Red Light at Night

Image- unsplash

After sunset, the bustling streets of the market transformed into the affairs of dark desire- the dutiful & virtuous paving the way for the immoral vices.

She stood on the mouth of the alley, away from the red glow of nightlights. I’ve gotta take on a big client today. Or more, she calculated, gazing at the still empty streets. Her little girl deserved a new dress for the upcoming festival.

Every night, as the sun-set and night arrived with its miscellaneous moon and fluttering stars, she armed herself with bright clothes and loud make-up. Determination residing behind the coy smiles and practiced propositions, she displayed her body; dignity sold for food. As the men sated their lust, she thought of them– her illness, their smiles, her education. Her little girl, left to look after her bed-ridden grandmother, in their three generations residing in a one-roomed dwelling. .

‘Night-duty’, she would explain to her daughter, as she gulped the tea with a tired smile after dawn. Dragging her tired body to their shared bed, she would wonder if the sight of sunrise would ever bring true peace. It wasn’t the night she feared; it was the beast within men that prowled after sun-set.


In India, the term ‘Red Light Area‘ is used for the areas/places where the sex workers (prostitutes) work or operate. This picture, with its deserted streets and the red light’s glow, made me want to give a glimpse into the life of one.

For Donna’s Sunday Photo Fiction. Your challenge is to use the picture as inspiration to write a story in 200 words or less.

Other prompts: Word of the Day– Sight; 3TC#311– Affair, Bustle & Generation

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