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Heart's Desire by Claire Macrae

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The summer of her tenth birthday, Lucie’s family went to live in the woods.

It was her dad’s choice. Living somewhere beautiful was his heart’s desire, and Lucie’s too. She wanted Narnia, and this looked almost right. 
Her parents tried hard to make the house decent. An old man and his son had lived there before. The son was grown up, but he had a Condition. When the old man died, the son was taken away, Lucie didn’t know where. When she found out that her bedroom had been his, she was scared. Supposing he hadn’t really gone? Or only out through the wardrobe, into the woods. If he’d done that, he could come back. At night she lay taut and silent, listening for warning sounds: footsteps, the clink of hangers, his hands peeling a path through her clothes. 
She wished she could share a room with one of her sisters, but they wouldn’t have had that. They were both much older and Susan-ish; they didn’t want to live in the woods. They missed their friends, and shops, and places to go.
Too soon, …

My Desires by P.E. Cuberos

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My desires are golden butterflies that I trap
in the cobwebs of my wisdom.

My desires,
blossom, ripen, swell, explode.
The seasons of my heart,
raspberry crests on the tips of my breasts


My desires,
sailors sailing to the magical cave,
in the depths of the rippling of the waves of my legs.


The singing of the sirens pulls and calls
to drop in and dive down
to deep and depth explore.


My desires
Wings that tickle with soft whispering tongues
My velvet-silk skin


Butterflies have a brief life
Raspberries rot
Sailors drown
Skin,
grows old.



by P. E. Cuberos

The System by Olivia Jackson

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“This is something that’s been a part of my life from the beginning – this sense that we can’t keep living this way, this drive to do something about it, to change the system. It was my mum, see. I saw her get beaten by my dad at least once a week when I was little. And then I saw her beaten by the system again and again. And every time she tried to get back up, to help herself, the police sent her right back to him. And the courts wouldn’t help her either – she didn’t know where to turn, how to get help. So she turned to me. I was only ten. ‘Mikey my lad’ – she called me Mikey when I was little – ‘Mikey my lad, if I didn’t have you I’d have nothing.’ And I took that right to heart. Well you do, don’t you, when you’re that age? So I took it on myself to protect her: just her and me against the world, that’s how it felt. I’d try and get between her and my dad when he was at it, take some of the punches for her. No way I was strong enough to stop him. Eventually my dad overdosed and lef…

An Afternoon in LA by Craig Hill

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It was a bright and placid day. Eric sat alone on his deck, watching the sun creep across the San Fernando Valley at its normal, slow-moving-vehicle pace. Eric was bored. This was not unusual. Eric had been bored for the past 5 years, 4 months and 3 days, ever since he sold his interest in the Fatburger franchising organization.
Franchising had been fun for a while. Hooking new prospects and reeling them in had been more exciting than fly fishing, which he had tried for a while when he lived in Gunnison, Colorado right after college. Before long, however, convincing aspiring franchisees that they needed to commit to at least five outlets to make their investments pay off lost all its luster.
He made enough money by selling out that he would never need to work again if he did not want to. He did not want to. He tried a variety of hobbies. He set up a woodworking shop in the basement and made German beer steins out of recycled bowling pins on a wood-turning lathe. He took piano lessons bu…

language by Clarise E. Reichley

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since i've been learning to contort my tongue into a foreign dialect 
language has deepened its meaning. 
i have to relearn how to say 'i love you'. and i am driving a stick shift convertible in the rain
i’ve driven wordless into a world rich with description.
‘i love you’, sounds so much less beautiful when you're unsure of the pronunciation.
without words to express my unknowing i trip on the gilded road leading to expression and i must teach myself the nuances of a smile placed on ‘love’, the emphasis on ‘you’, the stutter on ‘i’.
this freshness forces me into illiteracy and i am prepared only with an inexperienced, naive vocabulary.
stuck in the guidebook of mutilations so extremely different from the comfort of phonetic syllables.
who ever heard of someone reading a manual on how to say, ‘i love you’
i love you is a feeling not an instruction and this new version of affection

It's here again... the Cafe Aphra November Challenge!

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Greetings all! 

So this year we thought we'd do something a little different for our Cafe Aphra November Challenge... a touch of tongue-in-cheek, a pinch of parody, something to make us smile in these dark and shortening Autumn days.

Ever wondered whether your favourite classic novel would get published nowadays? 

Well now's your chance to write that imaginary rejection letter from the publisher sent to the author of a famous classic, explaining exactly why their manuscript is unsellable, unpublishable or unreadable. 

Or, if you'd rather, you can try and 'pitch' your classic manuscript to a sceptical modern-day publisher and see what he or she has to say in response.

It doesn't have to be long, and you can either make it obvious what the classic in question is, or you can keep us guessing.

Perhaps this all sounds a little confusing... A parody of a rejection of a pitch?! 
What on earth does that look like??




Well if you want an example of what I mean, here is one from l…