Overhead, they swoop and soar, chirp and chatter, but Axel doesn’t seem to hear. His defences strong, resolve weakened, he protests his plight in that way of teenagers. His old head on young shoulders says he was destined to be caged.
My heart breaks to see him, happy in his own skin, with eyes black as the crows, but never to be free as the birds. I told him, ‘Accept nothing, Axel; challenge everything.’ He slants his eyes at me as if to say, ‘Don’t be ridiculous; it’s the way it’s always been.’ His chair squeaks with each slow wheel rotation but when he’s in a playful mood he’ll make it whir like a rotor that might lift him up to swoop and soar in the blue sky and billowing clouds. ‘I figure it’d be pretty cool up there but I guess I wouldn’t last long,’ he says. ‘Probably,’ I reply. I don’t want him to tell me he’d prefer to be up there. He’ll be there soon enough. I cannot imagine my life without him, empty of his squeaking and whirring, but I swallow, smile and open the door. He pr…
I can’t stop looking at the vase. I was silly to get it out this year. Its loud emptiness is worse than not seeing it at all.
If I’d known last year, I wouldn’t have been so casual about throwing away the flowers. I would have pressed them on to card, covered them with cellophane, sealed them forever. The breeze blows the curtains and they tickle my arms. I turn my face to the window, the sun hot through the glass. I worried about this house being too secluded once, too remote. But he was a country boy, convinced me it was a good idea. He was right. We have been happy. And at least I don’t have to worry about the neighbours judging him now. My eyes fill with tears as I watch him out there. Completely naked, rolling down the grassy slope in the garden, shrieking like a little boy. I’m worried he is going to break something, but he never seems too. His mind thinks he is young so his body agrees, I guess. My heart is a stone in my chest, my throat contracting. I want to scream at him to ‘St…
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…