The Sleep-Eater – Friday Fictioneers, August 2020.


Jennifer Pendergast


Sunday midnight, the night-train leaves 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.

Arriving at dawn, quivering with fatigue, I’ll alight to face the week ahead whilst the  Sleep-Eater remains on board, hands folded across his swollen belly, belching contentedly.

He probably won’t be travelling Monday night, I’ll be drop-dead exhausted, but Tuesday’s lookin’ good.

A re-tread this week from 5 years ago but as appropriate today as it’s always been, for me at least.  Thanks to Rochelle, the driver of the Friday Fictioneer train, for all that she does to keep us on track. 

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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60 Responses to The Sleep-Eater – Friday Fictioneers, August 2020.

  1. Iain Kelly says:

    The amplification of thoughts and worries during the night is fascinating, something wired into our brains that makes us fear the worst during the dark hours. Hope you managed a good sleep!


  2. Reena Saxena says:

    i love the metaphor. Brilliant piece, Sandra!


  3. neilmacdon says:

    You captured the something dreamlike or nightmarish that lurks in this image


  4. Loved the metaphorical piece! The sleep-eating jobs are on the rise ….


  5. Dale says:

    That damn sleep-eater was at MY place last night!
    Just as fabulous today as five years ago, Sandra.


  6. Great story. I remember this one.


  7. Dear Sandra,

    Once more a good read. I’m sure the Sleep Eater has visited me recently. Damn his eyes.




  8. granonine says:

    Perfectly drawn picture of insomnia and probably undeserved guilt. Great story, Sandra.


  9. msjadeli says:

    That’s a situation where you either feign sleep or deafness. Good character study.


  10. Gabriella says:

    I have had too many visits from the Sleep-Eater recently. I am looking forward to easier journeys.


  11. Bill says:

    Your story worked magnificently as I’m sure it had before. Enjoyed reading it. Well done.


  12. mike says:

    I rather think that the sleep eater has to many forms. I am sure he is pestering me tonight.


  13. subroto says:

    Another mini masterpiece, I think I know the guy.


  14. draliman says:

    I hate visits from the Sleep-Eater. All those fears rushing around in the dark of night. Nice one!


  15. I find a melatonin and a benadryl taken nightly banish the Sleep-Eater. Most nights…


  16. plaridel says:

    thanks for reposting this story. one of your best.


  17. Liz Young says:

    I think your Sleep-eater has taken up residence in my room.


  18. siobhan1967 says:

    Loved this and it rang really familiar bells with me too. I always like it when your pieces are first!


  19. Love the metaphor!


  20. Repeat or not, it’s a very good story. I like the title a lot.


  21. Tannille says:

    Loved to atmosphere. Nightmarish.


  22. ceayr says:

    ‘Like’ is, as so often with your work, totally inadequate.
    You are quite the word magician, Sandra,


  23. Vartikaforu says:

    You described everything so nicely Sandra.. very nice post


  24. James McEwan says:

    You capture the uneasiness of night travel – although you try to sleep you are distracted by your own thoughts.


  25. This is one of the best metaphor stories I’ve ever read! I might come back now and then to remind myself that I’m not the Sleepeater’s only victim.


  26. wmqcolby says:

    Terrific story, Sandra! It seems a train just brings out the poetic in a lot of folks.

    Five out of five boxcars. 🙂


  27. I love the way you list the repetoire of traveller’s topics, and the endurance of the narrator, pinned to his /her seat by the aptly named Sleep Eater. Astute observation. Great story.


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