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Liz Taylor

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Going out to top up the bird seed, Liz spots Dezzy hunkered by his frozen pond. Takes her a couple of seconds to spot what’s wrong with this picture – a jump back in time. What’s the man doing there? Forgotten he sold his house?

Interfering old buzzard. He could never leave anything alone, once he’d spotted a fault.

Liz, you got a blocked gutter there.

Liz, that back door jamming again?


However much you told him not to bother, he’d wear you down in the end. March round with the appropriate tools. Every job slow and determined, the end result checked and re-checked.

Funny, but Liz can remember him as a bad lad. Smashing street lights with well-aimed bits of brick. His dad was a drinker; Liz’s mum said Dezzy would go the same way. She was wrong, though. He got a job at the car plant; stuck to it. Had some pretty girlfriends, but didn’t stick with any of them. Hard to see why. Like he didn’t want to be nobody’s property.

Liz would have had him. Not for keeping, necessarily: just the having. …

The Last Summer

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There is a light at the end

Of the Garden; garish red and

Beaming back at me, solemnly

I leave the last slivers of

Summer: assuming it will come

Around again.



The glare catches me, promises

A second chance, so I follow it

Past the covered limbs and cracked

Plastics until, I think, a voice

Rumbled deep through the serene air

Dull and plain:


‘No time this is to kill

You live here, you are complicit;

Undo your thousand deaths and leave

This desecrated space before the

Wind blows in a last cash injection.

No time this is, no time’


What does it mean? The light is

Too close to go back now, bright,

Splendid it casts its gaze on a

Child covered in black paint under

The tree. A dull sigh, a quick glance;

The golden clock is telling me – 


I have time to kill




by Stephen Durkan


National Flash Fiction Day!

Happy National Flash Fiction Day 2017!

Hope you've had a great day of reading your favourite super-short stories... Here are a couple of websites to check out: 

http://nationalflashfictionday.co.uk

and the marvellous:

http://flashfloodjournal.blogspot.co.uk

Well done to everyone who got their work featured!

Hope you enjoy a sunny weekend of reading and writing little flashes of brilliance that dance in the light. :)


Fragile Cloud

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June was an unpredictable month of little storms. At three o’clock, a pale Caribbean sun came into view and the girls begged Beatrice to drive them to the sea for an afternoon dip. They missed the salty heat of coral beaches and the iridescent waves.

When they arrived at the deserted beach, the ocean was a cloudy colour. Seagulls sailed in the wind that carried the pitiless odor of seaweed. The girls sighed at the brown sea, and vented to their mother. After ten minutes of lying beneath an overcast sky, everyone retreated to the car and brushed the sand off their feet.
Secretly, Beatrice was glad for the rain. A change in climate was auspicious for a dry island lashed by the long rays of a mercurial sun. But the rain also consoled her. It helped her sleep. Most nights, she would toss and turn on the bed and it was only the clamor of the rain on the galvanized tin roof that could soothe her. 
Tonight, she lay awake waiting. There was no need for a fan. The trade winds blew through the pal…

Reaching Through Tin

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Your image before me
has traveled through time intact, yet your eyes see me here, in my now, your future yet to be.
You are speaking to me with a stare telescoping beyond eons, and I hear you, your thoughts, hopes, ideals, genius and sorrow fully blown.
Reach out your hand, reach through the film that separates us, touch your barrier to  dissipate my radius, and our frontier will be inhabited and haunted all at once.

by Charlotte Ozment



















A note on the image: This is the oldest known intentional photographic self-portrait of a person (Robert Cornelius, 1839) and the photograph that inspired this poem.

Six Questions For... Cafe Aphra

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Greetings all,

If you enjoy hanging out in Cafe Aphra, you may like to check out this recent interview with the current editor, Sara Roberts:

Six Questions For...

Writer Jim Harrington has set up this excellent blog with a series of interviews called 'Six Questions For...' with editors of various literary magazines and journals.

It's a really fantastic resource, with an incredible number of magazines listed, and well worth following for all those of us who are interested in submitting work for publication.

Thanks Jim!



When I Called in Dead

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The boss was angry when I called in dead again. I could tell by the way he didn't respond, gave nothing but a frustrated huff and clattered the phone back to its cradle. Still, there was too much undone to take the day off, so I went to the office as usual.

First stop, coffee, but no one would serve me. Not even Yolanda who knew my usual. She didn't even smile, in fact yelled NEXT to my face and beamed at the fellow behind me. He pushed me out of line.
Nearly missed the bus. It didn't help that the driver practically shut the door with me in it. She was upset, probably because I'd forgotten my pass, but she didn't need to gun the bus forward when I hadn't even found a grab-rail. No one bothered to help me up off the floor.
The only thing I can figure is the boss sent an email. What else explains the reason for the entire office to snub me? Karen, on the front desk, who for years showed me photos of cats, didn't even speak. My office mate didn't look up as …