Fiction Friday is a series where I talk about what I’ve been reading. Short Stories (and sometimes Novellas) are featured as in-between posts and the first Friday of the month will feature a new novel review. Today, I review Middle of Nowhere by Walter Dinjos
Fiction Friday: Middle of Nowhere
Today’s short story is Middle of Nowhere by Walter Dinjos, as featured in the web publication Abyss and Apex. You can find it here. This is an entertaining story about curses, a messed up village, and the infamous Boko Haram religion. Even with such sensitive material, the story itself is twisted and enjoyable, and this story is a treat.
So let’s take a look.
The story follows Mazi Ibe (at least I think that’s his name) who is returning home when his bus makes a stop in the middle of nowhere. Born the son of a leader for a division of Boko Haram, his history is one he’d rather forget. However, when a village of strange people placed a hex on him that causes disaster wherever he goes, he has no choice but to enlist his father’s help and take care of the people who cursed him.
I’ve seen these types of stories before, but I rarely see main characters involved with evil organizations and terror groups. I’ve made a character a long time ago who was like that, but it’s one I don’t see that often, let alone done as well as in this story. It adds depth to the character, like being the son of a mafia don making ends meet.
It adds a sense of mysticism to what is a modern African society, using Smartphones and what not (Mazi’s area doesn’t have 4G yet, at least in this story). This world of old and new is always interesting to see.
I felt a little more could have been added since the main character glances over details a bit. The wedding is basically exposition, but for the most part, I followed along. A story of vengeance and love, this does feel like the traditional mafia story. It has all of the parts, a main character whose father is a leader of a dangerous organization, marrying someone who isn’t related to them, using said organization to take care of his enemies and so on.
I didn’t think of it while reading, but looking at it now, I definitely like the twist on a classic Godfather-style world. These are the kinds of unique takes I look for in stories, especially from non-American cultures.
The Son of an Evil Organization
That said, this isn’t a story I see often. Even if the character is relatable and for the most part innocent, it is a wild ride for him. His life is forever ruined by the constant display of curses killing those he never meant to harm, so he calls his father, who also suffer from his curse.
This feels like a movie in the making. Something that, while not an Oscar-winning epic, could make several million and gain a following. I love seeing stories that I feel could work as adaptations, especially short stories. This feels like a wonderful idea that I could see working.
The relation with his father is the kind I find interest in, and while he is part of a notorious religious organization, I didn’t see any sort of cruel animosity and general villainy I usually see in him. Again, he’s like the mafia don. He’s not evil, but he can cause a colossal amount of chaos and doesn’t need to be pure evil to get what he wants. They’re some of my favorite archetypes. Yes, the two don’t get along, but that’s what makes me like this duo so much.
Mazi sees him as a last resort, someone he hates but has to rely on him. Also, he can kill two birds with one stone. Kill those who afflicted him with the juju curse, and extinguish the arm of Boko Haram at the same time. The ending, however, is left ambiguous and that’s the only disappointment, but it’s an overall wonderful story.
With all of that out of the way, I want to finish this that while it’s a good story, it’s simple. Simple, yet fun and those are the kinds of stories I have a soft appreciation for. It doesn’t have to be artsy or be super descriptive, it just has to tell me a story about a character in a dire situation and how he solves things. Sometimes, that’s a style that works. I do recommend this story, so do read it when you get the chance.
So what do you think? Let me know in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you.
That’s all for today. Take care, watch out for black cats, and remember, the inn is always open.
If you have any suggestions for future topics and reviews, hit me up on my social media channels and let me know your thoughts. I always read the feedback, even if I don’t respond. Your feedback is what keeps me going, so thank you for supporting me.
As a reminder, my website-exclusive short story, My Cat Is A Monster, is now live. My first paid short story, Do Not Stare Into The Eyes of a Kitsune, debuts June 5th, 2018. See a short excerpt here. Keep an eye on my blog for more updates and my social media channels for news and excerpts from the upcoming story.