Press "Enter" to skip to content

The Dark Widow by Jimmy Swagger


Shelby checked her wristwatch, it was already

some minutes past 12pm, the party would start

by 4pm and thankfully she still has enough time

to get things ready. The balloons were already

blown and left to be tied up . She hoped Michael

would be back soon to help her with the rest of

things. Being the only Black in the

neighborhood had been really challenging but

hopefully, the birthday party they were throwing

for her six months old baby would give them the

recognition they needed in the suburb.

“Honey, we don’t need these people to like us.”

Michael had said to her when they had moved

here some weeks back.

She knew that was a lie. The hostile glare she

received anytime she took a walk down the road

or at the shopping mall was just more than she

could handle right now. She needed Tracy to

grow up in a friendly environment where she

would not be scared of being an African.

Michael of course hadn’t seen it as a big deal

so she had brilliantly brought up the idea of a

birthday party and had invited some of their

neighbors. Hopefully, some would show up.

She was tying the last ribbon around one of the

balloons when her laptop chimed


. A quick glance at where the laptop lay and she

found Michael’s blue inhaler beside it.

He has forgotten his inhaler. Why did he always

do that? She might need to tie a rope around it

and attach to his neck one of these days, maybe

by so doing; he would never leave it behind again.

Probably he was the one who sent a message to

her right now-

She clicked the ‘enter’ button on the keyboard

but to her surprise, her friend’s face popped up

on the Skype messenger. “Hello Nicholas.” She

said with a little enthusiasm. He was one of her

friends at the IT department of where she


“Hey Shel, how are you doing girl?”

“I’m good. Whatssup?” She replied, now taking

another balloon to her lips.

Nicholas brows were raised. “Wow! Quite a job

you get there. What about Michael?”

“He went to the store with Tracy, should be back

any minute.” She was tying one end of a green

balloon to the end of another. “Where are you


“Well, you know, nothing much, just working as

you know, some of us need to work during

weekends to keep this place floating.” He said,

slouching comfortably .

Shelby smiled. “Your pride will be the end of you

one day. So are you coming over?”

“Oh sure! What will I not give for a free food.”

He replied. “So have any of your neighbors

brought anything yet?”

She shrugged. “No. I think it’s a little early, they

will soon start showing up by three

thereabouts.”She was sitting down and starring

at the screen now.

Nicholas smiled. “I love your courage. Does

Michael understand why you are doing this?” He


“Well, I think he does.” She replied and

continued. “He hasn’t really been bothered

whether our neighbors liked us or not. I believe

we need to show the white folks that not all

Nigerians are Boko-Harams besides, I believe

that Nigerians are the victims. I don’t know why

they have to,…” She stopped as Nicholas burst

into laughter. She could see his bulging Adam’s

apple as he raked with laughter.

“I’m serious Nick. Stop laughing, you have no

idea how staying here has been.”

“I’m sorry…sincerely.” He apologized, now

smiling. “You guys don’t look like terrorists; I

wonder what they would do when they see me.

Actually, maybe I should come with my head

wrapped in a turban with my beards…” He

started laughing again. His head slightly bent as

he went through the phone he held in his hand.

“Don’t you even try it Nick, else, I will be the one

to call the cops for you. Staying here for almost

five years with my husband, you would have

expected me to have gotten used to this

but…this East-End just makes things worse and

every day the bombing continues back in Nigeria

and we all have to suffer for it here. It’s so not

fair, what if Tracey grows up…” She stopped as

she realized that Nick was no longer paying any

attention to her. Instead, his eyes and mouth

were frozen wide open in an expression of

stunned surprise.

“Nicholas! What happened? Are you okay?”

He stared at her blankly. “D..did you say

Michael went to the store?”

“Yes..yes, that’s right. So?”

“Oh God! This is happening again.” He


“What is it Nicholas?” She demanded more

curios now.

Nicholas shut his eyes tight and shook his head


“Nick, for God’s sake, what is it? What has

happened to Michael?” Just then she received a

video from Nicholas and she played it


The scene was a bit shaky at first and slightly

bent sideways, as if whoever was recording the

video was trying not to be caught. She saw the

white men in uniforms, whose faces where a

little blur, there were two of them confronting a

man in a familiar T-shirt and Jean. The sound

wasn’t audible enough for her to understand

what was going on.

However, Michael seemed to be protesting

against something. He soon spread his arms

out, frantically waving some papers at the

uniformed man who held handcuffs in his hand.

Michael, what did you do? Shelby thought to

herself, her breathing becoming rapid now.

Michael looked more furious, he seemed not to

be complying. He could be stubborn at times,only

when he knows his right.

Rose knew what would happen next if he loses

his nerves… he would need his inhaler…the inhaler

he had left behind… Now, he was searching his

pockets and at the same time tapping his chest

with the other hand gently, continuously.

She clasped a hand to her mouth as she kept

watching…She knew her husband was running out

of air…

One of the men, the one that was more built

with a double-stubble chin was talking to him.

His cheeks kept bouncing up and down and his

brows bumping into each other as he poked his

index finger at Michael’s broad chest several


Michael stood-arms akimbo, his eyes were

shut, his head was slightly bent while beating

his lower lip. Just as the man stopped talking,

he attempted to walk away and immediately, the

other strangled him from behind, with his arms

around Michael’s neck. The first joined and

together, they pulled Michael to his knees.

While doing this, they laughed…

Michael was pinned down to the ground now, he

was lying on the ground, faced down and his

hands were already cuffed behind him. He

seemed to be saying something…she could see

fear in his eyes but they laughed on…

The same man placed his leg on Michael’s back

pressing him firmly to the ground. He took a puff

from a lit cigar which dangled at the corner of

his chapped lips and bending down, close to

where Michel writhed in pain, he snorted the

smoke out of a flaring nostril into Michael’s

face. Then he grinned, revealing his nicotine

stained teeth.

Michael squinted, and began to jerk. He kept

jerking continuously, his eyes widened in horror.

Both men were talking now, they were trying to

talk to Michael at the same time, the camera

zoomed in to Michael’s face, making the video

more blurry, but he was no longer jerking, he

seemed to have grown limp and his eyes were

wide open, unblinking, his mouth agape.The one

that was smoking took the cigar from his lips

and exchanged glances with the other. Then

second one suspended a hand over his nose and

then Rose caught the movement of his lips as

he said. “He’s dead.” The other gasped.

She felt the panic begin like a cluster of spark

plugs in her abdomen…her heart was beginning to

race like a rabbit trying to jump out of its skin…

“Dear Lord! Please let this not be real…”

There was a rapid movement and the scene

bent in a 45. angle. Debby recognized the

interior of her Toyota Corolla, the one Michael

had driven to the store. She could see the back

view of the police, the one who was smoking, he

seemed to be searching for something at the

driver’s seat, then he directed his attention to

the back seat and that was where Tracey lay, in

her seat, her tiny baby eyes were wide open-

unblinking, her neck was a little slanted to the

back which was unusual for she seemed to be

starring at the roof of the car, her lips were

open, she was still and there was a little swell

around her neck. Her small left palm had

painting from a pen and on the seat lay the

spring and the tube of a ballpoint pen. The rest

of the seat were filled with bags from O’mac


Michael had gone to O’mac to get souvenirs for

the party.

The cigar dropped from his lips and he left the

scene, then he came back with his other partner

and immediately, their voices could be heard.

“She dead too?”

“I think so”

“She is a baby, baby don’t die”

“Think she choked on that pen right there.”

“We should call 911?”

“No need, she is gone to meet her father. What

a loss or a reunion as the case may be.”

She stood up, unable to watch anylonger.

Something was terribly wrong.


. Someone was definitely playing joke on her. She

quickly took her phone and dialed Michael’s

number, it wasn’t reachable. No,,no! She

needed to calm down, why was the house

spinning…everyone and everything should just

calm down!

It was like a hurricane starting from deep within

her, shutting her brain out like a machine gun.

She was immediately covered in sweat, She felt

like her body was covered in another hot body like

a bin bag and she knew she was going to


Suddenly,she began to feel a deluge of ice water

surrounding her every limb, until it passed her

mouth and nose, causing her to lose her grip and

she dropped to the floor, curled up in a foetal

position. She wanted to scream, to cry, to run. She

wanted to freeze…she wanted to wake up from this


Just then, the door suddenly burst open and

Nicholas ran to her side. Holding her. He was

saying something but she couldn’t hear a single


“My baby is cold, Michael needs his inhaler,

please Nick, my baby, my baby can’t die. Nick…

Michael must not die…my baby..Michael….”

She felt paralysed as Nicholas lifted her in his

arms and was carrying her out of the house.

“My baby…can..not breathe” She said finally,

before the agony enveloped every part of her