Short Stories

Must Read: The Photograph – A Short Story

A Story written by Zainab Umar

I am Nameless, born four days ago to a Politician and a full housewife. I will not describe myself because by now, you should know what a normal 4days old baby look like…

*except if you want to claim that I am abnormal *

Okay, okay, I am blotchy, red in the nose, you can actually count the hairs on my head right now, I wail like a champion, poop every other hour and I am in a heck of a bad mood….don’t blame me, I haven’t seen mothers Tips for 2 days now. Mother gave birth to me and fell sick the next day,

*big sigh*

But that is the least of my problems today. Have you ever met a 4days old baby who has to climb a hill to save his own life? Have you? Yes you have, I am talking about myself.

Okay, I am on an dusty road this minute, trying my best to keep up with the woman climbing up the hills, up a bush part leading to the hut of a very powerful and wicked dibia. I know I am just 4days old, but tell me, will you lay in bed, at peace with yourself if the woman who is your step-mother has stolen your picture from your mother’s room, gave you your morning bath- then filled up a container with the used bath-water.

Tell me, will you lay in bed and watch her carry your bath-water and your picture, wrap them together and sneak out of the house through the bad door? Heck no, you won’t.


So, I struggle up the hills, still trailing my stepmother. Then I halt as she turned a corner, then followed in her trail again.

Moments later, she walked up a slope and knocked three times on a wooden door.

The door swung open and the wicked dibia stepped out, he reached for the container in stepmothers arms and motioned for her to remain in her position.

The dibia went into his inner chambers to consult his Oracle and I watched my step mother pacing up and down, tying and untying her wrapper and casting furtive glances here and there.

Of course she is staring right at me but she can not see me…Well, I left my body on the bed and only followed her with my 4days old spirit.

So I walked up the slope too, walked right through my stepmother, turned a corner and entered another closed room in the dibia’s house, after a while I came back outside and watched my stepmother still pacing like a hen on heat. I walked through her and flung myself into the dibia’s hut….then I heard the old man chanting spells on the picture of me in his hands.

As I approached him, pushing silently through the air, his ears perked up and he stopped his incantations, then turned slowly to bow before me. Then I said to him…”Dibia, Dibia, why do you want to kill a 4days old baby, innocent of any crime? Why?”

“Ah! Forgive me father, I am so sorry father, I tried my best to discourage the woman but she will not listen”

By now, you should know that I did not appear to him in my 4days old body. Pfffffft! I actually borrowed the flesh of his dead father, the powerful dibia who gave him his powers!

I spoke to the dibia and changed his evil heart, I told him what to do and how to do them then I pushed back through the door, right through my wicked step mother and went back into the other locked room to shed off the skin of the dibia’s dead father…


….some minutes later,

A lone figure trudged down the hills to her abode.

She had just a single thought in her head, as a strong urge to sleep overwhelmed her.

She reached her room, locked her doors firmly behind her, loosened her wrapper and applied the powder to every inch of her body as the dibia instructed her.

Then she lay down quietly and slept…

The stepmother slept and died in her sleep. Her body was deposited in the morgue the next day and father warned the entire house hold to keep the news of her death secret until after my naming ceremony.

Two days after her death, the dibia walked into my house and met my eldest sister by the gate, he demanded to meet my father and my sister led him into the house.

The dibia narrated how the dead stepmother came to him with a picture of a new born babe and a container of bath-water. He also narrated how his dead father appeared to him and warned him not to kill the baby.

My father screamed and gathered the entire family. He danced around his compound like a drunk actor in an African theatrics and asked the dibia to narrate his story all over again.

Meanwhile, I sat quietly, sucking my mothers Tips with vengeance, thankful that her sickness stopped the same day that step-mother died. All the while praying that the dibia never asks to see me or carry me, else, he may realize that I was the one who visited him in the skin of his dead father. We don’t want my 6days old Buttocks busted, do we. *grins*


After the whole theatrics, noise and wails. Everything went back to normal in my house and the d-day finally arrived.

My mother dressed up so fine I even wondered if the party was for her or me. Then she dressed me in an all-blue attire, very cute and spotless.

It is my naming ceremony but I silently prayed that my mother is not a Chelsea fan, the blue dress almost swallowed my natural swagger…kilode mehn!

I was given more than 25 names, I was so embarrassed and I almost jump out of my skin whenever the pastor reels out one complex name after the other, I jumped in mothers arms and tried to kick her shins. But she calmed me down and as soon as she got out her breasts to pacify me, I latched on to her Tips, just to drown out the pastors voice. What have I done to deserve these names? Oh gawd! Is death not better than this huge embarrassment! How will I ever look a cute girl in the face and tell her my names and still be bold enough to woo her, why me….

Yes my names are a mouthful, but don’t blame me, blame my late step mother who tried to kill me and my parents who think the only way to show appreciation to God was to give me complex and compounded Nigerian names.


I angrily removed mother’s Tips from my mouth as my father was called to give me names, I listened to the first few names:

Oluwadojutiota, Oluwafiowonlagbamiloju, Jesuyamilenu, Jesutobijuawonenemies, Oluwafunotaminiheadbutt, Oluwafunesuniuppercut, Oluwafunmilabaraayo, Oluwafasoibanujemiya, Oluwafiagbaraepamilerinayo, Oluwafiaanuorebabarabgemilekeayo.……


*And I fainted*

****THE END****


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