#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: Clearly, it wasn’t going to happen


C for Clearly it wasn't going to happen
C for Clearly it wasn’t going to happen

   As part of the A to Z Challenge,  through the month of April I’ll be posting a story a day based on photographs by Joseph T. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.

   Writing prompt: Clearly, it wasn’t going to happen

Provided by: Anna Tan, friend, fellow writer, and one of the Magnificient Seven of #TeamDamyanti


So many things could have gone wrong with my son.

He could have perished in the womb– not a human yet, just a lump of cells, busy multiplying, abruptly stopped and flushed out.

He could have died with his mother, not taking his first breath as she took her last.

He could have suffered a birth defect, brittle bones, perhaps, and died of a fracture one too many. He could have drowned while I bathed him and rushed midway to the kitchen to rescue dinner from burning, leaving him alone for three crucial minutes.

He could have been strangled in the chokehold of a friend at school, during the break, in rough horseplay. He could have died of heat exhaustion if I forgot him in the car an extra quarter of an hour while I tried to get hold of a stock of nappies on sale. A kidnapper could have nabbed him while I let his hand go for a moment at the fair as I paid for the toy gun he wanted. He could have fallen down a cliff when we went camping, hiking, slipped off a path while walking right behind me, when I wasn’t looking.

 But I had allowed none of those things. I paid attention like a good parent should, see. Not for a minute did I lose my focus in all those years, not for a moment.  There stood my son, a strapping teen, his muscles strained against the gaping mouth of a Great White at the amusement park.

 We had a glass of wine each, later, at lunch. I drank to give him company for his first drink, you understand, on his sixteenth birthday. First time in seventeen years I touched drink, pinky swear, and that was hours ago. I’d never broken the oath before. I felt fine as we drove, the breeze in my hair. We had seat-belts strapped in,  just the way I had shown him, tugged one extra time to make sure. My sedan kept to the left, going far below the speed limit. I hadn’t given in when he said, Come on, Dad, none of the boys get driven around by their dads. I did not lose my focus, not once.

Clearly, it wasn’t going to happen, and yet it did. That truck came speeding down at an intersection, out of nowhere.  I still didn’t lose my focus, no, not for a moment.

I did all the right things, that’s all I’m saying, you know?

I did all the right things, and yet all I’ve left of him is this photograph, prying open the jaws of death.


Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? Are you a parent? If you are, what did this story make you think about?

I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !


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  1. Peace Jaway

    It’s not often one has a really good opportunity to say that a thing is poignant. Thanks for creating one, and for this truly touching piece. 🙂

  2. pinksocks

    I wish this never happens to anyone and only reamins a fiction.
    Beautifully put together. Visiting from A-Z:)

  3. Mariam Sodawater

    As it started, I hated it as a mom, and was sure the writer is unblessed from those maternal feeling. As I read on , it surprised me and yet, the end was even more surprising. Very powerful, I find this one best, effortless, lucid, straight from the heart without any false embellishments. Good work!

  4. Andrew

    That is so sad. I don’t think I would have come up with anything like that from that prompt. Of course, that’s the cool thing about prompts.

  5. helldoesntownme

    Wow! This is exquisite and painful and beautiful all at once. Thank you.

    I found your blog through the A to Z Challenge. I haven’t written to a prompt in some time. Perhaps I’ll try it again when I’ve completed my book. I will definitely return.


  6. FleaByte

    Oh how sad. Actually, when you brought up the wine and not drinking in 17 years, I expected to hear that he’d been the one who’d killed the mother, then sworn off drinking. This is interesting.

  7. kristin

    I knew the son was doomed as the dad kept saying how he hadn’t died. Great photo with the whale. At least he had a first drink.

  8. lynneinpborough

    My first pop by of this AtoZ and will have to read your A and B now. Beautifully written as usual. Very sad and real. Well done, caught me off guard that it was dad talking.. I keep forgetting we all write male and female characters..

  9. Proactive Indian

    Superb piece of fiction, and true to life! I know of two cases, neither connected with alcohol, of students dying in road accidents within days of completing their graduation.

  10. Zienna Lorren

    I just came home from my driving lesson, reading this made me more scared than ever of what could happen on the road. My hubby and I don’t drink alcohol and hopefully our five children will not even ask for a drink later on. But then again, it will happen. A beautiful written story yet a very sad one. No one should loose a child.

  11. kaykuala

    Sudden and tragic! One takes all the precautions but fate can still disrupt the equation. Refreshing narrative Damyanti! Great!


  12. yaykisspurr

    I actually totally forgot this was a story until i got to the dad part! I was like this is so bold to share and, well, kind of demanding for something bad to happen. Anyway loved it! So good. You made my heart ache. Cheers on C.

  13. S(t)ri

    That gave me spine-chills and believe me I got goosebumps reading this! This is my first blog in the blog hop for C and I am glad that you have written a lovely message in your flash fiction!!

  14. Sammy D.

    Oh no! I couldn’t stop reading even though I was certain we were headed for a dreaded, tragic ending. It was the mother dying in childbirth that made me wonder – I wasn’t sure it was Father speaking, but you built very well to your conclusion. Such a sad tale.

        • Damyanti

          I guess it comes from losing a friend recently, to cancer.

          She was so young, and so talented, an award winning, blossoming writer, and one day, bam, gone.

          I guess grief will find a way out.

          • Sammy D.

            I am so sorry to hear that – for your loss and for her. Death doesn’t seem to make sense so often. I do hope your A to Z writing will bring you a measure of comfort and closeness with her. You honor her by remembering her life.

    • Damyanti

      Susan, it is absolutely fiction. I’m not a mom, and I’m definitely not a dad. But I do wonder at the randomness and an often inscrutable malice of destiny/ fate, call it what you will.

      • Shannon

        I am a Mom and I lost my baby. For real, not fiction. And it wasn’t going to happen. I too did everything right and he died anyway. Your story brought me back to that feeling of helplessness very quickly. That’s what I call effective writing.

        I’d like to participate in this challenge.
        How do I do that?

        • Damyanti

          Firstly, Shannon, I’m so sorry for your loss, and my apologies if my writing brought you pain. It wasn’t meant to, and I’m not sure what made me write it.

          The challenge is now coming to an end, we were supposed to blog 26 days in April. I hope you can join us next year.

          • Shannon

            Thank you Damyanti. I thought your writing was amazing. To touch a fragment of that sort of experience without having been through it is a real talent. I look forward to the challenge next year.

  15. philsblog01

    This was a very nicely written story. Generally my flash fiction is shorter, closer to micro fiction but I have a few longer. However I don’t know if I can come up with one based on a letter. Mine are based on the connection between memory, art, poetry, and the present. Best, Phil.

  16. driftingtraveller

    Its beautiful and sad. This being the last thing I read before bed, I am going to have very sober dreams. Although this is my first comment I am really enjoying your flash fiction.

    a href=”http://thebookdrifter.wordpress.com”>The Book Drifter

    Drifting Traveller