Sixteen short stories by writer Omma Velada
Of the sixteen short stories in this collection, eight appear here for the first time. The stories are categorised by genre, with Science Fiction, Romance and Drama all represented. 'The Republic of Joy', the title story, is set in the far future, where a chilling dystopian society is threatening to destroy the very thing that makes us human - our spirit. When Lower Lalu meets Newbie Veritas_7, she suddenly begins to question her entire world - why so many Citizens disappear, the real purpose of the Republican Knights and, ultimately, the truth about her origins. When a meeting with the Emperor looms, Lalu must choose between specious honour and deadly freedom.
It was another viciously hot day, the sun not yet tired of burning our dusty skin and scorching the land. The mood was ugly, because a stack of Aid food had arrived from the States, but it turned out to be animal fodder, as dry and tasteless as the dust.
As me and Kweku were heading up to the roof, we were stopped by the hideous cackle of Mrs Frimpong. Everyone was scared of Mrs Frimpong, because she was a witch. She had the most obedient class at our boarding school. 'What are you boys doing, going up to that roof all the time? Up to no good, for sure.' I felt safe, because Kweku was carrying the weed. 'It's cooler up there, Madame,' I lied smoothly. She shook her head, unconvinced. 'Well, I've got my eye on you two. You may be prefects, but you still report to me!'
'Yes, Mrs Frimpong,' we recited dutifully.
She wandered off, in the direction of One-Tree Field. Everyone knew where the witches hung out. At the end of the basketball court, there was a field with just one tree in it, an ancient almond tree, and sometimes, late at night, you could see the glowing red sparks from their broomsticks flying around. If the night was windy, you could even hear their cackling laughter sweeping across the schoolyard like a curse. Once, the school had tried to cut down the almond tree, to make way for an outhouse. But the next morning the tree was there again, not an axe-mark on it. The witches obviously liked that old tree.