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Writing prompt: ZONE

Provided by:  Claire Goverts,
a fellow A-Z challenge participant, yet again. Please visit her excellent blog. Thanks Claire, this is the 3rd or 4th of your prompts I have used. All letters done, now looking forward to the May 2nd Mega Blog!

Genre: Fiction


With sacred rites we burn her. The funeral pyre sings and crackles in the riverside air.

This is what we come to, this cliche of ashes and dust. Our body hears nothing, sees nothing, feels nothing, just lies there and burns, spreading into the air in specks, and soon there is nothing where there was a person.

I sit down on the ground, Indian squat style, knees bent to my chest, my feet planted on the ground and feel the muscles in my thighs strain and pull against my skin. My eyes tear up from the smoke, and the stench of burning flesh pushes into me, under the incense, the sandalwood and the clarified butter we have offered the fire.

This is what it is to be alive, this moment when I can breathe, swallow, clench, scream. My love is floating around me, I’m breathing her in as I inhale the smoke, taste her ashes on my tongue. She has left me and joined me in many strange ways at the same time: she was my wife, but now she has become the air around me, my zone.

I take a step, then another one, faster and faster, I’m alive, and she within me. There’s a dazing whirl in my eyes as I run.


I’m tweeting A to Z posts at #atozchallenge  There is also the A to Z Challenge Daily with links to Tweeted A-Z posts over the last 24 hours.

Thanks and shout-outs to organisers Arlee Bird (Tossing It Out) , Jeffrey Beesler’s (World of the Scribe),  Alex J. Cavanaugh (Alex J. Cavanaugh) , Jen Daiker ( Unedited), Candace Ganger (The Misadventures in Candyland) , Karen J Gowen  (Coming Down the Mountain) , Talli Roland ,  Stephen Tremp (Breakthrough Blogs )
Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • odggma rpooxr qspkuk mcuoht

  • indigobunting says:


  • Damyanti says:

    Thanks everyone, once again. Off to write my mega post for the challenge 🙂

  • Talli Roland says:

    Again, I love it!

    Congrats on finishing the challenge with such brilliance!

  • timkeen40 says:

    Absolutely powerful short story.

  • Purbaray says:

    You”ve got me hooked to your stories.

  • This piece of writing moved me. Congratulations on a powerful ending… and on completing this amazing A to Z challenge.

  • Congratulations on finishing the Challenge. See you May 2 :)Beautiful story. We have a friend who calls Indian squat style “criss cross applesauce”

  • Damyanti says:

    Thanks to each and every one of you, can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

    Charles, yes, I feel good about finishing, and even better about the fact that you think that the writing was worthwhile.

    Lee, will mail you soon. I might be late on the reflections post cos am travelling, but I’ll do it.

    Petra, Patricia, Nicole, Stuart, you people have been so kind throughout the challenge. Thank you.

    Elizabeth, thanks for the award! Will pick it up and pass it on as soon as I go back home, and have time and more internet 🙂

  • This story was so descriptive to read and you seem to know how to take people into the scene where they can become the main character in the story. At first, it was uncomfortable to read because of what was going on but then it became sort of spiritual and it a nice depiction of how people have lost loved ones, yet still feel as if these loved ones become part of them even though the loved ones are no longer her in the flesh.

    Nice way to end the A to Z Challenge using this “Zone” prompt.

  • Great story to end it on! Can’t believe it’s over.

  • bronxboy55 says:

    I hope you’re feeling a great sense of accomplishment for what you’ve done, as well as a boost in confidence for what you will do. Just completing this task on any level would have been admirable. But to have produced the body of work you’ve written is astonishing.

  • Petra Hefner says:

    Short and powerful! Congratulations, you’ve completed the challenge! I say it’s time for a break. 🙂 Blessings!

  • K.C. Woolf says:

    So atmospheric! Love it!

    I’m glad to have met you during the challenge. See you around! 🙂

  • so powerful in just such a short burst. Clarified butter…chilling in the midst of the rite, to think like that. Yes, it brought me images of my father’s stories of Auschwitz. Connections. Thank you.

  • Arlee Bird says:

    Another fine entry. You have finished the Challenge with some truly amazing content. Your creative writing has impressed me and many others. Congratulations on a job well done!

    Hope you’ll join us for The A to Z Challenge Reflections Post on Monday May 2nd.


  • Yippeee! We did it! Congratulations! I have an award for you!!

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