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#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: Never in her life did she think..

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: Never in her life did she think…

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

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#atozchallenge : N for Never Poppy fields

#atozchallenge : N for Never in her life did she think…

       The poppy fields of her lost summers, she wanted to see them bloom again.

       Those red, black-hearted blossoms, nodding and dancing in the breeze, lying crushed under her as she moved with her husband, coloring the air in opium– she wanted them back, those fields where they had made her son.

         She drove slowly in the dusk, her eyes on the distance, on the road below her with its moving stream of traffic. The lights, a river of cars, a slow-moving river of light on a Friday evening, people going home or out of town for their weekends. Everyone had a right to joy, to life, as did Robbie, sitting beside her, tall and strong like his father. Eyes closed, he danced his head to the music from his earphones, lost to the world, unaware his father was alive and looked for him. The breeze mussed his hair, so unlike his father’s crew cut.

 Somewhere out there, in all that light, sat her husband, his heart dark with intent. She remembered his clothes that smelled of gunpowder and blood, his very posture, erect, as if challenging the world. Never in her life did she think she would fall for such a man, a man who left his pregnant wife in the name of duty, never looked back. And now he wanted their son. Easy for him, he had given life, but received only pleasure in return. This was her son, not his. She had borne the pain so her baby might come to this world, safe. She had watered him with her blood, fed him, given him color, life. 

Tomorrow, with the first light of the sun, she would take Robbie to those fields for a walk. No one would feed her that patriotism crap, replace her boy with a bunch of red poppies. She fingered the 9mm Smith & Wesson in her pocket. Her husband had taught her to shoot, but he didn’t know she’d kept practicing, that she could bring poppies to bloom. She drove on, to the red poppy fields of her youth, right beyond the hill. She smelled spring in the dark night air.

            ~~~~~

Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? Watched traffic lights at dusk? What do poppy fields mean to you? Ever walked in them?

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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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48 Comments

  • Rajlakshmi says:

    Oh the ending kept me wondering what’s going to happen.This is a brilliant piece of writing.

  • I’m wondering whether she WILL use the gun… maybe she’ll change her mind…

  • I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories. 🙂

  • *gasp* Wow. That twist was epic. I loved the line about bringing her son to color. You kept hitting the “red” with so much emphasis, and what amazing imagery!

    True Heroes from A to Z

  • Mou Mishra says:

    When I started reading the story then I didn’t think about the twist it would take by the mid of it, wonderfully written heart warming story.

  • Peter Nena says:

    I’m beginning to think the essence of Damyanti’s stories are the unsaid things. They leave so much to be guessed, inferred, and discussed. It’s like in real life where things are said to disguise those that are unsaid, which are really the ones that matter the most. She is truly the mistress of flash fiction.

  • You always draw us in and leave us wanting more. You’re having another Brilliant AtoZ. Well done!

  • cvail says:

    Oooh chilling…I love it!

  • Oh my goodness, that’s dark. I hope she isn’t going to do what I think she is.

  • I really love the way you intertwine the reader’s imagination into narrative, inviting, no urging us to finish the tale. Each of your stories that I have read do that to varying extents. But this one has a powerful whap. I can’t get the red imagery out of my mind, flushed with the heat and pain of childbirth, love, blood, fierce maternal protectiveness. Your work is lovely.

  • Cecilia says:

    Love the imagery and the intent. I wrote to prompts every week and I like it. Some days I need the push to get the creative juices flowing. I do two regular flash fiction challenges and try to find more when I have time. I think flash fiction keeps the writing tight and sharp. I am hopeless at twitter but I will add you for the time I actually master that challenge. 🙂

    http://ceciliaaclark.blogspot.com.au

  • lexacain says:

    I love this line: She had watered him with her blood, fed him, given him color, life.
    That’s brilliant! I had no idea you were such a great writer. Your prose is fabulous! I’m a little confused about patriotism and who’s going to die though…

    • Damyanti says:

      This famous poem is what she refers to– it was and still is, used to recruit/inspire soldiers:

      In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
      That mark our place; and in the sky
      The larks, still bravely singing, fly
      Scarce heard amid the guns below.

      We are the Dead. Short days ago
      We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
      Loved and were loved, and now we lie
      In Flanders fields.

      Take up our quarrel with the foe:
      To you from failing hands we throw
      The torch; be yours to hold it high.
      If ye break faith with us who die
      We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
      In Flanders fields.

  • Sonia Lal says:

    what’s she going to do?

  • Oh, the tension you create.
    Play off the Page

  • Liz A. says:

    Yikes…

  • I’ve enjoyed reading he stories you’ve been creating throughout this challenge. I’m doing this challenge for the first time this year and have a lot of respect for anyone who is participating. It takes a great deal of organization and dedication to writing.
    Great job on your entries. I look forward to the rest of your posts.

  • I don’t want her to kill them both in a suicide pact!!! I’d hate to think she was so brittle she couldn’t handle sharing, especially since her son might want to know his father, be able to make up his own mind. Wow, look at that. Such powerful writing I’m cringing with the thought of what she might do!!!

    • Damyanti says:

      A woman’s heart is a strange thing — there’s no telling what she would do.

      That’s why the story ended before the plot, in this case, to leave room for your imagination.

  • Wow! So many details and emotions in so few words. Great story! And yes, I like writing to prompts, although I don’t do it every day. It can be fun and a way of getting into the groove of story writing when I’m feeling a need for something new. 🙂

  • lonitownsend says:

    Amazing as usual!

  • I’m giving this intense and intriguing story a happy ending. (being single with a son :). The story is packed with emotion and so well written.

  • Andrew says:

    crap

  • Beloo Mehra says:

    Powerful writing! Enjoyed it very much, even though still feel like wanting to know what next 🙂

  • Willy Nilly says:

    That was a freight train to the face. The words electrified all of my senses. But, I’m not done. I want to dive back in and wrestle it some more. You’re writing is that powerful to me.

  • Wow. That was dark and brilliant.

    ~Patricia Lynne~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, YA Author

  • lindacovella says:

    Wow, just that. Your writing is a mixture of beauty and darkness.

  • Victoria says:

    Wonderful to see you in the A-Z Challenge! Awesome blog -:)

  • Mary F. says:

    Whoa! Intense and very dark. Amazed at the level of tension you’ve created in less than 500 words. Well done!

  • Dan Antion says:

    I am impressed at how much drama and intrigue you can pack into a bit of short fiction. I want to read the rest of this.

  • Laili says:

    Whenever I think of poppies, I think of The Wizard of Oz’s poppy scene when everyone is about to reach Oz city and the wicked witch stops th by making them sleep due to the poppies.

  • Harliqueen says:

    Brilliant, definitely leaves you wanting to know more! 🙂

  • macjam47 says:

    This is so beautifully written. So dark. You left me hanging. I’m not sure how I want it to end, but you definitely made me think about various endings.

  • Susan Scott says:

    Never – am gasping, also wanting to know more Damyanti thank you. Never end these cliff hangers ..
    poppy fields? Reminds me of WW1 .. not that I was there .. the ending of it on 11 Nov at 11.00 am 11/11/1919 in remembrance of those killed. In Flanders Field – the red of the poppy significant for the blood spilled.
    Garden of Eden Blog

  • I just wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying your flash fiction! Keep up the great work!

  • Julia Lund says:

    So, who is going to end up dead? … I’ve imagined all sorts of different possibilities. The foreshadowing at the start with the strong symbolism flavours the tone. A good story lingers long after it has been read and that’s what this one does.

    • Damyanti says:

      I have an idea who would end up dead, but with these stories, I’m going for an open-ended version, so that the reader can come to his or her own conclusions. 🙂

      I’m so glad this sparked your imagination!

      I’m writing these each as they come– who knows how they will change in the second draft?

  • Now this is definitely my kind of story!
    A tale that sends out a a very strong message, that a mother’s bond to her child is one she’ll go to any lengths to protect. Great, powerful story…

    • Damyanti says:

      Yes, a world where women rule would never have war. They know what it takes to birth and rear another human being.

  • davidprosser says:

    What a very dark piece. Well written and leaves you wanting more to know how the scene ends.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  • Rosie Amber says:

    A true cliff hanger, well done.

  • By golly, you do write some powerful fiction!

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