Skip to main content

#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: Z for Zebra crossings must’ve been designed by a psychopath

The A to Z Challenge is now coming to an end. Through the month of April I posted a story a day based on photographs by Joseph W. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.
Today I bring you the last of the 26 stories, and I thank each and every one of you who’s commented on the 25 stories so far. I came to know some of you during the challenge, and some of my much loved readers are from before. I hope to visit your blogs often in the coming months. I’m not a demonstrative person, be it online life or offline, but I do hope to return the support you’ve given me in what has been a difficult month!
Writing prompt: Zebra crossings must’ve been designed by a psychopath

Provided by: Guilie Castillo Oriard friend, fellow writer,  and one of the magnificent Seven of #TeamDamyanti


#atozchallenge : Z is for Zebra crossings must've been designed by a psycopath

#atozchallenge : Z is for Zebra crossings must’ve been designed by a psychopath

          I dream in black and white, and that’s how I see life. What’s the point of color, anyway?

           Color’s like laughter, completely useless. Both make you look silly, is all. When you’re stabbing someone, all that red is a bit overly done, if you know what I mean. Black, now, black is soothing. It’s a color too, the only one I like, and wear, really.

           Black is the color of shadows, and I like shadows, love living in them, even on this hundred-year-old boat lit up like a Christmas tree on all days of the year. She’s a relic, she is, the Belle of Louisville. Long ways she’s come, from carrying braying mules and bleating lambs to ferrying touristy types from all over the world, who get sneetered with all this history and fork out a good sum to breathe the dank evening air from its decks.

            I arsle about on its decks in the evenings, wiping the glass windows here and there, looking for a likely one. Most evenings I draw empty. They mostly come in groups, the ones I like, the sweet-smiling curly blondes. Uncles, aunties, parents, friends— polecats all of them, setting off such a stink if their darling is missing for more than a few minutes.

            So I’ve got to wait for weeks, months, before I get the right one. Lonely, smiles right back when I smile at her. Traveling alone, finding herself. A divorcee, usually, or someone in her family just died, and she’s on a break, to get away from it all. I tell her I know how she feels, and her eyes widen. I don’t know, not really, not how any of this ‘feeling’ shit works, but I can fake it with the best of them. I’m not as much of a fool as the captain makes me out to be.

              In the end she gets to go away from it all, very far away indeed on the Missisipi, and I get to scratch my itch, know what I’m sayin’?

              I read up on folks like me, folks who don’t feel much, who don’t get stuff like ‘irony’, us folks who dream in black and white. I don’t see what’s wrong with me or black and white. I like zebra crossings, they call them crosswalks around these parts. Zebra crossings must’ve been designed by a psychopath, too. They say folks like me can’t be cured, but it’s good for us to talk it out, once they have us in the hospitals. I’m not going to no hospital, so here I am getting a crick in my neck, writing in this here, my notebook.

             Time for me to wrap up though, because I spot a blonde one boarding, right across. I just might get lucky tonight.


Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? Been aboard the Belle of Louisville?

(An added Disclaimer: This is absolutely a figment of my imagination, and any resemblances of my character with anyone you know is purely coincidental!)

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 !

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Jemima Pett says:

    You are just brilliant at combining weird prompts. Not sure where your mind is right now, though! Well done for making it through to z. <3

  • Tina Downey says:

    Wow girl! Combining zebra crossing (hilarious concept, btw) with that picture must have taken quite the creativity! I’m duly impressed 🙂
    Tina @ Life is Good
    On the Open Road! @ Join us for the 4th Annual Post-Challenge Road Trip!

  • Great ‘Z’… and finished the A2Z with style, outstanding.
    Well done to us 🙂

  • They say, folks like me can’t be m in love with this line. Btw, You were awesome and did justice to all of us and I’ll say thanks again for A to Z coz if I gave d miss, I’d be ignorant what I big party..hehe I remember how u checked whether I’ll participate or give a miss and happy I choose the former:)

  • datmama4 says:

    I don’t know how I missed this one. Really great! You’ve done an incredible job with the writing prompts and the results were never predictable.

  • Eli Pacheco says:

    I came in at just the right time, didn’t I? Excellent way to wrap up. Have you looked at your first and last post, and detected the growth you’ve made as a writer in that time?

  • I don’t know why I came late to read these. This is chilling!! good story!

  • “Lonely smiles back when I smile at her.” I like that line. Heaven help the curly blondes who return his smiles.He’s a real pyschopath. This is a wonderful story to end the challenge.

  • Indywrites says:

    I am going backwards and reading them all again. The church story, the stolen kiss near the tracks, all of them are great. Congratulations for organizing a great challenge.

  • Chrys Fey says:

    I got chills. Your talent is truly amazing! You have such a great way with words that it’s hard not to get sucked into your stories.

    Thank you for all you did for this Challenge! 🙂

  • I have so enjoyed your A-Z challenge. I am going to miss it. Thank you.

  • Bookgirl says:

    Very dark and cool, I’ll have to go through the older entries since i only stared following you recently.

  • Beloo Mehra says:

    Another good one…creepy but good 🙂 Congratulations for a challenge so well done! I have been amazed at your stories, one after another, so creatively imaginative! Wonderful indeed.

  • sonaltiwari says:

    Beautifully chilling, if I must say so. The irony is that there are so many colors to the guy’s character!

  • Julia Lund says:

    Great achievement to complete your challenge, not limping past the finish line, but keeping up the pace you’ve set from the start. And, though you finish with a monochrome tale, it’s obvious for the world to see that your dreams are very definitely in colour; how could you write with such variety and flair otherwise?

    • Damyanti says:

      Julia, I love playing out different roles, it’s a challenge I enjoy. I tried my best with these stories, and I’m glad you enjoyed them.

  • lorilschafer says:

    Sorry to see the month come to an end 🙁

  • In the mind of a serial killer. Great piece. Congratulations on making it to the end. =)

  • Oooohhhh, creepy! Great job with the prompt, Damyanti! And thank you for making the A-to-Z challenge extra special this year. It’s been wonderful to be a part of your team!

  • Aditi says:

    Loved the tone of this one….felt very real! I have learnt so much from you throughout this A-Z! Thanks a ton for 26 flawless pieces.

  • dancebible says:

    Loved the tone of this one….felt very real! I have learnt so much from you throughout this A-Z! Thanks a ton for 26 flawless pieces.

  • Dan Antion says:

    What a strong way to end the month, like a walk-off home run in baseball. Good job! I thoroughly enjoyed this series. I am amazed that you were able to write these all so well and so fast. Impressive feat, now get some rest 🙂

  • … and that’s a wrap!
    I loved all 26 flash fiction pieces! They were all delivered with such style!
    Congratulations on crossing the A to Z finishing line!
    (I can’t wait for your novel to be published – you ARE working on a novel??)

  • Larry George says:

    Fascinating as my antibiotic drips at 2 in the seemingly black morning. Love how we can ‘fake it with the best’. This was the one I read and how timely as I am considering shedding the backless gown & donning my always black.

  • Peter Nena says:

    Sounds like a true psychopath. I love writers because they can be anything. I think writers are the most versatile of the human race. A commendable finish of the A to Z Challenge.

  • A dark and chilling portrayal of a real human predator; you captured the mindset really well….

  • Thanks for stopping by at mine during the challenge honey xx

  • Another spine-tingling story. Congratulations on completing the challenge, and to such a high standard throughout too! Well done!

  • Wow, that was great. I’m a curly blonde who won’t be boarding a ferry anytime soon. Well done on completing the Ato Z challenge. Sorry I didn’t get to pop over more often. I hope to catch up with you again. 🙂

  • Not a dud story in the whole 26. Congrats! Style. Imagination. Determination. Artistry. Simply wonderful! (Don’t let the praise go to your head: I’m just an ordinary pleb!)

  • Rosie Amber says:

    Well done you made it to the end of another challenge, thank you so much for your support of all the bloggers who took part.

  • davidprosser says:

    It’s now really worrying to admit I like things in black and white and tend to wear a lot of black.
    A blonde one did you say?
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  • And that’s what I call going out with a bang!

  • Chilling. You write beautifully and draw me in every time. Well done keeping the show going while you were dealing with life. Your flash fiction is always a pleasure to read.
    Each year you put so much into this challenge and it’s hugely appreciated by those of us who benefit from being part of such a great event. Thank You

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks, Lynne. My cohosts and I hope to keep organizing this challenge year after year, and I’m really glad you enjoyed it.

%d bloggers like this: