Archive for September 27th, 2012

My friends at Griots Lounge are set to release the very first book published under their imprint “Bonfires of the Gods” written by Andrew Oki. The book will be available on Kindle from October 1st 2012. Ahead of the release, enjoy an excerpt from the book which the publishers have graciously allowed me to run.


Author: Andrew Eseimokumo Oki

Genre: Fiction – Literary


ISBN: 978-978-922-479-1

Year: 2012

Authors Pic

IT RAINED THE DAY I DIED. It was a kind of rain I had never experienced  before  in  my  life.  Every  drop  that  fell  on the zinc roofing sheets sounded like pebbles landing on top of my head. I felt a quiver. It almost felt like the building was shaking, or was it my body shuddering?


I often wondered what the phenomenon behind it was. Perhaps God was crying up in heaven. Who knew? I wondered why He would choose a day like that to cry. I couldn’t say anyway. Sometimes I didn’t even remember He’s up there.

The rain poured on with such ferociousness. It poured on like it would never stop. Perhaps a leak in heaven’s water banks had busted wide open and earth, being down under was suffering the consequences. Whatever it was, I didn’t know. I decided to leave it to the rainmakers to decide.

It never stopped raining the day I died.

I always knew Warri was a no-go area when it rained. I turned to look at the window thinking I would see a bit of the city outside. But instead I saw streaks of rainwater flowing freely on the window glass. It caught and arrested my attention in totality. They looked just like tears, the streaks of rainwater. Even the windows were crying for me! I smiled inwardly. My eyes were almost  closing now and still I could count the streaks of flowing rainwater on the window glass. It was a funny feeling. I thought I could see myself laughing.

One, two, three, four… I kept counting but they kept on rolling down, and each  time a  new streak  replaced  the old one. I knew it was foolish to account for such things, but somehow it gave me hope. It gave me something to do. It kept my mind busy.  It was as if it could take the pain away and I held on to it with more faith than I had in the doses of morphine that had been pumped into my frail body.

The rain poured on. Loud cracking thunderclaps chased after flashes of lightning like children playing catch-a-thief in the hot-and-cold sand banks of the River Niger in Patani.

I remembered when I was a child, my childhood friends and I used to say it rained when God cried; and that thunderclaps were a result of applauses in heaven; and that wars happened because the gods of the earth felt a little cold and so stopped watching over us to gather large trees to make a little bonfire around the earth to keep themselves warm. How childish we were! We knew these theories were baseless and sounded stupid but we believed in them anyway.

My eyelids closed and then opened again. It was a slow-motion blink, at least it felt so. I looked around and for the first time I really realized I was in a hospital. I could not move my body but it trembled in pain involuntarily. How I got there was still quite a mystery to me. My memory was still in fragmented pieces locked up somewhere within me. I didn’t remember much but I did remember breathing fresh air the morning I woke up in my own bed at home, looking forward to a great day. I did remember the warm shower I had had since the rains had brought with it the usual cold and chills. I remember hating the shirt I picked out to wear for work but still going ahead and wearing it anyway since I didn’t have so many of them. I remember having the best breakfast my mother had ever cooked. I also remember the screams, and then there was running, as if we had a particular place to run to. And then the fire; consuming everything in its path. And then there were sounds of gunshots and then the darkness came.

From my periphery I could see a nurse speak to another nurse. I had no idea what words they spoke to each other but I guessed it was about me because the second nurse soon came over to my bedside.

She had a very pretty face, the nurse – oval-faced like an almond pear, dark-skinned like a brew of hot chocolate, lips as red as cherry, smooth- skinned like that of a new-born baby’s nyansh, an almost-pointed nose like a burnt golden whistle. Underneath the snow-white crown on her head, her beautiful black hair was in well cultivated African corn-rows. She had little or no make-up on but her face shone like pure black honey. I could hardly notice the tiny beautiful gold pins she had for earrings neither could I notice how kissable her lips were. Her slim neck was bare and smooth like the road to a new world. A world that I might see when I die.

I absorbed all these thoughts in what seemed like forever, as she quickly looked down upon my face. If only I wasn’t so dead on that bed, what all I could do to her…

I could give her pleasure that would send her to heavenly highs.

I could kiss her lips to nothingness, replacing them with that of the goddess Athena’s and she would keep wanting more every minute of every passing day.

I could touch her body and love her like no man had ever loved her before.

I could make sweet love to her and cause her to shiver, and when we would be done she would agree to be my wife.

What I could do to her…

About the Book

In March of 1997 violence broke out in the Warri area centered on the creation, by the then military regime, of a new local government area, Warri South-West, and the location of its headquarters. An Ijaw expectation based on official statements that the local government headquarters would be in Ogbe-Ijoh, an Ijaw town, was disappointed when the location published in the federal government gazette turned out to be Ogidigben, an Itsekiri area. From March to May, widespread clashes continued, in which hundreds of people from each ethnic group died.

BONFIRES OF THE GODS tells the heartrending fictitious accounts of the real life experiences of people who suffered great losses during the violent outrage and one of the most unexpected and irrelevant wars the world had ever seen, throwing a once peaceful and lovable city into a massive chaos. The novel is set in the  backdrop of the Ijaw-Itsekiri ethnic clash of 1997 in the city of Warri, DeltaState of Nigeria. BONFIRES OF THE GODS is a story of love and hate, life and death, and a quest for survival in one’s own homeland.

About the Author

ANDREW ESEIMOKUMO OKI was born in Nigeria. He has a Bachelors in English Language and Literature from the prestigious University of Benin, Nigeria. ‘Bonfires of the gods’ is his debut novel. He lives in Warri, Nigeria with his family. He can be reached on andrewoki@hotmail.com.

Join the discussion about ‘Bonfires of the gods’ on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/eseimokumo and follow Andrew on Twitter @stillandrew.

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