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R for Red light covered the evening sky: #atozchallenge Fiction

Today’s picture prompt and story starter (the bolded out part of the story in the beginning) are from Claire Goverts, a great A to Z challenge supporter for me last year. The picture is what drew me to these prompts. The word prompt is very unrelated to the picture, and I hope that helps rather than hinders my writing!

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Red light covered the evening sky— he saw her outlined against the approaching darkness. She would come back, he knew, if only he could carve her out of the unfeeling stone in which she had hidden herself.

His curses and jibes had sent her curling inwards, hardening. His love would chisel her out, give shape to her limbs, her exquisite breasts, her smile, her eyelashes, her voice. He would bring her back.

He looked up at her as she sat on the steps of their hillside home, her gaze distant, unseeing, her face vacant in the fading sunlight.

These days she spoke only when asked a specific question, and then only in a subdued monotone. She did not anger, did not show hurt except when he slapped her around to get a reaction. Her sobs, though visible, never broke the silence. She did not look up at his apologies, she ignored her favorite dishes he cooked to win her back, she lay nerveless in their bed as he made love to her body. Her lips curved up at his gifts, as if she had learned how to smile from a book, never having seen one herself.

As the red in the sky faded, he walked into the garage at the back, and brought out the canister of petrol. Its smell brought up his gorge as he soaked in it–his clothes, his hair, his heart. He would bring back the fire, he promised himself, as he cried to her, the man calling for his muse.

The hillside echoed with their cries, the flames rose, and she ran to him. The evening sky turned red again, and this time it continued to burn.
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A to Z Stories of Life and Death

As a co-host, I end with A to Z Challenge  reminders:

1. Turn off your word verification. It helps no one. You may moderate comments for a while if you’re unsure.
2. In your comment id, link only to your AZ blog, NOT your profile which may have 5 other blogs.
3. Leave a link to you when you comment.
4. Comment when you visit blogs. Start visiting with the blog below you on the linky list.
5. Make it easy for people to follow your blog and follow you on social media.
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If you liked this story you might like some of the stories I wrote for my A to Z last year.

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 forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be 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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