Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."


It’s been over a month since you started dating Nonso.

The first time you saw him was at the restaurant where you work as a waitress, after serving him the meal he ordered, you observed from the counter where you were standing that his attention was divided between his food and your slender figure.

His face was the color of Guiness Stout, which made the white of his eyes very obvious like a lit torch shining in a dark room. When your eyes met with his, he smiled flirtatiously. Embarrassed, you quickly looked away and continued dishing the meals for the other customers whose orders you had already taken.

When he was done eating, he beckoned on you. He paid a little extra and told you to keep the change. You told him no, thanks. He smiled bemusedly before asking what your name was.

Omalichanwa, you said.

You’re indeed a beautiful damsel. His compliments made you smile.

Before leaving, he told you his name even though you didn’t ask him to.

Afam bu Nonso, he said in Igbo.

The next day, he came around. He complimented your hair. You smiled and told him, thank you.

The day after, you saw him again and every other day subsequently.

A week later, during one of his regular visits to the canteen where you work, after paying his bills, he didn’t leave immediately. He waited for the other customers to leave. When the eating room was empty he called your name. At his behest, you sat next to him for the few minutes you had to spare before your madam returned. You listened when he spoke tales of how he went through school, graduated as a Chemical Engineer and was now serving in the Oil City of Warri in the national youth corp. You were fascinated because you also dreamed of furthering your education, someday. When you graduated, you’d become a “corper” just like him. He reminded you of what you wanted to become.

He asked for your mobile number. You obliged him. He would call you in the morning just to say good morning. In the afternoon, he’d call to check on you and in the night to wish you a good night rest and sweet dreams. You became fond of him and his regular calls. When he later opened up that he had feelings for you, you didn’t rebuff him like the others who had came your way. You told him to give you time to think about it even though deep down you knew you liked him too. A month later when he called you at night, before he hung up, he told you he loved you. You were silent for a while, then whispered softly, I love you too.

Nonso became your better half. You thought about him all day and dreamed of him all night. You anticipated his frequent calls, his regular visits to the restaurant, stolen kisses at the backyard when your madam wasn’t around, the scent of his Bellagio deodorant that filled your senses with an endearing fragrance when he strapped his arms around you, his deep calm voice calling your name so sweetly that it sounded almost musical, his clear brown eyes peering into yours with deep affection beyond words could articulate… oh, he’s your igneous—he rocks your world.

One Sunday, he invites you over to his apartment. You have never been there but you tell him you can locate the place from the description he gives to you. It is a bedsitter apartment, neat and looking very boyish; a poster of Manchester United FC is visible on the wall just above his big sized Mouka mattress. There is a Samsung LED Plasma television pinned to the wall directly opposite the mattress. An LG Home Theatre DVD Player is playing a rap track by Phyno. The soft tuft of his blue rug massages your feet. It feels warm. You are impressed.

Oma m, you’re welcome to my abode.

He hugs you dearly. He is wearing a pair of grey briefs and a white BYC singlet, looking very athletic. He politely offers you a seat on the only mattress in the room. Please make yourself comfortable, he says. He goes out and returns in a jiffy with a cold bottle of Maltina, your favorite malt drink. You tell him thank you and then suck slowly with the straw. His eyes are all over you, those clear brown eyes. But it isn’t deep affections you see. He’s leering.

You are taken aback as Nonso starts smooching your boobs. On impulse you hold his hand and tell him to stop, that you aren’t comfortable with what he’s doing. He leans away. Without saying a word he walks to the door and turns the locks to it. He increases the volume of the DVD player to the maximum. What the hell are you doing? You yell at him. He smiles, that same lewd smile you had seen on his face on the first day you saw him. He’s staring at you; he licks his under lip sensually. I want you baby. I want you now. He approaches you with renewed vigor.

You stand up.

Open the door right now. I’m leaving!

He ignores what you say, leans over to kiss you. You push him away, fiercely.

Nonso, I say open the door right now, or I’ll scream for neighbors to come.

Scream as much as you can. No one is going to hear you. The evil grin on his face makes you shiver.

He grabs you again, this time he is more aggressive.

Let me go, you plead tearfully.

He pushes you into the bed, climbs on top of you. You keep punching and kicking and yelling. Giving him all the fight you have in you. Still he won’t stop. The next thing you see, he withdraws a knife hidden underneath his pillow. Flashes it before your bewildered eyes.

If you don’t cooperate, I’m going to use this knife on you, he threatens.

At the sight of the knife, you quiver. It is obvious from the sound of his voice and countenance that he means it. He’ll hurt you, might even kill you, if you don’t acquiesce to his savage bidding.

Please don’t do this, you say in between sobs.

He smirks, obviously turned on by your vulnerability.

Are you ready to cooperate now? You can feel the coldness of the stainless knife on your neck.

You nod in resignation, but please put the knife away.

Good girl, now that’s my Oma.

He lets go of the knife, tosses it aside on the bed a few inches away. While he was titillating your nipples with his tongue, you feign a pretentious moan. Oblivious, he doesn’t see your hand reaching for the knife. You grab the knife on the hilt, and push him away at the nick of time when he was about inserting his phallus into you. Just when he was about to react, you took a swift swipe at his erected manhood. You hear him cry in pain, in the pool of his own blood, his manhood decapitated. You quickly pick up your clothes, scurry to the door, and unlock it to let yourself out.




Post image by Randy Salgado via Flickr

About the Author:

Portrait - EkehNduka Ekeh is a Nigerian poet and writer, a graduate of Computer Science from the University of Benin and an aspiring photographer. He’s presently working on his first collection of flash fiction and poetry. He blogs at

Tags: , ,

Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

13 Responses to “Cruel Karma | by Nduka Ekeh | An African Story” Subscribe

  1. Nedoux March 14, 2016 at 9:14 am #

    Befitting punishment!

    Well written piece. 🙂

  2. henry March 14, 2016 at 10:54 am #

    a n unexpected end.

  3. Hannah March 14, 2016 at 6:07 pm #

    That’ll teach him.

  4. Catherine O March 14, 2016 at 6:16 pm #

    Certainly did not expect that ending! If only Karma worked that way!

  5. Plato March 15, 2016 at 4:31 am #

    I like the story, Nduka, it is well developed. I was surprised with the twist of Nonso’s behaviour towards Oma, from a man who appeared loving and caring to a beast that wanted to rape Oma, but I got the measage you wanted to put across. Oma was in love with Nonso. she wanted to develop a relationship with him and know him much better before they started to go deep, but Nonso wanted it quick and when it was denied to him he wanted to use force. From the story it can be deduced that Nonso is a type of man who wants a woman for her body and when done with her, the woman becomes useless.

    On the character point of view, I can say you did justice to both of them. Firstly, you did not only show Nonso’s beast side, but his better side. You brought him alive on paper and the reader can identify with him

    secondly, You did not show Orma as a victim, but as a person who could look death in the face and death could cower. She did not submit to Nonso’s lustful desires and he wanted to force himself on her she fought him and won. Oma was also an independent woman, she worked at a restraunt for a living.
    The feminist point of view stands out in this story.

    Well written piece.

  6. Rujeko March 15, 2016 at 10:15 am #

    Started off very endearing, almost too good to be true…and drop the bombshell you did. Happy she defended herself but cutting his phallus? Gee, that grated!

  7. Ákwù March 15, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    a nice story but with a sad ending. What is realise is the notion of illusion and reality. Life is gentle and soft on the outside but something else on the inside…..

  8. winnie March 15, 2016 at 3:34 pm #

    Oh no… I was expecting some hot romance just to end up with a decapitated manhood!! Come on Nduka!!
    I loved every bit of it.. Darn unexpected turn of events.. and definitely that woman is strong:-):-)

  9. Kay March 15, 2016 at 5:37 pm #

    Loved every bit of it! The Story caught my attention from beginning to end. There is no superfluous description, no unnecessary detailing. In fact, it’s a very well written story.

  10. rukeme March 16, 2016 at 11:45 pm #

    wow. awesome piece

  11. UIA Eazy March 17, 2016 at 12:42 am #

    Ok, Nduka Ekeh is the one writing and the men must always be declared ‘guilty as charged’ in Nduka’s writing court. Nonso visited her restaurant everyday to declare his love for her, waited a month to get her and now he wants to ravish her the first day she visits him! Haba Nduka, why must you use Oma to murder Nonso? How come this loving and patient guy suddenly becomes an impatient beast? I do not see you digging into Nonso’s subconsciousness and that defect spurns from the narrative style deployed in writing the story–it is like a police statement taken down from Oma and being read out to confirm the accuracy of information documented or a lawyer cross examining the information his client related to him. Good style but leaves Nonso’s side out of the story. What if Oma lied? You started a good love story but ended it in a bloody manner. If you had made Oma kill Nonso inadvertently, I would have understood but what she did was a cold and calculated murder. Perhaps after grabbing the knife, she quickly stands up and points the knife towards him daring him to come close to her but he laughs and moves closer still thininking she would not dare and tries to wrench the knife from her and she mistakenly stabbed him on the chest or maybe he hit his head on the wall, or he mistakenly stepped on a live electric cable and was shocked till he fainted but to have his manhood removed is maniacal and not justifiable–that is not karma! If he dies, she commits murder and if he des not, it is attempted murder. Anyway sir nnduka, you have a nice story and i appreciate the simplistic rendition of the story.

  12. anonymous March 17, 2016 at 2:37 am #

    nice story indeed!!! nd i wonder why u didn’t make use of your name “Nduka” instead u used d innocent name Nonso? people are just hilarious.

  13. Seye Odebiyi March 28, 2016 at 4:36 am #

    Nice One Ndukah,You have always shown it from the University that you possess great peotic ability,and I am so elated seeing that you are already showcasing that on a large scale.Keep it up Bro.All the best,lest I forget,the story was very very very interesting,though with a tragic end,its truly Karma indeed.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."


Teju Cole’s Essay on The Disposability of Black Lives is Essential Reading for Our Current Moment

george floyd minneapolis teju cole

As we mourn the death of George Floyd, whose life was brutally taken by a white police officer in Minneapolis, […]

Lolwe Needs You to Achieve its Goal of Paying Writers

lolwe (2)

Lolwe is a literary magazine founded in January 2020 by Kenyan writer and editor Troy Onyango. One of the magazine’s […]

Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other, Shortlisted for The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction

bernardine evaristo orwell prize (1)

Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other has been shortlisted for The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction. Sponsored by The Orwell Foundation […]

#WeTurnToBooks Returns! Catch Nnedi Okorafor, Kiru Taye, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, & Ayesha Harruna Attah Live on Instagram

WeTurnToBooks Site

Hey Brittle Paper readers and followers! We’re excited to announce the second installment of our #WeTurnToBooks series on Instagram Live, […]

Tomi Adeyemi Recommends 5 Books to Escape Into While You’re Social Distancing

Untitled design

Wondering what’s on Tomi Adeyemi’s quarantine reading list? Adeyemi recently shared five books she is reading (and re-reading) during the […]

All the Scoop on Fiston Mujila’s Forthcoming Novel The Villain’s Dance

Fiston Mujila The Villain's Dance

Fiston Mujila’s second novel is set for a September 2020 release by France-based publishing powerhouse Éditions Métailié. It has been […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.