The Sleep-Eater – Friday Fictioneers, April 2015

Copyright Jennifer Pendergast

Sunday – one minute to midnight – the night train pulls out of the station.

Only two passengers; the Sleep-Eater and me.

By journey’s end, the ‘Things I Shouldn’t Have Done’ chest will have been prised open, its contents strewn across the carriage.

The ‘People I Used to Know’ gallery will have been studied to guilt-laden exhaustion, the ‘Worrying Symptoms’ and ‘Don’t Forget’ catalogues extensively refurbished.

On arrival at dawn, quivering with fatigue, I’ll alight to face the week ahead.

The Sleep-Eater stays on board, hands folded across its swollen belly, belching contentedly.

It probably won’t be dining out Monday night, but Tuesday’s lookin’ good.

One guess as to how I started my week then.  😦   All aboard now for Friday Fictioneers, the express driven by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, pulling carriages from all over the world.  

(For anyone interested, my winning entry in Writing Magazine’s Flash Competition is published in the May edition, in the shops now: The Reliable Witness. Shame about getting my name wrong, though.)

About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

120 Responses to The Sleep-Eater – Friday Fictioneers, April 2015

  1. micklively says:

    Insomnia is a dreadful affliction. I like the way you’ve structured this.

    Like

  2. I think we have all been on that journey at some stage Sandra. Well captured 🙂
    Congratulations on winning the Writing Magazine competition. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

    Like

  3. Such a great premise for a story – and very nicely written too – l love the imagery of the Sleep-Eater at the end.

    Like

  4. Dear Sandra,

    I’ve had a few go rounds with the Sleep-Eater myself lately. Brilliantly written. This one will stay with me…particularly when I have trouble sleeping. Seriously brilliant, my friend.

    Congrats on the winning the competition. Boo on getting your name wrong. You know how I feel about that. 😉

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Yes, sadly I travelled along with him Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. 😦 And yes, when I saw the magazine, I thought of you and knew you’d understand. Thanks for reading.

      Like

  5. Expertly crafted and well-delivered.

    Like

  6. Really creative way to make insomnia anthropomorphic. Excellent descriptions of the thoughts. You’ve gone above and beyond with this story, Sandra. “Well done” doesn’t go far enough describe it. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Like

  7. wildbilbo says:

    Clever stuff – the manifestation of the sleep eater and each of your guilts/issues as a course… Works really well. Nice work.
    KT

    Like

  8. gahlearner says:

    This is so well written, it makes insomnia almost desirable, with its mystical Chests, galleries and catalogues.

    Like

  9. Indira says:

    It took some time to understand sleep eater. Now I can relate as until I pop a pill I’m on this journey very frequently. Very beautifully written. Congrats for winning the competition.

    Like

  10. Love it! By the way, I think the Sleep-eater got off at our station last night…yawn!

    Like

  11. Wow! What an image of a frustrating situation. Yep! I can relate. Been there, done that! 🙂

    Like

  12. ansumani says:

    The sleep-eater got me too last night……and this 100 words describes that feeling so well! Excellent personification!

    Like

  13. Sandra, a wonderful description of something that afflicts too many of us too often. Seriously excellent!

    janet

    Like

  14. Lynda says:

    You think if I take that train, that maybe your sleep eater and my sleep eater could be friends? We could send them off together to nowhere land.

    Loved this, Saundra.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandra says:

      I’m all for pairing off the sleep-eaters. And thanks for the variation on the first name, it makes a change from a variation on the second. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by Lynda.

      Like

      • Lynda says:

        Sandra, I just read your winning fiction and must say congratulations! It is so well written.

        RE: The “…variation of the second”. I’m sorry! The only other Saundra in my life spells it with a u in the middle. (I actually had to back up and take out the u this time too, as it is just automatic.) I hate it when people do that to me. They generally read my name and write back spelling it Linda or Lydia every time. Phooey! And thank you for not misspelling mine, lol! 😉

        Like

  15. The visit from sleep-eater does really give one a chance to reflect upon life and everything surrounding it! I love the way you craft your stories! There’s so much power in it!

    Like

  16. Sue says:

    Great bit of writing!

    Like

  17. elmowrites says:

    Names aside (not to belittle that frustration, though: grrr), congratulations on another publishing success. And congratulations on this story too, which speaks to the Sleep-Eater victim in me too. I hope he leaves you alone the rest of the week.

    Like

  18. The sleep eater…yes I know him well. I never knew his name before though. :/

    Like

  19. Sandra I love the poetry in this. Very well done. (I’m jealous)

    Like

  20. Love your work and a really great take on the prompt. I can also relate to insomnia, your discription is amazing. 🙂

    Like

  21. Francesca Smith says:

    The sleep eater is a regular affliction. Your prose if wonderful, and congratulations for winning the competition!

    Like

  22. This is a masterpiece, Sandra. Truly. Every week I look forward to your stories and I’m never disappointed.
    -David

    Like

  23. Mike says:

    Sandra,

    Nan and I once was on a train ride with our four boys. I (the Sleep-Eater) slept all night. But Nan, worried about our kids, stayed awake all night watching them. So, we both can easily identify with your story. Well done.

    Mike

    Like

  24. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Sandra, You have so much to be thankful for – first and foremost is your talent, second, this writing group, and third your life with your husband on the river – is that right? My hat’s off to you and your ability! But, darn it all, they would have to misspell your name. Maybe their Editor didn’t notice, but I did and it doesn’t take anything away from your story – which is fantastic! Thanks! Nan

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      I know I’m very lucky, the life I lead.:) I suppose I just feel (with regard to the story) that this piece is now out there – but with someone else’s name on it. If it weren’t for the photograph, I’d have no claim on the story at all. And I was fairly pleased with the piece and had spent a lot of time honing it, so it’s all the more galling. Anyway, onwards and upwards, what cannot be changed must be endured… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Ellespeth says:

    Well there it is! I know this thing – though less since I’ve retired. A horrible over night and uninvited guest.
    Congratulations on your well deserved win, Sandra.
    Ellespeth

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Yes, I used to suffer with insomnia when I was holding down a high pressure job, and that was a nightmare because another ‘angst’ to add to the usual mix described above was the fact that I knew I’d not be up for the stresses of next day. Now I just say ‘oh well, I can always make it up tomorrow’ though I can sometimes have a run of several nights like this. Thanks for reading, Ellespeth.

      Like

  26. yarnspinnerr says:

    I see a lot of people who identify with this piece. A truly remarkable piece.
    Congratulations for winning the Writing Magazine competition..

    Like

  27. Jan Brown says:

    Congratulations on your winning entry!

    I am one of the Sleep Eater’s favorite people, so this story really resonates with me 😊

    Like

  28. Dave says:

    One of the nastier villain-figures out there, all things considered.

    Like

  29. Liz Young says:

    If I can get myself out of bed, tea and a crossword banishes the Sleep-Eater. I love your story – very graphic.

    Like

  30. draliman says:

    I tend to have the opposite problem to insomnia. Whatever that’s called 🙂
    Well done on your winning entry!

    Like

  31. IB Arora says:

    you always manage to say so much in hundred words, great

    Like

  32. We’ll done. I’ve been missing a lot of sleep lately with these same strange bed fellows. I can think of better companions to distract me under the covers. 😉
    Love it,
    Tracey

    Like

  33. rgayer55 says:

    Beautifully written, Sandra. I’m more of an Alfred E. Newman (what, me worry?) types and rarely lie awake worrying about the things I cannot change. However, if I’ve working on a project, I may roll it over and over in my mind trying to figure out how to make difficult into accomplishable.

    Like

  34. plaridel says:

    i love the humor in it. dry like james bond’s martini, stirred but not shaken. 🙂

    Like

  35. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    What is wonderful about this delightful piece is the way you peopled the night train with characters we all know but who have never been so colorfully named. The Sleep-Eater will be enjoyed by most because of the way you married real life with the stuff of dreams (or the lack thereof). I love reading your work, Sandra. It is a treat, a reward for the faithful and a pleasure for the mind of a writer.

    Thanks for writing.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Creatopath says:

    Very clever and creative Sandra. I loved it. It’s so frustrating when all you want to do is sleep, yet millions of thoughts keep floating around in your mind.

    Like

  37. Lovely, and such truth here. What a great concept!

    Like

  38. Amy Reese says:

    Oh, I’ve been on this train, Sandra. It’s exhausting as shown here and captured so well. I love where you took the prompt. Congrats on the winning story! Sorry about your name being wrong. Next time, they’ll get it right!

    Like

  39. mjlstories says:

    This reminded me of Mr Chartwell (Rebecca Hunt) where Churchill’s black dog/depression is indeed a black dog.
    Had two longish periods of pain and insomnia, so nowadays I tell myself at least I’m not in pain as well when that sleep-eater comes a-calling.
    Great take on the prompt – very original and struck a chord.

    Like

  40. storydivamg says:

    Dear Sandra,
    Traveling companions are both the best and worst thing about traveling by any form of public transportation. Hopefully next time your companion will provide a more delightful form of inspiration.

    All my best,
    MG

    Like

  41. milliethom says:

    It seems a lot of us have bed-fellows called Sleep Eaters. A whole army of over-fed menaces! An excellent story, Sandra. 🙂

    Like

  42. While I know it’s a non-discriminatory affliction, insomnia does seem to prefer women! Luckily for us (but not you), it’s perfect fodder for this incredibly creative and clever story. Loved it! I read it a couple of times just to enjoy the word play. Brilliant, Sandra!

    Like

  43. amiewrites74 says:

    Congrats on winning the competition!

    This piece is brilliant. I love the clever imagery. I hope you can starve your sleep-eater and get some much needed rest!

    Like

  44. Jorbi K says:

    Not to take anything away from anyone else, but I think this is the best Friday Fictioneers I’ve read yet. Great job.

    Like

  45. Dee says:

    I know the Sleep-Eater well… great descriptions and a lovely take on the prompt. I really enjoyed your story in Writing, they certainly take their time publishing the winners. Well done on all counts.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Yes there’s an incredibly long lead time. I found out I’d won the second week of January. I’ve had a communication from the editor apologising about the error with my name and they’re printing a correction, hopefully in the next edition. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  46. Brilliant story. I love your images of all the things that keep you awake, and the sleep-eater is a wonderful concept. So sad that it’s coming from your real experience though. I hope things improve. Congratulations on your winning magazine story. i loved it too – very clever, and moving.

    Like

  47. Melanie says:

    This is is fantastic prose. This is the kind of story other stories wish they could be.

    Like

  48. afairymind says:

    A Sleep-Eater is not someone you want to be sharing your space with! Luckily for me he’s not someone I’ve ever become particularly familiar with. Great story and congrats on your win. 🙂

    Like

  49. Very creative although sorry to hear it was based on a reality show.

    Good luck in your quest to reach The Dream Maker.

    Question: you really mean to write “prised” – or was it supposed to be “pried” – in the line “‘Things I Shouldn’t Have Done’ chest will have been prised open”?

    Randy

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      No I definitely meant ‘prised’ in the manner of the chest not being easy to open, ie having kept a lid tightly on some past misgivings. And I’m hoping to get on the trail of the money-spinner before I tackle the dream-maker. Thanks for coming by. 🙂

      Like

  50. That darned sleep-eater, Sandra, gobbled up far too many hours of my sleep over many years before I banned him from my head — much helped by refusing to fuel his appetite with caffeine. You describe that battle with guilt and misgivings in the dark hours so well. They’re a complete waste of mental space, as you can’t do anything about most of them.
    Well written and an interesting take on the prompt.

    Like

  51. phylor says:

    I think I’ve met the Sleep-Eater on train and airplane trips. Great story!

    Like

  52. subroto says:

    Alas, poor Sleep-Eater! I knew him, Sandra: a fellow
    of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath
    borne me on his back a thousand times.
    (with apologies to the Bard).

    Like

  53. Sally says:

    It’s strange how our sleep patterns can become so disrupted – great term ‘sleep-eater.’

    Like

  54. marvelously dreadful. Hope your week did get better, and the monster stayed under the bed.

    Like

  55. MissTiffany says:

    Very clever way of describing insomnia – really gets inside your head. A horrible thing to deal with!

    Like

  56. No sheep to help? Guess not.
    A subject that plagues everyone at one time or another.
    I enjoyed the way you interpreted the prompt. 😎
    Great Write !!!
    Isadora
    Congratulations on winning the Writing Magazine’s Flash Competition …. I’m not surprised.
    You’re writing is incredible.

    Like

  57. erinleary says:

    Lovely story and clever use of sleep eater as the type of train car. I always enjoy your writing – this week is no exception.

    Like

  58. Oh the ordeals of insomnia.. so many uninvited guests coming… well done.

    Like

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