“They burned down the market on the day Vivek Oji died.”
The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi begins with this evocative line. Vivek’s death is certain, yet the circumstances surrounding that death are hazy: the body is left upon Vivek’s parents’ house, stripped and battered, leaving mother Kavita with devastated questions and father Chika with a gap in his heart. What happened to Vivek? And moreover, who was Vivek?
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A short fiction story by Slanted Spines
First, there was the skull.
I was young and in a rut, so I felt most at home among the dirt. When my hands were in the soil, I felt meaningful. I was worms; as significant as the spider crawling over my cell phone in the grass. The existential dread did not bother me while my knees pressed into the ground, my skin softening around rocks’ hard ridges. My sweat was sweetened with the mint leaves, and if the squash were growing, I must be, too, right?
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