Welcome to the new and improved flash fiction writing prompt series – #SwiftFicFriday!
I’ve changed the rules, so if you didn’t see my tweet, check them out!
- You have THREE DAYS (AM Friday-PM Sunday on the east coast) to submit your entry.
- Include social media links/handles/anything you want to promote (Twitter, FB, etc) & word count in the comment with your submission.
- Submission must be between 150-300 words.
- All stories are property of the authors.
- Winner will be determined via reader votes on Mondays.
Ready, set, write!
Prompt: This week, we’re doing a phrase! Write a piece that incorporates the following phrase:
Whatever helps you sleep at night.
8 thoughts on “#SwiftFicFriday – Week 129 Prompt”
Whatever Helps You Sleep At Night –
By Gypsie-Ami Offenbacher-Ferris
In response to prompt by Kat Avila @ Fiction Trials for SwiftFicFriday – Week #129 Prompt Phrase –
Whatever Helps You Sleep At Night-
The somnologist glanced at her day planner. Her field of sleep afforded her an intriguing career. Her nine o’clock appointment was with Mr. Kirkpatrick. His fascination with ferris wheels had led him, on her advice, to purchase a working replica of one. He slept soundly every night now.
Ms. Robbins’ case was more delicate. She did not have any hobbies or particular fields of interest, save one. A hand-held device assisted with her more lascivious needs and did the trick.
More clients arrived for their appointments. Lunch then, more clients and then the last client of the day, a first-time, new client.
The arrival bell rang at her patient entrance and she beeped him in. A tall, well-built man walked into her office. Nice looking, she thought. He did not display the tell-tale signs of sleep deprivation, as so many of her patients did.
After greeting him and motioning him to either the chair or lounger, she sat behind her desk to observe him. He had one of those well practiced, testosterone filled smiles that could entice the most timid of females to become little more than a pile of hormonal mush when bestowed upon them.
Luckily, the sleep doctor was immune to those kind of parlor tricks. The new patient, Mr. Antonio Blaque, seemed slightly disconcerted by her lack of response.
He shook her hand, remained standing, she assumed it was an intimidation tactic that would have not a bit of effect on her.
“I understand you provide your clients with what they need, enabling them to sleep?”
“That’s a simplistic way of putting it but, this is true,” she answered.
He walked behind her, a purple scarf in his hand.
“Good,” he whispered, tightening the scarf around her neck in a tight, deadly, grip.
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Thank you! (I think!) 😳
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Tossin’ and Turnin’
Some nights it’s daylight before my infrequent friend Morpheus arrives. Other nights, Morph is a no show. Just a wink and a nod as I don’t…that’s right, nod off.
No Morph for me, and no endorphins…
And I’m not even counting dolphins in my sleep…sheep just don’t cut it for me usually though I would be willing to give that a serious rethink.
There I am, all twistin’ and churnin’, tossin’ and turnin’, it’s like Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien is perched in my ear mezzo-sopranoing away, her peroxide blonde bangles dangling in my eyes, wide awake am I, craving sleep.
Craving the grave you might think, but hold your horses, Rusty…I’m not that far gone.
Not sleeping does that to you. To your brain, your thoughts. You, well, me, I start thinkin’, is it always gonna be like this? Never forty winks ever…again.
I could pop pills, I suppose.
I’m not averse to them.
Whatever helps you sleep at night, eh!
Not especially Canadian though.
Or maybe it is.
Whether it is or it isn’t, I’m not sure I want to amble down that dusty trail.
A friend has suggested the mighty herb. Bake it up in chocolate. Can’t go wrong.
And it’s legal…wasn’t always. Those were the days the terrible days when even though the state had no right to be in your bedroom, god help you if you used the illegal herb to get a good night’s sleep.
Yes, I planned ahead.
It’s three in the morning. I’m cookin’ up a sleep storm and I hear Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien belting out You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me and I know sleep will comin’ for me shortly…
287 words including the title
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The sandstone room had no windows and a sturdy oak door that could be bolted from the outside. As requested. Lakeview Abbey didn’t have many such rooms, and none had been intended for residence. So the monks had emptied a closet near their dormitory and added a cot for Oliver.
“Always lock me in before the sun sets,” Oliver fixed his haunted eyes on Isabella’s. “And promise not to let me out again before sunrise. No matter what.”
Isabella nodded, “Whatever helps you sleep at night.”
“I still think it’s a bad idea for me to stay here.”
The novice nun resisted reaching for the troubled teen’s hand. Since she rescued him from the lake, Oliver had gained some healthy weight and color though he remained skittish and ill at ease.
“You’re making great progress,” She smiled gently. “You even talk to the other brothers and sisters now. Doesn’t that seem good to you?”
Oliver nodded. Isabella wished she could see into his conflicted heart. Still, all things considered, they had made remarkable progress in his short time at the abbey. She learned the teen had experienced something horrific that he blamed himself for.
Oliver even managed to smile several times over the next two weeks. Then came the night one of the monks roused Isabella from her bed.
“I know we’re not supposed to let the boy out at night, but we heard him screaming.”
Isabella put on a robe and followed the monk to Oliver’s door. At first, it was silent. Then there was a scratching on the other side. The nun and monk exchanged glances. The scratching increased in strength and frequency before being drowned out by an inhuman howl that chilled Isabella to the marrow.
The door splintered, releasing a slavering beast, neither man nor wolf.
300 Kerri’s Creatures words
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The perpetual night continued. The dark laid heavily on his senses, his attention following the noises outside his cell. The rushing of water, the whirring of fans: there was never a moment of true quiet. And he was here restless and alone, craving company.
There was an irony to his predicament. His capsule was one of a million, maybe more. If he listened, he could hear some of the others. Hundreds more, hardly existing, just like he was right now. If he closed his mind and focused more tightly, he could reach deeper into the neural mist.
And still, there was no end to their number. The matrix was infinite, lives blurring until the collective whole unresolved into an unknowing mass of pale beige, a smothering of stubborn randomness and low-level fears.
There was always fear here. There were few safer places, but there was no care in this world. There was no contact, no sympathy: no humanity beyond the little they could share through indirect means. His awareness was an impediment, the serrated blade he’d turned on himself, like a child seeking a comfort it would never receive.
When would it end? Was there a place left where there was nothing? A retreat for his troubled mind.
He clamped down his shutters again, feeling the weight of the others. He turned on the curated night-time talk radio station, its AI host careful to never discuss anything that could offend. It was just inanities and gossip. A stream of dialogue presented to him in a tone convincing enough to engage his attention but insufficiently authentic to stir his desires.
“Yes, we’re anodyne and uninspiring. But we’re your means to an end. And you’ll submit to our draining away your consciousness every day because it’s whatever helps you sleep at night.”
300 words – firstname.lastname@example.org
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