15 November 2009

Silent Night, Bloody Night by Ayodele Morocco-Clarke

I am standing at the edge of the Lagos Bar Beach with the waves roughly beating at my feet; hard and fast. The sea looks stormy and I half turn to catch a glimpse of one of the warning flags - that tiny piece of cloth on a stick - which has been put up to inform people about the temperament of the sea. The flags could be the difference between life and death if heeded. White flags mean “come on in,” giving a calm, safe and inviting sign for even the not too good swimmers. Yellow flags say “be careful,” indicating that something might be brewing in the belly of the sea. Red flags scream “Danger! Danger!! Keep away,” warning about waters boiling over with ferocious waves sometimes rising up to seventy feet high and strong undercurrents that could drag and overpower even the strongest of swimmers.



This story has been selected for the StoryTime anthology African Roar 2011, please go to the African Roar site for more info.




Silent Night, Bloody Night was written by Ayodele Morocco-Clarke

Copyright Ayodele Morocco-Clarke 2009.



Born in Lagos, Nigeria and descendant of kin from the West Indies, Sierra Leone and the Republic of Benin, Ayodele Morocco-Clarke is a Nigerian of mixed heritage currently living in the United Kingdom.

She is a multi-award winning Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria who is devoted to the written medium. She likes to describe herself as stubbornly unconventional.

Ayodele’s short stories have been published and are forthcoming in anthologies of short fiction and literary journals or magazines.

She is currently finishing work on a short story anthology of her own and has recently started work on a novel which she hopes to publish in the not too distant future.

21 comments:

Myne Whitman said...

The writing is powerful, the story heartbreaking. I was crying before I finished reading.

Kudos to Ayodele.

Afolabi Babade said...

Ayo, narrative technique & choice of diction A+. However, the only issue for me is that the storyline was predictable, other than that, a great read.

Ayodele Morocco-Clarke said...

Thanks for reading the story and for leaving some feedback Myne. Glad to hear that the story touched you.

@ Afolabi, Thanks for the kind comment. I guess coming from the part of the world we do, we find stories like this not particularly out of the ordinary (sick and disgusting - yes; gruesome - absolutely; but not entirely unheard of). However, this is not the same for everyone as every single one of my causacian friends have been more than a little shocked by this particular story.

Nevertheless, point well made and taken on board. Thanks for reading.

Chigbo said...

I was totally gripped from the jump.

My emotions switched from sadness, sympathy, anger, arousal (I'm afraid to say) then shame, anger and sympathy.

You made the characters very real and human even the bad guys. Very dark indeed.

chigbo

Natasha Msonza said...

This is simply heartrending. Masterful, quite long but the slow build up is pleasantly that and well worth it. Well done, I love it! You write pathos so well, Ayodele

Kate Davey said...

Dark, depressing and horrifying. I was gripped from the start. You can empathise with Azume's decision to surrender to the sea from the terrifying imagery and sense of impending doom.
Excellent story.

Anengiyefa said...

Beautifully written Ayodele. Loved it from the first sentence.. Well done. :)

Ayodele Morocco-Clarke said...

@ Chigbo, Thanks for the comments. I am really glad you enjoyed the story (Should I be a little alarmed that you found it arousing? ;)LOL).

@ Natasha, Thanks for reading the story and for your kind comments.

Kate, Cheers babe. Knowing you particularly love dark fiction, I'm sure this was right up your alley ;).

@ Anengiyefa, Thanks for reading and leaving some feedback. Much appreciated.

Ayodele

Anonymous said...

Susan

dark, gruesome, slightly disturbing, thought provoking, can easily understand ending but nevertheless heartbreaking.

Jim.

Ayodele Morocco-Clarke said...

Thanks for reading my story Jim. Heartbreaking things happen in life all the time. This reflects one such instance. Hope you take some time to read more stories on Storytime.

Jude Dibia said...

Beautiful. Well-crafted and insightful story. Well done, Ayodele!

Anonymous said...

LOVE IT SUSAN! But then I love everything you do. Keep it up sweetheart.

Jo.

Sorry...I forgot to log you off. I am such a klutz. :)

Ayodele Morocco-Clarke said...

Cheers Jude!

Jo, got the email notification of your first comment or is it second? (I've lost count now) and yes, it's official - you are indeed a moron (lol). But I love you all the same ;)

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma said...

The start of the story immediately creates a sense of foreboding, the rough waves beating hard and fast, the stormy sea, the red flag screaming danger. It's a nice start that sort of prepares the reader for the tension and gruesome cruelty that is to follow. The story begins and then reverts to these gruelling past incidents. Because of this particular angle, a measure of 'suspense' is eliminated, since we know that inspite of the hell our protagonist is going through, she will pull through to the 'present' ie where the story begins. But then of course Ayo just puts a hammer through that one by writing our protagonist to her death- a painful suicide (I think drowning must be one of the most painful ways to die)

This story is very active, it gives no mercy, just when you think it can't get any worse, just when you think a streak of mercy will dribble across the page, it.just.gets.worse. The pacing of the story is fast and there are no 'spaces' between the cruelty (reading through the cruelty is like holding your breath waiting for mercy so you can breathe), all coming together to affect a build up of a horrifying atmosphere- beautiful. This is an unusual piece, all your pieces Ayo strike me as 'unusual', ie an unsual piece of writing, an unusual choice of topic, great stuff and I am wondering as to how you come up with and execute these 'unusual' pieces

Bola Olasope said...

Gripping Story Ayodele. I found it impossible to stop reading until I finished the last word. This story presents an eye opener on society's vices. I look forward to reading more of your stories.

Ayodele Morocco-Clarke said...

@ Novuyo and Bola, Thanks a bunch for your lovely comments and observations.

Happy New year to everyone.

Zino said...

Well written. I totally enjoyed this

Bola Olasope said...

Gripping Story Ayodele. I found it impossible to stop reading until I finished the last word. This story presents an eye opener on society's vices. I look forward to reading more of your stories.

Zino said...

Well written. I totally enjoyed this

Chigbo said...

I was totally gripped from the jump.

My emotions switched from sadness, sympathy, anger, arousal (I'm afraid to say) then shame, anger and sympathy.

You made the characters very real and human even the bad guys. Very dark indeed.

chigbo

Afolabi Babade said...

Ayo, narrative technique & choice of diction A+. However, the only issue for me is that the storyline was predictable, other than that, a great read.

 
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