Sleeping Beauty


Image: Pixabay


Under the leer of a new moon, inky slithers melt into life.

A mermaid licks salt-crusted lips, flicks her scales and dives, breaking through the waves of skin that roll across your chest.

The rose unfurls its petals, nips at flightless doves, thorns snatching at banners declaring ‘Stella’, ‘Gloria’ ‒ ‘Mum’.

You wanted ‘ink’ ‒ to be a man. Now the pictures that smother your skin smother you.
They weave and warp to form a tattoo where you never felt the sting before – your throat.

You dream of the needle, of the sea, of Sleeping Beauty cradled in her bramble nest. You stir, gasp, swallow.

Ink is your final breath-taker.


This is a story I first wrote last year for the now sadly defunct Micro Bookends flash fiction challenge.

18 thoughts on “Sleeping Beauty

      1. Haha! Thanks Bill. I usually aim to write very cleanly, but this prompt always seem to demand something different from me. Thanks for reading 🙂


  1. It’s a prose poem – was it deliberate, or did it just happen? The language and the way it flows is out of this world… and it’s a great take on the bookends – under and taker.
    I think spectacular is not too strong a word for this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aw, thanks so much Jane. It was sort of accidental, though many of the Micro Bookends contributors seemed to write prose poems, so I suppose I just write in a similar vein.
      This one won the week’s comp, so I guess it struck a chord with others too. A bit of poetry, with a dark undertone was popular. Thank you, Jane. Very kind 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadly, it finished a little while back. It was a great – if taxing – prompt. Maybe you could take up the reins and run a prompt yourself? Or there are plenty out there that are good fun – Friday Fictioneers (which most people do on a wednesday, weirdly!), Sonya’s TLT on Thursday, Nortina’s Moral Mondays – too many good prompts to fit in the week 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Me, run a prompt? I’d love to, but I’m too disorganised. Ages ago I considered doing a regular Poetic Disobedience one word prompt challenge – poems had to be badly spelled and funny, but there aren’t enough people out there who are as silly and childish as me, so I didn’t think it would work 🙂
        As for all those great prompts – again, I’m too chaotic to get round to them 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I thought of running one, but wouldn’t know which day to do it on – there is a good prompt every day of the week already and I don’t see the point in trying to compete with other people when they do it so well. I liked the one I did at Valentines Day. Perhaps occasional ones are the way to go. You’ve no need for more prompts anyway – looks like you have your blog all planned out from now on 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I certainly have, and I’ll be sticking to it to the letter – with those few provisos, that is 🙂
        I liked your Valentine day prompt – there was something anarchic about it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Thanks, I liked it too. Would enjoy doing another, but I can never do Christmas because work’s always too mad and a blogger friend already does a great Halloween one so there’s no point in me doing one too. Maybe just Autumn? The close of summer and all that means. I like your provisos. Life should come with similar provisos 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      6. My life does come with provisos – I’ll go to the dentist provided I don’t get mixed up and think the appointment is on Tuesday, rather than Monday. I’ll go to my support group meeting provided I’m aware that today is the second Monday in the month. Provided I feel like it, I’ll go to bed, get up, buy the stamps I promised Paul – aargh – I promised Paul some stamps, and I haven’t got them! I have to go! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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