Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tuesday Tales - Sleep

This week's Tuesday's Tales is a picture prompt. Writers are to use the two pictures above to inspire a 300 words story. Mine is below. It's a dark fantasy. To read the other fine entries, go to the Tuesdays Tales web site.


By Elizabeth Black
Genre: Dark Fantasy

Princess Zinnia had fled her village a week earlier, seeking the magical kingdom through the iron gate - the kingdom that held the secret to the curse than had kept her townspeople awake for thirty nights. Fatigue drove men to battle each other, draw blood, and kill. Women wrecked their homes in exhausted vexation. Children, weary from lack of sleep, banged their heads against walls in frustration and physical pain.

The princess ran through the forest. Dead brush scratched her legs with each step. Leaves had fallen to the brown grass. Bare branches reached for the sky, praying for rain that never came. As she ran, she spied a lone crocus peaking through the dead earth. Then, a second crocus. Green blades pushed past dried brown until the forest floor was a carpet of fragrant grass. Bare tree branches gave way to green leaves and pink blossoms. Excited, she knew she approached the magical kingdom and the sorceress within.

She ran past a gate and stumbled upon a courtyard. Villagers slept where they fell, some covered with dust. Chickens slept in coops and horses dozed. As she entered the courtyard, villagers stirred, awakening as if from a long sleep.

Zinnia stood before a woman who faced away from her, hands balled into fists.

The sorceress.

"Please help me. My village..."

"I know of your plight. I have waited for you to come and lift my curse."

Confused, Zinnia watched as the sorceress turned to face her. Zinnia stared into her own face, marred with loathing. The villagers surrounded her, pitchforks in hand. The sorceress extended one hand and touched Zinnia's face. The princess fell to the earth.

The sorceress walked beyond the gate into the forest in search of the princess's village. She had a mission to accomplish.


  1. Thank you. I'm going to expand it into a short story. The idea just came to me out of nowhere.

  2. Very intense and scary! I love how the forest changes and then you surprise me by who the sorceress is and I'm wondering what's going to happen next! Well done.

  3. Thanks, Jean! The story just popped into my head. I came up with a reverse Sleeping Beauty. I wondered what would happen if everyone went without sleep instead of sleeping their lives away as they did in Sleeping Beauty. I'm definitely turning this one into a short story. If it's short enough, I'll probably submit it to Daily Science Fiction, which also accepts fantasy. Otherwise, I'll aim for some SF/fantasy magazines.

  4. Wow - what an incredible start. I am dying to know what the sorceress's curse is and how she plans to lift it.

  5. Oh, how intriguing. What does the sorceress need to do? Such a grim picture you've painted. Well done!!

  6. Tricia, I plan to explore this story in more detail. I don't know how the sorceress plans to lift the curse. I'll have to write the story and find out. ;)

  7. Hi, Sarah, and thank you. I like how grim it is, and it will likely become more grim.

  8. Interesting ending. I'd love to know more

  9. What a nightmare to not be able to go asleep ! interesting ending indeed. Wonder what's going to happen!

  10. Great entry! I wonder what is going to happen next.

  11. Thanks everyone for enjoying my story. I'm going to turn this one into a short story once i work out the details.

  12. Great beginning I love the darkness. I can feel the surprise when the princess saw herself. Can't wait to read more.