spaceship ii- cQuron was a planet of sand and rock, grasslands and forests, lakes and rivers. It teemed with life, the way Earth once did.

With night falling, Azkin’s Cove was virtually deserted. One Earthling and one Qurian remained. Both tall and lean, they stood close together on the small, enclosed beach, watching the vertical fall of water course down the sheer cliffs of luminous green and purple ferns, aglow with the light of frolicking fireflies.

“It’ll be dark soon, Kamdi,” the Qurian said. “We have an early shift tomorrow.”

The Earthling smiled, her teeth flashing white against her vibrant skin of titian brown.

“And then what, Xhyon?” she asked.

The Qurian sighed, his yellow-green eyes filled with concern. “Then we board EQ and return to Earth.”

“Back to the planet of plastic and fog.” Her voice was flat; soulless.

“Kam. Kam, look at me.” Kamdi turned to face him. Slowly. Reluctantly. Her eyes were deep and dark, and so very expressive, an open window into her anguish, and a perfect mirror into his. He reached out gently, deliberately, giving her sufficient time to step back.

She didn’t.

The comforting hand he placed against her cheek had been amber brown only moments before. Now pale ochre, his skin’s pallor increasing with the deepening dark, he brushed his thumb against her high cheekbone.

“Kamdi, you can simulate everything you see here back on Earth.”

“Will that work?” she asked.

“It’s a start, and if it doesn’t…well, I suppose you could look into joining EQ’s crew permanently, and journey to Qurion at least once a month.”

“And quit being an agent? That’s my job. My purpose.”

“Not if you’re constantly depressed.”

“It’s not a constant, Shy. It comes and goes, like a wave, like the tides. Sometimes I’m deluged by it. Other times, it’s just a passing sprinkle, or it’s far, far away, on the horizon. This will pass. This is the crash at the end of two weeks in the paradise of nature knowing that I will soon return to a planet devoid of it.”

Xhyon dropped the hand that had been caressing her cheek and entangled his fingers in hers, squeezing. Soothing. Reassuring. “A night’s sleep will do you good. Let’s go.”

Kamdi pulled away.

“Not yet.” She dipped a toe into the pool. “I need to remember this, Shy. Vividly. The sight. The sound. The rich, clean smell of it. I need to sear this place, this moment into my mind, into my memory.” She slowly stepped further into the water, her clothing, the black caoutchouchit polymer that formed her second skin, receding with each step revealing teasing slivers of naked, dusky skin that disappeared beneath the surface of the gently lapping waves. She turned to face him when the water reached her neck. “Common in,” she said smiling. His expression was priceless! “The water feels amazing.”

Xhyon shut the jaw that had dropped open. “Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”

Kamdi laughed out loud. It was entertaining to see Xhyon flustered. Standing at over 6 feet, lean and muscular, with his chiseled jaw and piercing, cat-like eyes, he commanded respect, in stature, in pose, in attitude. Every inch of him oozed an easy confidence. Though not at the moment.

“That depends on if you think I’m inviting you for a nude dip in an isolated pool. One that will have one single inevitable outcome. Because, yes, that is in fact what I am doing.” Two leisurely kicks brought her to the edge of the waterfall. Water pattering on the surface of water. Yielding. Merging. Rising. Harmonizing. In its very own perpetual dance. The smile she threw over her shoulder was beguiling, sly and openly inviting.

Xhyon’s jaw dropped again, before that veneer of confidence snapped back into place, like the lobes of Earth’s long extinct Dionaea muscipula. “Kam, this is highly out of character. I would not want to take advantage of your vulnerable…”

He lost his trail of thought. She was getting out of the pool. Pale rivulets of water streamed down her naked flesh, like ribbons of moonlight, enhanced. The twin peaks of her nipples beckoned. Hardened by arousal or the coolness of the pool, they were a rich, deep bronze against the umber of her skin. They really were begging to be suckled. His breathing hitched. His heart began to race.

She soon stood in front of him, still smiling, those oh so reflective eyes looking deep into his. He’d always been fascinated by those eyes. The deepest of shimmering black in a sea of white. The wind ruffled the still dry tumble of delicate spiral curls framing her face. When wet, they would turn wavy, lengthen and drop. His fingers itched to run through them, and feel every difference in its myriad of soft textures.

She must have been thinking the same thing because her hand reached up to his high bun, slowly unraveling it. She let down the cords of his hair, running her fingers though the springy softness of his shoulder-length locs, never once breaking eye contact. “Shy,” she said. “I believe I’m the one taking all of the advantage.”

And just like that, his resolve crumbled; not that there had been much of it to begin with. After all, he was a red-blooded male, and there was a red-blooded female pressed against him. A red-blooded, naked female. A red-blooded, naked, beautiful female. A red-blooded, naked, beautiful female, with whom he’d worked side by side for years; whom he liked and admired. He’d wanted this for a long time, but didn’t think that a romantic relationship was possible between them. She was, after all, an antisocial, and antisocials weren’t known for their desire for intimacy.

Just one kiss. Just one, and he would put an end to this. One chance to cup the twin orbs of her breasts and run his hands over the curve of her backside.

He dipped his head, and she met his lips without hesitation, her arms winding around his neck. In an explosion of need and passion, he worked his lips feverishly against hers. The feel and taste of her consumed him; the flawless smoothness of her full lips, the breathy moistness of her mouth, the springy strength of the tongue he drew into his. Passion-fueled shivers shot down his spine to his very core as he caught her closer to him, the hand at the base of her neck, lowering, exploring.

He dragged his lips away from hers before he lost his mind.

And was rewarded by little butterfly kisses along his jawline.

She really wasn’t making this easy.



“Kam. I’m not a sexbot.”

She laughed, a rare tinkle of sound that squeezed at his heart. “Of course you’re not. I haven’t ordered or programed you.”

“Haven’t you?”

“I most certainly have not,” she said between kisses, her questing lips trailing down his jaw to the line of his neck, which was still covered by his caoutchouchit. “Why are you still clothed, Shy?” she asked.

And as if it had a mind of its own, his caoutchouchit began to recede.

Xhyon stared in disbelief as it fled from his neck, which was soon bare. His shoulders followed, and then his chest, making a mockery of his show of resistance, exposing his obvious desire for her.

She would have to put an end to this.

“I’ll have demands,” he warned, as she resumed her butterfly kisses. He inhaled sharply when he felt the nip of her small teeth along his laryngeal protrusion, his Adam’s apple.

“And we’ll do our best to accommodate them, depending on what they are…” she said, her tongue now in the hollow of his throat.

“Afterwards,” he finished.


“I’ll have demands. Afterwards,” he repeated.

That got her attention.

She stopped her antics, and searched his eyes. “Shy, this isn’t going to happen again. This is a one-time offer.”

His nostrils flared, his suspicions confirmed. “Then I do not want to be a party to this,” he said.


“Yes, really.”

“Then why is your hand still grasping my breast?”

They both looked down at the pale hand cupping her left bosom. It filled his large hand, the hardened nipple pressing against the middle of his palm.

“Hmmm,” Xhyon said, pursing his lips. “I’m not sure how that got there.”

“And I believe your other hand is splayed across my buttocks,” Kamdi pointed out. Looking behind her for confirmation, she fixed her gaze back on his.

Xhyon flexed his left hand. She was right. It was indeed splayed right across the fleshy roundness of her buns.

“And you’re still naked, Shy.”

“Indeed I am,” he confirmed.

A few heartbeats passed.

Then a few more.

Kamdi cocked an eyebrow. “This is the part where you step away, Shy.”

“Yes, of course,” Xhyon said, nodding, still standing exactly where he was, his hands still exactly where they were. “Kam, I think you might have to pry yourself away from me.”

She laughed in response, pulling his mouth back down to hers.


This story has been excerpted from a longer unpublished work titled The Defectors. 


Post image by chrstphre ㋛ campbell via Flickr.

Portrait - OyiliaguCatherine Oyiliagu is a Nigerian Canadian currently residing in Toronto. She’s always been an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Given the paucity of African stories in these genres, she decided to start writing her own stories. She has written several medieval African fantasies published online under the pen name ezicat. (And yes, she loves Halloween too!)

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I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

3 Responses to “The Qurian and the Earthling | by Catherine Oyiliagu | An African Story” Subscribe

  1. Hannah 2016/04/11 at 7:02 am #

    Enjoyed this! Now I want to know Shy and Kam better.

  2. Felicia Reevers 2016/04/11 at 3:08 pm #

    This needs to be published – soon!

  3. Catherine O 2016/05/30 at 6:47 am #

    Thank you so much, Brittle Paper, for publishing my story. For those who enjoyed it, new chapters have been uploaded on

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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