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#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: U for Uncharted worlds

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 W. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.

Writing prompt: Uncharted worlds

Provided by: Samantha  Redstreake Geary friend, fellow writer, and one of the Magnificent Seven of #TeamDamyanti

#AtoZchallenge : U for Uncharted worlds

#AtoZchallenge : U for Uncharted worlds

First thing she noticed about him, he wore pale pink lipstick.

        They had to stand close, way too close, for the audition. She could feel his biceps under her hands, smell the coffee he’d just drunk on his breath, and the cologne on his shirt collar. The director urged them to stand closer, come on show some chemistry, did they want the role or not, he didn’t have the whole sainted day, all right?

       She had leaned in then, but today, in the flickering light of the fire, she tried not to look at where she’d left him on the grass. This was meant to be a reunion trip, camping together all by themselves in the middle of nowhere, only now she had a camp, a fire, and no family.

        She wanted to remember him from that first night, when he’d whisked her away from the dressing room, into his studio with its creaky bed, and the landlord had knocked on the floor, asking them to keep it down, and they’d kissed and giggled and kissed some more.

        She wanted to remember him reading bad poetry to Tara, who calmed down in her cradle, and listened to her father with big, droopy eyes. He talked of uncharted worlds, of adventures at sea, of frightened pirates, of stars, and haunted ships. When the book ended, he made up his own stories, and Tara chuckled. She wanted to remember Tara grinning, blowing raspberries, lisping words from her father’s poems, the words of which she barely understood.

        She’d been on movie shoots in different countries, not knowing that behind her back, he babysat by playing dress-up with Tara, put lipstick on her, everywhere. Her brain tried to imagine his hands on Tara, on her budding breasts, her throat, and her bulging eyes as he strangled her, till all she wanted to do was fling herself into the fire.

But enough about what she wanted.

          She hauled him, thank God he dieted and wasn’t too heavy to pull. It would smell, but bonfires often smelled like barbecues.

          She looked up, at the stars flickering from between the trees. Up there, somewhere, was her daughter, on a faraway, uncharted world. As his hair and clothes, then skin and flesh began to crackle and burn, she hoped Tara was watching. 


Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? What do you look for in flash fiction? What sort of fiction satisfies you?

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 next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 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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  • Shilpa Gupte says:

    Just this morning I read such a news and wondered how can they do it? Don’t they have a conscience? A heart? The darkness in the world is so frightening. I can’t imagine the terror all those little Taras of this world experience in their little lives. 🙁

  • Fictional stories like this unfortunately have their truth in real life.

  • My first comment was going to be: lol Pink lipstick!
    But, as I continued to read, the darkness was brought to light. Creepy, creepy piece.

  • This took me through a range of emotions… including disbelief, anger… and the usual, but how does a person do that to his own child…?
    And then I imagined her just killing him… and then realised she had… ha!
    And your piece reinforces my belief that anybody, even the “most sensible, rational, good, upright and well respected member of society” can be driven to taking a life…
    The human desire to nurture and protect (as I understand it) is so deeply ingrained… or it should be, shouldn’t it?

  • liamiman says:

    I have never written a post based on a prompt, but I have written a post that was inspired by another. Maybe I’ll try it soon. In the meantime, I’ll live vicariously through yours.
    Great writing!

  • uniqusatya says:

    That was too powerful on me that i couldnt help writing this:

    when the inner thought,
    left to rot,
    Dead you are,
    and none on par,
    in your burial bed,
    out of victims dread,
    with the evil shroud,
    that you loved

  • Another great flash fiction. I like the dark ending.

    ~Patricia Lynne~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, YA Author

  • Very good and the link left on your comment guided me here. Of course, after visiting here, I will go and visit you, Damyanti, over there, over yonder at your other site. No wonder I get confused.

    Such a smoking hot ending to this marvellous post. Now then, where did I leave my pale pink lipstick?

    • Damyanti says:

      Aw. Gary. I shall find you that lipstick, soon;)

      Thanks for keeping up with both my blogs, kind friend. The blogsphere needs more like you :).

  • Chrys Fey says:

    At first I was thrown when I read he wore pale pink lipstick, but then I kept reading and realized why. haha

    This story was . . . chilling. There really is no word for it!

  • Beloo Mehra says:

    Oh my…what a chilling story! Even with a brief writeup you are able to evoke such strong emotions in the readers. Quite powerful.

  • This was chilling and emotional -Loved it! 🙂 Good work!! Made me think what would I do?..…I know the answer….

  • finley jayne says:

    Wow, great story-reminded me a bit of Poe’s writing 🙂

  • mcrohio says:

    Wow! That’s powerful stuff! You are some kind of a writer. Good luck with that. Thanks for visiting my AtoZ – Now I’m going to Tweet you – I do a lot of that but never thought of it for AtoZ folks. Thanks for the tip. Mary at Variety, the Spice of Life

  • Peter Nena says:

    Child abusers deserve whatever hell they find. Good work, Damyanti.

  • lexacain says:

    My goodness – that’s like someone’s whole life story and you shrunk it down to so few words, but I still understood everything. King does that. (I wish I could.)

  • sabeeha says:

    Whoa! Amazingly chilling.

  • kaykuala says:

    Chilling so they say and rightly so. The ending leaves a lot of mysterious episodes that grip the imagination. Great prose, a refreshing post against many of the poetry. Nicely Damyati!


  • Susan Scott says:

    This really upped the ante Damyanti. From peace to terror in a few graphic images. Gripping, thank you.

  • susanddhavle says:

    Unsettling fiction, that’s your genre, it seems to me and you do it well. It shows your concerns well too. congratulations on a powerful story.

  • Damyanti says:

    Thank you, everyone, for your lovely comments– I’ll be visiting back soon. 🙂

  • Andrew says:

    I really liked the picture when I saw it but, now, it makes me cringe to think about it after I read your story.

  • shail says:

    You are really good at story telling. Kudos.

  • Willy Nilly says:

    This story evokes so many strong emotions. They flow one to the other and then you find yourself reading with your eyes wide open, tearing your hair, and hearing yourself scream in your mind. What a ride!

  • Birgit says:

    Wow! What a surprise ending and from it sounds like-good! Chilling but poetic justice as well.

    • Damyanti says:

      I don’t know if it is justice, or the beginning of a new vicious cycle– but the violence would not be denied, nor a mother’s vengeance, so I just let the end be as it came. Thanks for coming by to comment on my stories.

  • I don’t even know what to say. I am impressed. I am sad. I am angry. So many emotions inspired by this piece. Although the comments make me wonder, in Western culture, karma is always called upon in a “get even” way. Why isn’t it mentioned when people are good and good things happen? Hmm…makes me think.

    • Damyanti says:

      The idea was to unsettle the reader– because a lot of the time, we don’t react any more because we’ve become inured, through repetition.
      I’m from the East, from India, where the concept of Karma first evolved. I don’t know if the belief in Karma is that simple…there isn’t always good for good and evil for evil in one life…there’s also the concept of reincarnation, and a variety of checks and balances. When I wrote this, I didn’t have Karma in mind at all. 🙂

  • Oh Yikes! That was amazing. Where’d that come from, Damyanti?

    • Damyanti says:

      I don’t know Jacqui. When writing these pieces, I let words come from words, mostly.

      Perhaps it comes from my helpless rage at watching kids all over the world being abused, on the news through mass media.

      I think my fiction channels the subconscious, the part of me I suppress in my day to day life 🙂

  • An absolutely beautiful chilling story. I felt everything going on the plot and loved what I read. Your story really confirms that sentence structure is so important in writing.

    • Damyanti says:

      Yes, Michelle, I wrote this sentence by sentence– I didn’t know who the two were when I started, and i was stuck after the first para, but then the image of him reading to their daughter floated up from nowhere, and then the flames in the picture showed me the horrific, but imho, completely justifiable ending. Child abuse is the only thing I find very hard not to stand in judgment of and condemn.

  • Ive been following your #AtoZchallenge. Great post as usual.

  • haha, ew

  • Tarkabarka says:

    I love the opening line! 🙂 The entire thing is very well constructed. Lovely read 🙂

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Tales of colors
    MopDog – The crazy thing about Hungarians…

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks, Csenge. Though I really didn’t think of the construction at all :)– I love that line too, it came to me while watching a soap, where the hero did have lipstick on.

  • lindacovella says:

    Yikes. Wow. U is for unbelievably creepy!

  • Julia Lund says:

    At first sight, I thought the logs were fiery fingers groping for something to consume. Reading your story, perhaps they were …

  • A truly horrifying tale, but with an equally satisfying conclusion.

  • Harliqueen says:

    Karma, it all comes back around! Great piece, very powerful.

  • Mou Mishra says:

    that’s the life, not worth of trust.

  • WriterlySam says:

    Whoa! Masterfully wrought! I hope he was still alive when she tossed him in the flames, so he’d suffer more. Mark Petrie’s music from this prompt, fits the scene, eerily so, give a listen:

    Echoes of Olympus
    A to Z #TeamDamyanti

    • Damyanti says:

      I heard the music just now, and you’re right it fits the building crescendo of the story. Thanks, Sam, for the prompt, for the link to this fab piece of music, and for being on my team. I couldn’t have asked for better.

  • Rosie Amber says:

    Definitely a spine chilling piece.

  • Dan Antion says:

    Yikes. Seriously chilling but I for one, like the way this ended.

  • tericonnolly says:

    Wow! Seriously great and thought provoking! Should I, would I, could I?

  • A chilling account Damyanti, fiction at the very best and heart pounding tale:)

  • Kate Loveton says:

    Outstanding. Really.

  • Jemima Pett says:

    You are seriously amazing! I hope you know that 🙂

    Proud to be part of #TeamDamyanti
    Blogging from Alpha to Zulu in April

  • LadyJai says:

    Wow, How chilling that was! Karma’s a great thing sometimes 😛

    (PS: Sorry for not stopping by often enough. things have been crazy in my life and with A to Z trying to visit so many people! 😛 )

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    My A to Z
    Caring for My Veteran

    • Damyanti says:

      No worries about not stopping by– I’ve loved your AZ posts throughout, getting to know you each new day!

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