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. Something had died in his father that day, it was like a switch had turned in his head and he could no longer discern right from wrong anymore, and he instilled that same confusion into his children.

He beat them with all sorts of things: pots, whips, chairs. And his favourite, the metal side of his belt. One day he had forgotten to wash his clothes on time, he was rewarded with the belt and then the belt buckle. His father never stopped until there was blood. Then, he started to touch — no, he didn’t need those memories. He clutched his head, he didn’t need them

But he had learned then: love was harsh. Love was tears.

He was crying in his bed now, the bottle of Hennessey in his hand, or maybe it was Whiskey or actually…

It was all his fault. He knew it. He was angry, He never thought things through and now he had lost the only two people he ever really cared about. A loss on both counts.

He cried because he was hurt.

He cried because he was angry.

He cried because he was alone.

But mostly, he cried because, really, he deserved nothing less and a lot more for what he had done.

And then he heard, like it was from a long distance, his door open and —

Thank you so much for reading! For free download, click here

Anthony Azekwoh is a Nigerian-based author and artist. He has written five books so far, and is now working on the sequel to his fourth book Ṣàngó, Oya.