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“If we do not now dare everything, the fulfilment of that prophecy, re-created from the Bible in song by a slave, is upon us: God gave Noah the rainbow sign.

No more water, fire next time.”

— James Baldwin

It began like those spy movies, where the authorities finally have the criminal cornered, and he has nowhere else to go.

The door burst open and the man was there, standing in the doorway with his arms crossed. “Get up,” he said. “Get changed. You’re coming with me.”

I put down my stylus — I was painting a self portrait for my birthday in two days — and I began to wear my clothes, patting down my hair. …

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“I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you…. What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.”- Audre Lorde

After being in Covenant for three years now, there’s this familiar shock I have whenever I see our school being praised in the media. I pause and think to myself, Is this the same Covenant I’m in? Is there a disc 2 I don’t know about? I believe that there are issues in our community, there are problems that need conversations if solutions are too far ahead, and by writing this, I am not bringing shame to my school or my country; I am bringing the shameful things to light and here, unlike the dark, they can at least be understood. I am not your god, everything I say in this essay is what I believe to be right and true, you are free to be angry, offended and even disagree, it is your right. …

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“If it’s time to go, remember what you’re leaving. Remember the best.”

— The Eleventh Doctor

On the 28th of June, 2020, hours before I was going to release a new print collection for my painting, I had a panic attack.

This didn’t come to me like it did for other people I know — the art. When I was younger, in secondary school, I was very unexceptional, and incredibly bad at anything involving my hands. Including writing.

There was a day I was called to the principal’s office with one of my notebooks — I was about thirteen. I went there to find my mother and the principal in the middle of a conversation, their eyes darting to me as I entered. …

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Ẹni tó ńbẹ̀rù àti ṣubú, àti dìde á nira fún un.

Whoever is scared of falling, would find it difficult to rise.

As Ṣàngó, god of thunder, lord of the storms, commander of lightning itself, walked to his death in chained hands, chained feet and a heavy heart, a small thought prodded his back:

Who do the gods themselves pray to when the end is nigh?

The chains that bound him were made of pure Aru — the metal of The Above. They were forged for forty years in the heart of the sun and cooled in the eternal rivers of Yemoja, the goddess of the rivers. They would never dull, or weaken, or break. They bound his physical and metaphysical form, crisscrossing around his entire being. …

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Coal was in the church that night as the rain outside threatened to blow the whole world down and he held the stone in his hand, feeling it ebb.

He knew the words to the spell; he had studied them for years waiting for this moment and now he had it. The Guardian could only be summoned using a stone from hell itself, and those were hard to find. But he had found one after so many years of searching and he would finally have his answers once and for all. …

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Doreen was peeking from behind two buildings to make sure Star saw the necklace and when she did, she breathed a sigh of relief as she started to perform the spell to get her back home.

Then she smelt the sulphur.

The odour of burning tyres, and she spun.

“I can feel you,” she called into the dark alleyway. “Come out,” she commanded. “Show your face.”

“Are you sure you want to see us?” A voice asked.

“Are you very sure?” another asked. “It has been very, very long.”

Doreen held the dagger in her hands and she wished she had something more powerful. It was just a plain old dagger. She had sworn to never give the knowledge of bringing back the dead to anyone, but it was still a hell of a blade. She willed blue flames to pour through the metal and the alley glowed in blue light, but there was nobody there. …

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she crept into his room, careful not to make a sound and almost whelped when she tripped over a bottle of Bailey’s. She held the dagger in her right hand as she moved to his bed. She climbed on top of it. She faintly remembered how he used to hold her at night when she couldn’t sleep, and he’d sing her songs that would sooth her mind. She put that out of her head now.

He was staring blankly at the ceiling and Star wrinkled her nose; he reeked of alcohol. …

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He had come back home drunk; his head felt like spaghetti but he had miraculously found his way to his car, then his place, then the room and dropped fitfully on the bed.

He didn’t realise he was crying until he felt the tears roll across his cheek and over the scar on his ears. When they were younger, there were three of them, the children. Their birth mother had died while giving birth to him; he had been the youngest. But one day, his oldest brother went to go and fetch firewood, but he never came back. …

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She woke up from her bed, her head feeling like spaghetti and she groaned as she sat up. Was that all a dream? She wondered. Then she felt the weight of the dagger in her right hand and she held it tight. She checked her phone: ten minutes to midnight and she swore as she jumped off the bed.

She didn’t have to think about who she was going to sacrifice, who she was going to kill. There was no useless monologue needed. Her father was an abusive bastard and he deserved to die, simple. There was nothing else to it. It was a simple choice: her father dead for her mother alive.

It was easy.

She gripped the knife tight before she opened her door.

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Anthony Azekwoh

Writer based in Lagos, Nigeria.

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