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Writing prompt: UNDER

Provided by: Claire Goverts via Twitter. Please visit her excellent blog, and drop me some prompts for V, W, X, Y,Z. I find I need them all.

Genre: Fiction


I don’t know about you, but when I look at me, I like what I see.

I like, for instance, the star that used to stop less than an inch above my cleavage. It stood out, blue and proud, the first tattoo I got me made, to remind me I could survive.

They marched me into and out of prison with a bunch of kids my age, which was twelve. Not the number of kids, my age. The star that time was at an innocent place, but it became a challenge to all that dared question my right to do with my life as I will.

That phoenix you see on my arm, I got it when first I fell in love. I had risen, I said, above all the hate given me and found it in me to love.

Each flower, each colored cloud, each letter, every sword, every petal, each verse, running into each other has meaning, some of which has escaped me.

I would not let the colors fade, I said, the primroses on my stomach would not wither and fall, the snake that crawls up my leg would not lose its way in a maze of wrinkles.

My skin is not a covering, it is what holds my body together, I said.

Now that my eighties are far behind and I no longer have a cleavage, when it is hard for me to swallow sometimes, when I remember each slow moment of what happened fifty years ago, but forget what I had for lunch, or if indeed I had one; I know not just my skin, but my body is a covering.

The colors of the tattoos have seeped into my soul, and even when the body is gone, the colors will remain.


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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  • indigobunting says:

    I love this.

  • I’m glad you were able to use one of my prompts. I really like this story, you have some nice imagery and a certain profoundness.

  • Damyanti says:

    It is overwhelming to receive so much praise, because it becomes a challenge to keep coming up with one’s best every day. Though each post takes less than an hour to write, a lot of dreaming goes on for hours, because I do not know who is going to come forward from where, and want their story told! Characters are elusive, determined, difficult people.

    But all writers love praise (however much they deny it lol)….and I’m lapping it up. I guess I’ll wake up when I have to decide which of the pieces would go towards a second draft, and which has already has its 2 minutes of fame, and will retire into blog oblivion 🙂

  • Another great one! I haven’t done a writing prompt in ages, you’re making me want to do some.

  • Laura Eno says:

    This speaks of such a determined life. Wonderful!

  • shoreacres says:

    The fantasy of youth – “I would not let the colors fade” – and the realism of accepting age. Beautifully done.

  • Petra says:

    Very descriptive! Blessings!

  • Priya says:

    I can see her!
    There is nothing much I can add to all the everyone has said here, Damyanti. All of it describes this piece.
    “Each flower, each colored cloud, each letter, every sword, every petal, each verse, running into each other has meaning, some of which has escaped me.” took my breath away.
    “…some of which has escaped me.” It takes a lot to know that and to feel and acknowledge it.


  • Very beautiful – I really enjoyed this!

  • Talei Loto says:

    Wonderful. I love the voice in this piece. 😉

  • KarenG says:

    This is very nice! Only a few more letters left– whew!

  • I loved this! Beautiful imagery.

  • Wow, that was intense and wonderful writing! You managed to convey so much in so few words.

  • Another great little story.

  • Joy says:

    You’ve done an amazing job of showing how people treasure and remember things meaningful to them that happened in another lifeteime.

    V – if you haven’t found anything yet – verbiage, verbose, venture, verisimilitude, vacillate, vermin, vertigo, veracity
    Wizard, whistle, wormwood, whopper
    Xenophobe, Xerox,
    Yuletide, yammer, yawn, yearn, yeoman
    Zealot, Zen, zipper, zillion

  • Beautiful balance of character and visuals.

  • PencilGirl says:

    I loved the thought behind this tale.. Usually, I find that it is your writing which brings out the best in the story, adds all the layers, makes the characters so intriguing.. But for once, it seems like your writing is more understated, because the character herself is so strong.
    Beautiful! 🙂 🙂

  • I guess a total covering with flowery tattoos at that great age, would have the appearance of a compost heap of dead or dying flowers. Ah, but the seeds might just live on. If not, the compost still gives life to the soil. Win-win situation.
    Thoughtful little tale.

  • ExpatGab says:

    How do you keep coming up with such wonderful ideas Damyanti? I like this one.