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.

4 thoughts on “The Sleepwalker | Flash Fiction

  1. The car lurched onto the empty street, weaving in and out of the lane like it was drunk, occasionally careening onto the sidewalk. – wow, what a metaphor. I don’t usually care for the more detail-oriented aspects of a novel, but your writing is spectacular (is that the adjective you were looking for?).

    The Cinnabon bun proposal is freaking adorable. Some people murder in their sleep. And some people propose with a Cinnabon and free the butterflies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! Yes, that’s precisely the adjective I was looking for. “Spectacular” is one of my favorite words and one I use far too often. (“Spectacular” is the adjective you were referring to? Either way, I adore the word, as much as any one word can be adored over others. They’re not particularly useful on their own. Words, like penguins, come in clusters.)
      Cinnamon buns are far more delicious than diamond rings. Yes, a diamond ring is sparkly, but cinnamon buns are DELICIOUS. But, I suppose that diamond rings last far longer. Cinnamon buns are usually gone in moments. Hmm… What about proposing with a lifetime supply of cinnamon buns?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, it’s also the one you mentioned in the spam series, the dratted spammer who wouldn’t take great to spectacular. Spectacular feels so… theatrical, in a good way.

        You mean proposing diabetes, right? 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It seems as though I didn’t get my own reference. 😂 I wrote that post way back in November or December and scheduled it. Well, it’s good to know that at least my taste in words is consistent.
        The more theatrical, the better. *Tosses theatrical confetti with fireworks and a pan flute solo in the background*
        Proposing with diabetes sounds like a delicious idea if it’s cinnamon buns.

        Liked by 1 person

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