Friday, February 26, 2016

The Broken Glass

‘Stop, you will hurt yourself.'

He doesn’t answer, just moves away towards the greying landscape surrounding the fairytale-like castle we had booked a room in for the weekend.

‘Please Dan, slow down.’

He catches himself suddenly and turns.

‘I will be back in five minutes, I just need some air to clear my head.’

‘Ok, but the glass. Do we tell the hotel?’

‘Leave it. They won’t notice or care, it’s an old window.’

He walks off but I follow.

‘Wait, I'll walk with you. I'm sorry if what I said brought this on.’

‘It’s not just that, it’s everything.’

‘I do understand some of what you are feeling but if you could only talk to me a little bit more. You never say much about your work and when I day-dream with you it’s only because well, it’s natural isn’t it, when two people are in love to dream about doing things together.’

‘There are just some things I can’t do and don’t dream about, that’s all.’

We walk in silence for a while.

‘Maya, listen, I have to go away for a while and I think it would be best if we cool it, you and I.’

‘Yes sure Dan, friends like last time, right? That worked out great for both of us remember?’

‘Don’t be like that, I really mean it this time.’

‘Sure, we both always really mean it Dan.’

‘It’s just the way it is.’

‘Where are you off to this trip?’

‘I can’t say exactly, I don’t know yet.’

‘Which: can’t say or don’t know?’, I am smiling but only from one side of my mouth.


‘Well, as long as you're safe. Let me see your hand.’

‘It's fine, no blood, no glass.’

‘Will you be in touch this time or will you disappear like the last fifty times? Or is this the time that it’s really really over?’

He looks at me so directly I almost keel over. No answer. He kisses me and walks back towards the fairytale castle to pack.

I hope they don’t see the broken glass.

by Randa Gedeon

Illustration by Randa Gedeon

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Some rules for writing fiction (which we actually enjoyed)

A Cafe Aphra contributor recently sent us the links to two excellent articles from The Guardian newspaper... 

Now, to be honest, I'm a bit sick of reading endless lists of other people's 'Rules for Writing' at this point. 

But even I have to say this made for fascinating reading - if for no other reason, because of their diversity, which shows me that in fact, there are no rules. 

Or at least, that the rules that work for one writer don't necessarily work for another. 
At all. 
And I enjoy that.

Have a read and let us know your thoughts! This is Part One... Part Two to follow.

Rules for Writing from everyone under the sun (Part One)

Friday, February 12, 2016

Plans for Tonight

"Oh God, yes!"

His favourite: her on top wearing no more than UGG boots, a push-up bra, blonde plaits and a succulent lipstick smile. Bustluscious, callipygian, Swedish and young enough to be his granddaughter, he'd fallen for her at once. She'd fallen on his money just as fast.

His empty whisky glass sat next to his pill organiser, tonight with a weekend pill bonus. He liked to plan these evenings.

She turned around, leant forward with her hands round his wrists, and sucked his toes, one by one. His favourite. That should do it.

"Oh God, yes!"

She'd been planning this evening for over a year, for when the prenup expired. Her carefully positioned fingers felt his pulse become erratic: the effect of her and the whisky and the weekend pill; the non-effect of placebos she'd switched for his medication.

One more round of the toes should do it.


First published as part of NFFD's FlashFlood in 2012 

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Night Lamp is My Blanket

The red-brick walls smell of rain,
fingers run across the cracks breaking mud.

We hold hands, my brothers and I,
searching for that yellow light of comfort.

The naughty one tugs at my hair,
I slip him a sweet rock.
We see her.

Clad in a peacock sari, our mother waves a smile.
She has brought us chickpea sandwiches.

They call us in.
A brown leaf falls.

The lady in black:
'The children shall stay with the father
as requested by the mother'.
A hush spreads the message.

She feeds us with promises, and
he promises love.

Later that night, tucked in together,
the night lamp is my blanket. 

by Ajay Nagaraju

Photo by A. M. Yeager