The Sleepwalker | Flash Fiction

Hello, peeps of the universe. Today, or tomorrow, or whenever I find the time (what is time, anyway?), I’ll be doing a writing prompt! (Is “doing” an accurate verb? I’m not really “doing” a writing prompt. I’m writing an explosion based on the fuse that is the writing prompt. But actually, I’m just rambling.)

This writing prompt will be done with no prior planning. Basically, it will be word vomit. But hopefully, it’ll be entertaining word vomit. Either way, it will help me sharpen my writing sword to a lethal point so I can viciously stab all the fictional villains. [Insert mental image of Arachnid trying to press buttons on her laptop with a ginormous sword.]


The prompt: What started off as a sleepwalking problem leads to a night of adventure when Dane gets behind the wheel and does what he was too afraid to do when he was awake. (This prompt was stolen from BookFox.)

Diana carefully watched Dane across the table from her in the small cafe. It was nearly closing time and there were no other customers, only a waiter cleaning up the nearby table and willing them to leave so he could go home.

“Look, I love you, Diana, but you have no idea what you’re talking about. So what if I sleepwalk? I don’t have a problem. It’s harmless.”

Diana leaned forward, her voice dropping to a whisper even as anger laced her words. “Harmless? Do you even know what happened last night? Have you seen the news?”

Dane slowly shook his head.

“An unidentified man let all the butterflies out of the zoo.”

Dane barked a laugh. He had braced for something terrible to come out of Diana’s lovely mouth, like vandalism or arson or murder. “That’s all? So what if a few more butterflies are flitting around the city? Let them be free.”

Diana shook her head in disgust. “You don’t understand. It always starts small, and you tell yourself it’s nothing, and maybe it is then. But it escalates and you don’t even notice. This is bad, Dane. You need help. You could do something you’d regret.”

He drank the rest of his tea while Diana’s words rolled around inside his head. “Diana, trust me, it’s nothing.”

She abruptly stood up. “It seems you don’t have to even be asleep to say things you’ll regret.”

***

Hours later, the night was blue and sleeping. Dane was only a lump under the covers, Diana’s scathing accusations forgotten in the fog of sleep. The world breathed softly, the wind brushing the curtains in greeting, and the floorboards creaked as Dane’s feet thudded softly against them.

He didn’t fit neatly in the world anymore. He was outside of the calm and his body outside the control of his mind.

***

The garage door rumbled open. A car rolled out, Dane behind the wheel. The car lurched onto the empty street, weaving in and out of the lane like it was drunk, occasionally careening onto the sidewalk.

The car coasted to a stop after a while, half on a lawn and leaning against a precariously tilting mailbox. Dane clumsily stepped onto the pavement and stumbled to the door. He rang the bell, and when no one answered, he rang it again. Again, the door remained closed, the night still and quiet. He broke the silence and pounded against the door.

A moment later, Diana opened the door, wearing purple pajamas and glaring both furiously and sleepily. She rubbed her eyes. “What do you want?” She noticed his glassy-eyed stare. “Dane.”

Dane dropped to his knees and pulled a slightly squished cinnamon bun out of his pocket and held it out to Diana in an offering. He mumbled, “I love you. Marry me?”

Diana, usually unshakeable, was shocked. This was unexpected, to say the least. She thought that his sleepwalking would culminate in various criminal activities, not a proposal. “What? No. Goodnight, Dane.” She closed her front door, rolled her eyes, and went back to bed. Dane could find his own way home, as he had every night for the past few weeks.

***

Diana slid into the chair across from Dane the next afternoon and folded her arms. “Do you know what you did last night?”

Dane looked surprised. “I sleepwalked again? But I woke up in bed this morning.”

“You proposed to me. With a cinnamon bun.”

Dane flushed. “I—You were dreaming,” he spluttered.

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Tess of the Road || A Book Review

In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.

Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it’s a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl—a subspecies of dragon—who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she’s tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.

Returning to the fascinating world she created in the award-winning and New York Times bestselling Seraphina, Rachel Hartman introduces readers to a new character and a new quest, pushing the boundaries of genre once again in this wholly original fantasy.


  • This book is ridiculously amazing.
  • It’s not for everyone, though. It’s really slow, and there isn’t much of a plot. It’s mostly just a character arc. But it’s a heck of a character arc.
  • For what little plot there was, I was confused for much of it.
  • THE CHARACTERS. Tess is an amazing character. She’s so developed and she seems like a real person. She has faults (many of them) and dreams and shames and other person-y things. She feels real, and I love seeing how she changes over the course of her journey.
  • The cover is a bit misleading. There aren’t really any dragons the way the cover implies. There’s a large, four-armed lizard and a really big snake, to say the least, but the dragons are in human form. It is fantasy, but it reads almost like historical fiction.
  • I love that the heavier topics were thoroughly discussed.
  • The book is really slow, but it’s compelling. You want to keep flipping the pages and keep reading and reading and reading (Warning: homework will suffer).
  • This takes place in the same world as Seraphina, but it’s necessary to read it beforehand. However, it is nice to read it first so you get a grasp on the world. There are also a lot of character cameos and references to Seraphina.
  • The writing, like in Seraphina, is gorgeous. I really love it.

The Aftermath of Midterm Exams

Midterms are finally, finally over. I am so glad they are gone. I don’t particularly mind taking midterms, but I despise the preparation. It saps time and leaves little room for anything else.

I’ve had a few days off after midterms, thanks to the snow, and I was so confused. It was like “What is this? Free time? I haven’t seen this in so long I’ve forgotten what it looks like. What happens if I poke it? What do I do now? Whaaaa. It’s eating me.”

As much as I beg and plead with the universe for free time, it only scared me when the universe plopped almost three days in my lap. It was so new, so different. I yelped and threw it into the fireplace. Sorry, it was a reflex.

I tried to have fun. I read a lot. I wrote. I drew. Sitting back at my computer to write was an interesting experience. After so long away from my stories, my fingers were like baby birds and they had to relearn their way around the keyboard. I’d forgotten the feel of the keys.

But it’s like I’d been trained to do nothing but homework. I wasn’t prepared to do anything else. And so I ended up studying, despite having no homework. I read ahead in Chemistry and studied for Science Olympiad.

So in conclusion, I am unable to have fun.

School has started again in earnest and I am being pummeled with homework. It’s like standing in a hailstorm of golfball-sized ice bricks, except each golfball/ice brick is a pocket of homework. Eventually, these homework pockets will melt and you will drown, but you won’t even notice because you were so busy attempting to duel the homework pockets. You may win a battle, maybe even numerous battles, but the homework will always win the war. Because you have only yourself: mortal and easily fatigable. Homework, on the other hand, does not fear death and has an infinite army raining from the sky. Defeat is inevitable. It’s only a question of how long you can hold your breath.

So what have I been doing these many, many nightmarish days that I have been absent from the blogosphere? Not much, really. Mostly studying. I’ve been studying nonstop since Christmas. My brain has been mushed thoroughly. You could probably be sneaky and serve my brain instead of mashed potatoes at your next dinner party and no one would even notice until you surprised them at the end of the night with this delightful little piece of trivia. You’d cackle with glee as your guests process your wonderful trick.

Many things have happened since Christmas. I aced my exams. I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped on English, but it didn’t affect my overall grade at all, so *shrugs*. I’m sure I’ll accept it eventually. I did very, very well in AP Chemistry, however. But as I am only me, I will spend my time thinking about the perceived English failure (which wasn’t really even a failure) instead of the unexpected success in Chem.

I’m glad that the sacrifice of my morale was worth it.

We had a Science Olympiad Invitational that our team did very well in. I saw a friend from middle school. I said “hi”. It took her a moment to recognize me. (I had an epiphany. I finally understand what people mean when they say you can read eyes. I probably wouldn’t have recognized her out-of-the-blue either. It’s been years and we both look very different. I only identified her because she wears the same style of sweaters now that she did then.) Then she waved. Then we studiously avoided each other.

I entered a piece to an art contest. Predictably, nothing came of it. But I’m glad I entered, as it motivated me to finish the drawing, which I will give to my grandma for her upcoming birthday.

I also entered two short stories in a writing contest last November. Surprisingly, I got an Honorable Mention for one of them. So YAY.