Showing posts from August, 2014


  excitable paws on the end of a leash scrabbling through a pile of wet, red leaves that smell suspiciously like squirrel. by Sarah Black

Ukumbi - Tales from the Amazon

So this isn't a piece of flash fiction but it is a piece of travel writing, written after my last trip to Ecuador in 2011. Posted today on a new writing website recently set up by Cafe Aphra contributor, B.E. Seidl. Check it out for a glimpse of the Amazon: The Scrapbook of Stories Enjoy!

A man of no consequence

The stranger loomed up out of the gloom. In the dank air of the alley, Price could feel the dampness of the River Thames. The cobblestones shone wetly and the gas streetlight gave out a golden halo in the smog; a deceptive illusion of warmth. The man looked him up and down. ‘I ain’t never heard a man of no conserkence call himself no such thing. What’s yer business?’ Price turned and looked at the wooden cart he pulled behind. ‘I sell tulips. To the rich.’ ‘Tulips?’ ‘Yes. From Holland.’ The man stared. ‘For their gardens.’ ‘Do I look rich to you? Do I look like I have a bleedin’ garden? Do you see any gardens round ‘ere?’ ‘Actually I was hoping I might find accommodation in your establishment for the night.’ ‘Three shillings an’ sixpence.’ Price sighed, rummaged in his coat pockets and dropped the coins into his host’s grimy hand. The man grinned, displaying one missing and one gold tooth in his wide, malodorous mouth. He signalled for Price to follow.  ‘No cons


The sun was down. He had climbed 350 metres in half an hour, keeping pace with the late evening shadows as they'd raked up the mountain, but finally as he stood atop his favourite rocky outcrop it was dusk everywhere. A bee, laden with pollen lolloped on the stone at his feet and in a moment of kinship he too laid down his bag and flopped to the hard ground. He stared hard at the bee, marveling at the ingenuity of nature. Often cited by intelligent design zealots as clinching evidence of a creator God (how could something so bizarre actually 'evolve' by itself they'd say) it struck him now as quite the example of the opposite. How could an intelligent designer have come up with something so utterly ridiculous as a black and yellow striped, furry, bag carrying, stinging, non-aerodynamic, flying insect? Where was the intelligence in that? Well, whoever or whatever designed the world also came up with Penny he thought. Nature or God, how was that particul

Want to get the joy back?

Want to get the joy of writing back? Today I have discovered a brilliant live online project called 'Lost in Track Changes', which is part of if:book Australia. That's the curated version of the flash fiction event, with well-known Australian authors 'remixing' each other's work, week by week.  The un-curated version of the event, however, is open to everyone - that's you and me - and is called 'Open Changes'. What it involves is reading a few pieces of flash fiction and using any part of the them that catches your (mind's) eye as a writing prompt to set you off with writing your own piece. The maximum wordcount is 200! Ouch! This is a seriously fun writing exercise, though. I actually made myself laugh today. And who knows, your 'comment' might be selected and used as one of the pieces for next week's prompts for other writers. There are several publishing incentives, as well as just the fun of doing it. And there are only

Mrs Kneebone plans

Mrs Kneebone decided to go home.   The drain was gone from her abdominal incision and she had her take-home pack of painkillers and anti-inflammatories. The only problem would be deciding just where was home.   For the past thirty years she had lived in Mr Kneebone’s brownstone. She reckoned she could easily walk back there if she started right after breakfast the next morning. No need at all to phone Mr Kneebone or infuriate him by arranging a taxi.   The brownstone was certainly a home. But had it ever really been her home? Everything there had been pre-determined by the two previous Mrs Kneebones, Mr Kneebone’s first wife and Mr Kneebone’s mother, and held by Mr Kneebone to be sacred to their memories and perfectly serviceable. (Mr Kneebone couldn’t tolerate change for the sake of change.) Mrs Kneebone had acknowledged the logic of that, as long as she had—propped up on her bedside table—the hand-coloured print of a wisteria-covered arch given her by her brother Daniel when sh

Poem of the Month: August

Your Land From the crest of this slope,  it’s possible to stretch your hand to the horizon, to reach places only shadows from the late winter sun understand. Tuck your thumb behind those trees, bare sticks from here but you can touch the gum on their beginning  buds, feel it loiter in the whorls that signify that you are you. Extend your fingers, flatten their flesh, with each out breath you will reach further, further... press down the hinges knuckle by knuckle, allow those short long bones to curve around the hills, lengthen into the valleys, let your skin merge with the earthy crumbs. Don’t resist sharp edges of surviving leaves, go gently on the youthful wheat that stabs the surface of wind dried clay. Do this often, once each season: the creases of your palm will become the map of your land,  its contours a portrait of home. by Marilyn Hammick