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Literary Openings, Gadgets and News in Nigeria | Duketundesblog: Short Story: Travails of a Grave Tender

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Short Story: Travails of a Grave Tender

This piece is coming off my next short story series 'Travails of a Grave Tender' that will soon be available on KINDLE

September 17, 2010….

Lying on his sick bed and staring into nothingness, General Obaseki whispered in his barely audible voice “Oh how beautiful?”  Adebola his eldest daughter whom had just returned from the United Kingdom with her husband John, to be with her critically ill father, asked him ‘Daddy what is it’. Oh my darling he answered, I can see angels and they’re so beautiful. An uneasy silence fell over the room as everyone looked bewildered and tears started welling up in Adebola's eyes.

General Obaseki, cleared his throat and everybody turned towards him. I need to talk to Bola alone he said and he immediately turned his gaze to the ceiling again. John and Bola’s other siblings Ayo and Kemi, briskly walked out of the room. As soon as the door was shut, he lifted himself up and sat upright.

“Adebola, my dear I am so sorry I have kept this away from you for so long.”

“Daddy, what is the matter, plus this can wait till you’re back on your feet.”

“It’s just about time I tell you the whole truth dear, because the end is here and soon the sun will set.”

“Daddy you’re scaring me now, I don't like where this is heading” Adebola replied.

“I know you won’t understand and this may be a very bitter pill to swallow, but please forgive me my girl” the General said.

Before Adebola could open her mouth to speak again, the general dropped the bombshell.

“I am not your biological father, I found you wandering on the street of Ore on the morning the Biafrans invaded Ore during the civil war in advancement on Lagos, and you were about two years old then. After the city was cleared out by federal troops, I tried frantically to locate your family but found out that your mother and sister were killed in cross-fire while trying to escape the horror that had enveloped the hitherto calm city.”

Adebola moved her lips without words coming out and her eyes fixed on her father.

She had her right palm over her mouth, sobbing and the tears kept flowing endlessly as it felt like an elephant had just flattened her.

“Daddy please wake me up this scary sleep, tell me this is not true, just tell me I am dreaming she said through tears.”

“General Obaseki, patted her on the back and continue, there was no news of your father. Who neighbours say works as a forest guard and had left home the evening before the attack to resume work. You’re too young and there’s no other family member around to take you in, so I brought you with me to Ibadan to live with me and my wife.”

“Oh no, you kept it from me this long, why tell me now? She queried accusingly springing up from the bed. You’re my father, you’re the one I know……You taught me value, never to tell lies and always say things the way I feel yet you kept this away from me for forty three years.”

“I am sorry my daughter, I know I should have told you this long ago, but I wasn’t sure you were ready for it, it was after your mother's death last year, that I did try to dig some information up about your family and I was reliably informed that your father is very much well and alive, though he was taken as a prisoner of war by the Biafran army during war, he came back after the war to look for his family, but met none.”

“She returned to his side muttering quietly ''Oh my goodness, this is just too much for me Daddy” said Adebola.

“I can't pretend to know anything you are going through, but as final favours to me, when you get home, check my bedside drawer, you will see an envelope containing all the information I have about your biological father. 

“Daddy, you’re going to be fine, please stop talking like this, you’re making this more difficult for me” Adebola replied.

After what seems like eternity Adebola, caught her breathe again, and it was only then that she noticed that her father General Obaseki had been shedding tears as well, she lean towards him, wipe his tears off with her handkerchief and told him “Daddy it’s going to be fine and you will soon be back on your feet.”

He smiled and re-adjusted himself, so he can lie back on the bed.


General Obaseki, Passed away peacefully in his sleep overnight. The nurse who discovered him was amazed at what she claimed was a smile tugging at his lips..…………………….. (to be cont’d)


Unauthorized use or duplication of the Stories/materials published in the STORIES section of this BLOG is strictly prohibited.


  1. Touching story but too short Duke. I want more.

    Mily's blog

  2. Very interesting. Looking forward to the next episode.


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