone sharper than she’d intended.

Damn it, Malik was a spoiled man. She couldn’t stand it anymore.

Malik blinked staring at her.

“What am I to you?” she asked, pushing her chair back, Nalia got to her feet. “A punching bag? A private chef? Your cash cow?”

“Stop this foolishness,” Malik said with a wave of his hand. “You still haven’t told me where you went last night. No descent woman sleeps outside—

“Whose fault is it I went running out in the first place?” Nalia demanded. “I’m tired of this, Malik.”

“Tired of what?” Malik asked, his gaze dropping to the peeled potatoes. “Cooking?”

“No, being your slave,” Nalia snapped. “I want a divorce.”

****

Previous Chapters

The Girl with the Golden Smile – 4

Read More EA Friday Feature October Snippets

Amistad ain’t got nothing on me

The Assassin Diaries: Show me Mercy

Some Kind of Love

The Girl with the Golden Smile – 4

Prompt:

quote

The Girl with the Golden Smile – 4

“You haven’t told me your name,” Nalia said.

She trailed behind Nicholas, watching him survey the house. She supposed he was assessing his purchase. She tugged peeling paint from the wall in the corridor, and winced when white dust fell on the floor.

“Nicholas.” He flashed a grin at her. “Nicholas Muchemi.”

She nodded.

“Nice to meet you,” she said.

“So, Nalia,” Nicholas said walking down to the next room on the second floor. “What were you running from last night?”

“Do you have to know?”

“You said I was your lifesaver.  Of course I have to know.”

Nicholas leaned on the doorjamb to what appeared to be a library. There were old books left on the shelf. Nalia entered the room, the books calling to her.

“Lifesaver or not, I don’t know you well enough to tell you,” Nalia said, stopping by the bookshelves. She read the titles on the shelves with interest.

“Do you like books?” Nicholas asked.

“Some,” Nalia said touching the old spines. “The owner of these ones didn’t take care of them. Are you going to sellOld-Books them?”

“Maybe,” Nicholas said coming to stand beside her. “I might have them restored and keep them as part of the house.”

“How often do you do this sort of thing?” she asked, pulling out a geography encyclopedia from the shelf.

“This is my third house.”

Pride colored Nicholas’s words. Of course he would take pride in his achievement. She couldn’t imagine how much money it took to restore a house like this. She’d probably never see that kind of cash in her life. Returning the encyclopedia, she sighed and walked to the windows.

“It must be nice,” she said, staring out at the overgrown flower gardens behind the house.

“It’s a challenge. I like challenges,” Nicholas answered behind her. “You’re changing the subject, Nalia.”

“I don’t want to talk about last night. Why are you making me wait for your friend?”

“He’s a doctor.”

Nalia turned to look at Nicholas. He walked along the bookshelf, reading the book titles like a connoisseur. He was tall, taller than Malik. Nicholas was lean where Malik was bulky. Nicholas moved with grace, a warm refined air clung to him. Nalia imagined it came from years of living in a world he’d mastered.

She couldn’t imagine Malik browsing a bookshelf. Her husband preferred watching the news, and reading newspapers as though they held the secrets of the world. He thought novels were a waste of time, and he only wrote when he absolutely had to.

“Nalia,” Nicholas broke into her thoughts.

She blinked and stared at him.

“What are you thinking about? You looked so far away. My friend just text me, he’s two minutes away. We should head downstairs.”

Nalia frowned. “You said he was a doctor?”

Nicholas chuckled.

“Don’t worry, Eli is a real doctor. I saw him graduate and get his certification.”

Nalia stared at him and then she laughed.

The saga of a quack doctor had taken over the local news. A man who’d pretended to be a doctor and used his position to abuse women instead. She imagined doctors were having a hard time lately, having to prove they were real doctors.

Nicholas had a sense of humor.

She liked that.

“I like your laugh,” Nicholas said studying her.

His compliment shouldn’t have excited her, but it did. Warmth burst inside her, so vibrant, she forgot all the reasons why liking him was wrong. Heat suffused her cheeks and she dropped her gaze to the floor.

“We should go,” he said then.

She nodded and followed him out of the library.

She imagined the folks living here before must have been grand to have a whole room designated as a library. All her books were stacked on a carton in her closet. She often had to fight with her clothes to get those books to sit well.

Downstairs, anxiety hit when she heard the sound of another car. She slowed down, while Nicholas seemed to increase his footsteps, hurrying to the front door. She watched him open the door with a flourish.

She stopped in the middle of the living room. Fear returned, and she realized how free she’d felt before, when it had just been her and Nicholas. This house had somehow given her solace from her life in the last twelve hours. Sitting at the kitchen table with Nicholas, prowling the house with him, laughing…she couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt so carefree.

The sound of excited male voices outside reached her and she closed her eyes. She was scared again.  Nicholas returned followed by a short light-skinned man who carried a medical bag.

“Eli, this is Nalia,” Nicholas said, leaving the front door open. “Nalia, this is my best friend, Eli. He’s a private doctor.”

Nalia could only nod, her voice lost. She tried for a smile, but even that seemed stuck.

“Nalia,” Eli said with a warm smile. “I hope Nicholas has been good to you?”

She glanced at Nicholas and her traitorous heart skipped a beat.  Guilt set in. She was married. Yet here she was…tempted.

Alas, it was true; there is no one in the world that lived without sin, was she to count her sins in the last day, she was sure to burn.

Malik would be the one to burn her, she thought with a shiver.

“Shall we find a private room?” Eli broke into her thoughts. “I’ll take a look at that bruise on your cheek, put ointment on it.”

Nicholas pointed to a door to their right. She gave him a nervous smile and led the way to the door. It opened into a study. There was an old desk and a pair of chairs before it. She chose one and let out a shaky breath when Eli produced a stethoscope.

She closed her eyes when he leaned down to study the bruise on her cheek.

“Can I ask how you got this?” Eli asked.

She’d heard the question asked many times before. Concerned friends, her mother, her neighbors…she always lied. She told them stories of falling, bumping into doors, cupboards, absurd lies…never the truth. Opening her eyes, she met a kind gaze, and suddenly she just couldn’t lie anymore. Tears filled her eyes and she found she couldn’t form the words, though she wanted to say them.

“Did someone hit you?” Eli asked then, taking a seat.

She nodded, making the tears slide down her cheeks.

“Was it your husband?” Eli asked his gaze on her left hand.

Nalia fought back the shame that welled inside her and took in a deep breath.

“Yes,” she said, feeling as though she was jumping over a huddle. “My husband hit me.”

****

Previous Chapters

The Girl with the Golden Smile – 3

The Girl with the Golden Smile – 2

The Girl with the Golden Smile -1

Read More EA Friday Feature Entries

What If – by Annemarie Musawale

A Mother’s Love – Maureen Wakarindi