44th #SatSunTails

With guest judge @NicoleWolverton and a prize for the winner! Welcome to the #SatSunTails microfiction competition.

Be warned – the prompts aren’t easy, but that’s so you can write to the best of your ability.

If you haven’t had a go before at this writing challenge, then please don’t hesitate to try this weekend especially as a prize is involved!

Guest Judge!

Nicole Wolverton is a freelance writer and the former moderator of the weekly flash fiction challenge, 5 Minute Fiction.

Her short fiction has appeared in Black Heart Magazine, Penduline, and The Molotov Cocktail, among others. Her debut novel, THE TRAJECTORY OF DREAMS, was released by Bitingduck Press in March 2013.

Publishers Weekly calls this psychological thriller a "skillful mainstream examination of a psychotic woman’s final descent into insanity."


  • Post stories in the comments
  • Stories must be 150 words (margin of 5 words either side) AND based on the picture and written prompts.
  • If you title your entry this is not counted in your word count.
  • Only one entry allowed (so make it count)
  • End each entry with word count and name/twitter handle (if you forget these REPLY TO YOUR OWN COMMENT with them before judging closes)
  • Monday 11am GMT is the end for entries!

If you do not comply with these rules your story will be disqualified from judging. Good spelling and grammar will also help to make a better impression on judges – the odd typo, however, will be overlooked so please don’t worry about that.

For tips, read through the critiques from last week’s entries.


There will be ONE OVERALL WINNER and THREE RUNNERS UP. After that there will be THREE CRITIQUES of three stories that didn’t make it.

It would also be nice to those participating if you could promote your fellow competitors and those who win.

Today’s Extra Special PRIZE!

Today’s overall winner will receive a signed copy of The Trajectory of Dreams.

For Lela White, a Houston sleep lab technician, sleep doesn’t come easy—there’s a price to be paid for a poor night’s sleep, and she’s the judge, jury, and executioner.

Everyone around Lela considers her a private woman with a passion for her lab work. But night time reveals her for what she is: a woman on a critical secret mission. Lela lives in the grip of a mental disorder that compels her to break into astronauts’ homes to ensure they can sleep well and believes that by doing so, she keeps the revitalized U.S. space program safe from fatal accidents. What began at the age of ten when her mother confessed to blowing up the space shuttle has evolved into Lela’s life’s work. She dreads the day when an astronaut doesn’t pass her testing, but she’s prepared to kill for the greater good.

When Zory Korchagin, a Russian cosmonaut on loan to the U.S. shuttle program, finds himself drawn to Lela, he puts her carefully-constructed world at risk of an explosion as surely as he does his own upcoming launch. As Lela’s universe unravels, no one is safe.

Today’s Prompt!

The following may be used as a sentence in your story OR provide a basis for it:-

“miles to go before I sleep”

Here is your picture prompt:

Rights are with the creator. Click through for original image and her work.

& good luck!

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9 thoughts on “44th #SatSunTails”

  1. Jacqueline’s struggle for peaceful nights continued. Incoherent mornings stumbling over carpet fibres, disorientated.
    Why was this happening? She vaguely remembered the events of last night, gathering the crumpled blankets around her, pounding her pillow to lay her weary head, when she heard again the scream from within her. The unexplainable presence, male voice, gravelly and offensive.
    Her body raised, tossed about like a paper sailing boat on the sea, she had no control. Arms flailing like a windmill, her mouth taut, opened wide emitting no sounds. A nightmare? The guttural voice taunted, abused. She felt unclean, touched. This was real. How long would she suffer and why did he want her? Her body and mind invaded, Jacqueline was exhausted, defeated and prayed for an end. Angrily she yelled to her intruder “I have miles to go before I sleep, I compel you, leave me or grant me eternal rest”

  2. “Lisbett can you hear me? You must stay focused if this is to work. Please focus, for all our sakes.”

    “He has come to me now Garth but he has no understanding. I am not ready for him. He must give me more time.”

    The Exorcist holds his hands up in frustration. This girl is too susceptible, he cannot gain control of her mind.

    “Garth, Garth he will not listen to me. Tell him please that I have many miles to go before I sleep for him. I have unfinished work.”

    “Hold still Lisbett. You are inviting him in with your tossing and turning. You make it too easy.”

    As her eyes glaze over and darken Garth turns to the Exorcist in terror.

    “'Tis to late boy. Your sister has reached out and welcomed the devil in. We cannot save her now. She is lost.”

    150 words

  3. I have to get to a place where I know he can’t invade my dreams.
    He came to me promising his love.
    He brought me only madness.
    I gave him everything, and he took it all.
    Physically speaking, I can get away from him anywhere.
    He doesn’t know me in life.
    He doesn’t know where I live.
    But every time I sleep, he comes to me.
    Liar, liar, dirty, filthy liar.
    He destroyed my ability to find love in life, because for the past twenty-seven years, I have loved only him.
    If I go to another plane, to another dimension, I will have the upper hand at last.
    The pills will facilitate my journey.
    With my body out of the way, no more can he disturb my rest.
    Each pill represents a mile.
    I still have a few miles to go before I sleep.
    Miles to go before I sleep.

    Word Count: 150
    I don't do Twitter, but I am affiliated with three team blogs (where I am cross-posting this, and also a link to this contest.)


    My email is faycinacroud@gmail.com

  4. No one can see it, the mélange of midnight horrors I inflict upon myself. It is without intention that I do so, but the dreams—night visions—wreak havoc on my soul. Daylight hours are spent cloistered at home and within the fragile shadows of a life I no longer care to inhabit. A life devoid of meaning.

    I can’t evade my own face entirely during the gentler hours, knowing the despair reflected in my own visage is something I cannot completely veil. Regardless, during the hours when light bleeds across my side of the Earth, and the devastation begins to suffocate, I wear my thin mask. I have mastered the art of stoicism in the presence of others when necessary.

    But at night, alone, when the blackness seeps in, I cannot escape so easily. The loss of my innocent child in such a horrific manner will forever consume me.

    150 words

  5. Promises To Keep

    To pass the time, Ramona lay immobile, trying to recall if this was the sixteenth or seventeenth time she’d died in service to the Confederation. She didn’t suppose it really mattered. That would all be covered in her debriefing. At least her latest death would be no more a permanent condition than the previous cases.

    It was called Project Doppelganger. Her consciousness transferred to an android host body, she was sent off to wreak whatever havoc on the Alliance her handlers required. In a perfect world, she would return intact from each mission but that was seldom, if ever, the case.

    Waiting for Command to transmit the recall code, she would have wept from the accumulated horror, pain and futility of the war if she’d had tear ducts available to do such.

    After what seemed an eternity the key phrase “miles to go before I sleep” suffused her thoughts and she was whisked away home.

    155 words @klingorengi


    The essence of infernal pacts is the inviolable promise made between the mortal and the devil. Dangerous doesn’t begin to describe entering such a pact, but for some the possibilities are irresistible. Melantha was one such individual. After years of searching out the opportunity she finally was able to give her blood signature and see all of her dreams come true.

    Only now, years later, she was being called on to fulfill her end of the bargain. Leaving a trail of bodies across Europe, the temptress murdered in their sleep just to feed her appetite. The eternally youthful beauty took no pleasure in these kills and envied them their rest. She still had miles to go before she slept.

    As much as she had gained from the pact, Melantha Karahalios was still quickly coming to feel ill used—and frustrated that the mortal hag may have gotten the better end of their deal after all.

    155 words

  7. Regan knew where the word “haggard” came from. Its ancient origins were of being “hag rode.”

    Regan knew the definition of the term “sleep paralysis.”

    They were not the same, but often happened at the same time…

    “Regan, I’m sorry, but there’s no need for any further sleep studies. Please, just use the CPAP and mask. I’m sure your sleep will improve…”

    The only time Regan slept was when someone else was watching, standing guard. At home, the hag would come for her, or her husband. He blamed the tiredness on sleep apnea.

    Regan knew better.

    Fine. They wouldn’t believe her.
    She’d take steps to protect herself.

    She gave no excuse to the police and paramedics when they found the sweet little old lady next door on the floor of Regan’s bedroom, her leg mangled in a bear trap. A trap with an ancient rune scratched permanently into the metal.

    150 words exactly! @USNessie on twitter

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