My initial thought when I saw the title For Days and a Night was that it was going to have a theme of horror but there I was judging a book by its cover. Someone remind me to never do it again. Nonetheless, that is what Seun does to you when you begin to read this beautiful fifty-four paged work of his artistic brilliance. You start the book thinking you know what to expect and where it is leading but somewhere (not far into the pages) you stop and realize that it takes a different type of concentration to understand where he’s coming from. Now this is not to say the work is vague in any way. No, it’s just poles apart from the normal thing you have probably read. What he does is that he makes thoughts come alive and aloud as you read, that you begin to feel you’re actually in his characters’ heads. He is not quixotic or stimulating in his lines, not weaving a fantastic emotional tale aimed at stirring your feelings or whatever; he just makes you think without leaving the headache that some writers aim to achieve when they weave complex words to impress themselves. I have read other works of his and I know he is capable of being a master of rich vocabulary and expressions but the For Days and a Night is a simple work, yet of genius.
The book is a collection of short stories and skits with graphics that browse through different subject matters like love, loneliness, loss, fear and infidelity. Seun shows you that as a writer you don’t have to flog a theme for you to put your point across. And he is a master at this. A few lines, a short parody and his message is sent.
For example, in one of my favorites, A GAME CALLED LIFE, he tackles the issue of infidelity in marriage when he goes into the mind of the MC to reveal the guy’s plans to be unfaithful to his wife even as he stands before the altar on his wedding day. In the end, I came to realize that most of the people who cheat in marriage do so because they believe it’s one of the things they are allowed to do in life like go shopping or have a bath or cook a meal. When the train comes, they ask no questions and just hop on it because that is life. Now, I wouldn’t have seen it that way had Seun not opened my eyes.
Another piece I absolutely adore is WAKEN. Maybe it’s my love for dark stories that makes me put this as my number one in the whole book but I love it because he really scares me with this one. He takes me right there into the room with the terrified MC and I’m thinking has this ever happened before? If I were in the guy’s shoes, what will I do if a loved one returned from the dead? You have to read the story to know what I’m talking about.
And there’s PAUSE. A sad love story about two people who loved each other but never got together because of pride and the normal wahala that follow two people in love. don’t ask me what that is. But I really loved that story.
I could go on but I’ll leave you to download the e-book and read it all for yourself here.
My only criticism with this particular work would be that I felt the book could have accommodated more stories. The end seemed like the…end. And though I know it’s not so, it gave the appearance of running out of juice. I wished there had been more there, maybe something that rounds it all up. I felt I was left hanging. Maybe I was too much of a fan and loved it too much and wanted more 🙂
All the same, it’s a beautiful read. And because tomorrow is the big V day, I’ll be leaving a love story from Seun himself, something from the book. It’s called Pillow Talk.
I’m kissing her. She seems to be having a crisis of conscience; struggling with herself on how far she should allow me go. Her back is tense; I feel the tautness of her spine with the tips of my fingers. She struggles a bit more – and then her lips open under mine, surrendering to the gentle probing of my tongue.
I do not remember where I met her or how. I do not remember what her name is – and to be honest; I really do not care. All I know is she feels really good in my arms and I am determined to take it the whole nine yards if I’m allowed to.
Did I just say allowed to?
I lied. I am determined to take it all the way whether she wants it or not.
It’s as though she can hear me – hear my thoughts. She shivers.
It is pretty obvious that she wants it however. She does not utter a word in complaint despite all the liberties I take – I have been taking. Actually, she does not make a sound. But her body speaks volumes.
You should have seen the way she shuddered the first time I put my mouth around her earlobe. I do it again – but this time I linger around the nub of it; taking my time and savoring the salty-sweet taste of her skin. She flinches and grips me tighter.
Ah. I like that. I enjoy it.
Remember what I said about her body speaking volumes? She anticipates my moves; meeting me at every junction, every twist and turn of my head. This woman enjoys kissing – just as much as I do.
Not to divert or distract, but I consider kissing a sport. I believe it should be pursued with ardent focus and dedication. I strongly believe it should be enjoyed in and for itself; not primarily as a means to an end. There’s something about kissing…
Our tongues play a small tango – hers is warm and soft at once; and tastes curiously salty. I don’t mind; she’s a pro at this game. The way our tongues are in harmony reminds me of scenes in martial art flicks where the good guy; probably Jet Li or Jackie Chan faces off with another bad guy and they’re going through the obviously-choreographed fight sequence – fist, block, chop, side-step…almost like a one-two one-two thingy. I lightly bite the tip of her tongue.
I lightly trace her jawline…touch it with the tips of my fingers. I have this theory that it helps relax tension – almost as much as a neck and shoulders massage. It’s something I created myself – but I have been proven right time and time again. Now is no exception. She wilts in my arms, her body posture suggesting to me to do as I please.
Oh, but I intend to my dear.
You see – I can’t help these things. I told you I’m a pro.
Suddenly we accidentally bump teeth. I break off the kiss and laugh – and then she impatiently shoves her lips back against mine. Oh; I think, in a hurry are we? I tease her a bit – acting as if I’m about to break the kiss off and then meeting her as her lips chase mine. Again, we resume sparring.
And goes limp. At this point I somehow realize that; even though I’m not looking, I realize that somehow her blouse is off and I feel the straps of her bra better than I did some moments ago. It feels ductile – in fact her entire chest area feels really ductile. But I don’t want to go there. Not just yet.
My hands become restless as the moment intensifies, looking for something to do with themselves. They have become intimately familiar with the planes of her back, from her confusingly soft collarbone to the pliant straps of her bra. Now they wander up and down her sides, and she; without breaking off the kiss grabs them and impatiently places them on her breasts.
Deftly; slickly as though programmed, my hands do what I am yet to order them to – treat the soft mounds on her chest to an indulgent massage. I plant soft kisses on the left side of her neck, moving gently down to bath the base of her throat with a flurry of light busses. Continuing down between her breasts unobstructed by a blouse – a blouse my hands seemed to have so deftly unbuttoned moments before; I lap my tongue up and down the valley between her breasts.
By now my hands have moved down to cup her waist and here they pause – finally I’m able to get through to them.Slow down, I say; we do not want her freaking out now. Crazy hands. They listen – and then they ignore me, moving downwards to where what we both assume her behind to be. Assume to be is the correct thing to ‘say’, because to our consternation; that is my hands and me, there is absolutely nothing below her waist.
I open my eyes and all is as it should be. I am laying on my bed with my arms around a woman – and suddenly all is not as should be. My mouth is full, in fact my mouth feels as though I had been chewing on one of those half-done shaki meats that most bukas specialize in serving – that piece of meat you can never chew successfully and you eventually end up swallowing whole. My throat hurts.
I open my eyes again and find out that a third of my pillow is what it is in my mouth. The slightly disgusting stench of early-morning saliva is heavy around us, and I can see streaks of it lining the body of my pillow. It is looking at me silently; expression saying is this what you have come to, o pathetic divorcee? Na so your life don be?
Seun Odukoya is the winner of the 2011 Chistell International Short Story competition. He fell in love
with words at a very tender age, thanks to parents who fed him novels and poetry books, which led to
his discovery of the use of writing to best express himself.
He is currently working on a full-length romance novel alongside other short stories. He released his
first book, a short story collection titled For Days and A Night (ebook) in December 2012. Some of
his greatest writing influences are Stephen King and Louis L’amour amongst a host of others.
When he is not writing, he enjoys reading, watching movies and listening to music.
You can catch up with Seun and his writings at www.seunodukoya.wordpress.com; You can also
follow him on twitter @seunodukoya.